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Setting Up Network

Posted on 2010-01-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Im setting up a computer network and would like some advice on a few issues.

The network will include seven or more computers and is in a building where some of the walls are cinderblock. Were performing some reconstruction in the building so we can run wires to most of the rooms. I believe that the use of the network will be, mostly, internet access and some pc-to-pc file sharing. I dont think that there will be a huge demand for file sharing so Im not planning to set up a server/domain system, unless its strongly recommended.

Im trying to figure out the best configuration for networking the computers and would appreciate suggestions for the best configuration of cable modem, routers, hubs, and switches.

These are some of the things Im trying to figure out:
1.      Would we get better performance with a ~10 port router or a switch or hub and a 4 port router
2.      Will we get better performance and security by using copper connections instead of wireless (some wireless devices dont seem to work well in the building)
3.      Any recommendations on cable, connectors, crimping tools and RJ45 wall receptacles
Question by:Concentus
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

gmbaxter earned 2000 total points
ID: 26192548
Hi, i hope this information is of some use to you:

You will need:

Cat 6 Cable reel
2 x patch leads for each network outlet (one for patch panel end and one for device end)
RJ-45 connectors
Wall Boxes
Face Plates
Krone punch down tool
Cable cutters
Cable tester
RJ-45 crimper
Small Comms cabinet
Patch panel
PVC Trunking

http://cpc.farnell.com/ will probably sell most if not all of these. (except trunking)

firstly you say the network will be for 7 computers. Make sure you anticipate expansion and connections for access points and printers etc. e.g. wire for 12-15+ if you can.

You should use cat6 cable, and quality faceplates. Cabling should be put inside trunking (not shared with power cables).

The ideal network configuration will be a star topology network.

Decide a central location (near the DSL/Cable input to the building) with adequate power and room for a server if you decide you require one later.

Place patch panel in the comms cabinet. Run lengths of cat6 from the patch panel to the sockets around the room/building. Runs should not exceed 90m. Terminate each cable at either end with the punch down tool, and test with the cable tester.

Once the cables are all in place:

Use your router and connect it to a gigabit ethernet switch. (a router with 10+ ports is not required)
Use patch leads to connect from the patch panel into the switch. Computers will then have a gigabit connection between each other.

For wireless coverage if neccessary set up wireless APs with same SSIDs and passwords and locate around the building to allow roaming. Rely on the wired infrastructure though.

You'll probably want to set dhcp and dns up on the router.

A server/domain would be a good idea but as you say not neccessary due to the number of users. A simple NAS with ethernet connectivity would allow users to backup their files.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 26192638
When you consider how many ports to get on your switch leave at least some room for  future expansion. People always forget that they need a printer too, etc.

Expert Comment

ID: 26194066
I would look at flooding the rooms!
If there is a room which has one desk look if there would eer be a need to put in two or three, saves time at the begining!

If there is a small budget use cat5e and spend money on a better switch, I like to use a netgear smart swich for a small network of say 5 - 15 users.

I alway use copper over wifi if I can
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Expert Comment

ID: 26194067
I would look at flooding the rooms!
If there is a room which has one desk look if there would eer be a need to put in two or three, saves time at the begining!

If there is a small budget use cat5e and spend money on a better switch, I like to use a netgear smart swich for a small network of say 5 - 15 users.

I alway use copper over wifi if I can

Author Comment

ID: 26214130
Thank you for the responses.

Does anyone have any recommendations for specific router and switch manufacturers or models?

And I'm trying to figure out if I should get a N/N+ type of router and a mbps rating greater than 100. The ISP is Cox which is fairly fast - mostly fiber optic, as I understand it.

Also, gmbaxter, you point out that the cat6 cables should not be placed in trunking with power cables. The way the new construction is being done, they have put up a tray running overhead. I'm not sure if they plan to run any power through it, but I'm a little concerned. The trays are about 12 inches/cm wide and 6 inches/cm high and run along the ceiling. Do you think this might be a problem? I'll check to find out what else they are planning to run through this but I'm pretty sure that they are planning to run music and sound cables through it to. They would be shielded, I'd expect. Do you know if there is some type of sheathing I should run the network cables through?

Thanks, again, for your answers. This is a big help.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 26214527
Router and switch options are really dictated by your budget. For your amount of users i think that a cisco solution would be overkill. I have setup, and worked with many routers made by Draytek. Here is the 2950 which has 2 wan interfaces for failover / load balancing:


Here is the model below about £100 cheaper. You will probably want to check details between models - manufacturer is at www.draytek.co.uk


As your router will be in a central location, you may be best suited putting access points in, rather than relying on the router to deliver wireless. This will of course depend on the size of the area which requires wireless coverage. If you dicde to put access points in, then the best option (in my opinion, for a small network) would be linksys/ low end cisco APs:


Hope that answers some of your questions

As for a switch, a managed HP would be reccommended, here is a 24 port gigabit managed switch:


I imagine that cable trays have been laid for the data cabling. As far as I know, there should be no problem running sound and cat 6 in the same trays - in fact the sound cabling may even be cat5/6 itself. Running the cables in trays and trunking requires no sheathing.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 26330832
anything else you need a hand with on this?

Author Comment

ID: 26332210
Thanks for all the help with this. I used your list, gmbaxter, to help me pull together what I need - Many Thanks!!
Here is what it looks like I'm going to be using:
Patch panel: Tripp Lite N250-012; 12-Port Cat6 Wall-Mount Vertical 110
Router: Linksys WRT610N
Switch: Linksys Wired Gigabit 8-Port Workgroup Switch EG008W  (2 of them)
Cable Modem: Linksys CM100
Wallplates and jacks:
And Cat6 Cable


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31673588
Thank you, gmbaxter, for your responses. You provided a very helpful list for me to get started with and helpful answers for my follow up questions.

Expert Comment

ID: 26352629
How many users?
Why go for 2 x desktop switch?
This is adding more power to the ocassion,
if your using cat6 why don't you use a good 24 port swich.
Just a little confused with your choose.

You really do need to keep to installation standards to get the most from your network.
When we have done a test on many networks even a visual shocks me sometimes.


Author Comment

ID: 26354367

Thank you for looking at this. I find it a little odd to use two switches, also.

My reasoning, though, is that, not having as much experience, I'm trying to stay on what seems to me "the safe side." The Linksys router appeared to be a good router for the job and I have had reasonably good experience with Linksys and Cisco. I thought it might be a good idea to stay with the same manufacturer, also. As best I can determine, all the other components can work at 1000 mbps. On the Linksys site, this is the only switch that operates at that speed (for more than five users). I'm surprised they don't sell a 16 port Gigabit switch.

There will be a minimum of 7 users and, at least, one printer. I figured that using two of these switches would cover current needs and give us enough expandability.

I'm curious about your thoughts on this and appreciate any more insight you may have on it.

Expert Comment

ID: 26354665
I setup probably about 2 - 4 offices a month in the UK.
Fir an office your siZe we would have 1 considuration and that's cost.

Cat5e or Cat6 if your flush by all means use cat6 but mak sure u use standards other wizened it's a waste of money.

Terminated on a nice patch panel we use the ones with the long back which are great for managment.

I have a few pictures on my mac I can post with it done nice.

I love everything looking good, I use netgear smart switch so good and plug and play most of the time (u can configure if need to)

2 ports per desk, I never ever take a short cut and I trunk everything if I can.   Electricians will often do everything correct what you can see and jut blow it all what you can't.

I use excel but there all te same and I use flush ports due to it looking better.

I'm just about to finish a small call center timorrow 90 ports and they already want another 6 ports for printers, I asked them this but they said no!

I will get some more pictures.

Author Comment

ID: 26383280

I appreciate the info and would like to see your pictures.

I have have some more questions on this so I'm going to "ask a related question."

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