Setting up a small Internet Cafe

Discussion in 'Networking' started by todingman, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. todingman

    todingman Junior Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been a long time reader but a first time poster. I desperately need help and maybe someone can give me advice with my problem.

    My twin brother started a very small business in our home country and I promised him that I will help him setup his shop. It will be an Internet Cafe + Games and customers rent the computer in an hourly basis. It consists of 14 computers total - One server and 13 clients. *The Server is just a normal PC with more beefy memory/processor* All computer have Windows XP professional (32-bit) and all are custom built. All the computers are already there but I'm still figuring out how to setup the network so we are still not in business.

    He already bought a D-Link 16-port Switch (10/100/1000) and the ISP also gave a wireless router (with 4 ethernet ports - wireless will not be used). So the hardware we currently have are 14 computers, 1 router, 1 Switch. The server has 2 ethernet ports that came built-in to the mobo (Msi P55-GD85).

    Now, my main problem is setting up the network of the shop. I was thinking that since the server mobo has 2 ethernet ports, it will be something like this:


    ISP Router --> Going into the first ethernet port of Server --> then Second Ethernet port FROM the Server going into -->
    16-port Switch --> 13 Client PCs.



    The reason why I like this setup is that some customers, believe it or not, will do anything to screw you like intentionally putting viruses, key-loggers, change the passwords of your router, etc. So I really need all the 13 computers to be solely connected to the Server. For example, if the server is down, no one can't access the internet. Every other computer should pass through the server and should NOT work independently.

    However, I'm thinking of how I would pass internet to the 2nd ethernet since it is only connected to a Switch -- I'm guessing Network Internet Sharing from the 1st ethernet port? Do you think the 1st Diagram is plausible?

    Or should the diagram be:


    ISP Router --> Going into the first ethernet port of Server --> then Second Ethernet port FROM the Server going into -->ANOTHER ROUTER?-->
    16-port Switch --> 13 Client PCs.


    Oh, one last thing, the Server will have a program that will monitor the time usage of each computer that is currently rented - so that my brother will know how long the customer used the PC. Also, I'm thinking of installing a Bandwidth Manager so my brother can throttle and regulate PCs that use a lot of bandwidth.

    I know the basics of networking as I've done it before. But it never involved any sort servers and such. This will be my first time doing this kind of thing. Unfortunately, since I'm in a different country, I'll be dictating to him what will be done which makes it extra difficult.

    If you think that both diagrams will not work. Please feel free to give a totally different diagram or any advice. Hopefully no additional hardware will be purchased because my brother is running low already.

    Thank you so much!
     
    #1 todingman, Mar 9, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
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  3. todingman

    todingman Junior Member

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    OR should I just trash the 2nd ethernet port and connect everything (including the server) to the Switch?

    ISP Router --> 16-port Switch --> ALL of the computers (including the Server)
     
  4. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    From a point of view of topology you can play with something like this.

    Network Segregation - http://www.ezlan.net/shield.html

    BTW. Win XP Pro allows only 10 concurrent Network connections.

    Win 7 Pro allows 20.
     
  5. todingman

    todingman Junior Member

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    Thanks for the link.

    Ouch, thats too bad. That means that my brother will spend more money Win 7 Pro + a wired router.

    Does hacking the concurrent connection would make it work? I remembered when I was using XP, there was a hack to the tcpip.sys + patch in order to have better torrent downloads.

    I believe its from this guy. http://www.lvllord.de/
     
  6. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

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    Have you looked at running something like Astaro Internet Gateway on the server machine? You can firewall, monitor, etc., various network activities.
     
  7. degibson

    degibson Golden Member

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    Don't route internet through the server. For one, it's not necessary. For two, it will only add latency, which will irritate your gamer crowd -- even if they can't perceive it, they'll still blame it for their failures.

    Furthermore, to get around the spammers, run all the clients in user mode (not administrator) and get yourself a decent router that has some real security features, e.g., user-defined login credentials. You'll want a good router for per-client flow control anyway. Don't use the default passwords, etc.

    Lastly, get yourself plenty of bandwidth -- one home- or small-business-class connection won't state 13 gamers. Double-up on the cheap connections and use a dual-homed router to spread load.
     
  8. Fallen Kell

    Fallen Kell Diamond Member

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    And you will be hacked every other day with Windows running as the router/firewall between the real router and your internal network. You need to setup something that was actually DESIGNED to be a router/firewall.

    http://www.pfsense.org/


    As network setup, all clients and the server connected to the switch. Second NIC from the server connected to the router from ISP. Or simply ditch the router from the ISP and direct connect the server to the DSL/Cable modem from the ISP. But at that point, you need to know how to setup some real firewall rules, and if you are posting here asking how to setup the network topography, you probably don't, and will only have the default out-of-the-box setup (which isn't bad, but doesn't account for new threats and/or specific needs of certain games).
     
    #7 Fallen Kell, Mar 10, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  9. todingman

    todingman Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the input!

    Thanks for the suggested network setup. I'm just wondering if the second Ethernet port goes directly to the ISPs modem (btw its a router/modem - only 1 device), then the 1st Ethernet goes to the switch together with the other clients, how am I going to share the internet to the switch then to the other 13 computers.

    Another thing is, the modem default gateway ip is 192.168.1.1, so it will give my server an ip to that range (for example I set a static ip of 192.168.1.2) - what ip range will the other computer gets? Since the switch will be connected to the first ethernet port (from the server), what ip range should I give to the other computers and how will they get internet?

    BTW, I recently spoke with my brother and the server will actually not do anything complicated. The server just needs two programs that can

    1) Throttle the internet of the 13 computers
    2) The program that calculates the amount of money the customer needs to pay from the time he rented it.

    Thanks!
     
  10. kevnich2

    kevnich2 Platinum Member

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    Well they have specialized hotspot type router's that have built in options for things like internet cafes that handle the billing for you. I don't actually see the need to have the server there at all. But in order for the server to handle internet, you will need to have an internet routing software on it that handles DHCP, DNS, etc.

    I'd look into a specialized router that isn't a server at all that can handle everything you need and maybe have the billing software built in - but that's your call there. I just think having a server system there will add unneeded complexity. Keep things as simple as possible so troubleshooting is easier when something breaks.

    Also, for the modem/router combo - get rid of it or have the ISP put it into bridge mode and make it just a modem. You'll want either your own router or the server handling the connection to the internet. The modem/router will be your weakest link.
     
  11. todingman

    todingman Junior Member

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    Hey guys, thanks for all your input.

    As some of you suggested that using a different operating system for control over the clients, like linux, would be better. Is it possible for me to install a VM of Linux on the Server (WinXP)? Possibly use the physical 2nd ethernet port exclusively for the VM. BTW, I have a license of VMware which I could give to my brother.

    Is it a long shot? Or not even possible? Or possible cause latency issues?

    Thanks!