Welcome to PCC. The instructions below contain a detailed explanation of the hardware installation requirements for PCC systems. These specifications define what is included in your PCC Customer Care Plan and provide information to help you avoid problems during the design and installation of your office network.
Please read these instructions carefully, whether you are a new PCC client, opening a new office, or upgrading your existing PCC hardware. Offices that do not adhere to these guidelines violate the terms of their subscription agreements with PCC and may also experience system problems and service delays.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our Customer Care Team (800-722-1082), or send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always glad to help!
The PCC Server
Unless otherwise specified, your PCC system will be a LINUX-based server network. This section includes important guidelines for the placement and maintenance of your server.
- PCC recommends that you place the PCC Server away from the front-desk area to limit its exposure to physical activity.
- The PCC Server consists of the computer itself, a monitor, and keyboard. The monitor and keyboard are often called “the console.” The console must be within two feet of the Server.
- A typical layout places the PCC Server on a firm, level desk or held vertically in a computer stand. The PCC Server may have a number of peripheral devices attached directly to it (an uninterruptible power supply, a modem, a backup drive, network switches, etc.), so make sure you have ample space for the PCC Server.
- Do not use the PCC Server console as a workstation. It is for system operations, backups, error messages, or emergency access to your system.
- The PCC Server and attached equipment should be positioned so that your practice’s System Administrator has easy access to them for daily backup maintenance and troubleshooting. Ideally, a phone should be nearby for support assistance.
- Dust is a computer’s worst enemy. Please make sure that the new home for your PCC system is thoroughly cleaned before the computer is installed. Also, please make arrangements for the area around the computer to be cleaned on a weekly basis. Cleaning should be done by someone familiar with the computer system so that if cables or adapters are accidentally knocked loose they can be properly reconnected.
- Ventilation is also very important for your computer. It is preferable to set up the system on a shelf where it is free from other objects and can ventilate properly. If you plan on putting the computer in a closet, make sure the closet is properly ventilated and that the server has ample space around it.
- During a typical install visit, PCC installs your server and connected equipment. However, PCC cannot cut holes in your walls, ceilings, or furniture for cabling. You are responsible for arranging such work to be completed before the PCC Server is installed.
- If you need to reinstall or move your practice’s PCC Server (such as in the event of an office move), PCC can provide free telephone assistance, given 2 weeks notice. PCC can also visit your office and reinstall the hardware for a standard per-day on-site charge. Your subscription plan with PCC may already include an office visit, and you can schedule your hardware reinstallation to occur at that time.
Other Approved Hardware
The purchase and installation cost of your PCC Server and some associated equipment is included in your subscription plan. The purchase and installation cost of your individual PCs, printers, or other workstations is not. For complete details regarding approved hardware, read the PCC Supported Hardware Guide at learn.pcc.com.
Placement: Place workstations, terminals, printers, and personal computers where they will be most useful to you. Carefully consider how the hardware will be used. For example, each workstation should have enough room in front of it for a keyboard and should be located near a network outlet and power supply. Laser printers need space to open their paper feed drawers.
Security Updates and Virus Protection: It is important to perform security updates and maintain virus protection on your personal computers. You should have someone in your office learn how to perform these updates or contract with a local vendor for this service.
Printers: PCC recommends you purchase network capable, PCL or postscript printers that can meet the demands of a busy office. A typical office might choose to purchase a front-desk printer, a lab area printer, a billing printer, and a centralized copier/printer/scanner. Contact PCC Support at (800)722-1082 or email@example.com to discuss your printer options or to check on the compatibility of a specific printer model.
Setup and Installation Help: PCC can help you install recommended hardware. Hardware purchased after your initial installation will be installed by your System Administrator using phone assistance from PCC.
Other Included Hardware: A standard PCC installation includes one or more network switches, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), and an external modem. You may wish to purchase other equipment, such as additional surge protectors for your individual PCs, but you do not need to supply one for your PCC Server.
Operation of your PCC products requires a reliable internet connection of sufficient bandwidth and speed. Business-class internet service over fiber or cable is strongly recommended. PCC will verify that the service you currently have is adequate. If you are ordering new service or upgrading existing service, PCC can help you with your internet service order. PCC requires that your internet service be operational before we install your server and network equipment.
PCC will work closely with you to help you chose the right service. PCC’s minimum requirements are an internet connection with a download speed of 10 Mbps and an upload speed of 3 Mbps. Internet service with download speed of 25 Mbps or better and an upload speed of 5 Mbps or better will give your office superior performance. These requirements may change over time. If you have remote offices that will be connecting to your main office over the internet, there may be additional requirements. PCC requires that your internet service be provisioned with a static IP address. If fiber or cable is unavailable at your office location(s), or you cannot otherwise purchase service that meets our requirements, PCC will work with you to see what other options are available.
Your internet service provider’s (ISP) equipment should be terminated near your PCC router, typically at the PCC server location. Your ISP may require the purchase of a cable modem or similar device, but you do not need to purchase a router or firewall (PCC will provide one). PCC will manage routing of the internet connection and sharing it with the computers in your office.
PCC recommends that you install a dedicated, 3 prong, 110 volt, negative-grounded outlet for the PCC Server’s power supply. PCC will supply a power backup unit, also know as an uninterruptible power supply, to protect the PCC Server from power fluctuations and outages. Please make any necessary arrangements with your electrician to ensure that you have a dedicated electrical outlet.
If a dedicated outlet is not installed, you may use a regular wall outlet, provided that it is properly grounded and that there is no electronic equipment on the same circuit with a heavy electrical draw. Equipment that causes problems often includes (but is not limited to) photo copiers, microwave ovens, refrigerators, coffee makers, air conditioners, and most medical equipment. Hardware on a non-dedicated electrical circuit is more likely to experience difficulties due to power draws and surges.
PCC also recommends the use of surge protectors for each of your peripheral devices (PC workstations, printers, modems, etc.).
Cable Requirements and Specifications
PCC requires that your office have a 100 Mbps Ethernet network (or greater) using Category 5 cabling (or greater). PCC will install and maintain a TCP/IP network in your office, including a router/firewall, Ethernet switch, and wireless access points as required. PCC will not install the cabling upon which the network operates.
You must contract with a local vendor to install or make changes to your office’s network cabling.
General Cabling Guidelines and Recommendations
- All cabling for devices (printers, PC workstations) must run to one central location in the office where PCC will install a network switch and the PCC Server. The design should look a lot like an octopus, with many arms returning to a central location. Do not run a ringed network, resembling a big circle, around the office.
- If you cannot run all cables to the same central location where the PCC server will reside, you can run them to a central location where the switch and hub will be located. You may then need two or more cables running to the PCC Server location from the switch. Contact PCC for help designing your wiring plan.
- Cables must be labeled at both ends for PCC to identify the cables correctly. Installation delays and additional charges can result if cables are not properly labeled.
- For peripherals located more than a few feet from the PCC Server, cables are typically run through the walls, ceilings, and floors of your office. This not only has aesthetic advantages, but it eliminates exposure of your cables to tugging, tearing, and disconnecting. Plan a path for running each cable. Avoid running cables outside of the walls. Where unavoidable, use wiring guides to cover cables that cross between walls. Ideally, there will be a “home run” through which all cables will travel to a patch bay.
- Finally, PCC suggests that you consider running additional cabling to locations that could house workstations or printers in the future. This will save the expense of rehiring an electrician when you expand your office.
Important: Once you have decided where the servers, workstations, and printers will be located in your practice, you need to arrange to have your office cabled properly by an electrician. PCC cannot install cable in the walls, ceilings, or floors of your office.
Network Cable Installation Specifications
When you contract with an electrician or network specialist to install your network cabling, use the specifications below.
- There are many sources for Cat 5 cable and your electrician should have no difficulty finding it.
- At least one cable must run to each workstation and each printer on your network. If possible, run cables in pairs for future expandability and flexibility.
- One end of each cable will be terminated in a central location on a patch bay installed in a wall-mounted rack near the PCC Server. The other end of each cable will be terminated in various locations around your practice in a single gang junction box covered with a faceplate that holds an RJ-45 jack.
- Each end of the cable and each faceplate must be labeled in order to identify the start and end points of each cable.
- The Ethernet standard requires 2 twisted pairs. The typical piece of Cat 5 cabling has 4 twisted pairs. The jacks used for this cabling may contain up to 4 twisted pairs. Your electricians can decide whether to run 2 twisted pairs to each jack or 4 twisted pairs to each jack.
- You can connect all 4 twisted pairs to one jack. If you decide to place more than one peripheral at a location, you will have to pull multiple pieces of cable.
- You can also connect the 4 twisted pairs to two different jacks in the same outlet. This is more efficient because it requires running less cable, but it is more complex to plan.
- Your electrician needs to know how to terminate the cables. There are many different types of jacks available. We can provide punch down specifications for the Mod-Tap brand jack, part number MUS00002-01.
- Your electrician may choose to install the new network cables in the same junction box and outlet used by either your telephone cables or your serial cables. In these instances, we recommend placing the telephone cables on top, the serial cables in the middle and the network cables on the bottom for consistency. Remember to label each faceplate!
- Offices with existing Cat 5 cabling will need to confirm that their terminating receptacles are “punched down” correctly.
- If there is a problem with the cabling or the peripheral devices attached to the cabling, PCC may require your office to install new cable.
Technical Details about Your Network
The details below are for network support personnel or your practice’s System Administrator. In the event that you need assistance from a local network support group or if you are really interested in the technical underpinnings of your network configuration, this is where to look first.
Please Note: The information below describes our desired configuration. Your office may use a different network configuration, especially if you had an existing network before your PCC installation.
IP Address Assignment
Your network will be configured using a DHCP server provided by your PCC Server. This means that whenever you turn on a machine that is connected to the network, it will query the DHCP server on the PCC Server for its IP configuration. This allows PCC to keep the entire configuration of your network in one place and makes it easy to expand, enhance, and adjust your network configuration.
Your network will not use static IP addresses entered into each machine. While this is a very easy way to set up a network initially, it is very inflexible and time-consuming to maintain.
Your DHCP server will assign a specific IP address to each network device, based on that device’s unique MAC address. This will allow PCC software to route printing tasks to the appropriate printer.
Please note: If there is an existing network with a DHCP server, the old DHCP server must be disabled so that the PCC Server can provide DHCP services. A network can only have one DHCP server.
Your PCC Server includes an e-mail server and an available e-mail account for each user at your practice. Users can access their e-mail from any browser using the SquirrelMail mail software. PCC provides training and support for SquirrelMail.
You can also use nearly any POP3 or IMAP compliant e-mail software package to read your PCC-provided e-mail. PCC can provide the settings, but we can not configure or support your 3rd-party mail software.
PCC will only assist you with configuration, support, and troubleshooting of your PCC e-mail account.
Remote Offices and Connecting From Home
There are many different ways to connect to your PCC Server from a remote location. PCC will help you design and select solutions to meet the needs of your practice.
Remote connections usually require high-speed internet access in both locations and may also involve additional connections, routers, or other equipment.
The wiring in your remote location needs to accommodate the type of remote office connection used. The termination of the internet connection in your remote location must be in an area near the PCs or routers they serve. As with your main office, the wiring design should look like an octopus, with many arms returning to a central location.
You may have a choice of remote office connection solutions with varying prices and features. A brief description of some common options follows.
Single Host Connection Using OpenVPN
For a remote office with a single workstation, or for a small office with only a few PCs, PCC can set up an OpenVPN connection to the main office. OpenVPN is a software package that creates a secure connection between two locations through the internet.
This type of connection is perfect for a provider or biller who wishes to work from home, or for small remote offices. In addition to accessing PCC software remotely, the user will be able to print to printers attached directly to the workstation or print to PCC network printers in the main office.
Each location needs a high-speed internet connection. In some situations, this might require the purchase of a router for the remote location.
Multiple Host Connection Using VPN
A larger remote office may need several workstations, printers, and additional networked equipment connected remotely to the PCC server. In this situation, PCC requires the purchase of an approved VPN (Virtual Private Network) router. PCC will order and configure the VPN router for you. A switch or additional hardware may also be required.
As with the single host connection, the main office and all remote locations will need a high-speed (usually cable or DSL) internet connection.
Connection Types and Other Methods
PCC practices use two types of internet connections in their offices.
DSL or Cable Internet Connections
Cable and DSL internet connections are the two most commonly available high-speed internet solutions. They are usually sold by your local cable television or telephone service provider. In most situations, routers and additional equipment are not necessary.
When each location has a high-speed internet connection using DSL or Cable service, PCC connects the two locations with single or multiple virtual private network connections, as previously described.
A T1 line provides communication that is often faster and more reliable than a DSL or cable internet connection. Some offices prefer a T1. PCC does not require it.
Two offices with T1 internet connections can be connected using VPN routers.
For additional speed and reliability, a dedicated T1 line can be set up between two locations. This is called a “point-to-point” T1 line. Your local service provider may offer this feature to you. PCC does not require it.