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Network Wiring Questions

Discussion in 'Networks' started by TimoftheC, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    Guys,

    I am currently studying towards the Network+ exam with a view to starting a carer in that area or computing in general. I do not work in computing or a networked environment yet but I have a couple of questions related to a real life situation that I am not sure about.

    The situation is that a friend of mine owns a small office with about 4 PCs, all networked together using wireless (through an access point only) because the current office they rent does not allow a wired network to be installed or for wires to be routed down corridors. They are about to move into a new set of offices and have what my friend described as a wired network in place (I have yet to see the new office). The friend has asked me to recommend a few more PCs but said that there is no longer a need to get them with wireless cards because they are going to use the wiring already in place.

    Thinking about this has raised some questions in my mind as follows: -

    The books that I have read talk about Ethernet networks but does not give any practical information about how this actually manifests itself in a physical office. If an office is wired, I have been working on the assumption that each network outlet will lead to one central location – am I right?

    This begs the other question, how does the central location manifest itself. Are there multiple outlets for each other outlet in the offices (i.e. 6 offices each with a socket will mean 6 corresponding outlets in the central location) or are they just combined in to one outlet? If so, how can you tell the difference? EDIT: - is this where a patch panal comes in?

    I am pretty certain that they cannot simply connect their PC’s to the network wiring and expect it to be a network as all the wires of the network have to be connected through a switch or router, again, is this right?

    They are working on a tight budget and I am pretty certain that a server is out of the question, therefore, can I assume that a Router will be good enough for the time being?

    Any help on the above would be appreciated.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    There are all sorts of possibilites here! The classic layout is that there will be either wall-ports or floor-ports with RJ45 sockets, and these will be wired to a patch-panel somewhere. That 'somewhere' in multi-floor offices is often called "The riser cabinet", which is where all central services are taken up through the building - often it is near a stairwell or lift.
    On the info given - they don't need a router, just a switch, which will cost them less than £30. This will depend on the total number of PCs in the company. Normaly this switch would be placed next to the patch-panel.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  3. ManicMonkey

    ManicMonkey Kilobyte Poster

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    I assume that the existing cabling is eithernet and not fibre?
    If its fibre then it will be a lot more expensive since you will need to buy fibre NIC (network interface cards) to connect the pc's to the cabling as well as a fibre switch.

    Usually in an office this size it will be eithernet and the convergence point that the switch sits in can be anything from a locked room to a cupboard under the stairs (yes dont laugh ive seen it in professional offices).

    IIs there potential for development of the company that would result in more than 15 pc's at any time in the near future? I only ask since if you are then you might want to consider placing the switch in a locked room to allow for future development of a server. If the switch has its own room its more convenient to place a server next to it (in a small setup - larger networks would use server rooms)

    Essentially though your looking at a switch to connect all the eithernet links together to provide the network.
     
    Certifications: MCSE
    WIP: Exchange, Share point - MOM as well
  4. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanx for the reply and info both - much appreciated.

    I had a look at office today and it is a standard Ethernet cabling system (not fibre). There isn’t a patch panel as such but a "punch block" board with an array of connections, all numbered to correspond to the connections in each office (at least, for their sake, I hope they are).

    The surprising thing for me was that this board was in a dusty damp cellar and not in a cupboard somewhere. I assume that the previous occupants had a hub or a switch in the cellar and a server placed in another room. Either way, not the best environment to operate electrical equipment.

    The good thing about all of this is that it allows me to put into practise what I've leaned to date :biggrin

    Thanks again guys

    Tim.C
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  5. ManicMonkey

    ManicMonkey Kilobyte Poster

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    When you say punch block, what do you mean exactly?
     
    Certifications: MCSE
    WIP: Exchange, Share point - MOM as well
  6. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I'd suggest that you get a patch-panel installed. Much easier to deal with than a punch-block.

    Also, get a cheap cable tester from Maplins. This won't test the quality of the cable but it *will* make sure that the individual wires are intact. It is very common when a company moves out of an office for the networking infrastructure to be damaged.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  7. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    OK, I'd never actually seen a punch block before but had read about them in text and put 2 and 2 together. This is what I meant by the term: -

    http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=punch+block&i=49961,00.asp

    and also this: -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punch_block

    I assume it's still called that in network speak?

    Will pass that on Harry, thanx for the tip.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  8. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Sounds like you've had quite an education. Welcome to the real world of networking...where everything doesn't always go by the book.

    As far as a patch panel goes, just to clarify, you still use a punch tool to connect the cabling from each Ethernet outlet to the patch panel. The following picture shows both the front and back of a patch panel:

    [​IMG]

    The panel is usually then rack mounted and patch cables connect each outlet of the patch panel to a port on a switch. The simplest "next step" is to hook the switch to something that lets you hit the Internet. Here's the rack mounted networking equipment including patch panel:

    [​IMG]

    You could buy the patch panel yourself and get a punch down tool to connect the cables to the patch panel. Just make sure you know the pinouts for the cables so the ports will actually work.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  9. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    wow, great reply and diagrams trip - this forum never ceases to amaze me with the quality of the replies :biggrin

    Unfortunately, I won’t be the one installing and getting the network up and running, the business are going to use an "expert" for that. Last thing I wana do it mess up something like that for anybody, especially a friend. I am hoping to offer myself as a free helper when the work does gets done though, should be very good experience for me.

    Thanx again guys, I really do appreciate all the input.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???

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