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Setting up a small business network?


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#1 Mirth1

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 08:51 PM

Hello all. To keep costs down, I'm in charge of networking 10 brand new computers at a new place of business, OS not included.

I would like to know, how should I go about doing this.

Should I get XP Pro for all of the computers?

We're getting cable internet, so I assume I'm going to get a router, but it'll only have 4 or 5 ports. Should I get a 16 port Switch to connect to the router for the rest of the computers?

If I do use XP Pro, is there anything special I need to do when installing the OS, such as having everyone on the same WORKGROUP or something?

And, my main concern is security, but we will be using Microsoft Office a lot and need to share some of the same files. Would having a SHARED folder be safe? There will be a lot of records.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

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#2 CaveDweller2

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:44 AM

What are the specs of the "10 brand new computers" ? This will point you in the right direction of which OS to get.

I am assuming you are getting a business cable package?

Yes you will need a switch to go with the router. My suggestion is to get a "real" router. By that I mean a Cisco brand. I would also suggest a Cisco switch. It will cost a little more up front but will last for years. They aren't a simply plug and play type thing like home use routers but they are very flexible, very configurable and scalable.

Your other questions needs my first question answered to give you an answer.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#3 AdamV

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 07:43 AM

Buying XP Pro today will be very short sighted as support will run out sooner for this OS than (for example) Windows 7.

Get a 24-port switch to give you some flexibility (eg adding network printers) and growth (you want this business to grow, right?) Extra cost above 16 port will be minimal. Cisco would be nice, but certainly more pricy than other perfectly reliable brands such as Netgear.

You could run these in t a workgroup, but do yourself a favour and invest in a small server with MS Small Business Server 2008. This will give you the ability to run a domain (for better central control), share files with meaningful permission structures (using the central active directory for users and groups), have a real collaboration platform in Exchange for email and so much more - sharing calendars, public folders, having multiple email groups and alias addresses, delegation and lots more.
WSUS and Sharepoint too, if you are so inclined.

This additional cost and effort will be repaid many times over, especially as things change and grow over time. You say you need to share files, but security is a big concern - a domain (=active directory) environment wil make this easier to build and secure in the way you want. Sharing files on a PC using local user accounts which are not centrally managed becomes a headache and likely to lead to holes.
Due to global warming, eskimos now have more than 20 words for water John O'Farrell

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#4 Mirth1

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:14 PM

Thank you guys for the replies, and I apologize for the late reply back!



What are the specs of the "10 brand new computers" ? This will point you in the right direction of which OS to get.

I am assuming you are getting a business cable package?

Yes you will need a switch to go with the router. My suggestion is to get a "real" router. By that I mean a Cisco brand. I would also suggest a Cisco switch. It will cost a little more up front but will last for years. They aren't a simply plug and play type thing like home use routers but they are very flexible, very configurable and scalable.

Your other questions needs my first question answered to give you an answer.



Here are the specs of the computers:

* Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 2.6GHz Processor
* 4GB DDR3 Memory
* 320GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA Hard Drive
* Dual Layer DVD±RW Burner
* Integrated High Definition Audio
* Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500

And yes, we are getting Cable internet for business from Comcast. Not many other choices in this area, it was that or AT&T DSL.




Buying XP Pro today will be very short sighted as support will run out sooner for this OS than (for example) Windows 7.

Get a 24-port switch to give you some flexibility (eg adding network printers) and growth (you want this business to grow, right?) Extra cost above 16 port will be minimal. Cisco would be nice, but certainly more pricy than other perfectly reliable brands such as Netgear.

You could run these in t a workgroup, but do yourself a favour and invest in a small server with MS Small Business Server 2008. This will give you the ability to run a domain (for better central control), share files with meaningful permission structures (using the central active directory for users and groups), have a real collaboration platform in Exchange for email and so much more - sharing calendars, public folders, having multiple email groups and alias addresses, delegation and lots more.
WSUS and Sharepoint too, if you are so inclined.

This additional cost and effort will be repaid many times over, especially as things change and grow over time. You say you need to share files, but security is a big concern - a domain (=active directory) environment wil make this easier to build and secure in the way you want. Sharing files on a PC using local user accounts which are not centrally managed becomes a headache and likely to lead to holes.


Here is the router and switch I'm looking at now:

Cisco Small Business RV042 Dual WAN VPN Router:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16833124160

NETGEAR JGS524 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet Switch 24 x RJ45 8,000 MAC Address Table 2MB Buffer Memory:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16833122058

(I considering that Netgear for the switch, instead of Cisco, because it has a big $$ rebate and has pretty good reviews!)

If those are good, please let me know. :thumbsup:



Okay, so this leads me to a bunch of questions for the OS.

The specs of our computers seem like it'd run Windows 7 with no hitches, so I suppose that'd be the better option. Some of the other people recommended XP just because that's what they have at home and what they are used to, but times are changing and maybe having them use a new OS will get them to change at home too (I use Windows 7 at home and love it!)

Now, here's where I'm confused... I've been doing a tiny bit of research on Windows 7 since I seen the replies here, and it seems that the non-servers would have to have "Professional" version (instead of home-premium) to be able to join domains. But, I'm not sure about all this "server" stuff. Couldn't I create a domain, on a pseudo-server computer (1 of the 10), using Windows 7 Professional instead of using Small Business Server 2008?

(And if anyone knows of any particular sites that have a guide to set up a server and stuff, that'd be great!)

Sorry for how new I am with this, and thank you for your patience in helping me!

#5 CaveDweller2

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:31 PM

My suggestion of Cisco is my bias toward the equipment I trained on. I should have said go with professional/business grade equipment, whatever brand you can get a phat deal on. =)

With those specs, I would go Win7. I have no idea what flavors there are for Win7 but I'd go with the top one lol.

A dedicated server would give you room to grow. Setting it up when setting up the office would be easier than doing it later. Nothing says you have to go with Windows there are many Linux based OSes that would do the job. But the learning curve for them would be a little steeper than a Windows based OS.

Your suggestion to just use one of the desktops while technically it could work would be very limiting.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#6 AdamV

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 06:03 AM

You can't have a domain without Active Directory, which runs on Windows Server.

Small Business Server is simply Windows Server with other server applications on top - Exchange and Sharepoint, most importantly.

You could network your machines and share files using a workgroup (or home group as they now call them), but this takes lots more administration as there is no single central place to manage things.

Those machine specs will run Windows 7 "like sh!t off a lightly greased shovel".
Pro version should not cost much different from Home Premium, won't have the media center stuff though (no real issue there).

If anything those specs seem overboard for regular office information workers - do they all need DVD RW drives? Or indeed any optical drive at all? is 320GB just a little bit of overkill? (80GB ought to be way more than enough for most users unless doing lots of graphics / video editing work, but not sure what the smallest drives are which you can get as standard now)
Keep the RAM at 4GB, though, only small $ saving to be made and performance trade off would be immediately obvious.

Some of the savings you could make on the desktop hardware could be better invested in a small server - probably costing not much more than the desktops, server-class hardware may be more pricy, but then it won't have the high-end graphics and sound etc.

Make sure the PCs have Gigabit ethernet, especially if you do go down the route of them sharing files with one another instead of on a server.

Netgear switch looks fine, Cisco router looks OK (I'm not familiar with that model personally, but like the options of backup route to your internet connection or to have a DMZ if needed later)
Due to global warming, eskimos now have more than 20 words for water John O'Farrell

Professional geek, consultant and trainer.
MCT, MCSA, MMI, MBMSS, CWNA, COS (I like to have lettuce after my name)
My personal blog - Getting IT right




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