Hello everyone, been a while since I've posted here, but I have a question I'm hoping I can get some help with. I have recently been giving a chance to work for small local company setting up and managing their network of approximately fifteen computers. Now, I have setup small networks before in my home and for others consisting of 3-5 machines, but I've never undertaken anything of this scale before. My employer wishes to have these workstations all in communication with a server and later on down the road he wants to use terminal stations of which I currently know nothing. Hmm...how over my head am I? (Is this the kind of thing you can learn as you go?) My first question, beyond whether or not I can actually do this...is what would be a good managed switch for the network? I need one that is reliable and affordable, but also not too difficult to use. I'm thinking a 24-port switch is the way to go so that I have future room for expansion. I have worked with the Cisco 2950 a long time ago back in school, but I think that something like that may be out of our price range. I've been looking at models like the Netgear FSM726 or Dell PC 2724. Bare with me here, I know very little about business networking and what is good and what is not. What would be a good switch at or around $500 that would allow me to connect approximately fifteen workstations/terminals to a server and vice versa? What does Level 3 mean in a managed switch and is it something I need? My second question, has to do with my server. Currently he has a C2D E6550 with 2 GBs of RAM running Windows XP. Currently it only has one hard disk, so the first thing I was thinking of doing was setting up RAID1 on two new hard drives. Does this sound like a good idea for backup in the short-term? I was also thinking a secondary external hard disk setup to be removable could be used as a fail safe backup. I am also wondering what would be the best operating system to run on the server. Please don't say Linux anything...I really don't want to deal with learn a whole new OS on top of everything else. I know that you can network with XP, but wouldn't I better off with a server OS? I've used Server 2003 before, but never 2008. I can get a legit copy of it from my employer if I need it for the server so money isn't a real issue here. I know that I'll need "seats" for the license, but I need to know what OS to pick first. My last question (for now...hehe) has to do with security. Do I need a seperate firewall between us and the Internet? My boss wants to get one, but I want to make sure that's necessary first in that the switch doesn't have one (I'm almost positive they don't) and that I know what an affordable yet good one to get is. Any recommendations? I know this is long, but thanks for taking the time to read.