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Proper hardware and network infrastructure for a network of 8 pcs

I would like to know if there is a more efficient manner of contructing a small-business network (consisting of 8 pcs and expanding in the future) than simply using one router to handle all of the sharing and management. Right now all of the computer are on one linksys WRTG54 router, and there are occasional issues where the computers will stop seeing each other, and we are sharing one printer that occassionally other users will not be able to print to (even though it is shown to be shared). The printer is shared directly through our main pc (hooked up through usb and then shared through vista). I would prefer not having to purchase a printer server, but I am open to what you all think is necessary in fixing these problems. All pcs but the main one are also wirelessly connected, and as I previously stated, and on the same domain. I guess my real question is what do I have to do to make sure that all pcs can see each other on the network and be able to print consistenly. Thanks ahead of time
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Manzola
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Manzola
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4 Solutions
 
Jay_Jay70Commented:
they sound like a workgroup to me, not a domain.. I would be looking at a small business server setup.....would be pretty much perfect for your setup

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/default.mspx
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simsjrgCommented:
I agree with Jay Jay... SBS would be the way to go and the best bang for your buck. Scaleable to 75 users before you have to start migrating to the Server 2003 Standard, Exchange 2003 Standard. A great solution to build a business off of. I have over 30+ SBS clients at the moment and none have had a single problem since deployment.
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ManzolaAuthor Commented:
That's right I accidentaly typed domain, I meant workgroup. So you guys suggest that just running Small business server will solve these kinds of problems? Would that require setting up a dedicated machine to run sbs (exchange as well)? I imagine that the network management would then be done through active directory services and a domain server? Or using it to manage a workgroup?  Thanks
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simsjrgCommented:
>> So you guys suggest that just running Small business server will solve these kinds of problems?
Yes issues such as the ones you are discribing should stop

>> Would that require setting up a dedicated machine to run sbs (exchange as well)?
Yes a single dedicated server ( I recommend a Dell PowerEdge 1900 for your setup )

>> I imagine that the network management would then be done through active directory services and a domain server? Or using it to manage a workgroup?  Thanks
You would be running a true domain and it would be managed the same was as if you were running the standard or enterprise version of server 2003
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Fred MarshallCommented:
I wouldn't go to a server.  What would be the real purpose of doing so?  What about server setup and maintenance?  Do you have enough experience to do that?

You should be able to have a peer-to-peer network without problem.  That the one wired system is running Vista may make it a bit more tedious to get working but it sounds like you've already jumped that hurdle.

Since the other systems are wireless then might I assume that they come and go on and off the network?  Either physically or that they are sometimes turned off?  If that's the case then you don't want the network to have to reassign the Browse Master.

I would do this:

Make sure the Vista machine is running the Computer Browser service and it's set to start up Automatically.
Then, make the same service on all the other computers startup to be Disabled.  This forces the Vista machine to be the Browse Master all the time.
Then, just make sure that the Vista machine is kept running all the time.

The effect of doing this means that the list of computers is kept by the Vista machine consistently - the task doesn't jump around from one computer to another as they are turned off and on.  Changing which machine is the Browse Master takes time - more than we are usually patient enough to wait for.  So, this approach means the list is always available for doing the sorts of things you're needing.
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ManzolaAuthor Commented:
that's something closer to what I was looking to do, I would love to set up a server, but the cost of maintenance and initial purchase can be quite high for such small organization. It is justified in a larger network, but in this case it makes more sense to operate within the pre-existing framework.  is it safe to turn of the vista machine when all the others are turned off as well? For example when shutting down at the end of the night? Or must it stay on in order to actively store the information
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
the cost of initial outlay for a server Vs the cost of ongoing maintenance and support for a workgroup....Workgroups are a home technology, not a workplace technology....I will fight to the death with any client with more than 4-5 machines.....its server time.
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