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Opening an Internet cafe

I am opening a Internet cafe and would like to know what operating system would work the best, and if I should use a server or one computer for each user. ADSL is not in my area. What would you recommend for connection speed for 8/10 computers?

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For your PCs I would suggest running Windows2000, although NT or 98 would also work. As for networking, since ADSL isn?t available, ask your local cable company if you can get an online broadband connection. If so, you could connect your 8/10 computers using a NetGear FR314. This device is a Cable/DSL 4-port combination router/switch with built-in firewall for security and is expandable should you need to increase the amount of computers in your cafe. For more information, you can reference their website at

If cable broadband isn?t available, then I wouldn?t suggest using one computer for each user. Instead set up a network with a Linux server and connect your 8/10 PCs to a hub using IP. You should then connect your server to a local ISP using a 256K frame relay circuit. This should provide adequate response time to your users. Also, you shouldn?t forget about security. I would suggest a small inexpensive firewall such as SonicWALL or NetScreen to protect your environment. These are available for about $300.

This was first published in July 2001

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