Connect computers on your network
Applies To: Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard
Identify your existing network topology by using the information in the Peer-to-peer vs. server-based networks section of this document. Then use the following steps to determine how to add the computer to your network where you plan to install Windows SBS 2011 Standard.
Terms and definitions
Network adapter. A network adapter is a hardware device that connects your computer to a network. It can be internal or external.
Internal and external network adapters operate at specified speeds: 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or 1000 Mbps. Newer network adapters are rated at 10/100 or 10/100/1000, which means that they automatically run at the same speed as all other devices on the network.
Internal network adapters are built into the motherboard or installed in an expansion slot inside your computer. Most computers come with several Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) expansion slots so that you can expand the capabilities of your computer by adding hardware—including network adapters.
External network adapters do not require that you open your computer. You can plug an external network adapter into a universal serial bus (USB) port on a computer or into the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) slot on a laptop computer. External network adapters are available for Ethernet or wireless connections.
Switch. A switch is a common networking device that connects devices on a local area network (LAN). When data arrives at a port, the data is switched (or forwarded) from one port on the switch to another port, based on the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the sending and receiving network adapters. A device that is connected to a port on a switch does not share the bandwidth with devices that are connected to other ports on the switch. The devices that are connected to a single port on a switch are known as a LAN segment.
The size and number of switches that you need depends on the number of computers and other devices, such as printers, that you connect to your network. You must have one port on your switch for each computer, printer, server, or other device on your network. Connect the network adapter on the computer to a port on the switch by using a network cable.
Like network adapters, switches operate at specific speeds. Newer switches are rated at 10/100 or 10/100/1000, which means that they automatically run at the speed of the slowest device on the network or LAN segment.
Router. A router is a device that connects two or more networks. For example, a router connects a small business network to the Internet. In this example, the router is acting as the gateway for the network. When data arrives at a port on the router, the data is sent (or routed) from one port to another port, based on the TCP-IP address of the sending and receiving devices. A small business network may require only one router to connect the entire network to the Internet.
Like network adapters and switches, routers operate at specific speeds. Newer routers are rated at 10/100/1000, which means that they automatically run at the speed of the slowest device on the network.
Network cable. Use an Ethernet cable to connect your computers and other network devices to a switch or router.
For 10 Mbps, you must use 10 Mbps Ethernet adapters and Category 3 (Cat3) twisted pair cabling (10BaseT), and you must connect to a 10 Mbps port on an Ethernet switch or router.
For 100 Mbps, you must use 100 Mbps Ethernet adapters and Category 5 (Cat5) twisted pair cabling (100BaseT), and you must connect to a 100 Mbps port on an Ethernet switch or router.
For 1000 Mbps, you must use 1000 Mbps Ethernet adapters and either Category 5e (Cat5e) or Category 6 (Cat6) twisted pair cabling (1000BaseT), and you must connect to a 1000 Mbps port on an Ethernet switch or router.
Because a network runs only as fast as the slowest device or cable on the network, ensure that all of the cables match the speed of the devices on your network or LAN segment.
If you are using wireless network adapters, you do not need to use cables. However, you need a wireless network device, also known as a wireless access point, which is included on many routers.
Step 1: Connect stand-alone computers into a peer-to-peer network
If you have an existing peer-to-peer network, go to Step 2: Add the server to a peer-to-peer network. If you have an existing server-based network, go to Step 3: Add the server to a server-based network.
If your computers are not connected so that they can share information over a local network, you must physically connect them. To begin, install network adapters on each computer. Then, connect each network adapter to a switch by using a network cable. You have now formed a peer-to-peer network.
An Ethernet network or local area network (LAN) segment can operate at speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps), 100 Mbps, or 1000 Mbps. The speed of the network or of the LAN segment depends on the speed of the slowest device or cable on the network or LAN segment. To assure maximum operating speed, make sure that you match the speeds of all devices and cables on the network.
Step 2: Add the server to a peer-to-peer network
If you already have a server-based network, go to Step 3: Add the server to a server-based network.
Add the server to the network as shown in Figure 1, and ensure that the power for the network device is turned on.
Figure 1 Local area network with broadband connection
In this configuration, the following conditions apply:
If you have a broadband connection but you do not have a router on your LAN, you must add a router. Because the router is the device that your network uses to access the Internet (it is the default gateway), the router must provide a firewall service or you must add a firewall device to help protect your LAN from unauthorized access from the Internet. In this topology, you cannot configure the firewall that is provided by Windows SBS 2011 Standard, because the server is not the gateway to the Internet.
The computer running Windows SBS 2011 Standard uses only one network adapter to connect to the local area network (LAN). It accesses the Internet through the router.
The IP address for the local network adapter on your server and the IP address for the internal interface of your router must be in the same range. During installation, Windows SBS 2011 Standard queries the router and then attempts to assign to the server a static IP address that is in the same range as the router.
If you want to use a specific subnet range on your network, you should configure the router in that subnet range before starting the Windows SBS 2011 Standard installation.
You have now formed a server-based network. Step 3 explains how to add the server to a server-based network.
Step 3: Add the server to a server-based network
You have the following options for adding the computer that will run Windows SBS 2011 Standard to your server-based network:
If you do not have a domain controller and you want to add a computer running Windows SBS 2011 Standard to the network without changing your existing server, you must complete a new installation of Windows SBS 2011 Standard. You can then use your existing server as a second server in the Windows SBS 2011 Standard domain.
If you are replacing an existing computer running Windows Small Business Server with a new computer running Windows SBS 2011 Standard, you must complete a server migration. Before completing a server migration, ensure that your network is configured properly. For more information see the server-migration documentation for your scenario. The following migration documentation is available:
To access printable versions of the migration guides, see Downloadable documentation for Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard.