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Establishing an Office Network - Need a Primer

Posted on 2004-08-04
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Office Configuration:

13 x Windows XP Computers
LAN Established - Cable Internet
Hard Wires in the Walls, two jacks per office (1=Internet, 2=Building Network)

What I need is a primer, a white paper, a Networking for Dummies for establishing an office network parallel to the Internet connection stuff, but totally seperate. We need to run MS Word, MS Excel, Adobe Acrobat, MS Powerpoint, Windows Software and also an accounting software as well.

Questions:

1. How much (approx.) would this cost?
2. Can specific companies offer installation deals with their servers?
3. White Papers! I need to read white papers on Network installing!!!

Thanks,

Panos
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Question by:enzymemedia
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Expert Comment

by:Eric
ID: 11718735
Hi MashaCPA,
Why do you want a internet connection in each offfice?  You would have to install 2 NICS or have them switch between each.  Not a very secuire or convienent method.
Get a Firewall router, and use NAT.    I suggest in your situation getting a consultant for inital setup and try and take it over from there.
Get a few quotes from local contractors, and make sure they know your getting other bids.


Good luck!
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ra66i earned 500 total points
ID: 11719081
Hi Panos,

   You are quite bold to be attempting to do everything on your first time, but this can be done. The costs you incur will be based mostly upon your needs, there is no set standard as to what "a network" will cost you. In terms of white papers and your own education on the subject I will supply you with a number of links you will find usefull. If you can tell me what you need (in terms of ultimately, what do your users need to do with their computers), and what you have (in terms of hardware and software, some of which is above); then I will give you a rough quotation on how much you should be looking at spending; and what solutions you should be considering. If you want it is likely that we can do most of the work you need over the wire, and later I should be able to (if you wish to follow this route) log in to your systems and sort out problems for you.

You will want to look at the following to gain a grasp of some important basics:
http://www.yale.edu/pclt/COMM/TCPIP.HTM
http://www.lantronix.com/learning/tutorials/index.html

   As a final note, there are many companies who will provide you with more than you need, so do be careful. At the same time, if you are told that you can go ahead and just work with what you have got, I would also be dubious; there are a great many systems and items available in the IT industry today. It is not obvious without experience what is worthwhile and productive, as to what is not.

---
http://ra66i.co.uk
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Expert Comment

by:Marakush
ID: 11719423
Okay 13 machines...

LAN wiring is done.

You need patch cables for all the computers, figure about 7-10$ per machine.

Router to connect it all together. 150$ give or take.

Do all of the machines have NIC (Network Cards) cards?

I would suggest a server, now that sounds like a simple question but its actually the most difficult one... You say an accounting package, What package? (To somewhat gage the power of the server) Something like ACCPAC, SBT, peachtree??? Will all users need access to the accounting system? Do you want all of your working documents backed up? Do you want your accounting software backed up? (I stongly recommend it)

You might want to consider hiring a consulting company to come in and make all the connections, user accounts, configure the backup software, install network anti-virus software and patch up all the workstations.

If you really want to do this... Please answer my questions, and we will take it from there :)  You have more the nenough experance on this site with the experts here to talk you through it. :)

Marakush
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Expert Comment

by:krazieintent
ID: 11719638
The question I have for you is this, do you want both buildings to be on the same network, or 2 different networks accessing one internet connection. Meaning for example building one can print to a building 2 computer, and share files with the building 2 department and vice versa.

Or do you want each building to be locked into their own buldings not being able to access eachothers files while still sharing one internet connection.

In this case I would highly recommend a firewall and a swtich to help create and administer different VLANS.

It will be most secure and faster then regular layer 3 routing solutions.

Like Marakush said, you have at your finger tips the disposals of the worlds best networkers. And a clean fresh start on creating a new network. Let us know exactly what it is that you want and how you want it and im sure a few of us could come up with the perfect solutions

Kevin
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Author Comment

by:enzymemedia
ID: 11721253
ra66i:

Thanks for the great start on the reading... but I have to follow up on your input you gave me, so here we go:

YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR PREVIOUS RESPONSE TO ME THE FOLLOWING:

" If you can tell me what you need (in terms of ultimately, what do your users need to do with their computers)..."

User Needs:

1. Manage (incl. archiving) Documents created and edited in MS Office Products Suite
[Note: We want local and global archives of documents created]
2. Share Documents on different security levels (three levels: execs, administrator, support staff)
3. Run PeachTree software on one computer
4. Browse the web from each terminal
5. All printers networked
6. Manage email through Lotus Notes or Outlook, not web-based emailing anymore after network up
7. One computer on the network will have to be used for dedicated encryption work and it may need to reside off the network i am not sure right now.
8. Backup of EVERY single document created on a seperate either HDD, Removeable HDD (external) or server. The redundancy is a must because there are too many critical documents to be in one place only.
9. There needs to be redundancy in functionality, which tells me we need at least two servers, so that if one is not working well, the other can pick up the slack, and also to deliver higher productivity rates on the machines.

THEN YOU ASKED:

"... and what you have (in terms of hardware and software, some of which is above)..."

What we have:

- Cable Modem working
- Linksys NAT router
- 13 Computers of VARYING operating systems (mistake from before) connected to the internet
- Wiring in place
- All comp's have internet access ok

What we don't have

- Server
- Software to run the server
- Software to run on the network
- Any misc. hardware required
- Any necessary diagnostic tools for managing the network

FINALLY YOU SAID:

"...then I will give you a rough quotation on how much you should be looking at spending; and what solutions you should be considering..."

In your reply to me, including the above mentioned info about quotes, if you can add any more white papers I can read up on that would be swell, seeing as how we have more info on the table right now.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards,

Panos
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