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How to Design a Computer Network for a Small Business

Updated on June 19, 2013
Small Businesses can benefit from networking by allowing one Internet connection to service multiple employees.
Small Businesses can benefit from networking by allowing one Internet connection to service multiple employees. | Source

Connect Your Business

Many users do not understand how they are able to connect to the Internet, and just where all of that information is. Let’s discuss first, what is the Internet? The Internet is a vast array of computers, some huge, some small, many midsize, and all in between. All of these computers house some sort of data, and host applications for others to use. Those computers are connected to a backbone network, provided by what’s called an ISP, or Internet Service Provider. Your cable company or phone company is likely your ISP. So now we have a bunch of computers, connected to backbone networks, talking to each other, and asking for services from one another. In the simplest terms, that IS the Internet. Things like YouTube, Google, Yahoo!, and Twitter are all hosted on computers (several though in reality.) Now that we know what the Internet is, let’s talk about how your business can connect to it.

Cost Overview

The cost caps associated with this proposal are less than $5000 in initial procurement costs, and no more than $200 in recurring cost per month. Based on funds available and resources desired, this network solution can be purchased and installed in two weeks.

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Proposed Procurement List

1.Proposed Equipment List:

  • OptiPlex 380 Mini Tower x 2 ($517)=$1025
  • Dell 1355cn Multifunction Color LED Printer=$300
  • Cisco WRVS4400N Wireless N Security Router=$175
  • 1 15ft Coaxial Cable=$25
  • 3 CAT5 Ethernet Patch Cables=$50

2.Proposed Software List: Microsoft Office Professional 2010 License x 2($150)=$300 Total: $300

3.Proposed Internet Service: Business Internet w/VoIP phone service=$80/month

Overall Cost

The total cost for this solution is $1955 in initial costs, with $80 in recurring monthly cost

Network Design

The network architecture, shown below, will use private IP addresses inside of the network, with the only public address being assigned to the cable modem equipment assigned by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Wireless Isolation Mode (WMI) will be enabled to ensure wireless clients of visiting customers or associates do not interfere with the business network. Each business client machine, as well as the multifunction printer, will be wired to the WRVS4400N to take full advantage of its QOS capabilities.

Suggested Network Addressing:

  • Public IP Address: Assigned by ISP.
  • Private IP Schema: Router: by ISP
  • Workstation 1:
  • Workstation 2:
  • Multifunction Printer:

(Note: Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) (IETF, 1997) will be enabled to allow authenticated wireless clients to be assigned an IP address automatically.)

Notional depiction of a network designed for a small business operation.
Notional depiction of a network designed for a small business operation. | Source

Network Device Descriptions

Here’s a list of common network devices and what they do.

  • Hub: A hub is designed to allow a number of different devices to connect to one outgoing cable. For instance, if you have 4 PC’s located in one room, you could use a hub to connect them to one cable that leaves the room. The drawback is that hubs are not smart, that is, they cannot do any advanced networking, such as routing. Some hubs are a bit more intelligent, but a hub is not a replacement for a router. If you connected your 4 PC’s to a hub, and then connected the hub to a modem, it would not work.
  • Switch: A switch is a smarter hub. Switches are used when many computers, typically 12 or 24, must connect to one cable leaving the area. Switches are used in office environments because they are a bit smarter, and can do a bit of elementary routing. Layer 3 switches, for instance, can route packets via the Networking Layer of the OSI model, making them somewhat useful. Still there’s a better option.
  • Router: A router does what its name implies; it routes data and packets. It can decide which way to send something. It can also decide how much to send, versus sending another amount a different way. Routers come in many different sizes and capabilities, but the bottom line is that routers are what are used behind residential modems to connect many different devices. The router is often the central device in a LAN.


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    • thejeffriestube profile image

      Dave 4 years ago from United States

      I am honored and am so glad this is helpful. I have a few more tech hubs coming up as well!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      I have an idea which I feel is going to be so very successful and this hub is going to be so useful. I am voting up, across and share onto my FB page 'A Brand New Dream 'plus saving for future reference.