From the beginning, we have felt that business
computers were crippled if they were limited access to one operator
at a time. Actually, that's the source of the "mini" in Minilogic. Before personal computers, minicomputers
processors and hard drives with several terminals, were the current and future of business computing. (
for more on our history.)
That changed when you could connect several personal computers in local networks. Just like that, minicomputers became
Then came the Internet, and we could use existing telephone lines to connect networks of networks!
Today, one of the most important services we provide is helping our customers connect: to computers in their offices
to each other (Local-Area or LANs); to the Internet via World-Wide Web and email traffic; and over secure links to their own systems
or to others worldwide
Here's some more on this:
A local-area network or LAN) is a group of computers
connected through a router (technically, incorporating a "switch") to share information,
usually within a single buildiing. The longest distance between the router and any station is 100 meters.
These are simply full-function computers connected through cabling to one or more other computers.
This group of local machines in your office becomes your network
One computer on the network, the server
, will normally be dedictated to, well,
data to the others and will not act as a station for normal work.
We presently recommend and install multiple IntelŽ XeonŽ or XeonŽ Dual-Core processors and multiple SATA-300 7,200rpm hard
drives in mirrored or RAID configurations -- to distribute the processor workloads and provide system redundancy
Server operating systems
We began working with NovellŽ networking in the mid-1980's. Since then, first with Windows NT, then Server 2000 and
Server 2003, Microsoft has become the dominant supplier of server operating systems. Server 2003 Small Business Server (SBS)
is a very robust product working very well for most of our customers.
Today, virtually all of these connections are over Category-5 (100-Megabit) Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)
cable. While it stretches the capabilities of copper Category-5e UTP cable up to and beyond
its design specifications, we are experimenting with 1-Gigabit configurations in limited uses and with mixed results. The extra
cost of this technology is minimal compared to the potential
speed gains (as much as 10 times!).
For most of our customers Linksys
routers offer the best buy.
A note on wireless (WiFi) routers:
Because they seem so simple ("Just plug 'em in and you're networked."), wireless routers are all the rage. These use radio
signals to pass data to and from your computer, other local computers, and the Internet. Unfortunately, it's not quite as
simple as that. Surprised?
The radio signals are subject to interference, so location and surroundings can be critical.
We've seen a nearby computer monitor disrupt the connection. At their best, WiFi throughput rates are half those of wireline.
Finally, the radio signals can be intercepted by anyone within a hundred meters or so. This means wireless networks must
incorporate rigorous encryption, and configuring that is far from simple!
For all these reasons, we do not recommend wireless networks for primary business
What we do
We help our customers with all of this. We...
- Configure the network stations;
- Run and test the cable;
- Configure the servers (including mirroring and RAID drive duplication);
- Attach shared printers;
- Establish and tune Internet connections (to all stations); and
- Help with protocols, procedures, and permissions to insure data security.
In short, we become your network administrators. We are on-call and available 24/7 to keep your network running.
Normally, once we have set up a local network, they require little attention other than routine maintenance, but the Internet couldn't
be more different. The Internet is a content medium, either for email messages or web-site traffic. Like other global media, this
changes at a break-neck pace..
Virtually all of our customers have incorporated Internet access into their daily routines.
Of course, there are some limits. Your phone company must supply and provision your broadband Internet connection. We can
help with everything inboard from the line, connecting it to your network. Maintaining hardware you bought elsewhere is the
responsibility of those vendors; we can help you diagnose problems and sometimes provide emergency repairs. In other words, we
like to serve as a single resource for our customers' networks and systems.
Please click here for more on how we help our customers
with the Internet.
A wide-area network
usually refers to a connection between a computer in your office and a server some distance away. This can be done several ways,
traditionally over dedicated telephone lines, most recently over Internet connections through Virtual Private Networks
Because these connections involve much greater distances, they are much slower than LAN's. Even 3Mb and 6Mb Internet connections
are around one-tenth the speed of typical local networks. And, of course, the speed of the overall transaction is only as great as
the slowest link. Still, when we configure the client/server applications to pass only the minimal necessary information (such as
just database recordsets) over the WAN/VPN, these connections can provide exciting possibilities inconceivable only a few years ago.