Setting up a test lab is the best way to test your hardware and software before rolling it out to your end users. Testing everything you plan to deploy ahead of time will save your company and your computer technicians a great deal of time and hassle, but it is important to put some planning into the design of the computer lab.
- Network connections
- Keyboards and mice
- Network cables
Measure the room you plan to use as your computer lab. It is important to know how much space you will have to work with before you get started. As you examine the room look around to see how many electrical outlets and network connections you have available. The number and location of these power and network connections will help you determine where to place your computers, monitors and other equipment.
Sketch out the design of the room using a tablet or a piece of design software. Sketch out where you want the tables on which the computers will sit. Also sketch out the space for the shelving units and storage cabinets you will need for holding extra computer equipment.
Place the tables around the room according to the location of the network connections and power outlets. In many room designs the power outlets and the network connections will be located around the perimeter of the room. In that case it would be smart to arrange the tables around the edges of the room. Before putting the tables into place be sure to first connect power cords and network cables, then run those cords and cables up over the top of the tables. That will make it a lot easier to connect the PCs and monitors when you are ready to stock the lab.
Place the shelving units in a space where there are no power outlets or network connections. This will help you make more efficient use of space and give you more room to work if you need to add additional computers down the line.
Place the computers you plan to use on the tables, connecting the power cords and network cables as you go. When choosing computers for your test lab it is important to use the same equipment your users do — this will more fully recreate the production environment and allow you to catch any potential problems early.