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Small office server set-up

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October 15, 2012 4:18:39 PM

Hi! Hope you guys can give me some advice:


We have a very small architecture firm going, just setting up our office and trying to get our work system all efficient and nice! We are using two laptops in our office at the moment, both connected by wifi to an router a few rooms away (we share a house with a few other small offices). We currently share and work off files on one of the laptops, which is not ideal. For this reason we are looking at having a centralized storage device to work off.

An office next to ours currently has a set up of a Seagate Goflex NAS connected to their AP which they work off, and they say it works fine for their needs, but we after looking into it, we can get an actual HP Micro-server for a similar price.

1. Can you advise whether it is worthwhile going all out for an actual server, or would a NAS be suitable for our means?

2. What recommendations can you make for a NAS or small server that will suit us? Will connecting a NAS/server compromise our network speeds?

3. We recently looked at the LaCie Wireless Space NAS/Router. It seems to be able to act as a printer server, and as a wireless repeater, is this right? As the wifi router we currently use is a few rooms away, can we use the Lacie in our office to boost the signal for us? This would be great for us to get better signal, and be able to use the Lacie NAS as a printer server in our office, instead of tethered to a router a few rooms away. Also, is this something we could achieve with a server?

4. Is it worth all the effort to try set up a repeater, or are we just better off with something simple, wired to the router?

5. We are in Zimbabwe, btw, so availability, and price is an issue for us. We can get the LaCie I mentioned here for $320, and $350 is probably our limit.

Thanks for your time!

Cheers!

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October 17, 2012 12:35:18 PM
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A server will give you greater control and flexibility and will change to suite your needs as well as extend the signal, but you could end up spending a lot more on software licensing costs, and possibly administration and downtime costs. Linux will keep the price down but will add a great deal of complexity as you will have to almost learn how to use the computer from scratch.

Price being an issue, the NAS is guaranteed to work better than your current setup at a low cost with less administration and high reliability.

That NAS will also help extend your signal if you can some how run an Ethernet cable from the router that is a few rooms away.

Read the reviews and check to make sure everything you plan to do can actually be run remotely (Sounds like a yes as everything you do seems to work so far.)

(Keeping multiple backups and storing them in a safe location is a must. Even more so when using a NAS system.)
October 17, 2012 1:06:53 PM

Thanks so much Dr_JRE. It seems to confirm my first instinct: I don't want a complicated set up, and we are not ready to start paying for IT services, or other admin.

The NAS route seems like the simple option that will fulfill our needs for the meantime.

Thanks again for the advice!
October 24, 2012 8:17:48 AM

Best answer selected by joelpringle.
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