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How to set up a small client / server network

I need to build a small network (1 server & 4 clients) to properly test a client/server database application.
I currently have:
5 PCs, all with the appropriate network cards, 2 of which also have wirless connections.
XP Pro installed on 4 PCs
Windows 2000 installed on the remaning PC
Lots of ethernet cable

I also wish to have an ADSL broadband internet connection made available to each PC...

Most of the articles I have found have been out of date which makes me assume XP has made the whole process easy...  Not for me!

My questions are:
What kind of hardware do I need to implement this network?
Are there any hardware brand / model recommendations?
Will XP pro suffice for the server?
What is and how do I set up a domain?


Thanks a lot for your help.
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ml1n4
Asked:
ml1n4
1 Solution
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Hi ml1n4,
> What kind of hardware do I need to implement this network?
Strictly speaking, you need just a network switch and the computers.  That's it.  If you want internet access, you need something to act as a router.

> Are there any hardware brand / model recommendations?
For a test environment?  No.  For a production environment, then maybe.

> Will XP pro suffice for the server?
No.  Well, probably not - it depends on what you are setting up.  XP Pro can serve up to 10 connections.  Some servers (Software servers, like Exchange Server and SQL Server) REQUIRE a server and XP Pro won't cut it.  If your doing this for testing, again, I recommend using a real server in a domain configuration.  In production, I would generally recommend getting Microsoft Small Business Server, due largely to its cost benefits.

> What is and how do I set up a domain?
A domain, strictly speaking, is a logical grouping of resources and computers that allows for central management with things such as one user account per user that allows access to all computers that are members of the domain.  More detailed information on domains and how to set them up is available in the links below:

How do I install Active Directory on my Windows 2000 Server? [This is essentially what makes a domain in 2000/2003]
http://www.petri.co.il/how_to_install_active_directory_on_w2k.htm

Windows Server domain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Server_domain


Cheers!
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Rick HobbsRETIREDCommented:
What kind of hardware do I need to implement this network?
Are there any hardware brand / model recommendations?
             ADSL Connection, they will supply modem.
             Linksys WRT54G or similar.
             Set modem to bridge mode and connect to Linksys.
             Patch Cable Server and PCs without wireless to Linksys with Cable.
Will XP pro suffice for the server? - Only if you want to do file/periperheral sharing with limited security.
             Upgrade Windows 2000 PC to Windows 2000 Server or Windows Small Business Server.  SBS will give you SQL server and Exchange.  Either SBS or Windows 2000 server will give you Active Directory for authentication and security.

What is and how do I set up a domain?
You can't set up a domain without Windows 2000 server or Windows SBS.  Either product will walk you through setting up a domain during installation.



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