How to setup a LAN network

Learn the components like switches, routers , cables needed to set up a LAN network. This article explains how you can setup a LAN network along with a case study to help understand how the different components would fit in the solution.

Step 1 – Switches

Identify the number of users on the LAN. This is one of the most important criterion since switches form the core of a LAN network. The switches are selected based on the number of computers and devices which are connected to it. If there are less than 5 users, a 5 port switch is required. If the number of connected devices are greater than 20, then a 24 port switch would be required.

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Switches comes in different ports like 5 port, 8 port , 24 port, 48 port etc. Based on the number of devices on the LAN network, you would need to purchase the appropriate switch.

Step 2 – Cables

Ethernet cables are required for connecting the devices to the LAN network. The number of cables required can be calculated based on the number of devices.

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Step 3 – Racks

Switches are placed inside racks. The size of the racks are based on the size of switches.

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Step 4 – Routers for Internet

To setup internet access on the LAN network, you would need a router. Typically, you would need to purchase a wireless router , which would connect to the internet. The internet is then shared among all the users on the network. The router also has inbuilt DHCP server which is used to allocate IP address to devices on the network.

Case Study 1 – LAN network setup for 20 users with internet access

Now that we have understood the components required to setup a LAN network, a case study is used to understand how the components would fit into the solution.

Step 1 – Identifying Switches

There are 20 users on the network. Also the network requires internet access. So we need 20 ports on the switch to connect to the devices of the users and 1 port for the router which is used for internet access. In total, 21 ports on the switch is required. A 24 port switch is recommend for the same.

Step 2 – Identifying Routers

For providing internet access , you would need a router. A wireless router is recommended, since this would also provide wireless connectivity to required users.

Step 3 – Identifying Racks

Purchase a rack to place the switch. A rack which would accommodate the router and the switch would suffice.

Note: We are not elaborating on this, since this comes as part of structured cabling and not within the scope of the article.

Step 4 – Identifying cables

The are in total, 21 devices which would be connecting to the switches. To accommodate these devices, 21 ethernet cables would be required.

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Step 5 – Network Integration

The lan network diagram along with the necessary components are shown below.

Connect the LAN interface of the wireless router to the switch port. Connect all the devices to respective ports on the switch. Setup DHCP server on the wireless router. DHCP server is a service , which would allocate dynamic IP address to users on the network.

The Wireless router has two interfaces, the interface connecting the router to the internet and the LAN interface. The LAN interface IP address of the router should be configured with the IP address 192.168.0.1 and subnet mask as 255.255.255.0. ( Note: Any private IP address can be used. This IP address has been used as an example)

Configure the DHCP server with the IP address to provide IP addresses in the range 192.168.0.2 – 192.168.0.21 for the devices on the network, connected to the switches. The DNS server and default gateway IP address should be configured in the DHCP server configuration with the IP address of the router which is 192.168.0.1. Ensure that the router is connected to the internet and its working fine.

Our product recommendation

1. A 24 port unmanaged switch would suffice , for the above requirement. Vendors like netgear , DLINK, Cisco etc manufacture 24 port switches and which are available on Amazon . The details can be viewed here.

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2. It is recommended to purchase a good router like a Wifi 6 router. Wifi 6 is the latest wifi routers as of today , and would also provide optimal performance if wireless connectivity is required.

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Case study 2 – LAN network design with 100 users in 1 building

There are 100 users in a building. It is required that a LAN network is designed for the user’s computers to communicate with each other. The appropriate components, vendors, IP address schema is to be identified.

To setup a LAN network, a switch is required. For 100 users, 100 ports on the switch are required. Switches typically are available as 24 or 48 port. So to accommodate 100 users, 3 nos of 48 port switches would be required.
Private IP addressing of 192.168.1.0/24 can be used. The users can be assigned IP address in the range, 192.168.1.1 -192.168.1.100.

Case study 3 – LAN network design with 100 users in 2 buildings

There are two buildings in a campus. The distances between the buildings are 80 meters. There are 100 users each, in both the buildings. A LAN network has to be designed for interconnecting the user’s computers in the different buildings. The appropriate components, vendors, IP address schema is to be identified.

As there are 200 users in total, 200 ports on the switches would be required. 10 nos of 24 port switches are required in total. 5 nos of 25 port switches is setup in each of the buildings. The switches should also have uplink ports for interconnecting the switches in the different buildings.

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Copper uplink ports would suffice, since the distance between the buildings are less than 100 meters.
Private IP addressing of 192.168.2.0/24 can be used. The users in building 1 is assigned with IP addresses in the range, 192.168.1.1 -192.168.1.100 and users in building 2, is assigned with IP addresses in the range, 192.168.1.101-192.168.1.201.

Case study 4 – LAN network design with 200 users in three buildings

There are 3 buildings in a campus. The longest distances between the buildings are 150 meters and the shortest distance is 70 meters, as shown in the topology. There are 100 users in one building and 50 users in the other two buildings. A LAN network has to be designed for interconnecting the user’s computers in the different buildings. The appropriate components, vendors, IP address schema is to be identified.

As there are 200 users, 200 ports on the switches are required. 3 nos of 24 port switches are required in the buildings which has 50 users. 2 nos of 48 port switch and one 24 port switch is required in the building which has 100 users. A fiber up link port is required on the switches setup in the buildings, where the distance between which is 150 meters.

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Private IP addressing of 192.168.1.0/24 can be used. In the building, which has 100 users, the IP address range 192.168.1.1-192.168.1.100 can be used. In the buildings with 50 users, the IP address range, 192.168.1.100-192.168.1.150 and 192.168.1.151-192.168.1.201 can be used.

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