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Network Configuration

eli290 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-10
I am looking to build a small network. I will be hooking up 20-25 PC's onto some sort of broadband, most likely a T-1 Line. I need to know what equipment would be best to use in terms of router, switches etc...

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Well, brand - features - reliability will greatly be determined by how much you want to spend, but the minimum generic setup for a small network is as follows:

1.  Router
2.  Switch (enough ports to fit all your computers)
3.  Ethernet cables and network cards to connect all the machines

Being you have more then 10 computers it would be a good idea to buy a server and setup a domain.  This will provide centralized security and file sharing to name a few.  
if this is for a small office you should try to get DSL or cable before you go for a T1 - DSL or cable is cheaper.

Then you need a router for example:

And a switch with plent of ports, like this:

and like smaky said you need ethernet cables and make sure that each computer has a network card.
go for CAT5E patch cables from Belkin.

Smacky also brought up a good point. If these machines are windows then it would be a good idea to purchase a server...install Windows 2003 Server Standard on it, and learn about active directory and set up a domain.

Here's an active directory guide:


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for a basic setup, I'd go with the Cisco 2811 Router and Cisco 2950 Switch (24 or 48 ports depending on what you need)


This is more for a permanent LAN Gaming location

When considering networking, plan requirements should include bandwidth.

Most lower cost choices give you option that splits it so that the greater traffic is on the inbound to you, and outbound traffic potential is marginally less.

So thinking of upload and download, which direction do you suspect it will end up being more frequent?

You should also consider contingency, get more than you need, to support growth without needing to order or replace parts right away. (ex: have some extra ports)


im assuming it will be download. It will be used for multiplayer gaming. Each PC will be connected for that reason.

I say get a 2811 or 1760 Cisco router to handle the T1... then a 24 port 2950 Switch for the hosts..... 2950G will have 2 gig ports, 1 to connect your router, 1 for a small hub if you have more than 24 hosts


I have heard some people say that 3com is a bit easier to config and maintain than cisco. Is that true?
Yeah it is, 3COM usually has web-based configuration as opposed to command line configs.

If you're doing this for gaming then you probably won't need active directory or a server...just a peer-to-peer lan. I still suggest a DSL line along with a gigabit switch.


DSL is not going to handle the load of 20-25 gamers.  Are you crazy?  It can barely handle 5.  You need a T-1...or at least a fractional T-1 (fraction of the speed, but also a fraction of the cost).  Unfortunately, i don't know any Linksys or 3com (lower end routers) that can support a CSU/DSU connection.  If configuration is an issue, it wouldnt take much at all to configure this... I could even help you do it.

PS... you can find a 1760 router on eBay for $400-$500.   I also saw a 2950G  (with 2 gig ports) Switch on eBay for under $1000.  For connecting 20-25 people..... that really isn't bad at all.

You might also look at a Sonic Wall, they work really well, give you plenty of features and are much less expensive than the cisco stuff. TZ170 should work great for your needs.
I setup a T1 line on a Win2k3 domain with a cheapy Linksys router a couple years ago.  Unfortunetly, it was so long ago I don't remember what hardware they had that translated the CSU/DSU connection to the standard Ethernet.
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