Okay so we wish to setup a small office LAN / WLAN. We have 10 desktop PC's and 5 Laptops. which makes around 20 users. Those with laptops will only connect via the wireless network, if needed they will also use the LAN cable.

We require a server, we have a modem and router for Internet use via the server. We also want to use Windows Server 2008 R2 and provide its services to users such as file sharing, printer sharing, web application access (intranet site), VPN access, etc etc and everything else that comes with the Server OS. Also if we need to have MS exchange email, do we need a separate server for that or can we have that on the same server? Since the number of users are barely 15, we don't really want have hi-fi requirements. We would also probably need a switch or a hub. Ofcourse we want to be able to upgrade the network if we have more users or the server needs more ram or hard disk.

Can some of please suggest a list of hardware (doesnt have to be vendor specific just names of devices) we can use, while others please suggest what softwares to use on server / clients. We will be assembling the server so please suggest parts like processor, HDD etc.

Lastly, Is there any step by step tutorial online to setup such a small LAN / WLAN based network? With diagrams and screenshots to setup such a network?

Thanks! :)

  • 1
    You should be using Windows Small Business Server OS instead, based on your comment about Exchange. You also need to make sure you understand CAL licensing, etc...especially if you stay with just 2008 R2. – TheCleaner May 7 '12 at 16:09
  • how does this CAL licensing work? – Amjad May 7 '12 at 16:59
  • read this: google.com/… which is about the best reference for end users. – TheCleaner May 7 '12 at 18:15

Generally if you want to build a server yourself from parts, you already know how to do it and what parts to buy. Otherwise, it will be far more inexpensive in the long run to just buy a server pre-assembled (and with support) from one of the major vendors (HP, Dell, IBM, etc.) I recommend against White-box server vendors (I used to be forced to deal with Seneca Data, and it was awful.)

Get multiple multi-core processors, redundant power-supplies, and hot-swappable drives. Don't buy the cheapest model, but it doesn't sound like you need a really beefy machine, either. If you don't have a rack of servers already, just get a tower-model server.

Contact the vendor that you like and get a sales rep. They'll help you size what you need, and may be able to get you small breaks that won't be available (or at least is hidden) on the website.

Since your company is so small it may be worth your while to look into Windows SBS (Small Business Server). It comes with a limited number of user licenses (I think 5 initially), but you can purchase additional packs of 5 user licenses to meet your needs.

  • + 1 for avoiding whitebox. Support is priceless when you need it. – Dave M May 7 '12 at 16:14
  • hey thanks a lot for your reply. very informative. actually we are a pretty huge company, this is a new floor of our office with 20 new people. We will definitely look into buying a pre-assembled server for the long run..and a tower model server will just do. This server is only for this particular floor. no other floors will have access to it. as this is a separate division of the company. its totally different from other networks inside the company. – Amjad May 7 '12 at 16:56
  • +2 for avoiding whitebox. The big brands will typically offer extendable warranties that compel the vendor to replace failed parts within a few hours of failure. For a whitebox this could mean a week with no server while you get a cruicial part swapped out, having to purchase a replacement part while you wait for the warrantied part to be swapped or even holding stocks of all possible replacement parts. – Robin Gill May 7 '12 at 17:02
  • btw are there any fully detailed LAN server setup guides that you may know of? A link to it would be really awesome! :) – Amjad May 7 '12 at 17:03
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    Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard Installation Guide - microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=13913 This is assuming you will use Windows SBS 2011 (I would advise this over 2003/2088 unless you have a complessing reason to do so). – Robin Gill May 7 '12 at 17:55

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