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Help me spec a network

Discussion in 'Networks & Internet Connectivity' started by fluiduk, 1 Jun 2006.

  1. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    Hi All

    I have been put in charge of sorting out our work network. When I joined the company they had very little in the way of a network, just a 16port 10mb switch and an old adsl router. I managed to scrabble together some slightly better kit with my £10 budget lol.

    Anyhow, its been fine fora year now, but we are suffering with more and more slow downs and bottlnecks as we add more equipment. We have a new digital solvent printer coming in a few weeks which will further impact network performance.

    Now whilst I can put together small networks etc, I am not that experienced with larger networks, bottle neck prevention etc. So I need you gurus to offer some advice.

    I will list all the equipment we have at the moment.

    Computers
    1 x G5 Imac - Artworking machine (10/100/1000)
    1 x G4 Power Mac - Artworking Machine (10/100/1000)
    1 x Rip Server PC stuffed with RAM - Rips the jobs and send thems to the printers via ethernet (10/100, although I think im gonna get a 1gig card for this)
    2 x Imacs - Just used for email and Microsoft office (10/100)
    4 x PC - Used for email, accounting, office, cutting vinyl (10/100)
    Dell Poweredge Server - Used soley as a fileserver (10/100, although I think im gonna get a 1gig card for this)

    Printers
    Dell 1700n Networked Laser
    Xerox Phaser 6100 - Connected via ethernet to usb print server (10/100)
    HP Deskjet 840c - Coneccted via printer server (10/100)
    HP DesignJet 5500 - Big beast of a printer, conncected via ethernet (10/100)
    Roland Soljet PRO III - Another big beast, connected via ethernet (10/100)

    Other Kit
    Draytek Vigor 2600+ (10/100)
    Some generic rubbish 24 port switch (ebaytastic) (10/100)

    God, didnt realise we had that much till I wrote it all down.

    So guys, what advice can you offer, do you think I need to worry about backbones etc. I just want to get the most speed out of the network, whilst allowing for future additions.

    As for budget, as cheap as possible, looking at it, I dont think much needs replacing except the switch.

    Any help/diagrams would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
    Aaron
     
  2. hybrid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Newcastle

    Do you have a budget of some sort?

    I'd recommend a nice HP Procurve 2524 switch. These are very stable and fast 24 port switches which will again allow for future expansion.

    [​IMG]

    Lovely bits of kit. :)
     
  3. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    Considering we have just spent 20k on the printer im gonna go for a very low budget. Im trying to get an idea out of the boss but he just says 'cheap'. I dont think we can stretch to anything that fancy, as much as I would love to :(

    I think if I can justify the cost then they may go for it. The boss is keen to get the network as good as poss, he wants to get the most out of the printer.

    I was thinking maybe putting the artwork machines, the rip server and the big printers all on their own 1gb backbone, and linking that to the a 100mb switch that everything else will be connected to. So in that case, would need a decent 8 port gb switch and a 24 port 100mb switch with a gb uplink port... i think ;)

    Aaron
     
  4. Ricochet J

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Jun 2004

    Posts: 12,899


    Reason I quoted you and you're only one post down is so I can scroll back up when typing to view your equipment :)

    Now. I'm not the "guru" you're looking for but i'm going to give it a try with my Cisco Semester 2 knowledge! (CCNA)
    Low cost as possible? With all that kit I don't think a standard home router will cope. I think it will be okay for a few months until it grinds to a halt.

    First of all. I would say replace existing NICs in the computers to Gigabit ethernet ones so it supports higher bandwidth. They come for about £10 each. If you buy in bulk, about 6 - 7 you might even be able to strike some sort of discount with your supplier

    Next, you say you have a switch, but its 10mbps. But then there is no point (well there is) having a Gigabit Ethernet network with no Gigabit Ethernet networking devices. So, I would say buy a 24 port Gigabit Switch because for what I can see you have 12 ethernet devices. And you want to upgrade in the future right? 16 port switch would be fine, but it would provide about 4 pors for upgradability.
    As for router, I would go for a mid range Cisco one (assuming you know the IOS langauge). It's because it can be flashed, upgraded and works better in more demanding networks. A second hand Cisco 1721 Series ADSL Router should set you back around £50 - £60.

    So in all, this is the setup:
    Internet - > Cisco Router - > Switch - > Nodes

    Off course you could patch them through a patch panel but then that adds to cost.

    Hope that helped you. If anyone wants to correct me or add to that then please do :)
     
  5. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    Lol on the quotage

    The current switch is 100mb not 10mb :)

    The draytek router is coping fine really, as no one really hammers the net, its mainly just for email. I mean we use less than a gig of traffic a week.

    Im definitely upgrading all the machines that need to be upgraded to gb cards. But I dont really see the need to upgrade the accounting machines etc as they only use the network to print to the networked lasers and check email etc.

    Thats why I wanted to move the resource hungry artworking machines, rip server, file server, and beast printers onto their gb own switch. That should alleviate the slow downs for the other machines? Then just link that switch to the rest of the network via gb uplink port

    Cheers
    Aaron
     
  6. hybrid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Newcastle

    Also - coming to think of it. What print servers do you currently have? Are they configured to go directly to the print server or to the file server first?

    I'd only use HP JetDirect and Intel Pro print servers these days. Axis and the likes are crap!!
     
  7. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    Our printer server is a rubbish Dlink thing. But the job goes straight to the print server. Not the file server.

    Do you guys think its worth having a dedicated switch for the gigabit machines. Or should I just get a 24 port gigabit switch and whack everything on that?
     
  8. hybrid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Newcastle

    Nahhhh - 2 switches, thats total overkill!!

    Change those print servers that will help a lot!! We use HP JD print servers for all our art and design machines.

    Also, your other printers... you might want to consider upgrading the RAM in those as this will considerably increase response time and buffer size.

    If your wanting to go GBit, then just get one Gbit switch and link them all. Dont go for a 2 switch solution it will just be pointless as one switch is well capable of handling such traffic.
     
  9. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    Ok cool

    Forgot to say, the beasty printers are connected via their internal printer servers, not the dlink. In the case of the HP printer its a HP Jet Direct, dont know about the Soljet, as it hasnt arrived.
     
  10. hybrid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,312

    Location: Newcastle

    Are any printers sharing the same print server by any chance?

    If thats the case then i'd say upgrade the memory in each of those high priority printers to increase the buffers.

    Replace the D-Link with another decent print server.

    Purchase a half decent Gbit switch if you want to go down that route.

    Something like the 3Com Baseline 2816 would suite it.

    Thats cheap enough and should provide enough ports. If your budget would stretch further then i'd possibly look for a 24 Port switch just to cover yourself for the future.
     
    Last edited: 1 Jun 2006
  11. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    The only printers that share a print server (the Dlink one) are the Deskjet and Phaser 6100 laser. They are both very lightly used and theres no real need to change the print server at the moment. We are talking 10 pages a day max lol.

    LIke the look of that switch will see what boss says

    thanks
    Aaron
     
  12. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    You spend 20k on a printer then skimp on your network. *Confused*
     
  13. fluiduk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2003

    Posts: 1,567

    Location: Manchester

    Lol

    Thats the reason there is no money to spend. Of course we wont be paying that 20k in one go lol. We are not skimping anyway, we are just doing it gradually. Over the coming months everything will be replaced. For now however its just the switch and network cards. But then the file server will be replaced, the colour laser will be replaced with one that has a built in print server, as the current one costs far too much to run.

    New switch, network cables and network cards is going to cost enough for this month lol

    Aaron
     
  14. FordPrefect

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,715

    Exactly what I was thinking! Remember that just because something is a 10/100MB or even a 1GB switch that doesnt mean that backplane can handle anymore than that. Ultimately you get what you pay for and there is a reason why a high end switch made by someone like CISCO or 3COM costs as much as it does.

    Personally I think you would be best with a high quality 10/100MB switch than a cheap netgear or dlink switch.
     
  15. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    For a whole office refit with new file server I would be looking to spend up to 20-30k, including network.