Basic Networking Question

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Hungry4Knowledg, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. I'm pretty good with computers, but I'm a total networking newbie. Are there any books or websites that will take you step by step to setting a secure network for a small office. From the book or website, I would need to know:

    1. What type of network, cabling, hardware, software, etc... I would need. And what the difference between related things are (for example, what's the difference between a router and a hub and which would I need).

    2. How to setup a file server for storing and sharing files on the network (the computers will use software installed on each computer, but the work done on each computer will be saved on the file server and made available to everyone on the network).

    3. How to connect up to 20 computers to that file server (and to each other), including what IP, Gateway, Subnet masks, etc are and what numbers to use for each.

    4. How to connect the network to the Internet for basic e-mail & surfing in the safest way possible.
  2. From my limited knowledge of networking, I'm guessing I would use a 10baseT Ethernet network connected with Cat 5 cabling. Each computer would need a 10baseT NIC installed to connect to the Cat 5 cable. The Cat 5 cable would run from each computer to a 20-port hub or router (not sure of the difference) sitting next to the file server. A single Cat 5 cable would run from the router or hub to the NIC on the back of the file server. Between the file server and the Internet would sit some kind of firewall. The file server would need something like Windows Server 2003 and each computer would need Win2000 or WinXP. That's about the extent of my networking knowledge. I have no idea what subnet masks, gateways, dns, etc. are or how to use/assign them to each computer. I also don't have any idea what type of equipment to use for the network (I've heard CISCO is good, but very expensive).
  3. Banjo


  4. Banjo,

    Thanks for the site. It answers some of my questions. It even goes into detail into what a hub, router, bridge and switch do, but like a lot of my questions, it doesn't let you know exactly which one you should choose for a specific type of network. I'll continue to look around the site.

    EDIT: it does seem to recommend a router since a hub would pass everything around your LAN and even onto the Internet. Still not sure though...
  5. VTTrader


    1: Here's how I'd do it. Get a basic switch (accomodates traffic at high levels better than a hub) and use this to connect your PCs together. Use CAT5 'straight through' cables to connect to the switch.

    Set up your firewall-a router which you can purpose-buy for this (see Linksys firewall routers, for example). This can be configured by connecting it via a CAT 5 to a PC, then following the instructions. From there, you will disconnect the firewall from the PC after noting down its local (LAN) IP address, and reconnect it to your switch, just as if it were itself a PC. Then connect it to your external cable (leading to the outside world. Thus, it sits between the outside and the switch/PCs. As you set up your PCs, give each of them a meaningful name (right click 'Network Neigborhood and you'll quickly see where you name them).

    2. File server. Any Windows NT/2000/XP PC can be set up to share files. You can do this easily, and if you let me know when you want to do so I'll walk you through it.

    3. Feel free to assign the PCs IPs as follows:

    10.0.0.x where x is a unique number. Start at 2 and work up (leave '1' reserved--you may want to use it as your router's 'local address). Subnet mask is DON'T assign a gateway address except for those PCs you want to access the Internet. In that case, assign it as (router local IP).

    4. Safety: get that Linksys firewall. Make sure it does 'stateful packet inspection'--it looks at each inbound data packet and checks to ensure the data strings are innocent. Also, get ZoneAlarm Pro and put it on any and all PCs that might access the Internet. Do yourself a favor and get Norton AV 2003 Pro (comes with two licenses) and get additional licenses so that EVERY PC has antivirus protection. You can set up one of your PCs to function as an AV update server, but more on that when you are ready...

    Last, get 'PestPatrol'. This puppy squashes spyware and other bits of nastiness that AV may miss--invaluable if you are entering ANY sort of sensitive data on a PC.

    Please feel free to message me here with any questions--this should give you a start....

  6. msfe