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Windows XP Pro as a DHCP Server and a few other questions..

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Jan 23, 2002
Orlando, FL
A friend of mine wants me to set up a small network in his office.

He has 1 computer that will be a dedicated database server which will be running Windows XP Pro.

He will have either 3 or 4 clients all running windows XP Pro as well.

The questions I have are:

1) Can anybody recommend a good networkable database program, as he is coming over from an old DOS based database program which was running on Novell 3.12 and it will not run on Windows XP.

2) The way I plan to set this up for him is: Wall -> Cable/DSL Modem -> Router/Firewall -> Server -> 5-port Switch -> various clients.

The server would have 2 NICs, one to go out to the router for INet access, the other to run to the uplink of the switch so the clients can get internet access and access to the database program. Please let me know if this is incorrect.

If I do set it up in this way, I know how to set the server up as the go-between for the internet access for the clients using Windows ICS, but will Windows automatically know that is going to be assigning IPs through the switch to the clients? If not, how will I configure this?

3) This is the first time I'm doing this in an office enviorment. I've set up plenty of small home networks and considering this one will be so small im guessing it going to be similar, however id like to know if there is anything i SHOULD know from some of you experienced guys?

4) He would like me to run wires through the walls, now I know that typically office buildings in a downtown enviorment have strict restrictions regarding what can be wired in the walls..can I use regular CAT5 cable or wll i need to use something special? I heard that since typical CAT5 cable is made of polyurethane (sp) it is veeery flammable and should not be used. If that is the case, then what do I use?

And last question, would you recommend going with Windows 2000 Pro over Windows XP Pro, if so, why? Or any other OS for the server/clients.

Thanks a lot guys.

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I haven't found any native way to have XP Pro act as a DHCP server. If you only have 3 or 4 PCs behind the firewall, why use DHCP? What I would do is buy a Router/Firewall that includes a 4 port switch. Here is a .link to the Netgear option.

The router has a built in DHCP server. You would connect this to the cable modem, assign your database server a static IP address (i.e. and the clients could use DHCP do get their addresses.

If they want to run CAT5 in the walls, you should check with local building codes to see what they say. The best way to go would be to use a Plenum grade CAT5 cable. This should meet any building code. It is rated for fire, etc.

As far as a good networkable database program goes, with only 3 or 4 people hitting it at once, you could use MySQL. It is free, the only worry would be the learning curve. But, you would have that with any database app if you had never used one before.

If you need any more help, LMK.

1) I would recommend that you get the Microsoft access becasue it comes the Office Suite.

2) For this question you have two ways, what you are doing there doesn't make much sense and is pretty much a waste of money.

The first way is to have the cable/dsl modem connect to a router. I would reommend a 8 port router, have it do the DHCP services, and have everyone connect to the router for internet access, includign the server for the Database everyone will still be able to access the database and make sure the database server has a static ip.

The Second way is to have your server conenct to the cable/dsl modem and have it to the dhcp service and have a software firewall installed. you will need two nic's and a switch to have it connect to the other workstations.

3) Make sure you image server OS whern you have everything install excludeing database itself, just incase incase the server die's,you can reimage and have the system back up with out reinstallion. I would recommend Norton Ghost or PQ Drive Image. Use a Tape backup to back up user files and the Database it self. i would also recommend that the server is using some kinda of Raid like raid 1 for redundency's purpose.

4) you can get non flamable Cat 5e cabl;e but it cost you more adn is hard to find. If the Building won't allow you to drill go Wireless.

5) I would recommend you goign to a server Side OS for the reason that thats what they are designed to do and are better at doing it then the workstations. But if money is an issue i would recommend that you go Windows XP Pro for the reason that it is very easy to install and setup, it also comes with a RDP server so that it allows you to take control fo the server with out physically being at the server. I never had much luck with ICS and Win2k Pro and have had no problems with WinXP.
Well I discovered that Windows XP Pro does become a DHCP server when you start up the ICS Wizard, however we will be going with Windows 2000 Server instead of XP Pro for the server.

I've also figured out that plenum grade cables will be required for this job due to building safety codes (the cables are going to be running through air handling space)

As for the database, MySQL looks interesting, although I'm not sure its exactly what they are looking for. Money isn't too big of an issue since it's for a law firm. Any other suggestions?

Thanks for the replies guys and give me as much info as you can.

Well access could be used, but I had not idea it was networkable?

Basically, they want to store all of their clients information in this database program, have it running off the server and never want to have to worry about adminstering it locally.

They will have, as I said about 3 or 4 client computers, one for a receptionist, another for the paralegal, and another 2 probably for the lawyers in their offices.

I've gotten down the running of the cable part of the job.

I know the specs of the computers both the server & clients.

As far as setting it up goes, Wouldn't it be better to have all of the other client computers have to go through the server for iNet access due to the fact that some software could be installed on the server to prohibit certain access to websites and such and also to make it easy to monitor what sites the computers are visitng and stuff?

If it's pointless to do it this way, then I can see what you're saying about just getting an 8-port router.

What else?

Well heck, if you are going to use Win2K server, then you could use Proxy server for internet access and block questionable sites that way. It would also work as DHCP, DNS, pretty much whatever you want it to.

If money is no object, go with MS Access.

Hey people

mysql misses half the decnt functions a database needs. triggers stored proces etc.

You all really need to look at www.sapdb.org

sap has decided to give its enterprice db to the community for free