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Yet Another SOHO network setup advice

Last response: in Networking
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September 27, 2012 9:25:21 AM

Hi everyone, my little business (software development/light web development) has expanded a bit and now I need to move from my house to a 'office' where me and 2 others are going to work. We need to setup a SOHO network for the new place and I would like to ask for some network setup advice since I have never done something like this before (we are computer guys, but we do a lot of scientific computing stuff... not much hands-on networking, I am afraid)

Ok, we are going to have a couple of workstations, laptops, a NAS (Synology?), printer, projector (for meeting/presentations) and a SOHO router.

The NAS is going to be used as storage/file server and to host our company website and mail server as well... We are 3 people so no much traffic for mail and the website has low traffic. I initially thought to have a proper server for web/mail hosting but the Synology is good enough for this, I think, and it offers much needed backup/storage functionality.
Right now, I am hosting externally, but I thought I might keep everything in-house ;) 

We might need a small, dedicated database server (for development rather then accounting)

I would like to access the office network from 'outside' when I am working at the clients' place or from my home.

Sometimes, clients might come to the office (with their devices - laptops/phones) and I would like to offer them internet access (on an untrusted network?)

So my question is what is a good setup (what is connected to what) for this situation (keeping in mind that we might expand a little - extra servers/workstations)?

Any advice on hardware/software is welcome, budget is not that tight but still I'd prefer to keep it low(ish)

Thanks for your help!

-Mike
September 27, 2012 2:19:11 PM

Personally, I would keep the email and website external to minimize security issues rather than putting it on the same NAS as your database. With your small volume it should be relatively inexpensive.

With your size, a good quality consumer router and an unmanaged gigabit switch should suffice to connect all your devices -- computers, NAS, printers, etc. A consumer grade router will handle a few wireless connections but try to keep it under around 10 total (including customers and cell phones) or you will start getting dropped connections. Most of the newer routers allow setup of a guest access wireless that is simple to use and secure for your internal network.
September 27, 2012 4:24:59 PM

RealBeast said:
Personally, I would keep the email and website external to minimize security issues rather than putting it on the same NAS as your database. With your small volume it should be relatively inexpensive.

With your size, a good quality consumer router and an unmanaged gigabit switch should suffice to connect all your devices -- computers, NAS, printers, etc. A consumer grade router will handle a few wireless connections but try to keep it under around 10 total (including customers and cell phones) or you will start getting dropped connections. Most of the newer routers allow setup of a guest access wireless that is simple to use and secure for your internal network.


Thanks for the reply!

Yes, in hindsight I do agree with keeping mail and web outside... It would have been nice to manage them internally, but I agree with your security concerns. I might not be a network guy but I do have a good feeling for what regards security ;) 

Any suggested brands for the router and for the switch? I guess that it does not have much importance given the 'massive' volume of traffic hehehe but maybe, you guys, have some piece of hardware you are swearing by so that I am not gonna get the ones that make you swear like a trooper.

Cheers

-Mike
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September 27, 2012 10:02:08 PM

Your thought of Synology for an NAS is good, I like them and QNAP.

First thing is that I would not recommend 802.11ac until there is a real standard, so I would go with dual band N (and actually have with an older model EA4200). For a router it depends if you want simultaneous dual band (dual band without simultaneous is a waste because any G devices will default the 2.4GHz to G speeds) I would probably go with the Cisco EA4500 ( http://www.trustedreviews.com/linksys-ea4500-smart-wi-f... ) and the switch can be any gigabit unmanaged, I have a 24 port DLink that works well and is inexpensive ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) but if you only need 8 ports you can save a few bucks with a smaller gigabit switch.

Oh, one thing that I forgot to mention -- I always do a manual setup on my routers and networks and do not rely on any automated wizards that I find more problematic than useful, so I would suggest that with the router that you select.
September 28, 2012 12:24:44 PM

RealBeast said:
Your thought of Synology for an NAS is good, I like them and QNAP.

First thing is that I would not recommend 802.11ac until there is a real standard, so I would go with dual band N (and actually have with an older model EA4200). For a router it depends if you want simultaneous dual band (dual band without simultaneous is a waste because any G devices will default the 2.4GHz to G speeds) I would probably go with the Cisco EA4500 ( http://www.trustedreviews.com/linksys-ea4500-smart-wi-f... ) and the switch can be any gigabit unmanaged, I have a 24 port DLink that works well and is inexpensive ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) but if you only need 8 ports you can save a few bucks with a smaller gigabit switch.

Oh, one thing that I forgot to mention -- I always do a manual setup on my routers and networks and do not rely on any automated wizards that I find more problematic than useful, so I would suggest that with the router that you select.


Thank you very much, I'll look into those products.
!