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Anybody have an office network?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by qualitylawncare, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    Hey guys-

    I'm adding additional office staff this year and we are going paperless. I have one computer setup with Quickbooks, but would like to have all 5 of the office computers networked so all of us can look into customer info, billing, estimates, etc at on time.

    I'm good with computers, but not good with technical things like networks. Anybody have one setup? Is it hard to do? I know Quickbooks can have multiple users on one computer, but can it be run on multiple computers?:help:
  2. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    Good question

    I think you would need special router that are capable work with computer over 4 network cable.

    This router is more professor for big company it have 8 ports which is enough for 5 computers. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124127

    keep in mind they are very expense.

    Funny thing I went to junkyard to dump 1,000 pounds of steel and saw man type on computer my name of truck then put how much weight then I drove to back weight station then dump junk out bed now go back to weight station then go in building there woman gave paper and info on there..

    I suspect they must set server for that. Trust me sever are so expense but find used server like dell poweredge on craiglist or ebay.
  3. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    All you need is a cheap wireless router and some wireless cards to connect them in a workgroup. As for QB you'll need a copy of it for each computer for it to be able to share.
  4. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    Don't wireless be good idea if they waste time to get cheap wireless router to work.

    wireless is best idea but it will be slow when too many computers on wireless.
  5. emayer23

    emayer23 Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    how would a wireless router help? that would connect him to the internet if all the info is in a computer. its not on the web i can be onthe same router as you doesnt mean i can see whats in your computer. right?:dizzy:
  6. Spudgunner

    Spudgunner Member
    Messages: 40

    All our PC's are on a network. I have them using either wired or wireless (the desktops typically are wired while the notepads use wireless). We have a simple peer-to-peer setup that utilizes the built-in Windoze networking software. If you want a centralized file repository, then all you need is an old beater PC with a network interface card (NIC). Stick it on your net, share out the drives/printers/directories that you want and you're good to go. I've found it advantageous to purchase an inexpensive piece of software called Network Magic that simplifies file/printer sharing. I run it on every PC in our net. Also, you could use Linux/Samba for such a repository if you wanted. That's pretty cost-effective IMO. I've tried it and it works pretty well. Samba comes with Linux typically.

    But here's a kicker: Make absolutely sure you have some means of backing-up your sensitive data! If you go the route of a centralized file repository you could use a product like Acronis True Image to do backups and you'd only have to backup those files on your central repository that are important. That simplifes things a bit. Then make sure you can restore from you backups!! The built-in Windoze backup software sucks big-time, IMO.

    In our system we use a cheap Linksys router which is connected to a cheap Linksys dataswitch (5 port). You can cascade switches if you like. I did. For wireless you can hang an access point off a dataswitch or buy a router that has the AP built-in. That's what I did. Our DSL modem feeds into the router, BTW.

    Remember to setup some form of wireless security.

    This is the cheap way to go and works well for MY needs. You may have different expectations/requirements. Good luck.
  7. v-plower

    v-plower Senior Member
    Messages: 118

    Do you have a budget in mind?
    Are you buying new machines?
    Quickbooks is pay per license. You will need to purchase more licenses.
    Is this simply for viewing customers bills etc. or will you be storing photos etc?
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

    Good luck on the paperless thing, I think since computers started gaining popularity my paperwork as doubled or tripled.
  9. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    Linksys = good, simple, easy, hub with uplink WAN port.

    Wireless is simple and ... there are no wires. At 54meg lines you won't notice any speed issues with the internet or local computers.

    For your wireless .... Make sure it has NAT and that you setup the security key!!!!

    For your pc's norton360 is a one-n-all firewall, antivirus solution. It's much improved from the ol days.

    Otherwise.... Think about passwords and file sharing security..
  10. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Incorrect, a router is just a means of connecting computers together this can be accomplished a number of different ways the wireless just for being easy.

    For example I have a Linksys WRT54G series wireless router connecting my laptop to desktop over wireless to simplify backups of the laptop. I use a Verizon Aircard for Internet access directly through the laptop and the desktop doesn't share that access, it's basically a backup drive for me.

    5 or 6 PC's running over a wireless network won't be slow at all it takes an absolute ton of data transmitting to max out 54Mbps.

    All that said set up the WPA security and turn off the SSID broadcast and you won't have to worry about anybody goofing around.
  11. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    Just to clarify for future responses--

    These computers will be used exclusively for Quickbooks and Microsoft Office.. I don't want employees playing around on the internet, so the computers won't have internet access.

    All of the computers are within 40 feet of each other. I just want a simple way to link them together so our accounting in Quickbooks stays current for everyone. I want 2-3 people to be able to type invoices at one time.
  12. Spudgunner

    Spudgunner Member
    Messages: 40

    Ok, you're stepping up a bit. Are you going to have multiple people working on the same QB file simultaneously? Mutual exclusion becomes an issue if so...so choose your version of QB carefully and it should handle that for you. I'm sure this is do-able...with the right version (multi-user) of QB. This might require more of a client-server setup rather than peer-to-peer (?). If you're talking different QB files for different users then the exclusion issue isn't a concern.

    With regard to 54Mbits/second. I'm pretty sure that # is divided by the number of wireless PC's you have connected...and I know for sure it goes down with distance. That is 802.11(g), which is nice and cheap. Other protocols may have better performance. No broadband? ...and a paperless office ?? (No email?...or are you going to install a mail server??)
  13. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    I have Verizon Wireless Broadband with a USB modem.. It's on my laptop and it goes where I go.

    We have dial-up setup on one computer in the office for checking and sending emails. But I would never allow my employees to browse the net or play on plow site on my watch.

    And by paperless, I meant we are trying to do all estimates, invoices, etc on the computer and not on carbonless forms. We've been using QB Premier Contractor Edition.

    I had an office staff of 4 last season, but only one of them was able to work in QB at a given time. I want to set it up so I can have 3 people working on invoices, posting payments and expenses, and typing estimates simultaneously.
  14. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    There's all kinds of things you can do. There have been several good suggestion so far. Another note is you could have internet access for just one computer and the others would be restricted. This is a simple feature of the Linksys broadband router. This device can hook all of your computers together, even add full or limited inet.

    Don't forget the security on the wireless device, don't forget the antivirus on the pc's, don't forget even a simple backup plan.
  15. Jbowe

    Jbowe Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Computor net work

    I have five computors hooked up on my system with internet access. I also use the Quickbooks 2007 Pro for Contractors. I set up my main server to be used by the office manager and the remote computors set up inside quickbooks to allow only the access that I wanted each to have. That was the easy part. But you will have to buy the se[erat licenses with the additional users. Qickbooks does have package deals with that in mind. I forget now what it cost but I hired someone to come in and link my system together. I believe he used NIC cards because it was cheaper.
  16. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    I'm not sure how in depth your planning on getting with your wiring but I snapped a few pictures from our wiring closet today. I recently installed all this wiring and it wasn't to hard. We have back-up servers, color and black and white laser printers, multifunction printer, mailing postage system, all hooked up to our network. We're looking at installing a security camera system and running it off the network so we can watch our building from anywhere. If you have any questions let me know.

  17. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Heres another picture of the patch bays I put in.