by Professional Practice Systems, Inc.
OPTO will run nicely on a standalone, single user system but almost all offices find that they need several computers to be able to share access to the database.
Recommended Minimum Specifications for New Equipment:
Windows XP Pro or Vista network systems
Windows XP Pro and Vista offer a built-in networking system which works quite nicely for most offices. It holds the terrific benefit of being low cost since it does not require a dedicated server and comes almost automatically on all new hardware. It is limited to no more than about 10 stations however. Windows NTor Windows 2003 are options for larger systems but are substantially more expensive.
Ethernet 10Base-T topology
Ethernet 10Base-T is the standard networking technology in use today. It's fast, robust, and very compatible. It utilitizes twisted pair cabling similar to what telephone systems use. There's a higher speed version called 100Base-TX that also works with OPTO, but the benefits are limited in most offices, and it's much more expensive and the quality of cabling is much more important.
Category 5 cabling
Category 5 cabling is an industry standard specification for the type of wiring to use in an office environment. This type of cabling is of high quality but still reasonably priced. Ethernet can also run on coax cabling without a hub, but this is strongly discouraged because of difficulties in tracking down problems and vulnerability to communications breakdowns.
8 port hub (or larger as needed)
When purchasing an Ethernet Hub, be sure to plan ahead on how many workstations you plan to add in the near future. It's possible to add a second hub later on, but it's cheaper to purchase a larger hub initially than to buy two smaller hubs for the same capacity.