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Establishing an Office Network - Part 2

Posted on 2004-08-05
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
HERE IS MY ORIGINAL QUESTION:
======================

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

====

HERE IS THE RESPONSE I GOT:
====================

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

=====

AND THEN I ANSWERED BACK TO HIM:
=========================

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

====

CAN SOMEONE, BASED ON THE INFORMATION HERE, PLEASE GIVE ME AN APPROXIMATE ESTIMATE OF WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE TO ESTABLISH THE OFFICE NETWORK, AND ALSO THE EXPECTED COST OF THIS VENTURE FROM THIS POINT ON?

THANKS,

PANOS
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Question by:enzymemedia
3 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:dis1931
ID: 11729761
I know this isn't really an answer but after reading what you need and that your data is important, you should probably look into getting this professionaly done.  You are using encryption, accounting software and have to set up servers and numerous other things.  There are too many spots where an accident can result in failure of the setup or possibly something that you think is working might not really be and you will find out when you most need it.  You can probably setup some of these things yourself if you feel comfortable but others should be left to those that have done it before especially if you are really concerned about critical data, backups, etc....
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krazieintent earned 400 total points
ID: 11730413

....SERVER......

Well to handle your server needs 2 will do. As both will be written at the same time. servers running linux samba file servers, and raid redundancy would be perfect. Each would be set to be written data at the same time, automatic backup. If one fails the other can be used in place. Each server should have a RAID removable drive. For removable back up storage. Data written 3 times over, maximum redundancy!

The linux system will manage all of your user access to the files, matter of configuration.

......Printer......

You will need to buy a print server, this device will allow you to plug your printers directly into the network, to allow for complete access from all nodes.

......Hardware.....

I recommend a switch for a maximum efficent network. Where the router will only be used to translate between the internet and the internal network using NAT.

....MISC.....
Everything else is just a matter of buying the software and wireing up the comps.

You will need cables to connect each comp to the wall jack.

So from here, looks like you will need to purchase 2 servers, switches and the software you need

everything else is configuration.

http://www.petrabyte.com/RAID/NAS-StorBank.htm 

maybe that can help you pick out a desenct server to fit your needs.

the servers would be your most costly expense, but then again your software might run up a nice bill too. What you can do is install the software globally, on the server, and map the applications on each of the networked computer. One version for all, will save you a lot of money, just amke sure they are networked versions not standalone applications.

Im thinking here a couple thounsand dollars, taking into consideration the priceyness of the servers and the software.

everything else is minor and is done thru proper configuration of the devices.

hope this helps,

Kevin
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Assisted Solution

by:PennGwyn
PennGwyn earned 100 total points
ID: 11731784
Your choice to run an office network and an Internet network in parallel is an interesting one, and just a little odd.  I *assume* that this is for some kind of security reason (not spelled out in your list of user requirements), but that its cost-effectiveness for this purpose will actually be quite poor.  Especially, the effectiveness will be very low, quite possibly lower than is really acceptable.

Most organizations find it sufficient to run a single "office" network, with a secured gateway to the Internet and appropriate measures to ensure that private information never leaves the office network and that only authorized users and devices can connect to it.  This is topologically equivalent to each of your users having two NICs in their machine, one plugged into each jack, but a whole lot simpler and cheaper.

But perhaps you're planning for each user to only have one NIC, and plug their machine into only one network at a time?  THIS is topologically equivalent to giving each user a laptop that they take home, or to Starbucks, etc, and then come plug into the "secure" private network after it has contracted various worms/viruses/spyware/ etc.  i.e., not much of an improvement!

My recommendation is that you either (a) spend your money on gateway security instead of on network duplication, or (b) allow private machines to connect *only* to the private network, and locate Internet jacks (and computers) in some semi-public space rather than in everyone's offices.  (If you go with (a), you may still want redundant servers on the private network, but that's a different issue.)

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