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I've been recently tasked with re-building an old computer network for a small enterprise that was always maintained very poorly. To give you an idea of a situation: A single router is connected to HUB1. HUB1 is then connected to 3 Win10 PCs, 1 XP and HUB2. HUB2 is then connected to 1 Win10 PC. Everything runs through cables at the moment.

To store data, they currently use a completely decentralized approach. Which is of course a nice way to say it's completely random. there's lots of important data here and there, small stuff, mostly pdfs and text documents, so size isn't a problem.

To solve this, we've decided to buy a little NAS (2TB, nothing too big).

I'm currently trying to find best practices and such to be able to eventually scale up the network, so I was hoping this could become a topic for discussion on how to modernize old infrastructures.

For this specific case, the needs of the company will mostly be about centralizing the data structure and having some more redundancy: we'll probably also store the most important stuff on a Cloud somewhere. Anything to avoid specifically? I was really wondering about that HUB1-2 thing, will it create problems?

Thanks in advance, -Oscar

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    You should avoid the hubs. – user36472 Sep 24 '18 at 10:58
  • I hope you mean switches. Hubs went extinct in the 10/100 days. You haven't really said what you're trying to accomplish besides organizing files scattered all over the place and consolidate them into a single point. OSes invloved? WIndows (versions?) Linux? (Distros and versions?) – CellPointNetworks Sep 24 '18 at 11:37
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    This is explicitly not a discussion site. We have Network Engineering Chat for that, but you need a minimal amount of reputation to participate in that. Also, hosts, servers, consumer-grade devices, and protocols above OSI layer-4 are off-topic here, but you can ask about those (and business networks) on Server Fault. We could try to help with the network, but product and resource recommendations are explicitly off-topic for SE sites, except Software Recommendations and Hardware Recommendations. See the Network Engineering Question Checklist for guidance. – Ron Maupin Sep 24 '18 at 12:29
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you can provide and accept your own answer. – Ron Maupin Dec 25 '18 at 9:34
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Following on @cown excellent suggestion to avoid hubs (csma/cd) there's actually more to do as small businesses tends to grow and expand if they survive.

On top of documenting the current network towards planning the budgeted upgrades you should also factor scalability and foremost security at all layers of the planned infrastructure. Business secrets are critical and can be compromised at many layers of the architecture.

It is rare for a small business to budget for network/storage redundancy but that is not a bad thing at all.

Will the business require remote access technology for their road warriors to make use of should also be considered.

Factor in a good UPS with an inbuilt NIC (for monitoring/reporting issues) to protect your core devices that will also filter out electrical 'hiccups'.

Wireless connectivity and (its security flaws... plan for dot1x) is also an unavoidable consideration today. Though, recommendation is to have all desktops/laptops/servers performing business critical work wired. Hmmm... WPA3 has been standardised, I'd wait for the enterprise players to release their certified WAPs before considering anything wireless.

You have come to the right place to seek help for your network architecture. We just need more information towards your ISP connection, router model, hubs models and storage model planned.

Note: We do this for a living and if it comes to it, possibly engage a good network architect in your locality to assist. But of you want to rebuild the network and help the business grow while learning hands on... it is the best path :-)

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  1. Dump the obsolete hubs, replace with switches. Consider managed switches for better network control and scalability.
  2. Assess the cabling. You can scale Cat-5e up to Gigabit Ethernet, Cat-3 is obsolete.
  3. Assess the topology. You'll want to have the fastest links on your central switch and towards the servers. Rewire or move equipment accordingly.
  4. Decentralized data is very likely at high risk - disks die, people make mistakes, malware can kill data. You'll want the data backed up on a regular schedule. Storing data in one place makes this easier. While you're at it, take care of emergency power (UPS) and shutdown for the server.

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