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Small Business Network Setup (Any Cisco guys?)


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#1 TropicalPreist

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:37 PM

Hello,

 

I'm working for an International School here in Dongguan, China. For years the school has used a network setup in this format ISP Connection > Basic Router > "Cheap" Unmanaged 24 port Switch. All DHCP being handled by just the router. The switch would connect all LAN devices to the internet via Ethernet and any wireless routers as AP's. (A Mix of different brands acting as AP's.)

We are now about to move our central office to a new building. I wanted to take this opportunity to setup a more structured network. The ideal office setup for me would be to have a Cisco router, Cisco 24 port Switch and 3 Ap's in the Office. My problem is i don't have any knowledge of CLI and using it to configure ports etc. Are there any models that are mid-range enough for me to setup through a GUI? I've only come to be familiar with setting up a static address on a home router and then just using a basic switch to connect devices to the internet. What Cisco Equipment should i buy? To start a friend suggested a Cisco ISR 1841 or 871. Can anyone help? 


Edited by TropicalPreist, 15 October 2013 - 09:38 PM.


#2 Locutus

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:33 AM

I spent a bit of time working on cisco equipment, enough to tell you that they are boringly simple and the help command is OP. :lol:


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#3 Nerm

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 04:54 AM

Would need much more information to suggest specific equipment. How many users now and how many do you expect in the next 5 years? Will servers be added to the network now or in the future? Will you be using VLAN's? What are you security requirements? How important is network redundancy? Budget limitations?

 

These questions are important to know in network design. For example if redundancy and security are not that important and you have less than 50 users then there is no sense in spending several grand on routers and switches. In this example your existing setup probably meets your needs fine. Maybe shell out a few extra bucks for a managed switch to give you more control over the network.


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#4 TropicalPreist

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 04:55 PM

Would need much more information to suggest specific equipment. How many users now and how many do you expect in the next 5 years? Will servers be added to the network now or in the future? Will you be using VLAN's? What are you security requirements? How important is network redundancy? Budget limitations?

 

These questions are important to know in network design. For example if redundancy and security are not that important and you have less than 50 users then there is no sense in spending several grand on routers and switches. In this example your existing setup probably meets your needs fine. Maybe shell out a few extra bucks for a managed switch to give you more control over the network.

1.Support 30 users in the office.

2.At the moment we won't need to use VLANs but in the future I'd like to incorporate them for different needs.

3.Servers will be added next October when a new budget hits. But not now.

4.For Security we'd be fine with just a firewall in place or a router that supports the feature.

5.Redundancy is low priority to my boss but I think otherwise.

6.Budget isn't really defined I was just told not to go crazy. 

 

It's 8:54am our time over here. Hope this reaches you before you call it a night. Thanks!



#5 Nerm

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:38 PM

Will there be need for link aggregation to the servers when deployed? If redundancy is a low priority then it makes the setup fairly simple. Does the 30 users include wifi users and the byod craze? As for the access points are you planning on individual devices or centralized management?

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#6 TropicalPreist

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:59 PM

Will there be need for link aggregation to the servers when deployed? If redundancy is a low priority then it makes the setup fairly simple. Does the 30 users include wifi users and the byod craze? As for the access points are you planning on individual devices or centralized management?

 

1. No link aggregation will be needed. But I'm curious if it should be considered since my hopes are to get a MPLS connection setup for cross communication between sites. Though we can't afford a second connection at the moment anyway.

2. Yes to the second question. 

3. Centralized management would be a huge plus. I know my old job used a WAN controller to maintain all the info for the AP's. Individual with the option or capability of being centrally managed in the future?



#7 Nerm

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:52 AM

Link aggregation doesn't really having anything to do with MPLS. Link aggregation is for say you want to bond 4 NIC's in a server to 4 ports on a switch as a single high capcity/failover link. MPLS is a completely different ballgame then what you are looking at doing. Is it a networking protocol basically intended to lower the workload on core routers in large networks (eg. ISP's, Multi-tenant data centers, etc). Are the two sites on the same campus or far enough apart geographically to require network traffic to traverse the internet to reach each other?

 

In my opinion if you are thinking about having wireless management centralized in the future anyway it is best to go ahead and do it in the initial network deployment. Cisco and others are outrageously expensive for this type of thing but look into Ubiquiti Networks "UniFi" wireless AP offerings. 


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#8 TropicalPreist

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:11 PM

Link aggregation doesn't really having anything to do with MPLS. Link aggregation is for say you want to bond 4 NIC's in a server to 4 ports on a switch as a single high capcity/failover link. MPLS is a completely different ballgame then what you are looking at doing. Is it a networking protocol basically intended to lower the workload on core routers in large networks (eg. ISP's, Multi-tenant data centers, etc). Are the two sites on the same campus or far enough apart geographically to require network traffic to traverse the internet to reach each other?

 

In my opinion if you are thinking about having wireless management centralized in the future anyway it is best to go ahead and do it in the initial network deployment. Cisco and others are outrageously expensive for this type of thing but look into Ubiquiti Networks "UniFi" wireless AP offerings. 

I always though of link aggregation more or less as Teaming NICS. But your explanation is more clear. What do you think of Meraki?



#9 Nerm

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:42 PM

NIC teaming is a form of link aggregation.

 

Meraki is owned by Cisco and makes good access points, but not a huge fan of their "cloud" controller subscription model. You could literally get something just as good from Ubiquiti for 1/4 the price and no reoccurring subscription fee.


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#10 TropicalPreist

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:18 PM

NIC teaming is a form of link aggregation.

 

Meraki is owned by Cisco and makes good access points, but not a huge fan of their "cloud" controller subscription model. You could literally get something just as good from Ubiquiti for 1/4 the price and no reoccurring subscription fee.

Great thanks I'll look into them and update!



#11 TropicalPreist

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:36 PM

Found this pretty awesome thread on the topic.

 

http://community.spi...s-ubiquiti-waps



#12 Nerm

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:17 PM

If you want to go with Cisco equipment for the router and switch and based on the information you have provided I would recommend 800 series router and a 2960 w/ LAN Lite series switch. With the size and simplicity of your network even these I mentioned are really overkill, but you gave me the impression of wanting something higher-end with more expansion capability and features.

 

If you were on a tight budget I would suggest going with a Mikrotik router and just about any L2 managed switch would do (Netgear, Trendnet, Cisco, etc). Really since you aren't looking for any specific features or capabilities most any SMB grade router/switch would do the job. With that being said if you see VLAN's, IP Phone systems, etc type things being added in the near future then I definitely recommend the higher-end equipment (eg. Cisco 800 series and 2960 series or similar).


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