Networking / Beginners

Adding Network Server Appliances

It's often easier and sometimes less expensive to add network services in the form of purpose-built devices called network server appliances, rather than setting up servers of your own. You can get network server appliances that perform any of the following services:

  • File storage- These devices have hard disks that are shared with the network. Examples include the Cobalt "Qube," the Network Appliance "NetApp Filer," and the GreenComputer "PowerElf."
  • Web and Email servers- Examples of this type of device include the Intel InBusiness eMail Station, as well as most of the file storage devices mentioned previously. Many of these devices perform Internet connection sharing as well.
  • Print servers- These devices connect a printer to your network so that any computer can send data directly to the printer. This avoids the need to keep a computer turned on all the time just to share its printer, and in the case of print servers that are installed directly inside the printer, can significantly speed up printing of complex graphics. Examples include the HP JetDirect series of print servers, and devices made by LinkSys, DLink, NetGear, Hawking, Siemens, and just about every other networking vendor.

These devices usually only need to have an IP address assigned to them, and from there a built-in Web server is used to walk through fairly straightforward configuration screens.

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