The system consists mainly of 'junk' computers. These are fastest to slowest; a 500MHz Pentium web server, one Linux work station 500MHz Pentium and one Windoze 98 work station 360MHz Cyrix processor, and finally my trusty 33MHz 486DX Firewall. These are configured in a small home network connected to the Internet via the Firewall and a 128k bits/sec cable modem. The network topology is a simple as it gets; Firewall with 3 Ethernet cards, one for the cable modem the 'RED' public network side, second for the 'ORANGE' so called DMZ (demilitarized zone) for the servers accessible from the Internet, and third for the 'GREEN' private network segment.
The network cabling is mainly old 10Mbit 10 base 2 thin Ethernet, although the GREEN segment now has a Netgear 4 port 10 base T hub for expansion. The cable modem is connected directly to a 10 base T Ethernet port on the Firewall. The performance is surprisingly good considering 128K through the modem and 10MHz thin Ethernet elsewhere. I can happily have 3 computers web browsing and still serve a moderate number of hits form the Internet. Of course if somebody starts to do mass downloading in either direction then I am bandwidth limited down the modem cable, but nothing stops! My benchmark is that I can FTP a CD image at 1Mbyte/min and still fetch e-mail or surf, albeit slowly. A simple upgrade of the cable modem to 500K or 2M would solve most of the speed limitations, without any need for faster machines or network cabling.
In short the system hardware is about as cheep as it gets! The computers are all either second hand or quite old and of very moderate pertformance. The network hardware, ethernet cards and cabeling, is all either second hand or very cheep. In fact the only pieces of new equipment are some 16 bit network cards and my Netgear hub and few ready made network cables.