A server, regardless of the type, needs a robust network to give it access to the Internet and allow it to communicate with other computers. Since a server normally has exceptionally high traffic loads when compared to a normal workstation or desktop PC, it requires a network structure robust enough to prevent a bottleneck. Most server networks use gigabit Ethernet, capable of transferring data at 1,000 Mbit/s. Despite this being a relatively high-speed, all of the parts needed to build such a network are available at most major computer and electronics stores.
Locate a gigabit networking switch (a router or hub will also work) in a central location. Remember that each computer will need a network line ran to this location, so make sure that it is practically positioned. Plug an Ethernet network cable into an empty port on the back of the switch for each computer on the network, including the server. Run the cables to each system, making sure that they are run in a location that is out of the way of equipment and pedestrians. Plug the Internet modem's Ethernet cable into the switch if you want to share that as well.
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Plug an Ethernet cable into the networking port located on the back of each computer, including the server. To take advantage of the gigabit speeds, each computer will need to have a gigabit-capable networking card. You can check to what kind of card a Windows-based computer has by right-clicking on "My Computer," clicking "Properties," then the "Hardware" tab, followed by "Device Manager." Under "Network Adapters" the card type will be listed. If any of the computers don't have one of these cards, one can be purchased and easily installed by the average computer user.
Run the network configuration tool on each computer. On a Windows-based workstation, this is the Network Setup Wizard, located in the Control Panel. The configuration tool will automatically detect the network and what type of computers are on it. You will be asked questions, such as what name you want to give the network, what name each computer should have, and if you want to share files and printers in addition to an Internet connection. Once the wizard has completed, restart each computer, and the server network is complete.
Things You'll Need
Gigabit router, hub or switch
Gigabit-capable networking cards
These instructions can also be used to install lower speed equipment, such as 100 megabit or 10 megabit Ethernet, but the network performance will be too slow for most servers.