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Improving a network of a computer LAB

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#1 dushan997


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Posted 17 August 2017 - 05:16 AM

I got this task to improve a network of an IT institute with minimum cost. It has 25 computers and currently configured as a peer to peer network using an old switch. And the users treat one of the computers as a file server so everybody access this computer at the same time to save/open/reload work.


Management says that the network becomes congested at certain times that some users/computers are unable to access the fileserver and sometimes other computers too.  No matter what you do, enable/disable Ethernet connection, restart pc or server etc. sometimes a particular user or few users/a particular computer or few computers cannot gain access to the server while others can.

The other problem is restricting access to certain folders in local and server computers. There are all kinds of users who like to play with the command prompt so access for specific folders and applications has to be restricted.


So I’m thinking of going for a cost effective client-server configuration so that by creating user accounts access to the local and fileserver folders can be controlled. Also I also assume that the current network issues could be due to the peer to peer network not being able to handle larger (25) number of computers. So I assume by simply introducing a client server network it should perform better.


I know a little about networking but not that much as I’m coming from the development side, so please correct me if I’m wrong in my assumptions and if there is a better way of addressing these issues.

Client server setup: What’s the correct procedure for this? I’m thinking buying an entry level server computer such as Dell PowerEdgeT20 Xeon with a Windows Server OS and 8GB of RAM and plugging it to an empty port of the same network/switch.


I think the next step is to configure the user accounts. What’s the correct procedure for configuring the server and user accounts?


Also the same Internet connection is shared with different departments such as Accounts, Admin so my other suggestion is to segment these networks in to separate LANs and connect those using routers so that problems of a certain network wouldn’t interfere with others and I guess this would improve the network performance as well.


And there are three printers the users will be sharing.


If someone can clarify these and give high level step by step instructions it would be great so that I can research on the minor details and do it properlyDell PowerEdgeT20 Xeon. Thanks in advance. 

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#2 dropbear


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Posted 17 August 2017 - 07:40 AM

mate, no disrespect, but have you bitten off more than you can chew?  :unsure:


sounds like a job for someone, by your own admission, with more experience otherwise it's going to be a lot of trial and error which will not endear yourself to others higher in the food chain.

if they or you are happy with that, please disregard my remarks and have fun, sounds like something you could really get your teeth into. :)

Instead of reading this, why not do a backup of your PC.

You won't regret it.

#3 Kilroy


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Posted 17 August 2017 - 02:20 PM

Welcome to Bleeping Computer.


Microsoft recommends that once you reach 10 computers you move to a server solution.  So, a server is where you should have been a while ago.  The server should be able to handle everything you need, user authentication, file and printer sharing.  Updating the switch should also be a part of this project.  I also noticed that nothing was mentioned about backups.


As dropbear said, this is probably more than you should do.  I'd recommend finding a local provider to set this up for you and then after they have set it up, you can take care of it and use the vendor when absolutely necessary.  That's actually how I got started in IT.


There is no one right way to configure user accounts.  Since you only have about 25 users you could put them all in the same container and the use groups for security.  Security should never be at the user level, users should gain all of their abilities by the groups that have them as a member.


The Internet connection as a whole is probably the issue.  Even if you break out the departments they are all using the same Internet.  It always amazes me that users don't bother to think that if everyone is streaming music the Internet speed is going to slow down.


With only 25 computers there is no reason to over complicate the network.  Everyone to a 48 port switch, or a pair of 24 port, and the switch(es) to the router.  All on a UPS, there is nothing like losing a switch because of a 5 second power loss.

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