Restructuring Network in Office! (This is big)

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AMD user for 9 yrs!!
hey guys

this is big .. real big. well atleast for me. so contribute you big guyz.
my old friends here.. drgrudge, kalpik, freshseasons, quake_abhi, shwetanshu, Vishal Gupta, maverickrohan, Dipen, hailgautam, geek, saurav_cheeta, others (sorry for forgetting more names)

I want to make a new networking model in office. Suggest me
>What setup I shall make
and then
> Then we can discuss hardware
and then
> I can decide on budget ( not a big issue but not unlimited)
and then
>we can finalize the things at meetings.

So.. here it is.. current setup is too bad to be called a networking. there are 5 PCs and 3 Laptops at a time in office. PC-1 (lenovo desktop 2 years old on WinXP), PC-2 and PC-3 (Windows Me on PIII, 256mb ram), PC-4 (Win XP on AMD athlon64, 512MB ram), Laptops one Sony Vaio (3yr) and other is Dell XPS(new), One more Laptop with Dell 1510 (6months old). There were badly networked by an old guy 2 years back. beleive it or not. he put the wifi switch on than networked them using that. and what was heartening that it had no-password :shock:yes thats true.. and no central sever to record data in one place data was scattered in all the places. 3 laser-jets and 3 ink-jets in one office. WTF so it was all goner .. the network must go, just that I have recenly got a new MTNL wifi-modem-cum-router with 4 RJ 45s.

So.. now I have the opportunity to make a new setup here.. I want to suggest a new setup to my bosses, they are willing to spend on new computers provided that there is a need. so budget is not an issue as such but its not unlimited bcoz it is not a big firm guyz.

New setup I think is can be.. (with future proof).
1 Central Server, 6 Nodes ( i mean PCs), 4 Laptops with support to add more in future both laptop and desktops. Laptop probably be needed to be added through wi-fi. With one node as back-up server for emergency. I want to install Windows Server on it, then incant they go for the new official website then we can have a mail server as well.

Buying 1 server, and required systems for networking n everything. and 1 pc only if required. not otherwise

Budget: 1 Lac .. (preliminary suggestion its not fixed as yet)

Computer Users: 15-20 people with 5 as permanent users, 5 bosses (including me ;)), and 10 trainees (but use the system often but PC is not fixed.

Note that I need a setup than can be shifted to a new premises if the boss buy a new office in other location with bigger area and working people.

Prerequisites: All the people are Linux illiterate, so cant teach them. They need windows and windows only. When they use nodes./ they want Windows.
I would love AMD processor that's obvious isn't it :D).

Now how do I start with this. discuss..

I will appreciate the guys who are network admins :p enlighten us.
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Gracias Senor
Welcome..u r in the same kind of situation as I was in before 6 months..I asked help here, but unfortunately not fruitful, so managed myself and now I have a complete setup made.
20 PC's all old, 1 IBM Server, 1 Laserjet+1 MFC, 5 laptops. Airtel broadband with 1 Public IP, Hardware firewall box. This is my complete setup. Phase II on its way, within 2 months or so.
Happy networking.


savage Computing...
I will try to summarize and suggest !!

1. A server
a. Will host the company website
b. Will host the mail server
c. Will act as a proxy to the other nodes while they access the outside internet (it would be useful if you want to check who accesses what.)

2. A lesser powerful server or a good desktop PC which will have replicated data of the main server in case the original server crashes (I am assuming that only data needs to be protected) - This server / PC will directly connected (not through switch or router) to the main server so that data is replicated real time.

3. An internet braodband connection directly to the main server. The main server would be responsible for providing internet to other nodes.

4. A multi port router/ switch which will have as many ports as possible so that future upgradibility can be taken care of.

5. Wireless access points which would be connected to the router/switch for the laptops.

Considerations :
1. I prefer to keep the wired setup and the wireless setup seperate considering that there are many users. A combo 2 in 1 setup would give degraded performance.

No other thoughts right now on my mind about the initial design. Lets see what others have to say and then you can decide.
Will add something as and when something comes in my mind.


Point Blanc
I go with what dreams has given. truly u need firewalling setup to be done properly if setting up an office network.
I am not getting 1Lac is for what, are u buying new systems with setting the network.

a wireless network is clean and good without any issues. but you need to get a very good router which can take more load and data transfer rates.

15-20 nodes means an area of 30-40 or lesser is what is the office space maybe.

Setting a wireless router is quiet an easy job, portability comes hand in hand with such kind of setup, unlike laying wires. If you have access to the router you can get it done directly.

So here is my setup.

internet broadband modem connected through RJ45 to one system (this acts as gateway or proxy, and should have 2-3 ethernet cards, for proper setting up)(also you can use a hardware firewall box in between the broadband modem and the gateway.)
this system connected to wireless router.

each node having simple wi-fi cards.
maybe running a dns server on the gateway will help. and manual static IP assignment on the network. Little more thinking is needed, I will check.

I actually do not have much experience in setting a network. and had worked by running a DHCP server and connecting it to a switch and other systems also to the switch, it had worked fine. all IPs had got assigned through it.

u may need windows 2K3 or a linux machine. if u get a dhcp server running fine and propery, there wont be any issues.
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BSD init pwns System V
Well. i'm new to this network in office thingy.. just graduated.. so it will help me.. here are some suggestions.. please correct me wherever i'm wrong..

Proxy server :- If you know Linux then nothing, i mean nothing can beat the power of Squid. its awesome..

For the centralised server, you definitely need a powerful configuration. Either you can go for the branded server or you can build one.. my suggestions :-

Processor :- High Speed Quad Core.. AMD or Intel (AMD Phenom 940 BE will rock)
Motherboard :- anyone as long as you don't need overclocking
RAM :- Loads of RAM > 4GB
HDD :- 500 GB *2 in RAID 1 you really need protection for this setup.

a 64-bit Linux distro so that it can address vast amount of memory available...

Connectivity :- You really need a static IP address for the server and website..
Connect the wi-fi router (probably draft N ) to the server so that it can broadcast the signal.

The high-speed server can act as mail server, proxy server, firewall etc if you can configure virtual machines on it.. i suggest you settle for Xen or KVM as in this case Linux kernel becomes Hyperviser..

Use DHCP for the nodes (desktops). Its easy, you just need to edit that dhcp.conf file in Linux and put the desired IP range.

For safe wi-fi networking (as you said that there will be around 5-6 laptops); go for a MAC address based setup.. just add the devices' MAC address in the configuration page of the wi-fi router. Doing this will allow only these laptops to access the network and nothing else. Even an experienced Linux wi-fi hacker can't break this as no encryption is done and networking is MAC based.

Now you'll need a switch to connect the desktops in your office. Suggestions for desktops :-

Processor :- AMD Sempron LE 1250 (it rocks for office work)
RAM :- 1 GB Dirt Cheap
HDD :- 160 GB more than enough
Monitor :- 15" AOC widescreen (good for Excel etc)

When you want to add new laptops to your network, just add its MAC address and your'e good to go..

Note :- You may wanna increase the size of /var partition as Squid will act as both proxy server and will cache data on the box..

Also go for this kind of partition scheme :-
/boot = 500 MB (ext3)
/ = around 30-40 GB (XFS) if you need speed....
swap = twice the size or RAM
and dedicate the rest according to your needs

For RAID, go for hardware RAID.. most motherboards support it.. make sure you add server grade HDDs to your setup with atlease 16 MB buffer.. Wester Digital will surely rock your office...

Will post more updates acc. to your needs.. Please reply...


Point Blanc
well if u got DHCP done you wont need setting IPs for any, it will assign to the network on its own, wi-fi(though wi-fi router will assign IP on its own too) or ethernet. Setting password for the wireless network, can help you connect with authentication, no need of static IPs in the local network. But as a whole you will 2-3 ethernet cards to be put on the server, and hellknight has suggested correct setup.

I do not think there will be such high profile people coming to trouble you biggies of linux hacking.


AMD user for 9 yrs!!
sorry guys tied up with the deadlines.

1st .. the cost is for . i think i better buy a new server, one pc for backup server, and other required hardware.

2nd, I dont think i can put linux in there, bcoz 1st the users are illierate to linux. they hardly use the windows xp. (i cant change that :( ) and 2nd, the softwares that i have install .. they can be installed only on windows/tally erp 9 and tds software/..

3rdly, for the server which processor i shall buy? or shall i a ibm server or something haan?

4thly, i think i should use wired setup.. bcoz earlier wi-fi failed at times. for laptops.. wi-fi is the only option .. or the possibility of extra wired rj45 ports.


AMD user for 9 yrs!!
see the reality is I am not in office permanently, so incase the setup need help.. noone can do it. so it better be on windows. and importantly, i am not linux user myself, i can do anything with windows but not in linux.

now, what about the other things...

what do I need to buy?

I am thinking about a STAR topology, with a central server, and other as nodes.
all printers in one place at the server room.
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Point Blanc
well getting your LAN up will never be a problem, even a normal router or switch will help out.
You need to first setup a proxy or firewall to connect to internet.
a wireless setup is a STAR topology only. If ethernet it will be STAR only for internet, otherwise your PCs will be able to communicate on their own too.

And I cannot suggest much on windows 2K3(working and setting up these things on linux has always seemed to be easy for me, do not have experience of MS SWs for running proxy and all), go exactly with kind of setup dream has said in case you want a windows central server.


May be a litttle offtopic, but Rollcage, Linux is not as tough as you might think it is.

You are in a position that I was in - an year ago. And then I just tried Linux (Ubuntu). With every step by step instruction that you can find through google and more, I could setup a robust network of about 40-50 computers (incl wired and wireless) in just about two weeks. And.. whatever you want it to do.. Linux does it - Beautifully and for Free. and once you set it up, absolutely no need to even touch it for YEARS!!. No viruses/trojans nothing. That squid thing that hellknight said, is truly amazing. The kind of control it gives you on internet usage.. no words.
My setup ran internal website, squid proxy server, our own DNS server, MySql Server, Mail Server, PHP5, Media Servers, DHCP Server and the king of all - a Clonezilla Server.. The power of simulatenously reformatting reinstalling multiple computers over the network - in under 15 minutes flat!!!

Even if you do not stay at office mostly, you can still control the server over the internet, from across the globe - easily and securely!!

Invest just a little time in linux, you would find it amazing.

Only thing that you need with linux is, have a broadband connection - preferably unlimited - nothing is impossible.!!


In Pursuit of "Happyness"
Hmm.. I think people have already given all the suggestions you would need! Go for a star topology, the rest is all mentioned above!


AMD user for 9 yrs!!
I dont have much knowledge in intel configs, but I tried it and bought a server last week.

I bought a Quadcore, MSI Board, 9400gt 1gb, 4GB kingston (2*2), Coolar Master Cabinet, CM silent front fan, SMPS CM 450watts, what else.. dvd rw, hdd 500GB Sata2 (WD), netgear wifi pci card,... costed around 30grand

I havent put it in working till now, bcoz there is an issue.. we have some offcial propritery sofwares// that needs XP only.. i havent gone into details ..still deciding which software to be bought for next year workings.

i did install Win7 x64 on it.. wow latest build is even better on this quadcore. excellent driver support.

but then tried Original XP 32bit multi license that we have.. it was ok sort.. was infact slower to me. lack of driver support what do i do.
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AMD user for 9 yrs!!
Guys.. whats bothering me is whether to buy Server 2003 R2 or not? will that support properly. and I think 2008 is not recommended for that softwares/ so i have to see that it works or not.


Gracias Senor
Let me poke my nose into again.
I blindly purchased a IBM x3400 with 4GB RAM and RAID 1 with 2 160GB HDD. Nothing addl. First I installed Cent OS 5, but had an issue when installin Oracle 10g over scrapped it and installed Win2K3 server with SP2. With the help of Google was able to setup domain concept. What I dreamt of, complete restrictions.
Internet restrictions was done using my Hardware firewall which costed me a lac. This Firewall uses Squid and I am happy about it.
Going in for the next round, revamping my chennai office. Hopefully will follow the same setup, but with more restrictions and enhancements.
Try my process, if need more help, PM me.
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