20 computers... Do we NEED a router?

April 25, 2011 at 08:35:03
Specs: Windows XP
We ;have a maximum of 20 computers in a room. The electricity is from an unstable source, but can use an inverter with 4 batteries. One of the computers will act as a server for storing student documents and providing access to a printer. Other than that, we would like to network the computers for the internet. Do we need a router or can we get by with just the server?

See More: 20 computers... Do we NEED a router?

Report •

April 25, 2011 at 09:07:37
You don't need a router, but it would be much better than using the server to provide firewall and NAT (IMO). You need a modem anyway, and a modem/router is not much more expensive. You will need to run a couple of 12-port swittches, which can be connected to the router.

Report •

April 25, 2011 at 09:53:04
You don't need a router, but it would be much better than using the server to provide firewall and NAT (IMO).

I couldn't agree more! Considering the cost of a SOHO Router ($50 to 100 USD) they're well worth it. Using a computer to do your NAT means having to have that computer on 24/7. With a router, this isn't necessary and frees the computer up to perform other functions.

The electricity is from an unstable source, but can use an inverter with 4 batteries.

I think you mean UPS (uninterrupted power supply). If you buy a decent one, and IMHO, APC (american power conversion) is the best, they perform conditioning as well as battery backup (in case of a loss of power) and, protection against spikes and brown outs.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

Report •

April 25, 2011 at 11:41:28
Thanks for the help, ijack and Curt R.... I am working in a school in Gulu, Uganda (Africa) and the electric is off as much as it is on. We were thinking about solar back-up but that's a bit too expensive for right now. The school already has a 1.5 Kva inverter with two batteries; we can run 11 computers with flat-panel monitors for at least one class day if we are frugal. The other computers have the old CRT monitors which draw too much power. We've been told we need to get a 2.5 Kva inverter and two additional batteries. The fellow trying to get us networked hasn't mentioned a router and I can't imagine functioning with any degree of speed without one (or more). Apparently, the inverter+batteries functions like a UPS. Any other help you can offer will be much appreciated. It's been about ten years since I ran a classroom lab. I'm very rusty!

Report •

Related Solutions

April 25, 2011 at 23:57:19
The power supply is obviously a separate problem from the networking. (Your router and switches won't use a huge amount of power.) Have you investigated a small petrol or diesel generator to cover power outages? That might be more cost effective than solar or more batteries.

BTW, I grew up in Ngora, a bit south of you. Our only electricity there was a diesel generator which my father had to crank up every night. No computers in those days!

Report •

April 26, 2011 at 01:10:28
Such a small world.... You being from Ngora! Glad you understand the situation, then, having lived in the area with similar problems. I've been here almost three years so far.

No.... We haven't mentioned a diesel/fuel generator.... How large of a generator would be needed to run the 20 computers for about three hours a day? (Not sure that is a good idea, either. Fuel prices have risen greatly in the past two months... To the point that people started a "Walk to Work" offensive which is being violently put down by the government forces.)

Report •

April 26, 2011 at 01:15:57
TBH I am not sure how the costs would compare, just throwing it in as something that might be worth considering. I was thinking of it more as a top-up for when the main supply fails. It may not be practical but it might be worth investigating the potential costs.

But you are right - fuel costs have certainly increased since I lived in Africa; many, many years ago.

Report •

April 26, 2011 at 23:05:57
Again, MANY thanks for your input. I think I can now talk to my local tech with some degree of intelligence! Blessings on your own work!

Report •

Ask Question