Home and Business LANs 
(Local Area Networks)

Networking several PCs and sharing printers and files should make sense to everybody.

Printer Sharing:

You only need one printer.  (Although the need for an emergency backup printer is inevitable). Invest in one quality multi-purpose printer and your business will be that much better.  By providing quality printouts, fax and scanning capabilities, a good quality printer can enhance your business offerings. 

Printer Myths:

Please be aware that although printers can be shared,  in every case I have ever witnessed, the scanning and faxing must be done from the PC connected directly to the printer.  This PC would also be known as the "print server".   There are Fax sharing and Scanner sharing solutions, but the cost and functionality are not worth the trouble.

Disk Space Sharing:

As newer PCs arrive with larger hard drives, you can easily share a drive and move files off the overloaded machines to the newer larger hard drive.

Remember:  Sharing software is NOT as easy. Most Windows software must be INSTALLED on each PC, not COPIED to each machine. Usually, licensing issues will come into play.  Do not risk your business by pirating software.  Buy one copy for each PC.

File Backup:

Backup devices are failing miserably at keeping up with hard drives.    CDRs and tape provide poor solutions.  But sharing a hard drive, AND establishing a backup procedure is easy with across your network.

CD Writers

Are good for:
bulletcan backup 600+MB,
bulleteasy backup operation, like another hard drive (see below)
bulletare currently the most popular.
bulletprovide an excellent means for backing up critical data. 

bulletconfuse many people with CDR versus CDRW technology
bulletcan be very slow to format
bulletcannot backup more than 2 GB drives due to the sheer number of formatted CDs required.

Tape Drives

Are good for:
bulletprovide the most thorough backup

bulletdrives are expensive
bulletmedia (tapes) are expensive
bulletextremely slow in backing up
bulletextremely slow for recovering lost data
bulleteat tapes!
bulletincompatible media between tape drive vendors
bullettape mysteriously self destruct  (OOPS! Lost all your backup data)

Spare Hard Drives

Are good for:
bulletcan  potentially, backup any amount of GB
bulleteasy backup operation, just copy other hard drive
bulletprovide an excellent means for backing up large amounts of critical data. 

bulletconfuse some people with finding files to backup
bulletcannot backup the operating system (without special means)