Help setting up network

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ari, Dec 7, 2001.

  1. Ari

    Ari Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm working in a small-office environment and am looking at setting up a network. I'm a total novice at networking and need some help.

    I'm looking at getting 3-4 PCs and a couple of notebooks networked so that they can share an Internet connection (via cable modem) and a printer. Aside from NICs, what other hardware/software would I need? Would I need a networkable printer or will any printer do?? Any recommendations on specific equipment?

    We'll also be upgrading the desktops at the same time so I was wondering what processors you guys would recommend. It will only be used for word processing, spreadsheets and email so it doesn't need to be powerful.
     
  2. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  3. JasonD

    JasonD Agent

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    Sounds like you have most of the stuff you'll need. For components, I would suggest purchasing a hub so all 4 computers can see one another on your mini LAN. If you want each machine to share your internet connection (if you are using DSL or Cable) then I would suggest a router.

    I believe you can access your printer by having a dedicated PC as a "print server". This means that the printer is noticed on the network by one of the PCs who designates it as such. Just as long as each PC is set to use the network printer as the default, each PC should be able to print from it.
     
  4. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    I set up something similar at home pretty easily actually. Your router doesn't have to be that powerful at all (I just grabbed an old 486), and I'm using a program called gnatbox (www.gnatbox.com) that installs off a floppy. The sortware is pretty easy to set up, and allows all six of our computers to share the cable modem, as well as share files and printers between each other. Each machine will need to be assigned its own internal IP address, but if you want to get really fancy there are router programs that will let you set up your own DHCP server. Either way, that's how I got it working here-god luck!
     
  5. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Ari,
    My personal preference is to go with hardware solutions wherever possible, and to break components down into their smallest parts. That way, when something breaks, you're only out that service. So, here's what I suggest that you get:
    A Cable Modem/DSL Router. This will allow you to use NAT and DHCP on the LAN, as well as providing internet access to all of the machines. A good one can also do port forwarding, so that you can make server systems on the lan accessable from the outside world (if you want them to be)
    A Print Server, or a printer with a network adapter. Most mid to high end laser printers either have an ethernet port on them, or can accept a network card (not a normal PCI network card though, they're usually specific to the printer or the model line). For other printers, you can buy a print server that will allow you to connect that parallel port of the printer to the box, and then then box to the network. Assign an IP, and you're good to go. Some print servers can hvae up to three printers attached to them.
    Wireless. If the company has money to spare, you can add wireless into the mix. Its really cool, and people that use laptops will appreciate it when they're in meetings and such.
    Switches. To connect everything together, you'll need to plug it all into a switch. A switch is MUCH preferred over a hub, because with a switch, every connection has its own unique path to another connection. A hub sends all information across all ports, which can open up some big security holes. Go with 100mbit wherever possible. Tranfering big files across the LAN at 100mbit is nice [​IMG]
    I'm a fan of Netgear hardware. Its been rock solid for me for quite awhile now, and the companies support has been great. I can't say the same about Linksys. Netgear makes a great cable modem router (RT-314), a print server (PS113), many different switches, and a wireless access point (ME102).
    On the desktop side of things, go with name brand network cards. Intel, 3Com, etc... No-Name cards can be a mess to diagnose when the drivers don't work just right. For the new PCs, Pentium IIIs are probably fine for running Windows 2000 and Office 2000. Get at least 256mb of ram. Dell's support is excellent, so go with them if you can. Homemade PCs are only cost effective if someone is there to fuss with them.
     

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