The Internal Network distributes the connection from the Internet to each system on the Network.
The assistance of a qualified Network Administrator will often be necessary to design, setup, and maintain your Internal Network. Many aspects of the Internal Network are conditional. It is important for the total networking needs of the office to be understood prior to making any changes to the Internal Network.
MacPractice Support is unable to assist with any aspect of configuring the Internal Network or provide additional Internal Networking information outside of this guide.
MacPractice does not set up Internal Networks. This following is a recommended optimal configuration, designed to assist your office networking technician in setting up an Internal Network. An Internal Network must be properly connected in order for each element to be optimized.
The Internal Network will consist of the following elements:
- Modem: Converts incoming Internet data into computer readable data. A cable modem is preferred.
- Router: Assigns and maintains IP addresses. An Ethernet connection is ideal and required for optimum performance within MacPractice. The Internal Network will use a wireless connection to provide access points to non-Ethernet devices, such as iPads or iPhones. Ensure that Wi-Fi is turned off on the MacPractice Server and any MacPractice terminal machines are connected through Ethernet, if possible. If wired and wireless connections are used simultaneously by a device, the wireless connection may interfere with the superior Ethernet connection.
- Switch: Manages network traffic and assigns IP addresses based on those provided by the router. Although many routers may have built in Ethernet hubs or switches, stand alone switches are recommended for the increased ability to direct packets more effectively and at higher speeds, and prevent over-burdening the router. A switch is also an advantageous choice over a router because if your network is configured through a router and your internet connection goes down, or the router experiences other issues, your computers may not be able to communicate over the internal network, and your client computers cannot log in to MacPractice. Using a switch in addition to the router can circumvent these issues.
- MacPractice Server: The computer which hosts the MacPractice database. Ideally, the MacPractice Server should have an attached keyboard, mouse, and display, rather than being a "headless" server. Frequent access to the MacPractice Server is essential to using MacPractice. If a "headless" server is used, office staff should be familiar with how to access and use the server from another terminal.
- MacPractice Clients: Any additional computers connected to the MacPractice database hosted on the MacPractice Server.
- Network Printer: MacPractice recommends Network printers as opposed to USB printers. USB Printers rely on the state of the computer to which the printer is attached. This can be not only taxing to the computer attached to the USB Printer, but can also slow down the entire network during some print jobs.
- Any unfamiliar terms may be listed in the Internal Network Glossary. Please note the minimum system requirements when configuring any MacPractice Server or MacPractice Terminal machine.