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A computer network or data network is a telecommunications network that allows computers to exchange data. In computer networks, networked computing devices pass data to each other along data connections. The connections (network links) between nodes are established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the Internet.
Network computer devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes. Nodes can include hosts such as personal computers, phones, servers as well as networking hardware. Two such devices are said to be networked together when one device is able to exchange information with the other device, whether or not they have a direct connection to each other.
Computer networks support applications such as access to the World Wide Web, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications. Computer networks differ in the physical media used to transmit their signals, the communications protocols to organize network traffic, the network's size, topology and organizational intent.
The term SOHO references a type of computer. When the term is used to describe an office network, itís usually used to describe an office with ten to fifteen people or less on the network. The small office can be a wired network, a wireless network, or a combination of both.
However, just because an office has less than ten or fifteen people on the office network, doesnít mean that it is a small office network. This is because of the fact that the term is also used to describe the type and complexity of the equipment running the office network. If the network has all the office computers connected to a router, itís considered a small office network. However, once something more advanced, such as a bridge or switch, is used to connect the computers to the network it stops being considered a small office network.
Computer and Network Services
Computer and Network Maintenance
To keep Server(s) (and your computer system in general) performing well,
the network administrator should regularly do each of the following:
On Servers & Workstations
- Check for and install Windows updates.
- Check for and install Office updates.
- Check Windows event logs, and correct ALL errors and potential issues identified there.
- Monitor and maintain virus protection.
- Make sure than no unauthorized software on the Server; this can seriously affect performance.
If any inappropriate programs are found, uninstall them and notify management as necessary.
- Check with users to see if they are experiencing any computer or software problems.
- Periodically clean machines internally.
On Workstations Only
- Periodically defragment the hard drive.
On the Servers Only
- Monitor drive space on the Server and on the file server.
- Maintain regular, rotating network backups that include Serverís backup folder, QuickBooks data file(s), and any other key data. (However, do NOT directly back up from any hard drive on the Server; only back up from the backup folder Server writes to your network. Please contact us if you have any questions about where to get the Server data to back up.)
- Store copies of backups off-site.
- Check the firewall, making sure ports are closed except as needed for Server and your other applications.
- Setup and maintain spam filtering.
- Make sure each computer has adequate memory, processor, hard drive space, etc., and suggest an upgrade plan to periodically replace obsolete machines.
- Make sure cables and switches are up to date and sufficient.
- Organize all software by computer/user so you know what you have and so you can quickly find it if you need to reinstall any software.
- Arrange for someone to cover for you in case a network problem occurs when you are unavailable or away.
- At least once a month, take any Windows Updates and restart the Server.
Windows updates protect your system and fix bugs. Periodically restarting the server keeps it running more efficiently. (Make sure everyone is out of Network Application(s) when you restart it, and make sure you log the server back in.)
- The Server should NOT be set automatically install Windows updates:
This could force it to restart at an inappropriate time or leave it not logged in (which will keep people from getting into Network Application(s)). Instead, manually take all Windows updates on the Server.
- Do not use any remote access software other than Approved VNC, LogMeIn, or TeamViewer to access the Server.
Terminal Services and Remote Desktop can corrupt Serverís database and lose the information youíve entered.
- Windows Firewall must be on; no other software firewall should be used.
- A monitor, keyboard, and mouse should be connected to the Server
in case someone needs to restart it, check its status, log it back in, or make other changes. (If these didnít come with your server, you must get them.) However, apart from performing the maintenance discussed here, no one should directly use the Server.
- An uninterruptable power supply is required for the Server and all drives connected to it.
Software to shut the server down gracefully if thereís a power failure must also be installed.
- Never install unauthorized programs or data on the Server.
- Do not install Google Desktop or Microsoft Search on the Server; these cause errors.
- Never use the Server as a work station; this can cause serious degradation in performance.
- Keep virus protection software current. ESET NOD32 and AVG without firewall is the only supported virus protection software for the server.
- If Server is linked to QuickBooks, update QuickBooks as needed. Whenever QuickBooks is updated on any computer, you must also update the Server: QuickBooks doesnít allow different versions on different computers: not having the same version on the Server will stop Server and QuickBooks from linking.
- Your IT person should periodically review the Windows Event Viewer. We make sure the Server components are working correctly; itís your responsibility to correct any system level errors.
- Off-site backups are your responsibility: Each night Server stores a backup in the network folder that you specified. Itís your job to make sure the data in that folder gets regularly backed up to some off-site location. (Never try to directly back up the Server; this creates serious errors. Just back up the date that Server puts in the backup folder on your network.)
- Do not defragment the Server: This can cause errors if done at the wrong time.
- Do not compress the files on the Server: Compressing the files causes a huge drop in performance.
- Digital photos imported into Server should usually be under 300KB. Regularly storing images that are considerably larger will fill your hard drive quickly. Occasionally having larger images is fine. The same applies to Word/Excel files: files with a lot of embedded large graphics will eat up a lot of hard drive space (and likely be too large to email as well).
- Use JunkEmailFilter.com to prevent spam. Aside from wasting time and increasing the risk of viruses, failure to have good spam filtering can cause the hard drive to fill unnecessarily quickly.
- The Server must access the internet through a firewall/router: No direct IP access is allowed.
- Hardware replacements (server, replacing failed hard drives, etc.) are your responsibility, not ILBMEUBUís. If a server fails, weíll do our best to get the server software re-installed as quickly as we can after you get the hardware fixed. If you have a hardware failure, please let us know immediately so we can send you a Reinstallation Checklist and schedule someone to reinstall the server software; if you tell us at the last minute, no one may be available. Reinstallations are scheduled to happen during normal business hours, there is a premium for after hours installations.
- Check with us BEFORE you make significant changes to your network to make sure you donít introduce problems; weíd rather have a discussion beforehand than help you fix something you broke.
Contact us for more information: ProjectMgr@ilbmeubu.com