How to Build a Client Server Network

By John Williams

A client-server network can include multiple servers in a corporate setting.
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Networks can come in all shapes and sizes, but the two basic categories are peer-to-peer networks and client-server networks. Client-server networks are for over 15 users generally, and mostly used in small to large business environments. In a client-server network the client is the user's computer, which can be either a desktop or laptop. The composition of the server varies depending on the network, but the basics will include a domain controller, DHCP, and DNS.

Install the network operating system on the server, which will create your network. A predetermined network name must be chosen in order to set up the server as a domain controller. Install the active directory component, which will allow you to create the actual domain, user accounts, and computer accounts. DHCP and DNS should also be installed on your domain controller at this time. DHCP produces leases for each computer by assigning them an IP address that has a time controlled lease that can expire at any time you choose. Typically, with a large network the lease expiration is set to eight hours.

Install your client operating system on each of the laptops and desktops. Windows XP Pro is considered to be a client operating system. Make sure to use Windows updates to update your client machines with all of the important security updates, patches and hot fixes in order to help provide security in your client-server network. Join your client machines to the domain, right-click "My Computer" and select properties, and once the properties box comes up select the "Computer Name" tab at the top. Here you will see the current domain or work group the computer is joined to. Select the "Change" button, which will provide the option to change the computer name and domain.

Install the network operating system on your next server to create the makeup for the file server. Log in to the server and select "Start," "Administrator Tools," and then select "Manage Your Server." When the manage your server application starts up place your network operating system disk in the server and select "Add a Component." Here you will have the option to install many different server roles just like you did when you set up your active directory, DHCP, and DNS on your domain controller. Select "File Server" and click "Next." Windows will automatically load the file-sharing component and start to create a share wizard that will allow you to start creating your shared folders.