Running A LAN
From OCAU Wiki
This article is a walkthrough and checklist for running and ENJOYING a LAN party.
What you will Need
Source article OCAU First Time LAN Guide! Most of the things that you will need are similar for both the host and the participant, but the host has to provide a few extras and vice versa.
Hardware - Host
This is common with that of the participant except for:
- Switch - doesn't really matter which but must have sufficient bandwidth (100Mbit or 1Gbit) for leaching and gaming. Obviously the more ports the more people can attend. Having Gigabit is the best but people can survive on 100Mbit. Wireless would be suitable for gaming only, but a typical 802.11g access point with 54Mbit throughput, like the hub, is a shared resource, and is is not an option for leeching as it doesn't have the bandwidth. A hub is explicitly not recommended, as they are commonly 10Mbit in bandwidth capacity, and due to the nature of the hub's design, this is a shared bandwidth between all hosts on the network, consequently it's suitable for gaming but not for leeching.
- Electricity - this one is pretty obvious but if you don't have a sufficiently strong power system you'll end up with a blackout either when the computers power up or when they all come under load. Three phase power is recommended.
- Space - you're going to need somewhere to put all these people and their gear and maybe even for people to sleep. One large room is usually best to avoid things getting lost and misplaced.
- Cable - you'll need extra network and power cables because these are the things that people overlook the most. Cables also get crushed and broken and will need replacing to keep everybody happy and gaming.
- Powerboards - try to get everybody to bring a powerboard each but you'll need some spares anyway.
- Tables and Chairs - people need to sit, right? having enough seating and tables can be a problem so getting other people to bring their own or hiring it is a good idea.
Optionally the host can provide a few extras:
- Game Server - this is unlikely in most cases except at large events. This is only a requirement with large numbers of people playing the one game (>~15).
- Internet Access - this is up to the host. But be warned having a fast internet connection shared is to tempting for most geeks to resist leaching from (along with from everybody else's computers).
If you can try to have as much spare peripherals available in case things are left behind, break or go flat. Common things that are needed are mice and keyboards, especially if they are wireless. So having ~2 spare of each is generally a good idea.
Hardware - Participant
This is all listed in OCAU First Time LAN Guide!.
Software - Host
The Host should have on hand all files that will be needed. This only applies to general things and preplanned things. Having these things on a thumb drive is recommended so that the computers can be upgraded/updated without network access.
This includes for games:
- Patches - all recent patches for games should be available in a shared file.
- Mods - these should also be in an appropriate folder.
General files that may be needed:
- Firewall - make sure that everybody has an upto date firewall. An example of a free one is [www.ZoneAlarm.com ZoneAlarm]
- Anti-virus - this is a must have for anybody at the LAN. One infected computer can ruin everybodies day. This must be both running and up to date. A commonly used free one is AVG Free
Software - Participant
- Try to have all games up to date and with all mods already installed.
- All bug fixes, patches, service packs are a must have to keep everything continous.
- Firewalls, anti-virus and other programs must be installed and upto date before the computers are connected to the network.
Lists of Games to be played
Havign a pre arrange list of Games that will be played will ensure fun day for all and no hissy fits by non dota players when you play that 10th round of DOTA Please add any games/ Mods to this list
- Food and drink can be an area of debate for LANers- some people use the LAN as an opportunity to gorge on junk food and caffienated beverages, whereas other people prefer fresh fruit and healthier alternatives. A good host can choose to supply a bowl of fruit, tea and coffee and perhaps a few soft drinks, but essentially, everyone should be willing to put in some money, or contribute some food/beverages of their own.
- Television - people will need time off the computer to relax. having another room with lounges and a TV is one of the best ways to do this.
- Ping pong and other table sports/distractions - depending on the size of the event will govern weather having entertainment like this is needed or worth it.
One other very important thing is to have fresh air and sunlight. Having a spot for people to go out side keeps people from going crazy and also allow for people that smoke to do so. (as smoking in the LAN building is a big no no)
Setting It All Up
this is where careful planning and organisation will save headaches and downtime meaning that there is more time for gaming and less time spent in setup.
First off you need to decide on a place to have it. This is influenced by a few things:
1. Space - as mentioned earlier the amount of space you have will tell you how many people you can have.
2. Toilets, outside - having reasonable access to these things is needed. Most geeks are only human after all.
3. Power - having sufficient power available to the area is crucial.
4. Internet - depending weather you want to supply the internet will determine if this is needed.
Before you can actually have your LAN you need people to come.
Consider things like:
- Public holidays or school/uni holidays - probably the best time as more people will be available to come.
- Parties - if it's you and your mates, try to have the date not coincide with an already arranged party.
- Any other important thing that could affect you or a large number of your mates.
You can have your LAN whenever you want but taking it consideration others plans and PLANNING AHEAD will give you the best chance of having a good LAN.
This is where you need to set up your LAN and establish what people should do when they arrive. the highest priority is to avoid an infected computer infecting the other computers because their in the trusted zone.
When people arrive you should make sure that their systems are completely up to date as stated above, making sure that one person isn't going to bring the LAN crashing down.
- they have Anti-virus
- the anti virus is up to date
- they have a firewall
- the firewall is set up properly and that it is up to date
Now that the computers are secure and clean we can go about building the LAN.
Most of this will need to be done prior to the gamers arriving.
We will start with the power:
Once you are sure that your power systems can handle the load you will need to make sure that the load is distributed evenly over several circuits. this usually goes on the old adage not to have two many 'things' plugged into the one wall plug. Moving the power to the room that will contain the LAN is also important as most people don't have sufficient power points in the one room try to have all external cables come through at one point and have them covered. this avoids cable mess and stops both people tripping and power outages from ripped out cables. You will probably want to regard each computer as using about 500w including monitors and such. so limiting a max of 4 computers per socket is a good idea. if someone has an especially powerful computer (SLI/XFire, Quad-core, 24"+ screen etc) you may want to count it as two computers.
Now that the power is set up we'll look at the external networking:
This is important in two situations:
- When you are going to supply an internet connection
- and when you have the LAN spread over multiple rooms
Now with the same principle of keeping it all together you should try to limit the the external networking cable to just one or two. If its for the internet one cable going to the router is sufficient. If it is to another room, one higher speed then the rest cable (e.g. 1Gbit if the rest is all 100Mbit) or multiple cables at the same speed (e.g. using several 100Mbit cables to balance the load between the rooms). When setting the network/s up make sure that there is sufficient bandwidth between all the rooms so that leachers don't stop the gaming. Note: for the internet having it over wireless between the modem and an Access Point plugged into the router is enough because of the low speed of the internet in Australia (max of 24Mbit/s over ADSL2+. 802.11g Wi-Fi runs at 54Mbit/s so is enough for most any internet connection).