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Setting Up a Network for a Charity

By m.campbell ·
Hi there,

My name is Marc and I work for a charity organisation in Glasgow. We received funding from the European Social Fund to create an IT Training Centre in a socially excluded area of Glasgow.

I am in the process of ordering the equipment for the centre. There shall be 23 PC's and I am looking to purchase a server with Small Business Server 2003. I was wondering what sort of router I should go with (if I need one?). Furthermore, shall it be easy to install or shall I be best hiring a consultant?

Hope someone can offer some advice.



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by BFilmFan In reply to Setting Up a Network for ...

Unless you are planning to route traffic to the Internet, you don't need a router, just an Ethernet hub or switch.

If you do need a router, I'd just price shop around or see if you can't get a manufacturer to donate one for the promise of a nice write up in your newsletter (read that to mean you are thankfull and will talk good about them to everyone.)

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by Benjamin.Arnold In reply to Setting Up a Network for ...

Another route you might want to try is E-bay. You can get a Cisco 2500 series router which would easily handle a 25-30 node network. Also it would allow your students a great platform to learn the basics of networking. I agree with BFilmFan though... you only need to route if your connecting to the Internet. If not you can buy 2 old Cisco 2900 series switches which you can find pretty cheap on E-bay as well. That way when your ready to route you can have your students build VLAN's on your network.

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by CG IT In reply to Setting Up a Network for ...

first question is what type of training? Are they going to be doing hands on learning of Office programs? or ?? Does the training center require internet access for whatever reason?

Is there any projected growth in the # of students? Are you going to be using Microsoft products or a mix? What type of security requirements are required?

As far as a router, as BFilm says, unless your going to have internet access, a router isn't necessary [and then if you buy SBS 2003 premium edition with ISA 2000 you really don't need a router in the mix as ISA is a proxy with NAT as well as a firewall.]

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by CG IT In reply to

note: Microsoft gives substantial price discounts to students and teachers and non profits. Apple also gives discounts. So before you go out and buy check with a microsoft partner in your area on licensing.

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by exNN In reply to Setting Up a Network for ...

As stated before if no Internet connection is needed no router is needed at all, just switch/hub.
If you need to connect to the Internet, the router will depend on the type of connection you will have (modem, DSL, ISDN, etc). If you have more datails on those things I can give a better/complete explanation. Good luck

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Setting Up a Network for ...

Well as the issue with the router has been covered extensively and there have been no further postings about it from your end I'll take it that that part of the question has been answered to your satisfaction.

Now for the real problem you are going to have 23 boxes connected to a 2003 SBE server well out of the box the SBE edition of 2003 only supports 5 concurrent connections so depending on what you are planing to do you will most likely need to contact a MS Certified Partner to arrange the proper licenses and with that many additional licenses I would be seriously looking at the Enterprise Server edition rather than the Small Business Edition. For Charity applications there are massive discounts from MS as well so you should be buying bare hardware and all the MS products straight from a MS Partner or buy all of the hardware from the same source as the MS products.

Now provided there are no outside connections all you will need is a hub/switch to feed the workstations from the server and this should have at least one built in LAN connection so that can be connected to the Hub/Switch and then all of the computers added to the Domain.

As far as installing the network it should be a simple matter provided you are loading each and every computer your self and are happy to do this. If not hire a consultant or ask if one is willing to perform the work for a reduced fee or for Gratis being that you are setting up for a Charity. If you buy pre-installed software on computers the networking will not be correct and you will have to perform some surgery to get them to join the Domain. The server should be loaded on site and setup as required or again you will have to start digging into the Windows System to create the Domain. It is easier to do this from the start rather then changing things as you go along.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

It all depends on your level of experience as to how you proceed if you are happy to load units then do it yourself but if you are not in that position and have never done it previously get in someone how already knows how.

Most consultants will perform work for Charity for free provided that they are given a clean sheet to work with and it doesn't involve masses of work to setup.

The only possible reason to have a Router is if you are considering a Wireless network which no one else covered here and that should be setup by a professional as there are numerous security issues involved which generally make it a more expensive installation over a hard wired network. These networks are available over about a 550 yard range so you need to be careful particularly if you have an Internet access point as someone not connected with the work could run up your Internet Fees drastically way beyond projected budgets. Then there are Security issues like some outsider accessing Kiddy Porn which would leave you vulnerable to Police actions and this generally involves the confiscation of all the hardware and even if there is nothing found you are still responsible for the downloaded content.

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