I'm at the very early stages of planning a relatively small network for a local youth charity (to be used 2 / 3 days per week). I have Unix knowledge, and have played around with networking before (setting up a samba server with wireless printing etc), so although I know I have a learning curve, I'm not starting totally from scratch! We have a mixture of Windows and Unix (Ubuntu 12*) clients, and I envisage installing CentOS on the server (unless anyone thinks this is a horrendously bad idea).
Being a scientist in my proper day job, I quite like to play around with things (and see if I can get things working for my own satisfaction!), so the 'requirements' here are probably overkill for the kind of network I'm setting up, but things that I'd eventually like to work. However, if any of them are utterly impossible, feel free to tell me!
The most basic thing is a central filestore - something I know I can set up.
Initially, I'd just like some advice about the physical aspect of the network; I don't know which of the following layouts is the best (if any? or is there a certain amount of personal preference?); note that the router is wireless:
internet --> router (disable wireless connectivity) --> server* --> hub --> workstations internet --> router (wireless connectivity enabled) --> server** --> hub --> workstations internet --> router (disable wireless connectivity) --> hub --> all computers (1 of which is the server***) internet --> router (wireless connectivity enabled) --> hub --> all computers (1 of which is the server****)
* I'd envisage that in this setup, the server would need 3 network cards: 1 in, and 2 out (one of which is wireless)
** I assume that the server in this setup would only need in/out network cards, with the router providing wireless access
* I'd envisage that in this setup, the server would need 2 network cards: 1 in, and 1 wireless out
** I assume that the server in this setup would only need an in network card, with the router providing wireless access
There could, very occasionally, be 20+ computers connected (mix of wireless and wired) to the network; I don't know whether the limiting factor with connectivity would lie with the network / hub I buy, or our internet connection (we're in a small English market town, so no high-speed fibre-optic internet here!); if the former, will an off-the-shelf 16 port hub with 1 Gb network cards in the server be good enough, whichever layout I go for?
If it makes a difference, I'd eventually like:
- wireless access to the filestore on the server
- wireless access to the printer (this could be be network connected or connected directly to the server)
- decent firewall on the server - both as security from the outside and probably to limit access to some websites (both because it's a youth organisation and because I'd be quite interested in seeing how easy controls like that are to set up / maintain)
- (probably) SSH access to server (both inside the network and from outside)
- VPN access (very very low priority! This is totally as a personal challenge)
for the wireless filestore access, wireless printing and firewall, I assume (although have no evidence) that having the server inbetween the internet and all other workstations, as opposed to parallel with all the workstations would make things easier to set up? Are there advantages / disadvantages / caveats to having a wireless card in the server rather than relying on the wireless router (or vice versa)?