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Need advice for small office LAN.

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Fiuz

New Around Here
I'm in need of some advice to build a small office network with an ehternet storage unit attached to it.

As "the computers guy" I have been asked by some friends which run a small company in a large apartment ( circa 6 people, 6 macs, some printers, and a bunch of laptops ) to set up a decent wired and wireless network for them.

The situation is like this: all the WAN traffic is served via a HAG ( Home Access Gateway, according to their ISP ) which has three Eth ports and statically gives the three IPs to each of the ports. It is not configurable, and runs 10/100 on each port.
My friends need some decent LAN performance as they often move large files between the computers ( mostly very large pictures and some video ), so I have thought about buying them a decent 8-port Gigabit switch with VPN, since most of them need to work from home from time to time.

I think the Cisco ASA 5505 is just overkill for what they need to do ( would be fun to try one of these personally, though, I have never touched or configured a Cisco before ), so I need some advice on any 8-port decent Gigabit switch to which I can hook up a wireless router to serve as access point, and the company's HAG to serve as gateway. I am thinking to buy a Netgear GS608 or a D-Link DGS-2200.

The network would be like this:

HAG <---------> WiFi router/modem serving as Access Point and DHCP <-----> 8-port Switch.

Basically, a double NAT. Is that wrong? Seems a bit odd to me, but I cannot link the switch directly to the HAG, because I would have three IPs only and no subnet for me to configure.

In addition, I have to set up a small shared network drive, atound 1TB storage capacity for now. Any experiences you mind to share, has nayone ever used HP Media Smart in OS X networks?

Thanks in advance for reading this.
 
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While I'm not a Network guru I do have some experience setting up networks in my home. I have the Netgear GS08 and do not recommend it if you're trying to get Gig throughput. If you go to the Switch, NIC's and Cabling section you'll see my current saga with consumer brand gig switches.

We're using FIOS 15/2 for our Internet.

While some will say that there are some good low end gig switches I'm suspect of their requirements. Maybe with limited usage they would be fine. However, I feel your application would require a more substantial switch to handle the traffic.

First you need to determine whether a managed or non-managed switch is required. After determining the switch type, you need then determine how many ports you'll need.

I recently ordered a HP J9077A 10/100/1000Mbps ProCurve Switch 1400-8G 8 port (~$80 Non-Managed) for my gaming needs. I should have it today and will be putting it through it's paces this evening.

It will have 2 PC's and a gaming console connected utilizing 2-1Gig NICs and 1-100M NIC. For my needs (gaming, file transfers) you tend to get a lot of concentrated traffic for several hours. I gather heat is an issue with the lower end switches. The new HP cost just a little more but we'll see if their product hype warrants my decision.;)

I'll let you know .... :)
 
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First, some clarification on what that 'HAG' is. In most cases with most ISP's, it's essentially just a simple router/cable-dsl-modem combination. I dont like them personally in business scenarios because they're usually far too limited as to what you can do with them. First off, I would recommend ditching it and just getting a regular cable/dsl modem from your ISP. From that point, you can start looking at routers/switches without worrying about the capabilities of the HAG. If you try to put another router in behind that HAG, you'll be needlessly complicating things IMO (double-nat, as you mention).

That being said, first thing you'll need is a router. A Cisco 5505 is total overkill in my opinion, and would be extremely difficult to configure unless you're very comfortable and familiar with networking (I'm currently running one in my office with 250 people!). All you really need is a fairly basic router, but you do mention needing/wanting VPN capabilties. Most basic 'home-user' grade routers dont offer VPN functionality, so you'd need to turn to something a little more business focused like a Linksys RV0 series router or a basic Sonicwall TZ180 or Watchguard X10e. These offer VPN capability, and are typically a little more rugged than your plain-jane $49 home-user router. These kinds of routers are still fairly easy to setup, and will run you between $300 and $700. A Linksys RV042 is a pretty popular little unit with good VPN functionality in it. Some routers offer 'UTM' functionality, which basically means it can also do Virus scanning, Junk Mail scanning, etc. These usually come as a subscription based services. Not entirely necessary if you have good AV clients on the machines (or not, in the case of Mac).

From there, you'd be hanging a switch of the router to server the actual clients. Virtually any 8/16 port Gigabit switch would do fine here. You can get decent basic switches from Linksys and D-Link for between $50 and $100. If you wanted to err on the safer side and get something a little higher end with a little more beef behind it, then something like an HP ProCurve is what you're looking at. You can get a good HP switch for around $300-$400. These won't necessarily offer you all that much more beyond a basic Linksys or DLink in an office of <10 people, it's just a little beefier, business-grade switch with a bit of a better warranty. Personally, I always err on the side of higher end, even in smaller offices. I'm the 'over-engineer the solution and play it safe' kind of guy. Plus, anything that could potentially save a couple panicked phone calls to you at odd hours of the day is probably worth it, alone.

Here's what you'd be looking like:

Cable/DSL Modem ---> Router ---> GigE Switch ---> Clients

This is just my 2 cents, lots of different people would have different ideas. But with something like a Linksys RV042 or Sonicwall TZ-180 w/ a good HP switch (attached to a good power bar or UPS) and that would be a really solid network. Lots of other good options though.
 
Pretty much same opinion as above....
Get your own small business grade router, which generally has better stability/throughput than sub 100 dollar home grade routers. Have that obtain your public IP address from the ISP...so often have to reconfigure ISP supplied box to be a pure bridged modem, not a combo modem/router like many are (HAG as you've mentioned)

Uplink your router to a decent switch

Uplink an access point to that switch also, I prefer to keep access points separate from the primary router for business networks. Note that many wireless routers can easily be reconfigured as a simple access point, so you're not double NAT'ing your wireless clients.
 
First of all, thanks to everyone for posting here.

First, some clarification on what that 'HAG' is. In most cases with most ISP's, it's essentially just a simple router/cable-dsl-modem combination. I dont like them personally in business scenarios because they're usually far too limited as to what you can do with them. First off, I would recommend ditching it and just getting a regular cable/dsl modem from your ISP. From that point, you can start looking at routers/switches without worrying about the capabilities of the HAG. If you try to put another router in behind that HAG, you'll be needlessly complicating things IMO (double-nat, as you mention).

Well, the HAG is my only issue, I'm stuck with it.
Problem here is that my friends' ISP force them to use it ( it is remotely managed by the company ) and thus, it is forcibly the last node before the WAN.
I hate this, being obliged to use that, and not to choose the one I like.

That being said, first thing you'll need is a router. A Cisco 5505 is total overkill in my opinion, and would be extremely difficult to configure unless you're very comfortable and familiar with networking (I'm currently running one in my office with 250 people!). All you really need is a fairly basic router, but you do mention needing/wanting VPN capabilties. Most basic 'home-user' grade routers dont offer VPN functionality, so you'd need to turn to something a little more business focused like a Linksys RV0 series router or a basic Sonicwall TZ180 or Watchguard X10e. These offer VPN capability, and are typically a little more rugged than your plain-jane $49 home-user router. These kinds of routers are still fairly easy to setup, and will run you between $300 and $700. A Linksys RV042 is a pretty popular little unit with good VPN functionality in it. Some routers offer 'UTM' functionality, which basically means it can also do Virus scanning, Junk Mail scanning, etc. These usually come as a subscription based services. Not entirely necessary if you have good AV clients on the machines (or not, in the case of Mac).

Lots of information here :) Well, I'm stuck to the HAG<->WiFi Router<->switch combination at this point, so it's pretty useless buyng another router. Unless their WiFi AP refuses to work between the hag and the subnet, but it has done so far, I dont know why it should stop right now.
That's a bunch of useful information for me tho, I just need to get a decent new router for my house ( 8+ devices connecting to the net ), and now I'm looking forward for an Linksys RV0, thanks for the suggestions!
I guess I'll rely to Hamachi for the VPN then, since I cant get my hands on the damn HAG not even remove it.

From there, you'd be hanging a switch of the router to server the actual clients. Virtually any 8/16 port Gigabit switch would do fine here. You can get decent basic switches from Linksys and D-Link for between $50 and $100. If you wanted to err on the safer side and get something a little higher end with a little more beef behind it, then something like an HP ProCurve is what you're looking at. You can get a good HP switch for around $300-$400. These won't necessarily offer you all that much more beyond a basic Linksys or DLink in an office of <10 people, it's just a little beefier, business-grade switch with a bit of a better warranty. Personally, I always err on the side of higher end, even in smaller offices. I'm the 'over-engineer the solution and play it safe' kind of guy. Plus, anything that could potentially save a couple panicked phone calls to you at odd hours of the day is probably worth it, alone.

Here's what you'd be looking like:

Cable/DSL Modem ---> Router ---> GigE Switch ---> Clients

This is just my 2 cents, lots of different people would have different ideas. But with something like a Linksys RV042 or Sonicwall TZ-180 w/ a good HP switch (attached to a good power bar or UPS) and that would be a really solid network. Lots of other good options though.

Yeah thanks, I'm contemplating the idea of getting an HP Procurve, I just need to talk to the "boss" to see how much they are prone to spend about it.

*edit* I am definitely for an HP ProCurve Switch 1800-8G


Any personal suggestions about which NAS SOHO/SMB solution to use? Looks more or less all the same to me, I have absolutely zero experience in that.
 
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I think your choice of an HP will work great for you. I installed a lower end version on my network last night and I'm back in the 1Gig game again. I just need to enable Jumbo Frames again and see if that is going to be a problem.

As for a NAS. I guess I'm old school and prefer to use spare parts and build one up from scratch. I gather there are some good ones out there however, if your have the parts laying around why not build one. :cool:

I'm sure there are others that are better qualified to provide better insights for which NAS to get.:eek:

Best of Luck ....:D
 
If your friend is stuck using the HAG, that's fair enough, but I pretty much guarantee he's not stuck at all, unless he signed an agreement with the ISP forcing him to use it (which I would think is highly unlikely). I bet you if you guys call up the ISP and do a bit of barking, they'll send you a modem. If that ISP serves any businesses at all, they pretty much have to tailor to the clientele. Providing you're not in a rural situation or limited to only 1 ISP, just threaten that you'll switch ISP's and they'll tailor to your whim.

Not to say a HAG can't serve you, I just personally want to throw them against a wall. But you can use something like Hamatchi which you mention, and that'll get yuo VPN'ing.

No particular advice on which SOHO NAS to use. SNB has lots of good articles and reviews of different products, so it would be worthwhile to check them out. Lots of them differ on speed and features, and whether or not it's BYOD.
 
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If your friend is stuck using the HAG, that's fair enough, but I pretty much guarantee he's not stuck at all, unless he signed an agreement with the ISP forcing him to use it (which I would think is highly unlikely). I bet you if you guys call up the ISP and do a bit of barking, they'll send you a modem. If that ISP serves any businesses at all, they pretty much have to tailor to the clientele. Providing you're not in a rural situation or limited to only 1 ISP, just threaten that you'll switch ISP's and they'll tailor to your whim.
I already had experience with the same ISP as my friends' studio ( Fastweb Italia ), and I can say pretty much for sure that you cant change the HAG; they wont give you the details for configuring a third party router and I think they check the MAC addresses that try to connect to their nodes. I already asked a while ago, and I was told that it is either keep that HAG or change ISP: it is written in their agreement that you have to use the HAG only, and take care of it.

Yes, I'd throw that stuff into a wall too. Those devices have very little RAM and a lousy processor and tend to hog with even small torrenting.
Here in Italy it is really a big issue trying to change ISP. We live in the middle age of telecommunications, switching ISP would mean waiting 2 to 4 weeks without internet.

Let me explain:
Since now, every single copper line in our country has been laid down by a government company, that has recently become private ( formerly SIP, now it's called Telecom Italia ). Other ISPs rent the bundle of telephone lines from TI, no one wants to wire the city again just to have their own private lines. It is damn expensive.
So the problem in changing service provider is that everything has to pass through TI, once for the unsubscription of the old contract, and once for the subscription of the new one. The bastards slow down things on purpose, to harm the competition and to use the sluggish switching times as a deterrent for those who want to change from TI to another ISP.
That's why my friends do not even consider changing ISP, this would mean a very long downtime for them. I already proposed it, thinking about letting them buy a decent enterprise router.

No particular advice on which SOHO NAS to use. SNB has lots of good articles and reviews of different products, so it would be worthwhile to check them out. Lots of them differ on speed and features, and whether or not it's BYOD.
That is right. I'll have a more deep talk with the big boss to figure out what they really need from net storage, and I will pick up a model according to whether they need simple backup or shared media.

Thanks for the kind replies everyone, I'll keep you informed.
 

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