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Windows Thread, Major Network Question! in Technical; Hi all, I'm new to all this and only joined these forums this morning! I'm an ICT Technician at a ...
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    Exclamation Major Network Question!

    Hi all,

    I'm new to all this and only joined these forums this morning! I'm an ICT Technician at a school and am relatively new to all this. The school does not have many computers are they are not networked - they only share the same internet connection and share a few printers, and are all part of the same Windows workgroup.

    Term ends next week. Over the summer the school is bringing in a server to allow shared resources etc. I would like to know how I go about setting up the network. Including everything from the hardware, software and setting up. I am quite technically minded but just have never done this sort of thing before!

    I will most likely not be on the net again until Sunday night/Monday morning so anyone who provides me with useful answers dont think I am ignoring you - all responses are welcome and appreciated!

    Andy

    EDIT: The school has approximately 30 desktops and 20 laptops!
    Last edited by andylyon; 18th July 2008 at 06:20 PM. Reason: More details availble

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    If they are sharing internet and printers it would suggest that functionally connected together which makes your job somewhat easier.

    I would imagine they are bringing in a server 2003 server which you need to give a static IP to in your current range that the computers are in. (I'm guessing DHCP is coming from a router?).

    Asides from that, you can have a nose through here which will talk you through getting Active Directory running for you to then "join" your PCs to the domain and allow users to log onto any and all of them and access their work saved on this server etc.

    Depending upon your needs, this may be too much and really all you need is a shared out folder on the server with materials in.

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    Galway's Avatar
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    I would ask the authority to lend a hand. Contact then and ask if anyone is available, I would image they could send someone to help you since there is allot to do. My contract, and I image most other tech support staff have a clause that means they can be asked to goto different locations to work and this might be also worth checking out to see if anyone can help.

    Read up on the edugeek wiki regarding profiles.

    Download the latest drivers for the printers ready to install them and share them out to users.

    Not really any more help I can give you, apart from don't be afraid to ask for help here if you need it.

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    It depends on what OS the new server will be running, whether it is a client OS or a server OS.

    If it is a server OS then a simple domain could be created, at the very least you will need the following roles:

    - DHCP
    - DNS
    - Active Directory
    - Print Services

    The client PCs could get IP addresses using DHCP, the printers using static IP/reservations. The server will need a static IP address.

    You can buy some reasonable quality gigabit ethernet switches for not too much money. It is worth considering asking a cabling company perhaps to install the network sockets and running the cables to a patch panel next to the main ethernet switch, if your budget can stretch to that.

    If your laptops need to roam across the school it is also important to consider a reasonable quality wireless system, so that it is reliable and also scalable if you need to expand the wireless network later on.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    If you are wanting to set it up with certralized logins and policies you will also need to make sure that all of your client machines are running either windows 2000, windows xp pro, windows vista business or linux. The home versions of these operating systems are not able to join a domain and can only do peer to peer networking.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andylyon View Post
    I would like to know how I go about setting up the network.
    You don't have many machines, and I'm guessing the applications installed vary somewhat randomly between machines, so this might be a perfect opportunity to do away with the need to have any locally installed applications at all. Turn each machine into a web-browsing kiosk and then have a central web server than handles all your needs (virtual learning environment, email, web-based word processing of some kind, etc).

    --
    David Hicks

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    leco's Avatar
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    If 'the school' has decided to 'bring in a server', then can it be assumed that a role for the server has also been decided? For instance is it to service the school's information management or the curriculum, or both? In order to identify what equipment/software is necessary there is a need to establish what the server is to be used for.

    Having that information the infrastructure requirement can be worked out. However, this also presupposes knowledge of that equipment and it's use. I am not calling in question your knowledge @andylyon, just trying to put myself into the shoes of someone that knows little about IT networks. DHCP, DNS, routers, patch panels and switches can easily become mere words without meaning. There has to be knowledge of what they are in order to understand what they do and how they can all be deployed.

    I apologise if this is too simplistic but I do know what it's like to be thrown in at the deep end, yes we swim but maybe not very elegantly. Ask lots of questions even if you don't know what questions to ask.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

    New details:

    1) It is primarily to be used as a shared resource for using the Connected Steps program by B-Squared (not sure if people are familiar with this - if they are I apologise!).

    2) New theory has been thought of, using a central desktop computer to be stored in the technicians room, where all the other desktops/laptops can access it as a network drive (?) to backup their machines and access the master B-Squared file.

    3) We do not require the login style used in most other schools, much like kiosks I think someone mentioned.

    Any new suggestions welcome.

    Andy

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I would suggest that you look into using this:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/pro...s/default.mspx
    on your client pcs because it will give you much better control of your client workstations and stop anyone from messing up settings like network mappings.

    It is free from Microsoft.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andylyon View Post
    It is primarily to be used as a shared resource for using the Connected Steps program by B-Squared (not sure if people are familiar with this - if they are I apologise!).
    Is someone setting this up for you? If so, I'd check with them and see what they might advise as to networking. Check the website for B-Squared:

    B Squared - Market Leaders in Special Needs Assessment - Connecting Steps System Requirements

    Seems you'll be needing to have a database set up on the server - you'll have to buy SQL Server and associated licenses if you want more than 4 people to access the software at any one time.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Seems you'll be needing to have a database set up on the server - you'll have to buy SQL Server and associated licenses if you want more than 4 people to access the software at any one time.

    --
    David Hicks
    Connecting Steps V3 uses SQL Express 2005 on Server 2003 or Vista/Server 2008 and MSDE on XP/Server 2000.

    Although MSDE is limited to 5 concurrent connections, users are only connected when entering or viewing data, so you can have 30 or more users using the database without any issues.

    SQL Express has no limitation in terms of users.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale_B_Squared View Post
    Although MSDE is limited to 5 concurrent connections, users are only connected when entering or viewing data, so you can have 30 or more users using the database without any issues. SQL Express has no limitation in terms of users.
    I like companies that actually provide useful information :-)

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    David Hicks

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