Computer Network Design and Strategy
The following discussion considers network design and strategy to develop an efficient and effective network serving a total of 50 clients in remote locations. A central headquarters will be assumed in addition to these remote areas. Generic names will be created to better facilitate the narrative and proposal purposes. The following will adopt a traditional network planning methodology consisting of four layers (business planning, long- and medium-term network planning, IT asset sourcing, and operations and maintenance,) while additional consideration will be given to specific use and variability in technology within the mentioned locations. Further references will be made to short term planning, mindful of specific uses such as sales and specific business processes, independence of layers, and assessment while the emphasis will remain on topology and technology. Ultimately, this paper will present a detailed approach to optimizing a network to be utilized for a level of variability akin to a real-life operation.
Internet Network Design LLC has a central headquarters and 50 remote locations, while 25 of these locations are required to remain online with the headquarters throughout the standard business day across the standard business week while the other 25 locations are only loosely affiliated and thus are not required to remain online. The online locations are fitness centers, while the other locations are wholesale or partnered equipment manufactures; the fitness centers must remain online with the headquarters for standard business purposes while the other locations need only communicate when other sales transactions not part of routine business occur. The sales centers commonly send large files back and forth with the headquarters while the partner locations send sales reports of a smaller size less frequently. The company's network has been designed with these key points in mind in attempt to best provide for the organizations operational and business needs.
According to Piliouras and Groth and Skandier, Internet Network Design LLC's network should be mindful of its business planning, variable time frames in network planning, IT asset sourcing, and operations and maintenance. The company is mindful of the aforementioned key operational areas in online communication and transfers, and while business planning is based on the same principles (and the nature of the health and fitness sales industry,) the company does not have any additional special IT asset sourcing or maintenance needs beyond the basic theoretical case.
The company does not have any special technological needs in the current time nor in the predictable future (beyond the need for reasonably paced file transfers,) and thus would be efficient to use a WAN topology across its locations. The company should invest in enhanced Ethernet hardware for the 25 full-time affiliate locations (so that they can better send their larger files, blueprints, and product design ideas) while the other locations remain on standard hardware (as additional hardware is not predicted to be useful for sending small files under 5 megabytes in the near future.) The network should be running on Windows 7 (an earlier program would be sufficient however less compatible with future developments,) while the headquarters should monitor the network with the standard Windows Network Manager. A domain controller should be installed in each of the remote offices for the purpose of allowing log-ins as a temporary solution to WAN link failure. Meanwhile, each of these controllers should be designated to a global catalog server, and the 25 affiliate locations should also have DNS servers and DHCP servers in order to better assure reliable communication amid problems (such as WAN failure, resolving domain controller name, Active Directory DNS dependence, issues with replication traffic, and other potential issues). Another measure which should be taken for the 25 full-time locations is the creation of a separate Active Directory site, so that the WAN link is not flooded (Piliouras, 2004). The other 25 locations are not provided with this equipment as the files are small and the online time is minimal. Meanwhile, all locations should use a VPN login to access the network.
Central headquarters should be responsible for the security and maintenance of the network, while key people in the 25 locations should be mindful of the network for some purposes (while the central location would send someone for repair in other situations.) The other 25 locations would not be liable for anything beyond the network rules and VPN login. If anything else were to go wrong on their end a central headquarters representative would resolve the hardware or software problem. Meanwhile, a representative from the 25 full-time locations would provide the maintenance team or network administrator with key information regarding the network to reduce their burden. The network administrator would only make use of Microsoft applications and security tools for budget purposes, and thus such action would improve efficiency as well as cost-effectiveness in other areas. In the same regard, IT asset sourcing would only assume this equipment as well as one employee solely designated to administration and maintenance while other employees across the network would be given extra responsibilities in addition to their primary tasks.
The aforementioned recommendation assumes backup action to promote survivability, and assumes that traffic engineering actions do not need to be taken beyond this design. Additional consideration and recommendations could be given based on additional assessment and knowledge of company needs. For example, dimensioning could be conducted across the new network in attempt to deduce other minimum capacity variables, peak hour traffic, the dynamics of the routing plan (i.e. precise location,) and other areas. Additional Microsoft or third-party software may be allowed or even encouraged if it facilitates the company objectives. The network may also reveal the need for additional security, however it will be assumed that the standard Microsoft products will be sufficient for the company's purposes and use.
Smith Sales LLC would be wise to implement a network which facilitates reasonably high speed for files transfers and connectivity, but is otherwise frugal. Even the larger files for the company are relatively small in comparison with the capacities of newer technology, while the company's primary concern is will connectivity across locations. With this, the described WAN network with VPN login using Microsoft applications is ideal. Additional analyses should be conducted to reveal additional areas needing additional specifications.
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