Contoso’s SOHO PC Network
Due date: October 17, 2006
CONTOSO Consulting is a small environmental consulting company with four
professionals and a secretary. They have an office suite in a large downtown office
building. This is called a SOHO (small office or home) environment.
Initially, each staff member had a good personal computer and a printer. Victor
Chao, CONTOSO’s president, had a laser printer. So did Ann Jacobs, the secretary. The
other consultants had color dot matrix printers.
When a consultant with a dot matrix printer needed laser printout, he or she saved
the file onto a floppy disk and give it to Ann. Similarly, when consultants wanted to share
a file, one had to save it to disk and walk it to the other consultant. Walking files around
was jokingly called “sneakernet.” It wasted time and created confusion over who has
the most current version of each file.
The consultants, who frequently are on the road, had to copy files they would
need to the firm’s one “loaner” notebook computer. If they needed an unexpected file on
the road, there was no good way to retrieve it.
Although all PCs had modems, only one could dial into the Internet at a time, and
telephone access was very slow for the large maps they often had to download.
One of the consultants, Kumiko Touchi, is very good with computers. However,
there were many problems that Kumiko could not fix. Also, pulling Kumiko away from
highly paid consulting work to fix a computer problem was absurd financially.
To improve their computer service, Victor Chao hired a network consultant,
Robert Blanco, who created a local area network. Here is a description of the main
elements of the LAN created by Mr. Blanco:
An Ethernet switch connects all of the elements. It has ports for 12 devices,
leaving room for growth. It operates at 100 Mbps.
A UTP wire cord runs between the switch and each computer. The company
bought pre-cut UTP cords of the correct length for each run. These cords came with
connectors already installed. The cords ran over carpets, creating a mild safety hazard.
Neater but more expensive installation was put off because the firm might be moving
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Mr. Blanco had to install a NIC in three of the firm’s current desktop PCs, now
renamed client PCs. The other two desktops came with NICs when they were purchased.
The firm also installed a NIC in its notebook PC and in its new server. NICs, like the
switch, operated at 100 Mbps.
The firm purchased a new computer to be a server. It was only about as powerful
as the clients. It ran the Windows 2000 Server network operating system instead of the
desktop versions of Windows that the client computers used.
The main job of this server is to provide file service, meaning that the
consultants can store their files on the server. Consequently, the main server is called a
file server. File service is good because the server is backed up nightly.
The firm connects both one laser printer and one color dot matrix printer to small
boxes called print servers. When client users print, their printout comes out on one of
Each print server connects to the switch with UTP wiring and to the printer
through an ordinary parallel cord. Parallel cables are very short—only one or two meters.
Consequently, a print server sits right next to its printer, and there is a long UTP wiring
run to the switch.
For Internet access, the firm replaced slow telephone access with high-speed DSL
service from their local telephone company. Several client PCs can use this access line
simultaneously. This required purchasing an access router. One end of the access router
plugs into the DSL modem via a UTP cord. The other end plugs into the switch via
another UTP cord.
The server also is used as a mail server, storing incoming mail for all users. It
communicates over the Internet with mail hosts in other companies.
Victor decided not to install remote access service (RAS) because he was
concerned about security. He did not want a hacker breaking in and stealing critical files.
The Current Situation
CONTOSO Consulting generally is very happy with the new network. The switch
works quite well and rarely needs maintenance. Unfortunately, managing the server has
been a problem. Ann Jacobs went to a Windows 2000 Server training course. The
company reluctantly also sent Kumiko Touchi to the course to provide backup expertise.
The company also has Robert Blanco on retainer and frequently has to use him.
In a few months, the company may be moving to a new office. Laying wiring
neatly will be expensive, costing as much as $1,000 per wired client PC and server. The
company may wish to install a wireless LAN that would replace most or all UTP cords
with radio waves.
Victor Chan still wants to add remote access service for his traveling consultants.
However, he has heard horror stories about hackers breaking into remote access systems
that are not set up correctly and doubts that he can build the needed expertise internally.
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Questions to be answered:
1. Describe the problems that led to the installation of the PC network.
2. Describe the services offered by the PC network, and explain the advantages of a PC network
compared to having Stand-Alone computers.
3. Describe the hardware and software components of the PC network.
4. Is the company having any problems with the network? If so, how are they being managed?
5. What next steps may the company take? Do you agree or disagree with them? Explain.
FORMAT OF PAPER:
Your Assignment (4 pages or less) should be typed, edited and presented in the
(1) Title Page
(2) Answers of question 1 to 5
NOTE: STAPLE THE COMPLETED ASSIGNMENT, NO FOLDERS, BINDERS
- Form (clear, concise, easy to follow, logically arranged)
- Content (logical, use and understanding of course/text material)
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