How to create a Mac Network?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bammac, May 5, 2006.

  1. bammac macrumors member

    May 20, 2005
    Hi Guys,

    I run a small business and we are looking at transitioning to Mac's, as well thats what I use and I'm the boss so I make the rules....enough of the ego...I have struggled to find a site that can provide different network layouts based on pure Mac OS X platform.

    I still new to this but I wanted to know what options we need to consider. For example:

    - iMacs for each staff and Mac mini as print server, Powermac as file server.
    - Just iMacs with one acting as file server and one as print server etc.
    - When would we need to consider an Xserve (we are a standard office use business, no great rendering or computation requirements)

    Additionally what do I use to handle our email etc.

    I have a ton of questions but cannot for the life of me find a site that can help with these sort of questions. Now if I was building a Windows network, no problem finding sites that can help. But I prefer to not have to rebuild machines every 2 months.

    Any links to some helpful sites would be great.
  2. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Are you going wired or wireless? If you're going wireless, use an airport express as the print server, rather than dedicate a machine to it.

    How big is your business? 5 or 50? If you've got 5, you can easily get away with having someone's working machine also serve as your data server. If you've got closer to 50, think about xserve because you'll have a ton of info flowing in and out of it.

    Purchase the machines based on what task they are needed for and resist the urge to buy more computer than you need. Basic word processing and email can be easily handled by mini's or iMacs.

    Not sure what you're asking about handling mail - are you asking about how many computers should have ISP access or are you setting up your own mail server?
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Print server is unnecessary if you use a network capable laser printer. Lasers are also way lower in consumeable costs.
    With 5 - 10 staff, far better to let your regular ISP handle all your staff email inboxes. Call them.

    Reference site

    Google is your friend too. Try "Network Macs OSX"

    Although University sites often have info specific to their network, they are good sources for general info too

    These eBooks ($ Commercial) have a good range of Mac specific titles
  4. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    Couldn't agree more. Decent laser printers are very affordable these days, and when comparing the # of pages you can print off before changing the cartridge, versus that of an inkjet and all the ink you go through (and its stupidly high costs) you're much better off going with a laser printer.
  5. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I stocked my office with older-gen macs. If you're on a budget, they run fine (down to the G3 imac 233 we have for word processing, email, web browsing, and Filemaker--pretty little intern machine). Also, consider not dumping all your pcs, as if you get more employees/need more work stations, there are some builds of Linux (like Ubuntu) designed for both PPC and x86 architectures, and I've found that they integrate pretty well with OSX (not perfect, but great for the cost, which is free). :)
  6. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    ESPECIALLY if you buy bulk toner instead of new cartridges. The difference is $100 to $8 per refill for our printer...
  7. bammac thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2005
    Thanks for your feedback thus far. I think I will definately take the option of buying to our requirements not to my desires (No Quads for each employee). I think I will roll out with iMac G4 refurb's first for the staff machines and perhaps purchase a PowerMac G4 with a couple of 200GB HD's as the file server.

    Would there be any reason to purchase OS X Server with this setup or do I just stick to just Tiger on each machine?

    We are a 6-10 staff operation at the moment, but looking at opening a couple more locations in the next 12 months. But for the moment I want to rectify the current windows based infrastructure.

    On the laser printer options, does anyone have any networkable laser printer recommendations?

    In terms of managing the network we currently have a 4-Port DLink ADSL Router and a no-name 4-Port Router. I was thinking of getting two 8-Port Switch's (Netgear FS608) as we are short a few ports at the moment. Can someone explain what's the difference between a switch and router?

    Thanks for all your help thus far as well as the links. I'm just keen to make a painless (as possible) rollout and do away with Windows in my office.

  8. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY

    Google had this to say:
  9. ouphe macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I recently purchased a hefty laser printer for a home-based business I run, and I would imagine it's more than enough machine for the size of your office. It's the Dell 3100cn laser printer, and I believe it got the highest rating in it's class on C-Net, and I can tell you from experience thus far that the color prints are as good as they say on there (on regular paper, better than most photo printers), and the text, even at 4 or 5 size font is gorgeous and crisp.
    Make sure that you get the model with the extra 250 sheet feeder, though, and if you want it to duplex, that's another $200 or so, as well. I got mine with the extra feeder for under $300 directly from Dell about a month ago (refurb), and it's been one of the better purchases I've made recently. It looks like it may be up to aroun $360 now, but this thing is definitely worth it ( ).
    Have fun switching over your business!


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