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Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Trapper_Dave
Grafter
Posts: 131
Registered: 17-06-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Good morning,

I'm looking at possibly totally redesigning my network for when I move house as my needs will have totally changed by then.

I'm looking at having a network with either two or three laptops (all wireless) connected to i. In addition there's a desktop PC with an ethernet connection and Xbox 360 which can connect using either WiFi or ethernet which is pretty much what I have at the moment with the Xbox 360 and desktop machine attached to the Belkin router I have via ethernet.

But what I want to do is also add a few external HDDs which can be accessed by the network, so that music and work files will be on these HDDs freeing up resources on the machines. So that applications could access the files and stream from the HDDs, in addition I would like uses to be able to add files to them, but also have shared access for example so two uses could use a Access database on one of the HDDs.

As I'm at university as well I've got access to student licensed versions of Exchange and Windows Server, with a bleak view of adding these to the network as well does anyone know where I should start; I'm guessing that I might need to purchase another machine as a server and also as a gateway to the HDDs? In addition, I'd probably be looking at a new router that would be able to support the network. I appreciate that this project could possibly have a considerable price tag to it, but I do feel as though the benefits would soon offset the cost.
13 REPLIES
jrgrahamcov
Grafter
Posts: 160
Registered: 01-08-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Hi,

I have read your post and have a few things to think of which may help you work out what you need. The key thing is make your infrastructure flexible if it is to be used a a "live" test lab.

(1) Buy a gigabit switch. This will speed up any access to your servers and give you more bandwidth to play with.

(2) Wireless access. At home I have a Netgear D834GT ADSL router. This has 4 100Mb ethernet ports and also wireless. Any device plugged into any of the four ports or via a switch plugged into any of the four ports can also be accessed via the wireless connection on the router. e.g. Our Colour laser printer's network cable plugs into the D834GT and we can print to it via a wireless laptop that is also set up to connect via wireless to our D834GT.

(3) Often a cheap PC with enough RAM and sizeable Harddrive is cheaper and more flexible than an external disk that you can attach to the network. It is also easier to secure under Windows 2003 server etc and you can set up your own domain. "POPULAR AUCTION WEBSITE" has plenty of cheap PC's that will easily run a web server, exchange server etc. I bought a couple for less than £100 the pair and upped their RAM to 1.5GB. Both run fine as servers.

Unless you need very, very fast disk access or RAID 5 / RAID 1 disk arrays this is the best way to go.


Just make sure what you buy is flexible and be carefull of spending alot of money on things that will only do one job.

Hope that helps.
N/A

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

All you need is an old pc and FREENAS from http://www.freenas.org/index.php

put all your drives into the pc install Freenas plug it into the network and everyone can get to the drives and you can set permissions if you so need.

Thats all thats needed a cheap cp off a local car boot cost £20 once its installed it doesnt even need a monitor as it has a built in webserver to admin it.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Quote
"POPULAR AUCTION WEBSITE"

There are no rules that stop you saying www.ebay.co.uk

I see a brand new Dell sell on ebay for £140 at the weekend from the Dell outlet shop.

You need to watch old PC's as some BIOS's will not support large hard drives.

Chilly
jrgrahamcov
Grafter
Posts: 160
Registered: 01-08-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Thanks !!!!!

I thought I would play it safe as some sites aren't keen on comercial recomendations and advice.

Cheesy
Trapper_Dave
Grafter
Posts: 131
Registered: 17-06-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

What sort of spec machine am I looking for to run Windows 2003 server and Exchange 2007?
jrgrahamcov
Grafter
Posts: 160
Registered: 01-08-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Exchange 2007 is 64bit only. You will need a 64bit PC and windows 2003 64bit. I would try the previous version of exchange and normal (32bit) Windows 2003 server.

The minimum / recommended specs on Microsofts website. The server will run on quite a low spec PC the main thing is put 1GB of RAM or more in it. It depends on how fast you want it to run, how many users and how often they are using it for what purpose. e.g alot of users with a high demand for large file sizes needs a more powerful PC than only a few users occasionally using smaller files.

Hope that helps.
N/A

NAS box?

I have a QNap TS-101 NAS box. NAS is Network Adaptive Server. I bought it from Scan as that seems to be the only place that sells the box with no drive in it. I also bought and fitted a 500GB SATA drive. The unit takes SATA drives. I am very pleased with it. One advantage, so I think (others don't) is I can access it (fixed IP address) from anywhere on the Internet so I am never without my files. http://www.qnap.com is the page to look at. I have had mine some time now and still find things that it will do.
Trapper_Dave
Grafter
Posts: 131
Registered: 17-06-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

How much did it set you back?
N/A

How much did it cost?

That is interesting as I mentioned where I bought it from and Scan computers is easy to find. Going to the QNap web site I note there is a new model, the TS-109 - no I don't know how much it is but I could find out. At the time I bought my TS-101 from Scan plus a Maxtor high reliability 500Gb drive - bought from Scan at the same time - it cost me about £330 give or take a few quid; I don't really remember the exact amount. It was certainly cheaper than buying one with a drive fitted, (what make of drive is fitted?) a process which only takes a few minutes. I know what drive is in mine. As I said I am pleased with it and can get at the SAME files from two computers and a laptop via my Robotics 9106 Gateway box. All my work is on it plus PDFs, MP3s, JPGs, downloads, ISO Images, etc, etc. I would not be without it. I have also found QNap willing to talk via email. Read the spec; I have not found anything else like it but have not looked too hard. If you have a fixed IP you can access it from anywhere. The new Plus (BT) products do not include a fixed IP addres. What about it Plus?
Trapper_Dave
Grafter
Posts: 131
Registered: 17-06-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

So just to clarify your setup allows you to place files on the networked drive to be accessed by any device on the network? In addition can you remotely access the files on your network? And do you know if you can use both OS X and Windows PCs on the shared drive to access files? What's the interface like on the TS101 and what's the Torrenting and network interface like?
N/A

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

The freenas will let you set permissions on files save all file and read all files from the network and you can access it from the internet if you port forward.

Any nas box should do the same.

I dont see why you were asking about win2003 and exhange unless you have a sack of money exchange is $700 on its own and you can get free or nearly free mail servers
Trapper_Dave
Grafter
Posts: 131
Registered: 17-06-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

I've already got the software through the Microsoft Developers Network Academic Alliance. My main call for using Exchange was for the PDAs I have in use.

The TS-101/109 seems the most promising option so far.
Trapper_Dave
Grafter
Posts: 131
Registered: 17-06-2007

Network overhall; no idea where to start.

Would http://www.sftpdrive.com/ work with it to map it as a hard drive?