setting up a network and server

I have been assigned with task to set up network and websites for our local youth centre and I realised that I’ll need some help, so why not ask the linux community, that is so well known for its prepareness to help in such projects:) I hope that since these questions are of very broad spectrum that this is the right topic.
What makes it a bit tricky is also the fact that the previous administrator left us without password so I couldnt look up any of the old settings.

The goal is to set up a machine (Fujitsu Siemens Primergy TX+something, one 10/100 card for net and 100/1000 for lan) with a www server with four websites (php and later ruby supported, also needs mysql) and ftp server. The machine should also serve as a router for internal lan, which consists of a switch (DGS1216T) with 6 wired computers and an access point (RG54GS2) with another 8 computers, that should also be a free wi-fi spot. kinda like this:

internet <–> server <–> switch <–> 6 computers
…^–> wireless access point <–> 8 computers + random visitors

I am using opensuse 11, because I know it recognises all the hardware. By now I have installed the system and started basic apache server.

I) This will seem like a very basic question but still: I have not managed to connect to the net, the ISP has given me a static IP, but that alone does not seem to work. We have a cable connection and by my opinion I should at least know the IPs of domain name servers? Should I also know the default gateway? And what would be my netmask? Are those two automatically detected or should I set them?

II) Since the websites are down now the second task would be to get those up. As I said Apache is running, but since there are 4 sites with different domain names, is that what virtual hosts are for? If yes, do I have to set more than just ServerName and target folder (subquestion: is server name the whole Something. or just a part of that)? Anything else I should look out for?

III) The part that I’m most afraid is setting up router. Users should be able to use any applications they desire, but we will most definitely want to close some ports later, when needed. I am almost certain that at this point I would need to know default gateway and netmask? Switches dont generally need any settings, just plug and play, am I correct? The access point (since it is basically a wireless router) should have DHCP disabled, anything else to set up here? I dont really know what else should I ask here, so if theres anything I’m missing, PLEASE point it out.

The second step is to learn something more and set up things that are not really needed right now: DNS server would be interesting to do, lan parties would be specially well attended, so a game server would be nice …

Another feature we were thinking of is to get our user database (dont worry, they wont be spammed:)) by demanding logon if they want internet access. Since we dont want to create windows user accounts for each one, we would like an online logon (the browser demands username and password when user first try to surf internet). Are there any elegant or at least open-source solutions to this?

Please note that I am doing this for free and that this whole project is meant for the children and youth. I know my questions are just begging for a RTFM, but to get all answers would mean to read A LOT (not that I mind, but all this should be done yesterday;). I would greatly appreciate any help that I can get.

Hope I wasnt too long and that someone would read this:)

I know this is an OpenSUSE forum and we all love OpenSUSE, but you might want to look at some distros that are tailored towards being an Internet gateway and local server. One advantage with these distros is that they come with very nice web interfaces for tweaking everything. Ones that come to mind are:

Clarkconnect community version
Engarde Linux community version
Endian Linux community version

Some that need more manual work but have strengths in other areas:

Devil Linux