Network structure - Wired with Wireless

I have a small network of 16 computer. The structure of the network is given below. I want to upgrade my network and therefore require your advice.

Current Setup
Computers: 16
Hub: 6

Structure
(Point 1)Hub [4 Computers, One Uplink] - Server is connected to this Hub
(Point 2)The uplink goes to Hub [2 Computers, 3 Uplinks]
Distribution of 3 uplinks
(Point 3) First Uplink: Hub [7 Computers]
(Point 4) Second Uplink: Hub [2 Computers]
(Point 5) Third Uplink: Hub [1 Computer, 1 Uplink]. This uplink goes to a hub (Point 6) with two computers

Reasons of upgrade:
i. The network is running on 10 Mbps because some of the hubs are old. All of our computers have 10/100 Mbps LAN card. Will 100 Mbps make any changes on my network speed? At present it is good. We never face any problem with speed.
ii. At the Point 4 we have a laptop which is giving problem. It automatically goes out of network. On restarting the system again it comes on network. It has some problem in accessing the DHCP of server. The laptop is running on 10 Half Duplex.
iii. The number of hubs is because of there location. These are located in different rooms. Now I want to move Point 4 and 5 to wireless. Is this possible?

Suggestion/Question
1. If I replace all the Hubs with switch then will it make my network better? HOW?
2. Do the 10 Mbps LAN card support 10/100 Mbps switch?
3. Can I have a network with combination of wired and wireless components? HOW?
4. My Point 6 is 200 meter away from Point 4. What will be range of wireless Access Point?
5. Should I make some structural changes to my network?
6. What is required for Wireless? I had read about some Wi-fi. What is Wi-fi?
7. What can i do with my present Hubs, are they waste now?

Thanks a lot in advance.
pushkarpathakAsked:
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Pete LongConnect With a Mentor Technical ConsultantCommented:
1. If I replace all the Hubs with switch then will it make my network better? HOW?

Yes switches are more efficiant and will cut down on network traffic that slows down your network, plus all new switches are 10/100
Hub

A common connection point for devices in a network. Hubs are commonly used to connect segments of a LAN. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all segments of the LAN can see all packets.
A passive hub serves simply as a conduit for the data, enabling it to go from one device (or segment) to another. So-called intelligent hubs include additional features that enables an administrator to monitor the traffic passing through the hub and to configure each port in the hub. Intelligent hubs are also called manageable hubs.

A third type of hub, called a switching hub, actually reads the destination address of each packet and then forwards the packet to the correct port.

Switch

In networks, a device that filters and forwards packets between LAN segments. Switches operate at the data link layer (layer 2) and sometimes the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI Reference Model and therefore support any packet protocol. LANs that use switches to join segments are called switched LANs or, in the case of Ethernet networks, switched Ethernet LANs.
In a network, a switch is a device that channels incoming data from any of multiple input ports to the specific output port that will take the data toward its intended destination.
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
2. Do the 10 Mbps LAN card support 10/100 Mbps switch?

of course though they will only ever run at 10 mpbs. they still use exactly the same technlogy - it just runs slower, most modern switches "auto-negotiate" the speed with the client and also the duplex mode (weather info can flow in both directions at once or one way at a time) your older cards will be single duplex (they can only send or recieve) so they wont be as fast.
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
3. Can I have a network with combination of wired and wireless components? HOW?

Yes:)

two methods -

1. as this in in the broadband TA - I'll assume you have broadband, get a wireless switch/router and plug it into your broadband modem this is what I use
This is what I use (with 54g wireless)
http://www.linksys.com/Products/product.asp?grid=33&scid=35&prid=601
then your clients just need a wireless card to connect to it (PCI cards for desktops and PCMCIA cards for laptops)

2. Get a wireless access point an plug it in your network wherever you like http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00007KDVJ/002-9116353-3701663?v=glance your clints then connect the same as above
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
4. My Point 6 is 200 meter away from Point 4. What will be range of wireless Access Point?

thats quite far - but it you can get cat5 cable to get the access point closer then you will get a better signal - 200m is possible with high end wireless (cisco aironet kit) but its VERY expensive, for home use Id suggest putting the access point closer or getting a second access point.
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
5. Should I make some structural changes to my network?


Only if you need to - if it aint broke - dont fix it, the amount of hubs you have will be slowing every thing down but you will overcome this by replacing with switches, unless you need to do a bit of wire re-routing for your access points (see No4 above) then your setup seems fine to me :)
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
6. What is required for Wireless? I had read about some Wi-fi. What is Wi-fi?

as said above you need an access point (that can be built into your router if you wish) and cards in the clients you wish to connect.

be aware there are two main standards (there are more but there are two main ones)

11b - runs at 11Mbps connection speeds is the most widely used
54g - runs at 54Mbps much faster and can connect to 11b if it needs to (but will change down to 11Mbps)

get 54g access points if you can (clients with either b or g cards can connect to them)

And secure your network - most have at least WEP (wireless encryption protocol) to stop your neighbors stealing your bandwidth (there is a newer standard called WPA - but it works a little better)
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
7. What can i do with my present Hubs, are they waste now?


LOL - Ive got old hubs lying around all over - second hand value is not much so you wont get much on EBay for them:( but if you have a small one (4 or 8 port) KEEP IT in your technical tool kit - they are very handy if you ever need to do some network sniffing with a laptop (they rebroadcast everything so they are better than switches for this purpose only.

sheesh - dont thing Ive typed this much in one question this year ROFL

Good luck

if you need anything claryfying dont hesitate to ask

Pete
www.petenetlive.com
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
That was some work, eh Pete?  :)

But since you have covered just about everything here, what else can I say?   hmm...  Just about the only thing is a comment regarding extending the range of wireless...  You could install a high-gain antennae on the access point, or place a repeater between.  Linksys is providing these quite reasonably right now..

http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?prid=643&scid=38

Good luck with the project..!!

FE
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
:)
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pushkarpathakAuthor Commented:
As i had said in Reasons of Upgrade ii that "ii. At the Point 4 we have a laptop which is giving problem. It automatically goes out of network. On restarting the system again it comes on network. It has some problem in accessing the DHCP of server. The laptop is running on 10 Half Duplex."

WHAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM?
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Is there any power saving turned on on the network car?

usually laptops + network cards = power saving
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pushkarpathakAuthor Commented:
No there is nothing like that. I had Disabled the power saving.
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
ok

start >run >cmd {enter}

ping <ip address of your routrt> -t

leave it alone for a while
does it still disconnect?
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pushkarpathakAuthor Commented:
No it didn't. It does not happen in half an hour or hour. if it is working then it works for days.


I think after replacing hub with switch the problem will solve.
What do u say?
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Not too sure about that, but it is worth a shot...  I just don't see a hub being a problem in this scenario, unless the hub is faulty...  But, of course, that is just my opinion...  :)

FE
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