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This step is the first and foremost of many projects. It involves analyzing what will be required to meet the objective of the project. It includes collecting as much information as possible which will assist in designing a suitable network.
In this case the requirement is a network of computer that will enable sharing of resources and peripherals. Having this knowledge will enable the PC support technician to acquire the design the network, acquire the equipment and to set up and configure the network.
At the end of the analyzing the requirement, there will be documentation of the Requirement Specification.
Choosing a Topology
A network topology is refer to the physical Layout of the network i.e. cable layout, PC and peripheral allocation as well as how the components in the network communicate with each other. These topologies are categorized as follows:
Physical topology, which refers to the arrangement of cabling in a network.
Logical topology, which refers to the path that the data travels in a computer network.
The topology selected here is referred to the Star topology. This is a combination of the Physical star topology and the Logical bus topology as depicted in the figure 1.1.
It is also crucial to design a network layout diagram. This will show how the devices and cables will be laid out. Figure 1.2 depicts a Network Layout Diagram.
Although the cabling depicts a physical star topology, logically the data will be transferred in a Logical bus topology.
Hardware and Software required
Hardware is defined as any physical component of a computer. The following hardware and their specification will be used to implement the peer-to-peer network.
3 Acer Personal Computers with the following specification
Model: Acer Power FE
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 519 3.06 GHz
Hard disk: 80 GB
Drives: CD ROM Drive
Memory: 512 MB
Network Adapter: 10/100 Ethernet LAN connection with RJ45 port
Parallel I/O ports: VGA monitor; 8 USB ports;
Monitor: LCD screen with 1280 x 800 Resolution
Software: Microsoft Windows XP Pro with Service Pack II
Three 32 bit Network Interface cards with RJ45 ports
10BaseT Ethernet technology
Capacity 10 Mbps
Maximum length 100 metres
Unshielded Twisted Pair
4 RJ45 ports (minimum)
One HP LaserJet Printer P1006
266 MHz Tensilica at 266 MHz
Connectivity 1 USB
Black print speed
Up to 17 ppm
Up to 600 x 600 dpi (1200 dpi effective output)
8 MB embedded in SIP package, 64 KB EEPROM for NVRAM
Supported operating systems:
Microsoft® Windows® 7
Windows XP Home,
Windows XP Professional,
Windows XP Professional x64,
Windows Server 2003 (32-bit and 64-bit),
Windows 2000, Mac OS X v10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6; Linux
Software is any intangible part of the computer system.
Network Interface Card drivers
Windows XP operating system
HP ScanJet printer drivers
Peer-to-Peer network refers to the type of network, in which computers may act as both servers and clients.
Server: A computer provides resources to other devices on the network.
Clients: A computer requests resources from another computer on the network.
Referring to the Network design layout, each computer on the network will be able to both provide resources to other devices on the network as well as request resources from the other computers on the network.
A Windows XP operating system will be installed in one of the PCs, namely IDCS1
One of the PCs (IDCS2) on the network will connect a printer locally. Acting as a server, it will provide the printing capabilities to the other computers namely IDCS1 and IDCS3 on the network.
A shared folder will be established on IDCS3 computer, to share that resource with IDCS1 and IDCS2 computers.
Formal Action Plan
Below, is a table summarizing the steps that will be taken in implementing the Local Area Network.
With this action plan, we are now ready to move on to the next phase of implementing the peer-to-peer network.
Local Area Network: refers to a network of computer systems connected in a single geographic site.
This task is the practical part of this assignment. In this task, I will document the procedures involved in installing a peer-to-peer network of 3 PCs.
Installing Network Interface Card:
Figure a NIC with RJ-45 port
We were required to install NIC in each of the 3 PCs that were required for the network connection.
The steps were as follows:
Step 1: Unplug any AC power cables that may be connected to the System Unit.
Step 2: Remove the system unit outer cover; this is achieved by removing the screws the hold the cover to the chassis.
Step 3: Remove the expansion slot cover from the system unit back panel
Align the NIC with the appropriate expansion slot, which in this case would be the 32 bit Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) local bus slot.
The NIC should be firmly pushed into the slot; as a precaution push the NIC into the slot by holding the sides to avoid breaking the adapter card.
The NIC should be secured to the back panel of the system unit with a single screw as depicted in fig 3.
Figure b Installing NIC into PCI slot
The figure below shown a typical PCI expansion slot, located on the motherboard. You will note that they are labeled PCI1, PCI2 and PCI3. Each one can be used for a different adapter card which enables several interfacing several peripherals.
Step 4: Replace the system unit cover and the screws appropriately.
Step 5: Connect the power cables and turn on the PCs. The green activity light on the NIC indicated proper installation and that it was functioning properly.
The same steps were used for installing NIC for all the 3 PCs.
Connecting the Cat5 Patch Lead (cables)
After installing the network card, Category 5 Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable to the RJ-45 port on the NIC as depicted on the figure below.
Connecting Cat5 Patch Lead (cables) to the Hub
This step involved connecting cat5 cables with data transfer rate of 10 Mbps from the PCs to the hub as depicted in the figure below.
Install Windows XP Professionals Operating System
This step involves installing Windows XP Professionals on one of the three PCs.
Start the Computer from the CD as depicted in the screen shot below
Setup loading all the files and drivers required
To setup Windows XP, Press Enter
Windows XP License agreements; to proceed, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
Setup is copying necessary files from the installation point i.e. Installation CD
Setup reboots; Press Enter to restart the computer
PC is restarting
Second phase of the installation process after the computer restarts: System loads device drivers
Follow setup wizard; if you do not need to customize at any certain point, click Next button
Enter Name and Organization
Enter product key, located on the Cover of the Installation CD
System is saving settings
Installation of Windows XP Professionals is complete
Computer Setup is complete
Windows XP Professionals is ready to be launched
Installing NIC drivers
In the control panel, click add new hardware
System is searching for the new NIC card installed in the computer
To confirm that the NIC drivers are installed, right click My Computer and click properties.
On the system properties window, click Hardware tab
Then click Device Manager button; in the device manager window, double click network adapters, and as depicted in the figure below, the name of the network adapter is displayed under Network adapters.
Reminder* get device manager for the other two pcs
Configuring the Local Area network
The first step was to assign a name on each PC. This required setting a name of each of the PCs. To do this:
Click start menu, go to My computer; right click my computer; go to Properties; click properties.
Click Computer Name Tab to reveal Computer description, Full Computer Name and Workgroup
The Computer names for all the three PCs were changed. This had to be done on one PC at a time.
For the first Computer:
By clicking OK user would be prompted to restart the computer, in order for the name change to take effect.
Below are the details after renaming the PC. You will note on this figure, there is a caution message that advises that the changes would ake effect after the computer is restated.
Another dialogue box appeared to provide an option to either to restart computer now or later.
Yes button was clicked to restart the computer. While IDC1 was restarting, the same procedure was performed on the second and third PC while you move on to name the second computer.
To rename the second PC, that would be connected to the LAN. Tthe same steps that were used to name IDCS1 PC were followed. Below is the dialogue box for naming the second PC, which was named IDCS2 and the third PC named IDCS3.
After naming the PCs and the workgroup, we had the following details for the computer:
Configuring IP addresses
Configuring IP address enabled the PCs to communicate. In this procedure each IP address could be located on the Network connection details as depicted on the figure below for IDCS3 PC. Each PC had its own unique IP address.
Since the network did not support obtaining IP address automatically, then we conducted manual configuration of the IP addresses as follows:
We obtained the unique IP address for each PC by clicking the Local Area Network Icon which at that time read Limited or No Connectivity, Then we clicked Details button on the LAN connection details dialogue box, by doing this we obtained IP address for all three PC. Below is Network details obtained from one of the PCs.
Right click the LAN icon and click Open network connection
Right click the LAN icon in the network connection window to view properties
Scroll down to Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
Click properties to view the LAN properties as depicted below.
Then after selecting Internet Protocol, click properties
Manual configuration was performed to add IP addresses obtained from the Network Connection details.
You will note that the first part of the IP addresses represents the Logical Network Address the computer is part of (first 6 digits), which was identical for all three PCs.
The second part of the IP address (last 5 digits in this case) represents the Host ID where each computer had a unique one.
This type of address is known as Class C address suitable for small networks.
After assigning the IP addresses obtained from the network connection details of each computer, the LAN was connected. 10.0 Mbps was the data transfer rate for the Cat5 unshielded twisted pair cable used to connect the network.
To confirm that the PCs in the Local Area Network could finally communicate the following procedure was followed.
Click My Network Places; on the window that would be displayed, click View workgroup computers. The figure below depicted that the computer on the network could finally communicate and share resources.
Installing printer Wizard
The printer installation CD was inserted in the CD ROM drive of IDCS2 PC; the printer installation wizard was prompted. Click next
License Agreement; if user agrees, installation would proceed, if not the installation would close.
Printer model was selected; in this case it was a Hewlett Packard Laserjet P1006
Selected Add printer radio button and proceeded to follow the wizard
When printer cable was connected to one of the PCs, the wizard attempted detection of the printer.
As it was a USB printer; USB port was selected to be configured for the printer connection.
Wizard continued, with an option of using a custom name
Configuring the printer to be shared across the network
A shared name was established
The following question was prompted because of length of the name. The name selected did not affect the sharing.
This option was to print test page to confirm successful printer installation. The test page would later be sent to the printer after the installation was complete.
Printer installation completed.
Test page was sent after the installation
(pasted scanned test page)
Shared printer could be viewed by clicking printers and faxes on the start menu
Below figure depicts the shared printer
On the other two remaining PCs, it was required to add printer so they can use the printer on the connection. The process to add printer to the other PCs was done on one printer at a time.
From the start menu, control panel was selected.
In the control panel, Add printer was selected…
which prompted the Add Printer wizard
The option to select a network printer installed and configured on IDCS2 PC.
option to enter printer name and path or browse for a printer. Browsing for a printer enables accuracy of pathname rather than typing in a printer name and location.
Printer name and path was selected.
Connecting to a printer on the network, automatically installed the printer drivers from the PC that the printer was originally installed.
Make printer default prompt…
Add printer wizard complete.
Establishing a shared Folder
A folder named NCCDecember2009 was established in the c:\ drive and configured to be shared
Shared folder established
Then it could be viewed in all the three PCs
A Microsoft word test document was created and saved in NCCDecember2009 shared folder.
Below is a procedure of testing the test page from all the three PCs. The printer dialogue box depicts that IDCS3 computer was attempting to print on printer connected to IDCS2 PC. The name of the printer on IDCS3 computer showed \\IDCS2\HPLaserJetP1006. The Title of the document shows that the document was created and saved from IDCS3 computer.
You will note that the printer name in the following figure is the name of the printer only. This means that IDCS2 computer, where the printer was connected directly was attempting to print the same shared document,
Below is a scanned page of the printed document.
You need to produce a formal project completion report detailing the list of Tasks carried out and the procedures followed. This document has to be attested by your supervisor with signature and dates.
This task is a report reviewing all the steps that were following to enable the successful completion of this assignment's objective.
Formal Project Completion Report
This report will include a review of each task carried out for the beginning of the project to the successful completion of the project.
The content of this report will include a review of:
planning stages of the project
the steps of the procedures of implementing the peer-to-peer network
the reasons for each step taken during the project
The planning stage is an important part of any project. Planning assists in organizing all the stages that would be followed to enable the successful completion of a project. This enables the stakeholders to set the budget and resources that would be required, put together a project team and estimate the time that would be required to complete the project and to outline the scope of the project which includes what can and cannot be achieved due to the resources available.
In this project, the planning stages included
analyzing the requirement and producing the requirement specification document which included the network topology and network layout diagrams, a list of hardware and software required for the network implementation procedure.
acquiring the hardware and software required to implement the network
allotting the time estimated for the entire project
appointing the roles of each computer
The planning stage assisted in achieving knowledge of what would be required. The planning stage played major part in the success implementing the network.
The first step of the procedure was installing and configuring the Network Interface Card.
A network Interface Card is a device that provides network connection for computers.
Network Interface Cards normally have PCI connector for connecting to one of the PC expansion slots; an RJ-45 connector to connect to external Ethernet.
The adapter driver programs were also installed to enable communication between the system and the adapter.
The 10/100 Ethernet network interface card enable dual data transmission rate of 10Mbps and 100 Mbps and sharing of data resources through out the network. The network protocols, which were pre-installed in the computers were configured to enable packaging and un-packaging of data for the Local Area Network. The typical pre-installed protocol that was configured was the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
The final step that was involved in NIC installation was to turn on the computer. When the computer was turned on, the activity light at the back panel of the adapter card was blinking which meant that the network recognized the presence of the card and the connection was achieved.
Cables were laid out according to the Network layout design. Cables selected for this project were the Unshielded Twisted Pair terminated with 8-pin RJ-45 plug. The Cat5 UTP cable had a maximum bandwidth of 100 MHz and maximum length between nodes (devices) was not to exceed 100m. The data transfer rate for these 10BaseT cables was 10 Mbps which was divided among the three computers on the network.
Windows XP operating system was installed using the Installation CD. Before installation, the checkupgradeonly utility located on the installation CD was run to check for possible hardware compatibility conflicts.
The operating system automatically installed its own drivers for the devices that were installed on the system.
The setup involved the system copying files from the installation CD and installing them in the PC.
Local Area Network Configuration
This phase involved giving the computer unique names and setting one common name for the workgroup.
After the naming and ensuring that all the cables are connected appropriately, the TCP/IP was manually configured. Manual configuration was performed due to the fact that the network did not support automatic configuration of the IP addresses.
The TCP/IP ensures that the information reaches the network it is intended for, by routing packets of information to specified location.
File and Printer sharing
To printer sharing, a printer was installed in one of the PCs using its installation CD and configured to be shared among the PC. One PC would use the printer locally and the other PCs had to use the printer over the network. Test pages were printed from the network, which confirmed correct installation and configuration of the networked printer.
To demonstrate file sharing, one folder was created in the c:\ drive and configured to be shared among the computers in the work group. A document was created and saved inside the shared folder, this enabled viewing and printing of the document from all the three PCs.
The success of the named tasks above confirmed that the peer to peer network was successfully planned, designed and implemented.
Using the implementation completed in Task 2:
List the names, locations and contents of 5 Major system files in Windows XP
List 5 common technologies available for establishing Internet connectivity through your Windows XP system
Do research on one of the alternative Non-Microsoft Operating systems and compare at least 10 features available with the alternative OS which are similar to features in Windows XP.