Creating small office network


Jan 3, 2012
hy everbody, first i want to say this is great forum and it helped me many times. Now i am doing some project for my company and i need your help.

my company now employs 6 people, and we are planing to expand our bussines and employ 4 to 6 new people. now we all use laptops and we are conected to internet via router. so our plan is to use server for file sharing and other things. every user will have his own password to connect from work, or if needed from internet. we are planing to get static ip from our provider. i have many questions how to create network and connect it to internet. i must admit i am total noob about servers, so i'll apreciate any help :)

What type of server do i need, do i need something like windows server 2008, some linux server, or i can use something like windows xp, or windows 7. could i install it on some old computer i have, or do i need something new and fast?

next, can i conect that server with my router via lan cable, connect all those laptops via wirelles on that router and than connect with router on internet and still be able to access server without problems?

next in near future i'll need some program to monitor IP adresses on internet. this is hard to explain, but i'll try somehow: my ISP provider will get me permission to monitor IP adresses of few company we are working together with, so we can now in any time does these companies have access to internet and is everthing working ok on their end. also can you give me some help with software i can use for that?

also if you could refer me to some tutorials about this topic, and tutorials about configuring network.

thanks in advance
Get a network admin for this, 50-60k a year in this economy, and you'll be able to get someone to setup and maintain all of your stuff. You maybe able to find someone for low to mid 40s also, but they may be green. If you need to ask all these questions, you'll end up with a mess if you try to do it yourself, especially if you want to setup outside access with VPN. Or at least hire a consultant to do the setup.

As far as getting guides on how to set this up, just do a web search for "small business network" and you'll find enough stuff to keep you busy for a while.

You can't use XP or Windows 7, those have a limit as to how many inbound users can connect to them. If you just want to have a place to share files, you can get a simple network attached storage box, one with RAID 1 would be good for redundancy, hook it up to your network and configure the users for that. Something like this

The way you listed your connections to the router will work, but with so many laptops you will probably want a few access points around the office to enable the connections to be shared with enough bandwidth by all users. WiFi network is shared among however many devices are attached to it, so if you have 4-5 users on one access point, you are dividing their bandwidth by that much.


Jan 3, 2012
Ok, tnx for the answer. We were discusing it om meeting and we think we don't need some expensive server at this time, if it is possible to do this some other way.

I was reserching, and discovered i can use windows 7 as VPN server, so could I use it to connect to my work network and access shared files on that computer as user.

So this is how i pictured it:
I create VPN server on one computer on windows 7 ultimate at my work that is connected to router via LAN. Router is using static IP. Than connect from home to that router and access shared files on that computer.

Is that possible and whats the procedure?

Or even better could you recommend some other software capable of doing it, that i can install on windows 7.

Inside office we are planing to share files using that computer and our wirelles, and that is not problem.


You won't be able to share files for more than a few people at a time using a non-server OS. Use the NAS device, it's very cheap and much easier to administer than a PC sharing files. Plus it has redundancy due to the RAID setup. Although you'd still want backups of the files aside from the RAID setup, the RAID just makes it so if a disk fails, you can swap to the second one very quickly while you fix the issue.

You can use Windows 7 like you say, look at the router documentation on how to set it up on a port that you can access from outside, or use a remove control program like VNC or LogMeIn, or something similar.


Dec 1, 2011

As another user pointed out in this thread, both Windows XP and Windows 7 have limits as to how many concurrent inbound connections can be supported. Windows XP can support 10 concurrent connections while Windows 7 doubles this limit and offers 20 concurrent connections as can be seen in the official license agreement under section 3e. You can also use the Net Config Server command to check how many connections are in use.

As you also stated you would like to use Windows 7 as a VPN server and that as of this time, you will have around 12 users, you may benefit from proceeding with testing your proposed setup with the Windows 7 Enterprise 90-day Trial before committing to the use of Windows 7 which may help you to confirm that the configuration will indeed work within your environment.

Windows 7 VPN is a great resource for both incoming and outgoing VPN connections. To accomplish the task of allowing incoming connections the following TechNet article Configuring Incoming Connections explains the steps one must take to allow the machine in question to accept connections from the Internet. You will also need to configure port forwarding for port 1723 for PPTP connections when setting up a VPN server. Once the server and port forwarding have been configured you will then be able to configure the VPN client on the work system for which the instructions can be found here from the Microsoft Windows site.

For your convenience, I have also outlined the steps for configuration below.

Following are the steps for configuring Incoming VPN Connection in Windows 7
1. First go to Control Panel and open Network and Sharing Center.
2. Click on Change adapter settings.
3. Press Alt+F and select New Incoming connection
4. Put a check on who you’d like to give access to this computer or you can configure a new account by clicking on Add someone, after that click on Next.
5. Put a check mark on Through the Internet. Click on Next.
6. Select the protocols you want to enable for this connection. Click on Allow access.
7. Make a note of the Computer name, as this will be used by the client to connect to this computer and after that click on Close.

Following are the steps for configuring Outgoing VPN Connection in Windows 7
1. First go to Control Panel and open Network and Sharing Center.
2. Click on Set up a new connection or network.
3. Select Connect to a workplace then click on Next.
4. Select Use my Internet connection (VPN).
5. Type the IP address or computer name where you wish to connect and your connection name under the Destination name field.
6. Enter a User name and password that has been granted access to the host computer.
7. For getting connected through created VPN connection, you can either right-click on the Network icon in the system tray and select Network and Sharing Center or go to Control Panel and open Network and Sharing Center, and click on Connect to a network.
8. Now connect VPN Connection windows will appears.

Windows Outreach Team – IT Pro


Jan 13, 2012

Of course your can do this. :eek:
You need a "NAS server" for the files, but you can also get not-so-cheap routers that provides a port for USB storage and a shared printer. So, budget at least £200 for the router.
To share files and printer/scanner you may need to install software on the laptop, that "locks" the device for one user at a time, but it gets the job done.
The file access is as simple Windows shares - in my router, one per USB port that will map to any place in the file hierachy. You can then restrict access to the device.
You can also use the router to limit access to just a few sites, but that will inhibit the rest of the Internet to everyone. You can configure the router to "see" your clients servers as part of your network - "virtual servers" giving you access.
But I would recommend that you speak to someone that knows how to configure the router, - leave out everyone bloating of "Certified Cisco Engineer", get someone who "has done it". Pay him to help you buy the right router and possibly a NAS, configure this, install the printer(s) and set up the "virtual servers". This is not rocket science, as long as you allow yourself to use recommended and proven equipment - not the £30 home routers... They may claim to be able to.

As server you may also use an old computer, download Mint or Ubuntu - install shares ("SMB") and use this as company server. These comes with easy to use management software that can be downloaded for free. Drop Windows servers, it is poor code. The Linux can also support Mac's HFS file system, it is fully journalled, good user/group/organisation protection, support RAID and file replication and server fall-over. MS is a mile behind.

All configuration is by simple WEB menus. :love:


Dec 6, 2008

In the free software world
I would look in to Untangle or pfsense for a router.
Both are free (Untangle starts free) then you basically just need a computer with at least two nics to install them on (one for internet in and out to lan).
both have VPN support, I have been very impressed with Untangle OpenVPN, there is hardly any configuration to get it working, basically turned it on then added a user and installed it the client on a computer and your done.
You can also have a captive portal (So users will need to log in to use the internet) (they also get tracked by there user name when they log in. so you can do some big brother stuff)
You can also do cool stuff like web filtering (porn, proxy, job searches, mail, IM ect)
spyware/virus blocking.
add blocking
web cashing

For a file server, just throw a Linux distro like ubuntu on and old computer and install a Samba server. There are some good GUIs for SAMBA if you want to stay away from the terminal.
Like orther have said BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP, Make sure you have some form of raid software/hardware and one other form of backup. Like Maybe RAID 1 between two drives and a copy of everything stored on an external drive. Or RAID 1 with an online backup service you can backup to.