The first thing that should be done in this case is to add a server to the network and make the change from a Peer-to-Peer network to a Client/Server network. This give the company a lot more control over what is available to the various users and can help to mitigate risk to sensitive data and other data that does not need to be shared with the entire company. Additionally, this eliminates the need for users to remember multiple username/password combinations. This setup also allows the company to easily add and remove users as the company grows or people leave. Cost to set up a server for this is fairly minimal—especially when considering the level of control it offers. Most machines can be turned into a server simply by installing the correct software.
A couple of options for this are Windows Small Business Server and the Linux-based SME Server. Both options offer an excellent platform to run a network. Windows Small Business Server costs around $550.00 and comes with a lot of built in options and support to get you going. (Microsoft) The downside to this option is that retail software like this are generally not as customizable as some of the other options and there isn’t too much you can do to change that. SME Server, on the other hand, is free to use and is open source. The open source option means that it can be adapted more specifically to your needs through addons and several other methods of tailoring the software to meet your specific needs. (SME Server) However, this option does require a bit of know-how to properly set up and customize.
The next thing that needs to happen is that the Coaxial cable that the network is currently using needs to be replaced with Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable such as Cat-5e. There are many reasons for this, but some of the most important are that UTP cables offer improved signal quality—especially over longer runs—a lot more immunity to interference and, most importantly, greater flexibility to expand the network when the need arises. (Spears, 2009) UTP cabling is also generally thinner than even RG-59, so it is possible that the new cable may be able to be run to the existing locations with minimal hassle.
Cat-5e wire is moderately priced at around $225.00 per 1,000 feet and can be installed quickly and easily with the right tools. ePanorama.net cites the following as benefits of UTP cabling: •Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) Structured Premise Cabling permits many communication protocols to reside in the same wire bundle. Examples include voice, data, and CCTV video and control
. •UTP system is Color-coded cabling
•A good UTP system gives better interference rejection than coax
•UTP is less expensive than dedicated coax or fiber
•UTP is physically smaller than coax and many other cable types
•UTP is a very easy media to install and reconfigure
•UTP is extremely easy to terminate
•In many cases, the wire is already installed (ePanorama.net) Another option for the company’s network is Fiber Optic cabling. Traditionally, this is considered to be more expensive than moving to a UTP setup.
However, when you take into consideration that you are not limited to 100 meter runs and, because of that, you can often eliminate the need for telecom closets—which means you don’t have to pay for the HVAC to operate year-round as well—it means that moving to a fiber optic network doesn’t necessarily cost more in the long run. (The Fiber Optic Association) The remaining disadvantages of Fiber Optics—the generally high cost of installation, the need for special equipment to tune and test and the susceptibility to physical damage; to name a few—have caused many companies to stick with UTP cabling.
ePanorama.net. Twisted pair cables. Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.epanorama.net/documents/wiring/twistedpair.html Microsoft. . Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-small-business-server/default.aspx SME Server. . Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://wiki.contribs.org/Main_Page Spears, A. (2009, November 6). Twisted pair wiring vs. coax. Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.elertgadget.com/palert/twisted_pair_wiring_vs_coax_8230.htm The Fiber Optic Association. Is An All-Fiber LAN Really Cheaper Than Copper? Retrieved April 26, 2012, from http://www.thefoa.org/tech/allfiber.htm