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Thread: Setting up a Internet Cafe - the network

  1. #1

    Default Setting up a Internet Cafe - the network

    Hi guys,

    Well after many weeks of procrastination i've started the business plan to rule them all . I have got pricing for computers etc, and am starting my layout planning.

    However, not being the best networker (Dam i shouldn't have missed so much OC ) I'm not sure what exactly I'll need for an internet cafe network.

    Will I need a server? Can i just run a Star Topology network. That way i wouldn't need a server and can just run maintenance tasks manually.
    I know i need some type of Hub and think a switch would be appropriate, perhaps a "LAYER 2 SWITCHE - UNMANAGED"? (BTW what is unmanaged?)
    Any suggestions for a ISP? I was looking at a 3Gb 4mb line from Web-Africa to start, we can always top up when necessary.

    I have planned to use Dynasoft SurfShop for management, but, if anyone has any other suggestions I'm all ears.

  2. #2


    Wish you Good Luck, perhaps you should have a look at some hardware which i have
    here which came with a stock lot from Tiger Brands and is probably not the newest of the newest but solid and have also some 20/30 p2's and a few p3's.

    Quess you don't need big HDD's and memory levels required for Viesta, [pardon me,Vista)

    Let me know.

    Good Luck,


  3. #3


    You can try cybera on as well. Free software that does alot!

  4. #4


    I would go with a server, that way you can manage tasks from there and not have to manually be in front of each machine to do something. There is also inet cafe software that will allow you to enable and disable the inet on each machine, like when a customer has finished on a machine you close the session off on that machine. A unmanaged hub will do the job. A managed switch for a inet cafe is not necessary and will also require some skill set to essentially manage and configure. Good Luck!

  5. #5


    You said you're going to use Dynasoft SurfShop, but doesn't it work in Euros?
    Last edited by NetSpike; 08-07-2008 at 08:36 AM.
    MCTS: Windows Server 2008, MCAD, MCSE+Messaging+Security, MCSA+Messaging+Security, D-Link Certified Engineer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004


    i know this question was about hardware, but the software would dictate what your hardware setup should be.
    in addition to Cybera, you could also look at locally developed OutKafe (aka ZybaCafe).

  7. #7


    Thanks guys.

    Just to fill you in with what I have tried:
    • Cybera - Nice easy to use but doesn't have the ability to manage bandwidth usage (which in this country is a problem)
    • handycafe - Not bad admin but the free version exploits your pc and can't be uninstalled easily. Also no bandwidth moniter.
    • EasyCafe - Had a cool SMS feature, but had no printing feature.
    • - Terrible simple has no funtions for printing etc.
    • - Nice interface but still no printing, bandwidth, and was had a heavy price tag
    • - Was definatly a high ranking choice had a neat interface, bandwidth monitoring, network boots, Wi-Fi hotspot support, printing, but the price tag for 12 was $279.90!!!

    Dynasoft Cybercafe SurfShop - Was reasonble priced, has had recent updates, controls printing, and can have different groups of programmes: Internet, Games, Multimedia and Office, and set different rates for each one. You can also Control any type of non-pc station: game consoles (X-Box, Playstation, ...), Wi-fi connected PCs. And remote backup of the database.

    As for the hardware i see that little changes make a big difference in total price. I was going to buy new stuff with the following specs:
    • Foxconn (45CMX) Motherboard & Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4Ghz CPU
    • 512MB, 667Mhz, DDR2, 240-Pin Memory Module
    • 512MB, 667Mhz, DDR2, 240-Pin Memory Module
    • Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM 2MB Buffer SATA II HDD
    • SAMSUNG +/- DVD Writer, 20X +R, 12X +R(DL), 8X +RW, 48x CD-R - S-ATA Dual Layer – OEM
    • The usual rest, CRT moniters, headphones, keyboard, mouse, case...

    My reason for such "high" specs is so that we can offer a number of games right at the begining. OpenArena, WarcraftIII, Counterstrike...
    The cost per PC as it stands now about R3600. I don't want celerons, and can't get hold of "normal" P4's anymore.

    So my question is What network equipment do i need? What types of switches or hubs do i need?

    And does any one have recommendations for an internet provider?

  8. #8


    Do you think the computers are overkill?

  9. #9


    Nope those pc's are not overkill at all....Anything less and you will find yourself replacing them in less than a year.

  10. #10


    Thanks Grimspoon, remebrer what ever i need is x 12 atleast...
    At the moment i'm betting on using on-board graphics, as graphics cards are quite an investment, for each and every computer, just to provide floor less games.

  11. #11
    Karmic Sangoma ghoti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Hotel California
    Blog Entries


    This may surprise you.. but "unmanaged" means.. you dont manage it.

  12. #12


    Yes i knew that, but as genius would have it, i forgot to enable it this morning...

    So you suggest a 24 port managed switch and thats it?

  13. #13


    If you want to offer games then I'd suggest you drop the spec on the CPU (like E2160 perhaps) while adding a graphics card. I somehow doubt that people will be psyched by playing War3 on an onboard graphics card (Some of the TD style games will kill an onboard card).

    As for ISPs, Axxess and WebAfrica both seem to do a decent job.
    Beware weapons grade stupidity in post following this one

  14. #14


    A 24 port managed switch will do just fine.
    Do not get a "hub" because then all the pc's will send data to all the other pc's. so 12 pc's sending data to the other 11 is alot of data!! A managed switch only sends data to the destination pc instead of every pc on the network, much more efficient.

    To save on bandwith costs I suggest you setup you server to split local internet traffic through a local only adsl account and international traffic through an international adsl account....Contact me offline for some help with that

    good luck

  15. #15

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