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Networking help for my new office

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by twicksisted, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. twicksisted

    twicksisted

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    I am moving my business into a new office over the weekend. There is space for around 20 workstations (I haven't counted exactly yet but its around that figure and I'm at home now so cant check exactly) There are neat desk level wall sockets and an Ethernet/ Telephone plug socket for each desk space running around the walls in conduit.

    The Ethernet cabling for all the Ethernet ports in the office run back into the server room next door to the office and to the back of the server rack and at least half of the cables still have their Ethernet plugs on still (some are just cut off and I will need to add plugs). All the cabling appears to be numbered and so are the ports in the wall which should help somewhat!

    Basically what I want to do is buy a large gigabit switch to put in the existing server rack and plug the Ethernet cables into it so that the Ethernet ports running along the walls of the office all work.

    The internet and phone lines are getting activated on the 30th Dec and I will have an ADSL2 modem which I will plug into the switch to give internet access to all these ports.

    I have no idea if the existing network cabling is cat5, cat6 POE etc and dont know the difference so my questions are:

    • How do I know what type of Ethernet is wired in there already?
    • What type of Ethernet (Cat 5/6 etc) do I need for normal networking of standard PC's like you would at home to a regular home router?
    • If the Ethernet is setup in a certain way (Cat5,Cat6 etc) and I need the other type, would I just be able to crimp new plugs onto the ends of the wires to make it work or would I have to recable new wires it all as there would be missing internal wires?
    • What tools will I need to do this? I am assuming a network tester, crimping tool and spare Ethernet plugs

    I'm going back in on Monday to make sense of this mess and will try to take pictures to show the setup in more detail.

    I am very competent in computer building, but my knowledge of networking doesn't stretch further than setting up a basic home network on a broadband modem/router and I've never tried crimping network cables before.
     
  2. remixedcat

    remixedcat

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    Is the switch a layer 3 one with routing?

    Best to have Cat6, but 5e should be fine.

    Tester budget?

    What router are they using? Enterprise level recommendation: Meraki. Cloud managed (you can take remote control of the network from anywhere with internet and even pre-configure the router before you get it!) Very decent pricing and excellent support. They improve the firmware constantly and since it's cloud managed you always get the latest firmware and no need to flash it and take down the network. It doesn't need CLI interface so you can dive right in and configure. I have one of thier APs and it's awesome the amount of controls you have. The routers have the same level of control as well. Very nice.

    I also recommend thier APs for wireless as well. Excellent controls, great coverage, and the most granular QoS I've seen. I have an MR12 AP.
     
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  3. twicksisted

    twicksisted

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    The only internet service we can get in there at the moment is BT ADSL2 which comes with a 4-port router. Gonna be slow for now but they are enabling fibre in future in the area.
    I want to have gigabit Ethernet in the office between pc's and nothing fancy so I was thinking of a 24 port Netgear switch.
    Most of my office PC's are running Win8 64bit (not professional) so I cant have a fancy network setup.
    I really just need to set this up as cheep and cheerful as possible as the office move has cost a fortune!
     
  4. remixedcat

    remixedcat

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    Ok, so you allready have a router... what are you doing for wireless? I highly recommend an MR12. You can get one free for attending a webinar as well. That's how I got mine.
    https://meraki.cisco.com/webinars

    For business reasons I do NOT recommend consumer class wireless gear for companies dealing with sensitive data, as the security isn't very good for businesses.

    Do you need any kind of management like VLANs and QoS? If you need those you will need a managed switch. I think Netgear has managed switches for decent prices. Meraki also has those as well and they have cloud management just like the routers and APs do.
     
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  5. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    If you are planning on upgrading internet service, and possibly getting a different modem/router, I'd recommend getting your own router and using that for your internal network and putting the ISP's equipment in bridge mode so it acts as a modem only. If the ISP's equipment doesn't support bridge mode, first slap your IPS's representative for giving you crap equipment, then put our router in the modem's DMZ.

    Now, as for what type of cable you have, read the side. It will tell you.

    As long as it is at least Cat5e you should be fine, Cat5e will handle Gigabit so all it good, and if they wired the whole place it is likely they at least used Cat5e. And honestly even if its only Cat5(which is rare unless it is old) that will do 100M, which for an office environment is usually fast enough.

    POE runs over any cable, your equipment has to support POE, so if the switch you buy doesn't support POE then you won't have it.

    Tools you absolutely need are obvious a Crimping tool and ethernet plugs. They make plugs that don't require crimping tools, but for beginners they are a real pain in the ass, hell they are pain in the ass for veterans like myself. Having a tester would be nice, but isn't necessary, and testers are cheap.

    My recommendation: (Obviously I know you aren't in the US so you can't order from newegg, but this should give you an idea)

    Crimper: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1HE0YF1678 (Make sure you get a good metal crimper, those plastic crimpers are garbage.)

    Tester: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899997005 (This really all you need, I used a similar basic tester for years doing networking.)

    RJ45 Heads: These are Obvious, so no link.

    Router: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320088 (I use this router in offices with 30-50 people with no problem. But really anything that will support Tomato or DD-WRT will work. Those firmware really make these routers awesome and bring them up to basically business class.)

    Switch: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833166071 (Basically any 24+ Port Gigabit switch will work.)
     
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  6. twicksisted

    twicksisted

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    Thanks for the reply guys.

    I'm not handling sensitive data and I don't have a big budget... All I want to do is plug the wires from each of the Ethernet sockets that are already in the wall into a switch... then plug that switch into my modem that I'm getting on the 30th.
    That will give internet access to all the Ethernet ports that are located around the walls of the office so we could add more desks/terminals as we grow.

    I'm mainly concerned that the existing internal wires of each cable already fitted there may be configured to an Ethernet type that wont work properly and I will have to recaprehead all the wires.

    I'm really not clued up on the different types of Ethernet cabling and what the differences are in how they work.

    As suggested I'm going to purchase a cable tester, crimping tool & come RJ45 heads and hgopefully this will all work out as pain free as possible :)

    As we grow larger and I have more free money, ill buy a better modem as suggested and perhaps a standalone firewall etc. For now we just need internet access on our terminals in the cheapest most pain free way possible.
     
  7. remixedcat

    remixedcat

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    You can take a look at the cables and see what type they are if in doubt.
     
  8. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Even if they are a different type, the wiring is the same. What I mean is Cat5e and Cat6 are wired the same way.

    The only reason I say get a separate router that is yours now is because switching to a new connection can suck. I've been there before. Everything is set up and working, IPs for network printer all set, server IPs setup, and then you get a new ISP and the new boxes IP scheme doesn't work with the old one and you have to do all the setup again. Spending the $50 now is worth it to prevent that, IMO.
     
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  9. remixedcat

    remixedcat

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    Well the good thing about Meraki routers is that you can pre configure the stuff before it even shows up! You can set IP ranges to be the same as your old ones really easy. I love that.

    I did the same with my Meraki AP and I kept the IP ranges the same and configured all my guest networks, and firewall settings and everything before the unit even showed up. Then when I connected it it was allready ready.

    It's pretty easy to change that in most routers.
     

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