I am planning to open a computer center overseas for secondary school students. What do I need to buy to connect about 10 to 15 computers together and to one printer?


This question was answered on February 10, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Each computer needs to have an Ethernet Card (a.k.a NIC card), those you can usually request with the PC order; they are ~$20 apiece otherwise and are available in most stores Then you would need a 15-20 connection switch (found 16 connection one for $79 here: ) and a category 5 cable for each connection on the network

For a moderately sized network you would probably need a laser printer (see here: ), this is actually quite expensive if you want to get a really good one.

The real cost would be the PC's themselves Surprisingly (or not) one of the bigger costs would be the operating system Windows XP for example could add another $100-$200 ($300!) to the price of computer, to a total of $500-$800 (without monitor) I suggest trying out Linux solutions like which uses something called “disk-less workstations” approach where you can have one big server which has all the applications installed on it (Office software, files)--called the application server--and then have some client PC's without hard drives (-$50 to -$100 off the price) thusly removing the cost of operating system and other software (-$100 to -$400!) bringing the total price to $200 or less per workstation (with monitor) This would be a great bargain for schools The only trouble is when you absolutely NEED Windows software, Linux is not very good at that But the good news is that most Windows software has a Linux equivalent Another down is that you need some experience with installing Linux to make this work, or just have somebody install it for you (probably best).

To just set up a windows network you can check out tutorials on-line:

Hope this helps.


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Posted by Alex of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on February 10, 2003