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The first step: naming standards
Before you touch anything you need to do some paperwork first. You need to create a common workgroup name, and standard policy for naming devices on the network. And you need to write the information down.
Why? Because it will prevent lots of headaches. Eventually something in your network will break down. Some piece of equipment will jam up, freeze up, or otherwise stop working. And when that happens (and it will) you need to identify and repair the offensing item. But how will you locate it? Image that you have four printers. And you decide to name them John, Paul, George, and Ringo. They are all located in the same office, lined up on the same expanse of wall. Then one day someone tells you that he tried to print but nothing came out of the printer. He thinks that maybe it was George that didn't work. Which one is George?
By creating a standard on which to base all network names, future troubleshooting will be much easier. If there is a "theme" to how you assign names, then it will be easier to find the item that's not working.
A naming standard is just something that you invent. Something that makes sense to you. Its a good idea that it makes sense to other people, as well. Do you really want the office to call you away from a tropical beach vacation because they can't figure the name of the printer that isn't working?
How about using this standard?
||What it means
||Computer names. The WS identifies the item as a workstation (otherwise known as a computer). The x can relate to the office number, the telephone extention of the user - anything that makes sense to you (i.e.; WS1, WS2, etc).
||Printer names. The P identifies the item as a printer. The x is just like the previous example - an identifier that makes sense for your network.
|Share names. A share is data that you are making available, or using, on the network. Try to make the name as obvious as possible. Unless you are trying to confuse people, don't use a name like Gryffindor to label the share that contains all of your invoices.
||User names. You need a standard for assigning names for users, and well as computers, printers and shares. User names are necessary when you are applying security measures to your network. They are also necessary for email systems. Set a standard that will allow you to have more than one person named Bob in the office - maybe the first letter of the first name folllowed by the last name in full, with a maximun number of 12 letters (just like the sample). Or the first initial, the middle initial, and the last name (ex: GTJetson).
IP Address Standards
In addition to the name, each workstation must be assigned a unique IP address. Before proceesing, determine what class of IP address you will assign.
Caveat Emptor: Be sure to put this information in writing, including the rules you used in creating the standard. Make sure the the information can be accessed by others, is necessary. Remember the tropical beach vacation.
Click here for the next step: how it all works.