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Small Business Network

By briant28 ·
The company where I work at is opening another branch and I will be in charge of setting up servers and computers. I'm more of a help desk support guy so my knowledge when it comes to networking is limited :) The vendor who's going to provide the internet and IP Connection is CBeyond, anyone here used them before? Here's what they want for the new office:

***1 server - staff should have access to this server by mapping the shared folders from their computers.
***5 pc's - visitors or other members of the staff will be using these pc's
***1-2 monochrome laser printers - with IP address
***2 fax machines
***1-2 colored laser printer - with IP address and logs to charge staff per page of their print outs.
***wireless router plus bridge - prefers with guest access
***switches/routers

So, what do you guys recommend for equipments for a small business? for switches? routers? server?

Do I need printer server or is there a software I can install on the server for me to track users who prints to the color printer?

Is Cisco Valet a good wireless router with guest access?

What software do you recommend for backups? Online or hard drive backup?

Thanks in advance!

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Who is 'they'?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Small Business Network

"Here's what they want for the new office:"

Who is 'they', CBeyond or the workers who will be occupying the new office? What will these workers be doing? Are you going with Windows, Linux, or something else on the servers?

You've listed almost as many printers as computers; it sure sounds like a lot. Most color lasers have separate cartridges for each color toner, but be sure you get one that does. Instead of separate b/w printers and faxes, consider a multifunction device that does both (and copies and scans). If the volumes are really high, consider a leased MFD; many of those have built-in accounting features to track users. I don't see a need for more than one color printer and one MFD, but I don't know what these folks are doing. The same server that is providing your shared folders should be capable of acting as a print server for four printers, and there are plenty of usage tracking apps if you don't like the rudimentary ones in the OS.

Backups, again, depend on what these people are doing and how long they'll need to keep backed-up data. I wouldn't store any confidential information in 'the cloud', especially any that might be covered by legal restrictions. Outside that, we'll need more info.

I'll leave the rest to those better qualified.

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Re: Who is 'they'?

by briant28 In reply to Who is 'they'?

"They" refers to the "Owners". We are going with Windows on the server. Would you recommend any of the Dell PowerEdge Tower Servers? http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/poweredge-tower-servers

It's a small business. All they want for the server is to access folders for "managers" and "staff". Server will be used for storage of files shared in the office. Email and website are hosted by another company.

Printers will be used to print thousands of flyers and mailings that's why more than a couple of printer is needed. I know some of them will be idle but they want to make sure that if prints are needed, it will be available right away instead of waiting for the first run job to finish. Any printer tracking apps that's cost effective that you recommend?

For now, I will probably use an external backup as most of them are word, excel, and pdf documents so it won't use that much of a storage.

Thanks for the tips and your time!

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Just my few cents...

by Jasonjb1222 In reply to Small Business Network

If you want to be cost effective and since the server will be mainly used for "shares", you don't need "that much" power. So shop around for a good price for buck server. You won't need the latest greatest dual quad and 32 gigs of RAM (from what you are saying).
What you should consider for your server, in my opinion, is scalability. You probably want to go with a Tower, more than a blade. The reaon I say this, is because you will have more "room" in your tower for example, for additional storage.
Maybe get them to invest in a "non-expensive" Raid controller card.
Personally, for a server for this tupe of outfit, I would build sosmething along the lines of:
- 2 1 or 1.5 TB Hard drives (Mirrored for fault tolerance).
- Raid controller card (on-board is usually not so great).
- 3 or preferably 5 cheap ($ wise) HDDs. Maybe 750 GB or 1TB (you can go even smaller, 250GB since your needs are small). This would be, again for fault tolerance and inexpensive backups in a centralized location. Also, with a raid store, less likely for someone to walk away with the External Drive.
- Server 2003 and Server 2008 both offer good print server alternatives. Just ensure you are using compatible drivers for your clients. All drivers for x32 and x64 clients of almost all OS's should be easily and readily available.
- PAPERCUT software is a free print monitoring software, with quotas etc. for 5 users and should do exactly what you need.
- I would also go with a NIC in the tower that has teaming capabilities. 2, 1 GB interfaces for twice the output and redundancy. Might save you a phone call or two one day.
* * * * *
For printers, again, shop around. Sounds like you need quality and speed.
- Some printers offer both, but replacement cartridges can be steep, especially for color. Look at PPS (pages per second) and dual sided? if necessary. More importantly, total cost of ownership, I.E. How many pages before replacing: belts, drums and toners. Cost of toner can be a deal breaker.
- Black and white, if speed is not an issue for printing text, cost and cost of toner. There are some good multis out there. Brother makes some decent, scanner, fax, printer (black and whites). Toner not too expensive and reliable.
* * * * * *
Wireless is always an issue. Cisco Valet is more a home use Router. There are some out there with "more power/coverage" per dollar. Although Cisco should be reliable, shop around. Personally, I like the ASUS RT-N 16. Lots of power. There are "alternative firmwares" that allow this to be a powerful Enterprise wireless device for the price of a home wireless system. I.E. Tomato, DD-WRT, etc. Some research required.
* * * * * *
Plan for expansion: Maybe a 24 port managed switch insstead of 12. Run some extra cables if you can, to or near the workstations. Identify the wiring and make sure you have a wiring diagram.
You likely will not need a Router, unless you intend to link to your "home office" with a dedicated line, VPN for example. A firewall would be good as well. Some firewalls can even provide you with a dedicated VPN to the home office (if necessary).
Verify your cable runs. Will you need patch panels?
* * * * * *
Ideally, if you are going to go with Windows Server 2003 or Server 2008, I think you should go with an Active Directory for centralized management. Create some restriceted "visitor" accounts - could be generic. This will allow you to better setup your shares and offer more security.

Hope that helps. Hope others answer as well.

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Small Business Network

by Chief Jeff In reply to Small Business Network

Instead of having all those printers I Consider using something like HP CM3530fs colour laser printer which prints 35 pages per minute colour,, 45pages per minute black, ideal for a small setup of not morethan 10 people as u are saying. it does double sided printing, staples, has a fax and u can easily track who has printed. does have a built in hdd for documents storage etc u might just need 2 of those or consider Kyocera as an alternative.

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Small Business Network

by Chief Jeff In reply to Small Business Network

Do not forget to add an APC UPS in case of power failure.

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