I am very new to networking and I wanted to put my theoretical knowledge to practice by mounting a server at home. A friend of mine told me to make separate networks in order for easy testing with no worries of breaking something and loosing my internet access. So for the moment I am working on separate networks. I want to handle DHCP with my server and not with my router, I also want to include a managed switch in order to learn how to use it . The router I will use only as a WAP. I have two main questions.

Question 1: Where do I place my router either diagram 1 or diagram 2? Question 2: Where do I place my managed switch in the diagram?

Diagram 1
Diagram 1

Diagram 2 Diagram 2


Seeing as how you are new to networking, I am going to suggest a few edits to your topology (network layout) that will save you money, in addition to learning some networking strategies that are used in bigger network deployments.

  1. First of all you only need one router. You can either use an old desktop, buy a PCI NIC, and install pfSense (which is what I would recommend, its free, open source, and has a good amount of documentation) or you could use a Cisco router. I would highly discourage you from buying a typical consumer wireless router as you will find that they can limit your capabilities with enterprise networking equipment.
  2. Second, you will want a managed switch, my preference is Cisco, as they are an industry leader with a huge support base. You can find older Cisco Gb managed switches used on eBay for like $250. Not top of the line, but good for learning. You should then setup VLANs which essentially creates two separate networks, but doesn't require separate hardware. From there you can buy an access point (AP) for to provide wireless access for your network. You can also use VLANs with multiple SSIDs to create wireless for both of your networks. I personally use Ubiquiti AP's, very easy to use, but there are TONS of options, just do some research before you buy.
  3. I would recommend looking into virtualization options such as VMware, Virtual Box, or Hyper-V or even Amazon AWS. These programs and services will allow you to run most of this network topology virtually, without the need for expensive hardware.

I have included a model of a topology that you could adopt. Keep in mind connections that have multiple VLANs on them will require trunking. You can also edit the configurations in your router to set a static IP on your server and point the DHCP service for your networks to that IP.

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