View Full Version : Networks for small schools

Rob Woodhouse
12-05-2006, 05:58 PM
Hi we are a small rural school with about 10 computers peer to peer networked. mostly used online through broadband connection, mostly windows XP. Do we need a server? if so any thoughts on which is best

12-05-2006, 06:04 PM
i would use an old pc as a basic server. at the very least run content filtering and web caching which will help with speed and cut down data useage. ie all the pc's have to connect to the net through it. i would NEVER EVER let a bunch of kids unrestricted access to the net on a school pc, its just begging for problems.

do you need to run anything else from a server? printers? database?

Rob Woodhouse
12-05-2006, 06:15 PM
We use schoolzone filtering and watch our kids - issue is MOE reccomends spending a lot of money on new cabling and linex server - what we have seems to work - are we missing something?

12-05-2006, 07:44 PM
you could get away without a linux server, a basic MS setup would do for small amounts of pc's.

personally i don't like having filtering/firewall etc done out of my reach.

cabling? what sort of cabling does it have? you should be able to putt he server where the modem/router is.

has MOE said WHY you NEED a server?

12-05-2006, 08:05 PM
A free *nix server can offer the following services:

*firewall - security and throttling
*http proxy and dns - caching and filtering of web content
*fileserver - storage and back-up
*drives and peripherals - share optical/floppy drives, printers etc

Does need a bit of fiddling with if you have no/little *nix experience.

Have a look at FreeBSD. The minimal install comes with firewall (IPFW/pf), NFS for drive-sharing and back-up tools (dump and restore). You can easily install SAMBA (filesharing) and squid for http proxying. You can also just run the "instant-server" port and all of these (and more) will be installed and configured (basic, generic) for you.

Additional hardware - a switch or router with enough ports, and at least a 200MHz CPU/128Mb machine. DIsk(s) size(s) determined by how much you want to back-up/mail/files etc.

12-05-2006, 08:42 PM
I second the Linux server. When I am not tutoring at the local Poly, I look after a small school - 8 desktops and 3 laptops (wireless) all running XP Pro except for one laptop (Apple). The Redhat 9 server:
1. acts as a MSWindows domain file server
2. has a strong firewall in between 2 network cards out to the web (ADSL)
3. DHCP server
4. Apache web server
5. backups for workstations using g4u (free BSD based ghosting software)
6. printer server to the photocopier

MofEd now release some of their software to run on Redhat or Fedora. Linux is very stable.

12-05-2006, 08:49 PM
Do we need a server?
The most important reason to have a server is that students get to save work centrally - so when they come back to work on a project later in the day and somebody else is using "their" computer, they just use another one and get their files off the server. Next might be centrally controlled user accounts with personal storage space - which can be monitored and tracked if necessary!

Rob Woodhouse
13-05-2006, 09:44 AM
Thanks for your thoughts