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View Full Version : Help build a network for a small office.



facattack
June 8th, 2014, 07:55 AM
When I worked for Walmart last year they had these small, dinky computers in the HR office. The personnel ladies had their own and there were four for training job tasks. I had never seen something so puny! It had to be netwroked together somehow. Where else would the computing power come from. Unfortunately my job at the time was to colllect carts and when I asked small questions about the hardware I got grumpy replies about how much htey lagged.

I was thinking how cool it would be to have my own office setup. I even wonder right now if the things can run MMOs. Do they need a large, expensive server to run? Lenovo looks like an interesting name but I did a quick web search and found Wyse as well.

Now I know tthe things are lliterally called "thin computers." I missed out on LAN parties of Quake III: Arena or the other Quake/ Doom games. I have practical ideas as well.

So I need recommendations for thin computer terminals (refrurbished would be dandy), a server if I need one, and routers. Plus a cloud computing solution.

So far the friends I have an interest in doing the startup with already have smart phones. Just installing dropbox would help, wouldn't it?

I need text chatting. Something simple. Previously i've only had my one dinky proboards web forum.

I'm looking at no more than four "slave" computers and one new PC.

luvit
June 8th, 2014, 11:51 AM
The thin clients you saw in Walmart were thin clients over a secure VPN through the Internet. The server is located in Arkansas Headquarters. A typical install with typical solutions will have lag.
If you're trying to learn this stuff, checkout LTSP.ORG. In the 90s this site rocked with great information. . I'm sure it's even better now. It's a great way to start with off the shelf PCs and network cards.

g4ugm
June 8th, 2014, 12:56 PM
I have a couple of the NeoWare thin clients which are available cheaply on E-Pay, but in general most will work just fine. I havn't tried LTSP but it sounds nice...

Chuck(G)
June 8th, 2014, 01:55 PM
Heck, I run Linux and XP on my Neowares. Even the low-end ones run Win98SE just fine. FWIW, I use a 44-pin IDE-to-CF adapter on them.

facattack
June 8th, 2014, 04:46 PM
What are the specs on the NeoWares???

What I think I need might be a PC acting as a server computer (something cheap wiith Windows 7 on it). I could go wired or wireless. Whatever I do I think for a thin client PC the Ncomputing seems a good idea and the X series came as a 3 pack BUT they don't seem to have USB ports on them...

Anyway, http://www.computerrefurb.com/ could be better.I can have the client PCs be the same as the server one. Wireless adaptor, keyboards,mice, monitors, etc. I sorta want to do this on the cheap butt also want to LAN up some games of Warcraft III as welll as some FPS games.

Here's some notes I wrote down building a shopping list...

Hardware

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859325007 = NComputing L300 Virtual Thin Client System for Windows and Linux VDI Solution $164.99


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106050&cm_re=network_card-_-33-106-050-_-Product
http://www.computerrefurb.com/deals-of-the-day/dell-optiplex-755-tower-c2d-2-0ghz-2gb-80gb-win-7/
Intel E1G44HTBLK Server Adapter I340-T4 (Bulk Pack) 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express 2.0 4 x RJ45 249.99
(possibility)


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127215&cm_re=wireless_router-_-33-127-215-_-Product
D-Link Xtreme Gigabit Router (DIR-655) Wireless N300, USB SharePort, Gigabit 69.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824160176&cm_re=monnitor-_-24-160-176-_-Product
AOC E2060SWDA Black 19.5" 5ms LED Backlight Monitor 220 cd/m2 20,000,000:1 Built-in Speakers 99.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823700122&cm_re=keyboard_mouse-_-23-700-122-_-Product
HP Stylish USB Keyboard and Mouse H4B80AA#ABA Black USB Wired Standard Keyboard
29.99


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236656&cm_re=mycloud-_-22-236-656-_-Product
WD My Cloud EX2 4TB Personal Cloud Storage - NAS (WDBVKW0040JCH-NESN) 369.99

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/wd-my-cloud-2tb-personal-cloud-storage-external-hard-drive-nas-white/1766059.p?id=1219063237222&skuId=1766059&st=mycloud&cp=1&lp=3 = WD - My Cloud 2TB Personal Cloud Storage External Hard Drive (NAS) – White 134.99

http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-Refurbished-DC5700-Desktop-PC-with-Intel-Core-2-Duo-Processor-4GB-Memory-750GB-Hard-Drive-and-Windows-7-Home-Premium/19534026 HP Pre-Owned, Refurbished DC5700 Desktop PC with Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4GB Memory, 750GB Hard Drive and Windows 7 Home Premium (Monitor Not Included) 189.80

http://www.computerrefurb.com/

Doug G
June 8th, 2014, 04:58 PM
I just bought a dual Xeon w/16gb RAM off Ebay for 99 bucks (no hard drives or monitor included). It's a backup for an identical server I have that runs linux serving as a KVM virtual machine host server.

You can build your own "cloud" server with something like owncloud, and your own NAS with something like freeNAS (open source apps). You can setup your own web server/mail server with ispconfig3, another open source app.

You shouldn't need to get any additional NIC's, pretty much any computer will have built-ins.

Chuck(G)
June 8th, 2014, 05:18 PM
The Neoware boxes vary considerably. About the only thing that they seem to have in common is that they use VIA CPUs and chipsets. Clock speeds range from about 400MHz to 1GHz. HP bought them some years back. Most of mine are the 800MHz, 512MB CA21 variety with 4 USB ports (there's a header on the motherboard for 2 more), NIC, VGA, parallel, 2 serial, PS/2 key+mouse and sound. Support of USB CD ROM, hard disk, floppy and pendrive is in the BIOS. At 19W running, it's a pretty cool little device. No fans, power supply in the box.

http://www.parkytowers.me.uk/thin/neoware/CA21/

kb2syd
June 9th, 2014, 05:29 AM
Most of mine are the 800MHz, 512MB CA21 variety with 4 USB ports (there's a header on the motherboard for 2 more), NIC, VGA, parallel, 2 serial, PS/2 key+mouse and sound. Support of USB CD ROM, hard disk, floppy and pendrive is in the BIOS. At 19W running, it's a pretty cool little device. No fans, power supply in the box.

I love the CA21s. I have one running the local radio club's DX spider machine.

I have 12 more running XPe(embedded) networked together in custom made racks (each rack holds 4 units). They use a RaspberryPi as DHCP server and WiFi access point. Storage is a little 8GB industrial flash drive. We use these for logging during Amateur Radio contests. There is a switch mounted on each rack to keep the number of long cables to a minimum. No moving parts for field day.

g4ugm
June 9th, 2014, 02:26 PM
The Neoware boxes vary considerably. About the only thing that they seem to have in common is that they use VIA CPUs and chipsets. Clock speeds range from about 400MHz to 1GHz. HP bought them some years back. Most of mine are the 800MHz, 512MB CA21 variety with 4 USB ports (there's a header on the motherboard for 2 more), NIC, VGA, parallel, 2 serial, PS/2 key+mouse and sound. Support of USB CD ROM, hard disk, floppy and pendrive is in the BIOS. At 19W running, it's a pretty cool little device. No fans, power supply in the box.

http://www.parkytowers.me.uk/thin/neoware/CA21/

That's what I really like about the NeoWare boxes. No "Soap on a Rope" PSU just plug and go...

Chuck(G)
June 9th, 2014, 02:46 PM
The Neoware boxes use the VIA chipset and, as I discovered, Linuces using the Debian kernel no longer like the VIA IDE/SATA adapter that's buried within them. The BSDs work pretty well as do older Linuces (e.g. I think Squeeze may be last Debian that ran on it). Try something later and you get the "You got no hard disk!" during installation. I don't know of a workaround.

Progress, I guess.

barythrin
June 10th, 2014, 07:58 AM
I'm not 100% sure what you saw would work for gaming. LAN parties and such were typically everyone persons computer doing the graphics. The rest was just a hub or switch connecting everyone to each other (and depending on the game to a "server" or internet or one person could host and the rest connect to them). So in my experience a few games DID allow you to have a server and everyone could log in but it didn't need a bunch of beef. Most of us used a spare or slower gaming system/desktop and it was able to host probably 8 of us playing since it really isn't doing much itself. It's not rendering the graphics and we're not streaming the graphics. The end system did the graphic computing so we all needed to have a decent video card (for that era of game).

For business applications that don't refresh the screen very often, that yes you could have a server with some virtual systems running and you could Remote desktop or VNC into them from a thin client/thin terminal/spare system and it would do all the computing on the server. It works alright depending on the technology and some lag if it really needs to refresh the screen a lot (although Remote Desktop today works pretty seemless) but you wouldn't want to do remote graphics and gaming you'd get .3 frames per second.

kb2syd
June 10th, 2014, 09:56 AM
The Neoware boxes use the VIA chipset and, as I discovered, Linuces using the Debian kernel no longer like the VIA IDE/SATA adapter that's buried within them.
I've searched for any background on this and didn't find anything. Can you point me to any references to this, or is this just personal experience?

Thanks,
Kelly

facattack
June 10th, 2014, 10:16 AM
I'm not 100% sure what you saw would work for gaming. LAN parties and such were typically everyone persons computer doing the graphics. The rest was just a hub or switch connecting everyone to each other (and depending on the game to a "server" or internet or one person could host and the rest connect to them). So in my experience a few games DID allow you to have a server and everyone could log in but it didn't need a bunch of beef. Most of us used a spare or slower gaming system/desktop and it was able to host probably 8 of us playing since it really isn't doing much itself. It's not rendering the graphics and we're not streaming the graphics. The end system did the graphic computing so we all needed to have a decent video card (for that era of game).

Company of Heroes, Quake 4, and Warcraft III support LAN. I'll have to do research to see what a general concensus is. Might look into the older Quake games... or Warcraft II. I was looking thruough http://www.computerrefurb.com/ when I thought about a graphics card... doesn't say if it has any expansion slots and they all are Optiplexes.

I should say I'm thinking of doing advoacy program for the mentally ill or atleast that's the plan. We'd also have virtual meetings for "Double Trouble" and other concerns Maybe discuss the origins of Learning Disabilites.

Here's one I see that's refurbished by Walmart. http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-Refurbished-110-023wb-Desktop-PC-With-Intel-Pentium-G2020T-Processor-8GB-Memory-1TB-Hard-Drive-and-Windows-8-Monitor-Not-Included/29504661



For business applications that don't refresh the screen very often, that yes you could have a server with some virtual systems running and you could Remote desktop or VNC into them from a thin client/thin terminal/spare system and it would do all the computing on the server. It works alright depending on the technology and some lag if it really needs to refresh the screen a lot (although Remote Desktop today works pretty seemless) but you wouldn't want to do remote graphics and gaming you'd get .3 frames per second.

Ah. I guess I could set aside a gaming PC in the corner. I kinda thought it would be nice if people could access a virual world such as Inwordlz or Second Life. So much cooler than a chat room. :D