Router replacement and Networked Storage


Junior Member
Jun 11, 2008
My company currently has a linksys router that's broken (DHCP server isn't assigning addresses so we have to use static ips) and an assortment of cheap switches and hubs cobbled together.

I would like to replace this mess with a more reasonable solution and network everyone, creating a . Currently several users are running xp home, and the boss doesn't want to spring for a server to set up a domain or anything.

My goals:
1. Replace the several switches with one 20+ port gigabit switch
2. Add a networked hard drive that users back up to daily

Questions on #1
Would it be in my best interests to get a 20-24 port gigabit switch and then replace the faulty linksys router with basically the same thing? If so, can anyone recommend something reliable? Or would I be better off going with like a sonicwall tz150?

I'm looking for reliability mainly, ideally I would like to make as few "unplug everything and then plug it back in" calls as possible. They currently use DSL.

Right now most of their cable is cat5 or cat5e. I will be putting in a few new runs of gigabit cable, will the users on cat5 see any better than regular 100mbps?

Questions on #2

My thought on the network drive and backup plan was to find a network hard drive, then have Handy Backup running on each workstation and set to do staggered incremental backups at the end of the day. All the users turn their computers off at night and all the workstations are used throughout the day, so I would hate to just have one of the workstations acting as a server.

If it's cost effective, I would be interested in a solution where there are two hard drives mirroring each other (raid1?).

Does anyone have any experience with network drives like this? Are they reliable, and can you recommend a good brand? I am a big fan of handy backup, but would be open to other suggestions for a backup plan.

Thanks for any insight on this!