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i am looking to set up a small office network linking 6 computers together for internal e-mail, and office file share use, What is the best / most economical way of achieving this?
i am not desperate to have wireless networking as installing cabling shouldnt be too difficult the computers are all on the same floor and a maximum of about 25 metres apart but if wireless is cheap then why not.
i am new to networks do i need a hub, router, server, etc or can i just link the pc's together and have a peer to peer network.
the pc's will be new but modest spec, but will no doubt have usb connections i am having them custom built so can accomodate what may be needed.
also as far as ms office and operating system are concerned do i need separate software for each machine or is it cheaper/available to have a user licence to cover all of them?
i was thinking of using xp pro as the os, any comments?
For your requirements a small peer to peer nerwork would suffice, but for internal email you would best do with a server.
You should have an nic card in each pc, and a hub.
Each pc connects to the hub with cat5 cables, if your on the same floor cable length shouldnt be a problem as long as each cable is less than 100 metres. You would best have a server connected to the net and with message queing and delvery installed so your users could log onto their computers and get their email without logging onto the net, this server should also have a pretty good firewall runnign on it.
As the server will be the gateway pc for the clients (the one connected to the net) it should have a static IP address, so the clients can connect if you wish them to. Enable DHCP on the server so that your clients can get their IP address from it and you shuld have no trouble configuring them. The added benefit of using a server instead of a peer to peer is that all your important files can be stored and backed up from the server itself, weekly or even daily back ups can be done onto tape and you will never lose the important stuff.
Security would be a big problem on a server network, so having active directory working with user accounts for the clients would be best.
If you want more help you can email me.
Good luck steve
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