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Suggestions on Network setup over 400 IP devices on same network

Last response: in Networking
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December 14, 2012 12:55:57 PM

I'm very textural so I will try not to overload the question with too much extra typing...

I work for a non-profit agency. We currently have three different office locations all of which are on an internal network. Two ran by Proliant servers that serves as the Domain & DHCP.

We are collaborating all our offices into a new building we are purchasing. I've installed large networks before but none this large. Combined each of these locations service over 85 users. All with Desktops, laptops and Smart phones...

The new building will be set up on one beefed up Proliant server running 1 domain for the users (approx 75 users) some of the 85 are remote users that use laptops not on the domain.

My question is this. When we put all users into this one building, they'll have to be on the same network sharing the same resources. We'll have over 400 nodes (or devices that will require IP addresses) desktops, printers, scanners, laptops, smart phones, Tablets, etc...

What would be the best way to set up this network to accomodate that number of devices on the same network sharing the same resources and each device able to communicate with others? I'm hearing Subnets with routing or NAT... Can anyone provide a quick summary and solution? Don't know if it matters, this is a three story building. Desktops will be cabled, laptops will be wireless. We will also have a VOIP phone system (probably cloud based) but think it would be best to have it on its own gateway.

Any explanations?
Thanks in advance for your help!
December 14, 2012 1:28:14 PM

The VOIP phone system will likely drive your design. The modern design for these is to power the phone from the switch which is on UPS. To save cabling and ports on the switch you plug the PC into the phone and share the cable. This generally means you must also have 2 vlans defined on the switch to allow the voice traffic to be separate from the data.

How many switch devices and where you place them all depend on your wiring. It is common to place a switch on each floor and then cable them back to a central location where you place any servers and your router going to the internet. You are best off running different subnets on each floor...not because it actually makes a huge difference anymore but because it is a well tested design.

You need to place multiple AP to be able to provide wireless without overload a single AP. Exactly how many users you run per AP will depend on the traffic. The recommended number of "active" users is only about 7 but that varies a lot based on what "active" means. These too will need PoE ports on your switch.

There are way too many variables and unknown requirement to try to design something like this on a forum.

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December 14, 2012 1:40:41 PM

Thanks for your reply!

Exactly how would I set up two different subnets? I would only have one router (Cisco) (all switches are HP ProCurves) would I have to manually enter the subnet and IP addresses for each floor, or can the DHCP from the server distribute the IP addresses and Subnet to the floors based off of the switch it is connected to. This is where I am getting confused. How will the top floor units (if on a DHCP network) acquire a different subnet than those on the bottom floor?
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December 14, 2012 4:11:12 PM

Your exact design will depend if you procurves are layer 2 or layer 3 devices.

Lets assume stupid layer 2. Define each floor switch to be a different vlan. Connect the switches together and define the cable between them to have all the vlans added tagged.

Then connect the router to one of the switches and also tag all the vlans on that port. On the cisco define the interface with sub-interfaces one for each vlan. This will contain your gateway for all the vlans. You can define a DHCP server on the router for each of the vlans and it will give out the proper ranges based on the sub inteface the use is connected to.

If your procurves are layer 3 the method is similar except you put the gateway on the procurves themselves. A layer 3 switch will route much faster than running a router on a trunk port. You would still need the router to access the internet though.
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