February 16, 2019

The Law Office Network/Linux Server Trial - page 2

Getting Started with a Small Business

  • April 4, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

We wanted a server that was modern, standard and stable. We opted for an ASUS motherboard with a 1 GHz. Pentium 3. It had an on-board 10/100 ethernet jack, disk controllers, video and sound chips, with 5 PCI slots. It's in a metal 5 bay tower with a 350 watt power supply. The disk is a 40 Gig, 7200 rpm Maxtor and we ran 512 Mb of RAM. Boots quick and runs great.

I'd been working with SuSE Linux 7.3 Professional for a while and was able to install it on the new server with little fuss. The 2.4 kernel supports many USB devices and would allow adding a scanner or other equipment later. I have never installed Windows NT Server and didn't really see that as a viable option. Moving from lone PCs to a LAN/server required an upgrade on both equipment and staff skills regardless of the server operating system. One brave volunteer is learning LAN/server operation and will do system administration. The staff needed to learn about shared drives and troubleshooting connectivity problems. All machines and the router were on UPSs.

The network cards were a mix of 10/100 Linksys, 3Com and SMC. It came down to what still worked (from a previous network setup) and what was on sale at CompUSA. I strung the CAT 5 cables myself. If you make your own cables, pay particular attention to the twisted pair standard, when putting on RJ-45 connectors. The network will not be reliable unless the pairing is correct.

We had an 8 port Linksys router, but it died after a week. A SMC router successfully replaced the Linksys. The router had a built-in DHCP server and will be a bridge when we do get hooked to a WAN. Roadrunner Business Class was too steep for the attorneys ($80 a month) and DSL (about $40 a month) won't be available until later in the year.

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