Switch or router for small office network with 10-20 computers

Microsoft Windows XP
Network connectivity
Network design
Network management
Network security
Networking Equipment
Hi I am trying to setup a small network for an office. Not sure should I use a Switch or a router. Could be 10-20 computers. Also the user wants me to block everyone from accessing their emails. Any suggestions is appreciated

Software/Hardware used:
Windows XP

Answer Wiki

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It sounds like you will need to use a firewall and a switch.

The firewall will allow you to control access to the internet from and to your network while the switch gives you more ports to connect to workstations or devices.

Your internet connection will plug into the firewall via a CAT5 or CAT6 cable. This is where you can configure rules as to what users can access or can not access. Check out the barracuda spyware firewall as a good example. This will make your jobe easier as it has predefined rules for blocking webmail and social networking sites. If not you can get a Cisco or Sonicwall and try and sort it out yourself with their technical support.

Onec you have that setup properly you will then have a switch connect to the firewal via ethernet cable to allow for the 10-20 computers to be connected.

One cable will need to be run from each network jack back to a punch panel and the punch panel connects to the switch. The individual computers will be connected to the network jack and the entire network.

You can also use software firewalls on the local machines to try and block the users from accessing their webmail but it can easily be over come.

If you need further assistance please let me know.

Discuss This Question: 6  Replies

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  • mitrum
    use Switch with some firewall.
    810 pointsBadges:
  • RGunther
    For your firewall I would look into a product that also gives you webcontent filtering. An example would be a product from Watchguard, you can purchase a webblocking license from them and can block certain websites or certain content (Drugs, dating, shopping, etc). An example would be found here. Small little box that would give you wired and wireless support. I have experience with these boxes and they work great in a small office enviroment, I know there are other devices from sonicwall and other vendors but I havn't worked with them in the past. Ryan Gunther www.onlinetech.com
  • RGunther
    Sorry, seems I didn't add the link in right. Here is the URL to the Watchguard Product: http://www.watchguard.com/products/xtm-2/overview.asp
    650 pointsBadges:
  • Chippy088
    Which emails are you talking about? Those on yahoo, hotmail etc? For starters, a router is a must. A switch will not contain the firewall capabilities found in a router. So, saying get a firewall and a switch is misleading, unless you know a firewall is a component of a router. You did say you weren't sure of the hardware needed. You will still need a switch to link all those computers, because a router won't have that many ports. If you can get a managed switch, then that can be configured to block internet requests before they get to the router. If you know the ip address of the website(s) you want to block, it can be done on the router firewall.
    4,625 pointsBadges:
  • Subhendu Sen
    For this small environment, better go for managed switch which can help to configure internet requests also. If you want to use firewall, you may consider for router.
    142,210 pointsBadges:
  • ToddN2000
    Going the switch route will be easier to manage in the long run.

    136,240 pointsBadges:

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