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Newbie in charge of setting up a simple office network

Last response: in Networking
August 4, 2010 1:05:55 PM

Hey all, I'm hoping that someone here would be kind enough to help me regarding setting up a small office network. So here's the scenario, 10 people... everyone is on a laptop running different OS, most of them are Windows 7 however I think one is Vista, AND there are 3 macs. So what I want to do is basically have one computer be a "file" computer that we can all access, yet not allow everyone to access every folder. So, the marketing person only has access to the marketing folder, HR only HR folder, etc. Without the "host" computer being a server (it's literally just a Windows 7 Home Edition computer), is this even possible?

If it isn't possible, would a basic server set up (Microsoft Small Business) meet my needs? Would I be able to allow all of those different machines to be able to connect to the server and assign permissions? Sorry if this is too elementary, but I'm totally lost.
August 4, 2010 6:50:45 PM

I doubt windows 7 home can give you very fine grained security like you're talking about. MS small business server is based on Windows Server, and would allow setting up permissions by people/group to access certain folders, act as a print server, I think it comes with exchange, etc.

It might be worth spending a little cash & getting a consultant. Or someone must have a relative who wants a little extra cash, knows Windows networking, and can set things up, add PCs to a domain, do file permissions, etc. Getting the Macs on the network is an extra twist too.
August 5, 2010 5:26:44 PM

+1 with gtvr, even if you manage to cobble together the computers, fixing any issues would be a pain as you would not know the standards and correct way of setting things up. So anyone you would bring in to fix something could spend hours just sorting out what was done beforehand. With 10 people, you are pretty much at the limit of working with a Workgroup, and regular Windows has a connection limit so more than 5 people can't access a shared file at once.

A PC tech (maybe not a full network engineer) would probably charge $30-40 an hour to do the work, and will probably take a day to do this properly, unless you need more equipment and different software. If you get a dedicated network pro, you are looking at $50-60 an hour.

Heck, if you list your general location, someone from these forums may be able to help you. Just don't list your full name/number/email on here.
August 6, 2010 6:32:49 PM

Hello Sarah,

What you would like to accomplish is not so much of a hard task to set up initially, but a harder task to maintain. In a nutshell, this is the setup you want:

ISP -----> Modem ------> Router / Firewall ------> 16 port GBE switch ----> computers

All of the computers, including the server will connect to the 16 port switch. It's a good idea to get a gigabit switch, basically because they are roughly the same price, and provide 10x the speed of a fast ethernet switch.

You can dedicate one machine to be a server, but it will need a minimum of XP pro installed. Win 7 pro will also work fine. And, if you can find someone to help you set this up that has knowledge of linux, an ubuntu file server is also very easy to set up.

All that is needed next is to create the shares on the server and set the permissions. This will take a while if you have limited experience. As with all problems of this type, google is your friend.

And, just to save you some time, I would suggest going with this hardware from experience:

Modem ---> will be supplied by your ISP
Router / Firewall ----> Linksys WRT320N $80.00
16 port GBE Switch ----> D Link 16 Port switch $140.00

Hope it helps