Help setting up a computer lab network

October 19, 2010 at 19:52:55
Specs: Windows 2003 Server
Hi everyone,

First a big thank you to the community, I've gotten a lot of helpful information from reading everyone's posts, especially in the networking section.

I am familiar, but still a newbie when it comes to networking. And, it is my responsibility to set up the school's computer lab that was dismantled this summer. Here is the hardware I'm working with:

Dell PowerEdge server
Two Cisco Catalyst 2950 switches
Approximately 30 Dell Optiplex Machines

All I've done so far is hook up all 30 machines to the switches. What I realized was there was a config file on the switches that was preventing them from accessing the internet for some reason. So, I held down the "mode" button which bypassed the config and now all computers have internet access. The two switches are connected to each other by a crossover cable.

My questions are:

1. Literally- how do I connect the server to the network? Do I simply plug an ethernet cable into the 1GB port of the server and the other in into the switch? I tried this earlier, but when I tried to log in on one of the Optiplexes using a username stored on the server I was unable to. Also, I can't connect to the internet on the server- the proxy settings in IE are very different from those of any other computer in the building.

2. Do you think I'm going to need to re-do the config files on the switches?

Any help or assistance would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you

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October 20, 2010 at 07:27:20
1) Just plug it into any of the 24, 100 Mbps ports on the switch. If you have a 1000 Mbps port, it's likely a GBIC used for uplinking and you won't want to plug your server into that. Even if it's an RJ45 connector in the 1000 Mbps slot, don't use it, stick to the 100 Mbps ports. Your server should only have one connection to one switch.

As to how it connects to the internet, compare it's TCP/IP settings to the other computers that are working. It's settings should be identical with the exception of the actual IP address.

2) I would definitely redo the config on the switches. Then you know exactly how they're setup. Since this sounds like just one big network, you can basically default them and leave them be. They'll work for a single subnet/VLAN just fine with the default config. I would however, password them so people can't get in and change the config on you.

I hope you have at the very least a SOHO Router between your network and the internet. If not, spend the $$$ and get one and plug your switches into the LAN ports on it once you have it setup and working.

Personally, I would set all client computers to DHCP and let them get their TCP/IP settings from the router itself and the only computer that would get a static IP would be the server.

A typical SOHO Router's default settings are something like the following:

LAN Side:
IP Address:
Subnet Mask:

DHCP Enabled = yes
DHCP Scope = to
Default Gateway IP =

With regard to the above TCP/IP info, I would give the server the following:

IP Address:

With those settings, it would be able to communicate with the internet and all other network clients.

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***

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October 24, 2010 at 23:03:31
Thank you so much for the advice- with the advice I was able to network the entire lab together. The Cisco switches I will need more help with eventually but for now the network is UP AND RUNNING! Thanks again!

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