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Peer to peer limits question

Discussion in 'Networks' started by TimoftheC, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    Guys – I need a little advice on why peer-to-peer networks are limited to between 15 to 20 computers.

    I have read a few networking books now in my pursuit of the N+ and I understand what a peer-to-peer network is (or I thought I did) and am aware that the network can run into trouble as it expands.

    I have recently been asked at work for my input about networking all the computers at together so that they can all have access to the Internet. As a little background information, I work in a medium sized solicitors where there are currently 21 PCs running either Windows 98 or XP Home Edition. Of those, 4 are connected through a switch and a further 3 are networked to the switch using homeplugs. Of the 7 networked computers, 6 of them access the Internet through one of the PCs acting as a gateway (i.e. it has the modem connected to it).

    Now, the easiest answer would be to say get a server and create a proper network and it is something I'd give my right arm to be involved in, however, that is not going to happen as it is too expensive and solicitors are generally too stupid to understand basic computing technology. So, networking the PCs is going to be done on the cheap and I am looking at adding a few more switches and connecting some of them together with homeplugs as there is no network cabling installed in the office which is a listed building.

    At some point, I am going to have to explain to the solicitors here the difference between a client/server network and a peer-to-peer network - both of which I am pretty sure I understand. The question that I am a little vague about (and will at some point have to explain) is why exactly are peer to peer networks limited in the way that they are to, say, 20 PC's.

    As always, any advice and assistance on this would be welcome.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    First - what sort of Internet connection is it? If it is dial then you have a bit of a problem. If it is ADSL or Cable then the first action is to buy a router and use that instead of a PC as the Internet gateway.

    Peer-2-peer is perfectly possible for networks with more than 20 machines, I've worked in places where this was done, but it depends how this is being used.

    One of the limitations is built into XP home - it limits the number of simultaneous connections to 5. XP Pro can manage 10.

    That said - for many situautions this won't matter, as only one or two machines in an office are used for shareing, and then not all the time. The easy answer is to buy a cheap NAS for the file-shareing part - most NASs are built on Linux so don't have this limit.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  3. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    The size problem associated with p2p networks has to do with bandwidth sharing. The more PCs on the same network segment, the slower the network. There is no absolute limit as such but for the sake of studying for an exam, it's easier to quantify the issue rather than leaving it vague. A router would certainly make it easier, but with 21 computers in the office, unless you have all 21 people hitting the LAN hard, there shouldn't be any problems. Are people complaining of a slow network response? If not, don't worry.

    Of course, if you were using hubs instead of switches, the problem of collisions would have to be factored in, but switches are cheap. :wink:
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  4. Stoney

    Stoney Megabyte Poster

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    You also need to consider the administration side of things.

    Say you get a new member of staff and he needs to have access to all the machines. That's 20 times you have to logon to a pc and create the user account to allow the user access. You could probably do it remotely, but you would still need to access each machine and create the user account on each local machine.

    It can also become a nightmare when keeping track of who has access to what!
     
    Certifications: 25 + 50 metre front crawl
    WIP: MCSA - Exam 70-270
  5. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Originally by:TimoftheC;

    Now, the easiest answer would be to say get a server and create a proper network and it is something I'd give my right arm to be involved in, however, that is not going to happen as it is too expensive and solicitors are generally too stupid to understand basic computing technology. So, networking the PCs is going to be done on the cheap and I am looking at adding a few more switches and connecting some of them together with homeplugs as there is no network cabling installed in the office which is a listed building.


    Feedback: onoski

    Although I would not expect the end users or solicitors to grab the idea instantly they need to be convinced. Firstly, the benefits of having xyz server domain network structure as well as the likely cost saving factors in the near future might win them to your side.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  6. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanx for that Harry. I didn't mention the full set-up as didn't want the post to be too big but it is an ADSL connection and am planning to get a router for that. There is a further issue in that we will probably have to change the current package as it has a 2 gig monthly download limit and a load of solicitors shopping... I mean downloading case law will probably breach that :D

    As for the NAS - the PCs here are very much standalone and work that way. Networking them up is not for any form of file sharing although print sharing will come in to play as some printers die and are not replaced.

    Thanx also Trip, just the sort of the answer I was looking for re, bandwidth but can the bandwidth be eaten up by increased broadcasts?

    Yeah, gona be using switches as I'm aware of the drawback with hubs and would hate to have to explain the 5-4-3 rule to a solicitor :huh

    Again, thnx for the response stoney.

    This network really is very much an adhoc set-up and I doubt anyone will have any really control over it – as crazy as that sounds. I’ve been asked the questions because it’s known that I am good with the old computer bits and some here know I’m studying networking. This place really is pretty backwards when it comes to doing things correctly and as much as I would like to be the person in charge of it, that ain’t going to happen. There are therefore no real user accounts apart from what the individual sets up for themselves – each employee is completely responsible for their own PC. As long as they don’t set fire to it no questions are asked :D

    Now I know that it’s a rubbish set-up and would probably make some network techs here shudder but unfortunately that’s what I have to work with. Is good experience at times though, especially of how things shouldn’t be done
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  7. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    I fully agree with ya Onoski and I suspect in any other business that would work - but not here. The crazy thing is that he (my boss) has a server sitting in an office gathering dust - a fairly new one by all accounts. He acquired the server when the brought out a smaller rival along with all their equipment. I have offered to set it up for him but he's not interested and it’s tucked away where I can't get access to it. The only reason he's letting some of the solicitors look at networking themselves up to get internet access is because there is a lot of discontent within the office and some have already left.

    Honest, my boss is a real caveman/computer phobe when it comes to technology :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???
  8. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Fair point, but judging from the above and the way your boss is towards technology certainly does not help. However, from a business case perspective tell him it would help in making the objective of the firm more easy to attain.

    Ask him what he feels about e-mail and if he thinks this helps in terms of communicating almost immediately with clients and employees etc. It does sound like your in a difficult position but with persistence and the constant ringing in he's ear about benefits such data confidentiality and accountability he might break eventually.

    I must say though, most law firms here in London are some of the biggest users of technology second to banks. It seems like in your current firm of solicitors this is obviously not the case.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  9. TimoftheC

    TimoftheC Kilobyte Poster

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    Onoski - you don't know the half of it m8 :biggrin

    Yes, most law firms use a lot of technology, I've worked for four different firms now and this one is as backwards as you can get and is yet the biggest in the city:blink

    As for being persistent and bending his ear, that's not really an option. I can't stand the sight of the man and and know that he don't like me. He keeps me here becasue I'm damn good at the job he employs me to do and I don't plan to leave until I'm good and ready and that means either getting a job in IT or an office job where I have IT responsibilty.

    When I do meet with the two solicitors tasked with arranging the networking I will put the case across again about a full server network but it's likely to fall of deaf ears yet I'm afraid :rolleyes:

    Thanks for the input though - its much appreciated
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+
    WIP: MCDST???

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