This is what I would suggest.
First of all I don't think you need internet acess am I correct?System Without Internet
I would suggest an 8 port D-Link or Lynksies Switch. That would be enough to run the 4 computer plus a network printer and you still have 3 extra nods if someone needs to hook in a laptop or something tempoarily.
The PCs you will be building I agree with Snapper don't have to be powerhouses. Don't need any fancy graphics card on board will be great. I highly highly highly suggest Windows Xp.
I think just a basic laser printer will be fine with either an onboard or third party print server. I know this has the word "server" in it but they are actually fairly easy to set up and use.
For the important files I suggest one of the work stations you build, like Snapper suggested, with 2
hard drives in a RAID 1 could act as the server. I would suggest that this server be made with the "Finance" computer since I think that her documents will also be very important. With the RAID 1 you won't have to worry if a hardrive fails because you have a second hardrive with the exact
same information. All you have to do is share the folder where the files are stored and all the computer on the network will have access to them but only allow acess to that folder and not the entire hardrive because of the finances I am guessing these have to be somewhat secure.
Another idea for storage would be a NAS (Network Attached Storage), this is basically a hardrive that connects to the switch but the problem is you don't get the security you get with the RAID 1 Array.
About the Fax I don't think you need to integrate this into the network. Most Fax machines are standalone...
For remote acess you would need internet and that is a little complicated for me to explain so I will let someone else do that. If you do go with a network with internet. I personnaly like RealVNC for remote access. Make sure you put a password.
Edited by Klinkaroo, 31 July 2006 - 07:11 PM.