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New building network

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November 22, 2012 12:33:48 AM

what type of network setup would be good for a new bldg. running about 70 to 80 computers & using two servers? What kind of cabling switches, routers etc...

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November 22, 2012 12:44:11 AM

There is much more to network design that just the number of machines. You have to look at how the traffic flows and amount to traffic.

Pretty much all you are going to need is a couple 48 port switches and a router large enough to handle your internet traffic. Most new installations assume IP phone technology where the phone and the PC share a single port on the switch to reduce cabling and other network costs. Mostly this just add a PoE requirement for the switch.
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November 22, 2012 1:05:16 AM

I realize I have left off allot of variables, I'm just after a fairly good idea as to the type of network that would be needed. The bldg. is a single level approximately 160 feet by 80 feet. I have grow in size to a medium size company with about a 40/60 mix of internal data and internet data. Since this is going to be a new bldg. should I take advantage of any newer technology. Should the servers be used as internet and the other a data server? Any help will be greatly appreciated as I'm just trying to get a good of what I should be thinking about doing and how to set this all up.
Thank you
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November 22, 2012 1:14:49 AM

john-b691 said:
There is much more to network design that just the number of machines. You have to look at how the traffic flows and amount to traffic.

Pretty much all you are going to need is a couple 48 port switches and a router large enough to handle your internet traffic. Most new installations assume IP phone technology where the phone and the PC share a single port on the switch to reduce cabling and other network costs. Mostly this just add a PoE requirement for the switch.


Thanks for the reply John, I'm new to this site so forgive me if I'm still finding my way around here. I realize I have left off allot of variables, I'm just after a fairly good idea as to the type of network that would be needed. The bldg. is a single level approximately 160 feet by 80 feet. I have grow in size to a medium size company with about a 40/60 mix of internal data and internet data. Since this is going to be a new bldg. should I take advantage of any newer technology. Should the servers be used as internet and the other a data server? Any help will be greatly appreciated as I'm just trying to get a good of what I should be thinking about doing and how to set this all up.
Thank you
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November 22, 2012 12:31:24 PM

Exposing any server to the internet is a risk thing to do unless you really know what you are doing. It is generally better and cheaper if you have no experience to put any server providing function to outside customers in a hosting center. They know how to design firewalls and harden the servers from attack.

What you need still sounds very simple. Buy enough switches so your port count is slightly more than you see a need for. Your router size will be based on how large a internet connection you get. Since in theory employees should be using the internet for work and not streaming video or downloading illegal software you should not need a real huge internet connection for less than 100 people.

I would run a single cat6 cable to each work location and put in a couple of wireless AP. You want discourage use of the wireless for any device that can use a cabled connection. Wireless is a huge pain to support in a corporate environment.
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November 22, 2012 1:40:29 PM

One thing that may make a big difference in the types of network switches/routers you will need to get is whether or not you will be using VLANs. Do you have organizational units or departments that you want to keep organized out within your computer systems? For instance, do you want to keep your accounting computers separate from your sales computers, etc?

The amount of management features and fine-tuned security control you need will determine if you can go with a more simple layer 2 switch or if you need a high end layer 2 or even layer 3 switch with all the bells and whistles. There can be a huge price difference between the two.
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November 22, 2012 2:29:02 PM

choucove said:
One thing that may make a big difference in the types of network switches/routers you will need to get is whether or not you will be using VLANs. Do you have organizational units or departments that you want to keep organized out within your computer systems? For instance, do you want to keep your accounting computers separate from your sales computers, etc?

The amount of management features and fine-tuned security control you need will determine if you can go with a more simple layer 2 switch or if you need a high end layer 2 or even layer 3 switch with all the bells and whistles. There can be a huge price difference between the two.


Won't need a VLAN, this is a warehouse environment with offices on one end and if you can picture a loading dock/ warehouse it will have computers strung down the rest of the building. These computers will mainly only have a need for schedule, shipping, load outgoing, and incoming type information.

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November 22, 2012 2:41:54 PM

john-b691 said:
Exposing any server to the internet is a risk thing to do unless you really know what you are doing. It is generally better and cheaper if you have no experience to put any server providing function to outside customers in a hosting center. They know how to design firewalls and harden the servers from attack.

What you need still sounds very simple. Buy enough switches so your port count is slightly more than you see a need for. Your router size will be based on how large a internet connection you get. Since in theory employees should be using the internet for work and not streaming video or downloading illegal software you should not need a real huge internet connection for less than 100 people.

I would run a single cat6 cable to each work location and put in a couple of wireless AP. You want discourage use of the wireless for any device that can use a cabled connection. Wireless is a huge pain to support in a corporate environment.


Will I need to worry about having both a BN and a Distribution layer with the following environment? This is a warehouse environment with offices on one end and if you can picture a loading dock/ warehouse it will have computers strung down the rest of the building. These computers will mainly only have a need for schedule, shipping, load outgoing, and incoming type information. Should I go with a couple of Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T 48 port switches, and what about the routers and WAN connection setup?

Thanks John, as you can tell I have limited knowledge but ton of desire.
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Best solution

November 22, 2012 7:18:14 PM

Warehouses are a pain. First option if you can do it is to place the switches in the office area...where they are air conditioned and run lots of cables. The problem is most warehouse areas are laid out like the one you describe. In your case you may get lucky since the building is fairly short. You tend to get cable length problems because the only good place to run cables is near the ceiling and that tends to mean 30ft of cable up and 30ft of cable back down along with the distance. You are limited to 300ft. When this option fails you then get into having to mount switches in the warehouse itself to cut the cable distances. Huge warehouses you need to interconnect the switches with fiber. You tend to have to mount the switches and run your wiring to a cabinet mounted on the wall high enough to avoid getting smashed by forklifts. I always hate having to get a lift to just change a patch cable. Make sure if you mount the switches in a warehouse that is not air conditioned you stay with commercial switches like cisco or HP. Heat tends to destroy power supplies. I have had a couple of cisco 4948 in a texas warehouse that gets well over 100 degrees daily in the summer. Even these are not rated for that heat.

I would run everything in a single vlan unless you have reason not to. It is much simpler. I suspect any router will work fine for you needs. Normally you only need commercial grade routers if you have multiple ISP or you need fancy firewall rules. Lately the consumer routers can easily transport 100m traffic and have good enough firewall rules for most small business. You may want to consider one you can load dd-wrt software on. This software provides many of the features commercial routers have. Still I suspect pretty much any router will meet your needs.
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November 23, 2012 11:52:48 AM

Ok John, this is what I am understanding for a rough draft so to speak. Use a fiber optic backbone, run that to a transceiver/media converter. From there run 1000Base F or cat6 cable to a VLAN switch. From the switch run the same cable 1000Base F or cat6 to each computer.
The two servers will be used as mail and database. I should also setup two or three wireless AP's.
Will this setup eliminate routers and patch panels?
What about a redundant VLAN switch in case of switch failure?
What else have I not considered or need to change?
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November 23, 2012 12:51:26 PM

Unless you plan on having runs longer than 300ft, fiber shouldn't be necessary. It will cost considerably more for little benefit.

I would suggest doing a MDF - IDF setup. Basically put your main rack (MDF) in the office area, then 300ft away put your IDF somewhere, either in a cabinet or up on the wall. Unless you have computers that are further than 600ft from the MDF, only one IDF should be necessary. Then just link the switches between the IDF and MDF through their gigabit uplink ports using Cat6 (since a warehouse is probably a high noise environment, Cat6 will likely be better than Cat5).

Unless the computers are being used to transfer large files locally, there is no reason to use gigabit switches in my opinion. Get 100Mbit switches with gigabit uplink ports to link them together.

Are you planning on using IP phones or cameras as well? If so, get some good quality POE switches, or at least one to power your AP's. I like these POE switches made by Panoptic: http://www.panoptictechnology.com/pse-24-poe-switch/

They're pretty powerful and they can run well in fairly high-heat environments. They supply 15watts to each port as well. Panoptic also makes adapters for non-poe devices as well, so you can power almost everything via POE (which is handy for remote management since you will be able to log into the switch remotely to reboot devices as necessary): http://www.panoptictechnology.com/network-smart-adapter...

As for routers and APs, I would highly suggest taking a look at the Mikrotik devices: http://routerboard.com/

You can't beat the performance and reliability they offer for the price. A little RB450G will have more than enough power for you as a gateway router. Then a few RB711UA-2HnD boards should be perfect as your APs. If you can get away with it, I would suggest no more than 3APs in the warehouse since there tends to be issues with noise in large metal buildings.

To answer your other questions as well:
Will this setup eliminate routers and patch panels?
No. You will still need a gateway router and I would highly suggest using a patch panel at each location with switches. The patch panels aren't completely necessary, but they make it look like nicer and help with organizing your cables.

What about a redundant VLAN switch in case of switch failure?
Sure, redundancy is good if you can afford it. You can do multiple cable runs between switches, just be sure to enable STP on them.
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November 23, 2012 2:00:11 PM

Most the above is good advice.

Redundancy in such a small network is difficult. You really only have a access layer switch setup. Your switches directly provide connectivity to end user devices. Since the end user devices can only be hooked to a single switch. If that device were to fail you have no option but to replace it and recable. Most redundancy is used where you are connecting lots of access layer switches or you have servers configurations that are designed to be redundant.

Wireless in some ways does cut port needs. It is a trade off. Wired tends to be more expensive to get installed but has very little cost to support. Wireless tends to have random issues that you are constantly fixing. Just look at all the question on this forum, almost all are my wireless keeps droping or its slow.
A second problem with wireless in a corporate environment is you do not want to use pre shared keys. It is a hard to keep them secret when you must tell employees what it is for them to connect. If a employee would leave you must then touch every device to change the key. The alternative used is to use enterprise mode. This allows each user to have their own id password rather than one that everyone knows. This requires a radius server which most companies run on their ADserver. Mostly this will depend how strong your knowledge of server configuration is.

I would try to use as little wireless as you can. The users like it until it breaks then they will cry to you to hurry up and fix it...of course it will always work fine when you are standing there.

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November 26, 2012 6:19:58 PM

Best answer selected by Rag2012.
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