Aug 31

10 Steps in Network Design

Network Design

The planning, developing and implementation of a computer network infrastructure aimed at ensuring that a new telecommunications network or service meets the needs of the subscriber or operator is collectively known as network designing. Network designing is generally performed by the network designers, engineers and IT administrators. Ten steps in network designing involves the followings:

Step 1 : Establishing a Local Area Network (LAN) consisting of cabling, switches and routers that provide connectivity to the internet and the internal network after understanding the business’s requirements for performance, capacity, network ports, application and potential expansion requirements.

Step 2 : Planning and designing a cable layout for the LAN . Cabling plays an important role in network design as it provides the physical communication path for the business. A good cable design involves a consultation with a cable design professionals or cable companies experienced in minimizing the potential for equipment interference and that including fire code specifications.

Step 3 : Collecting the information regarding users per location, their roles, LAN port speeds and node types, such as printers and any hardware that will be connected to the network. Configuring a spreadsheet that lists physical locations across the top columns and creats row categories for users. Also, documenting the computer room’s environmental services for air conditioning, electrical capacity and controls to monitor humidity and temperature levels.

Step 4 : Analyzsis of network performance using protocol analyzers and network management software at different times of the business day : starting of shifts, after lunch and during periods that typically result in increased traffic, such as running month-end financial processes or moving complex engineering data over the network. The end result is the generation of the information about LAN and WAN performance, protocols used and areas that creates performance bottlenecks along with application characteristics.

Step 5 : Identifying routers, switches, LAN uplink bandwidth, network equipment cabinets, power and cooling information, and current standards for the fiber and the copper cable plant. Also obtaining a current information for the IP address design for the LAN including virtual LAN information and connectivity requirement. Documenting protocols used in the network, including routing protocols used for connectivity between buildings.

Step 6 : Determining  the number of LAN switch ports required in present and projected over the next 2 years for each location.

Step 7 : Choosing access-layer switches based on the projected growth requirements for network ports and future expectations for wireless network service, voice and video integration and quality of service with no hinderence in performance. Also ensuring that the fiber uplinks and switch ports will support bandwidth requirements.

Step 8 : Selecting switches and routers for each layer of the network. Network switches and routers must support immediate port requirements and have the ability to expand with new features introduced.

Step 9 : Planning the port density and speeds to support the servers in a combined distribution and core layer. A dual switch configuration in computer room provides redundancy and scalability when we use chassis-based switches. An alternate approach could be considering a single enterprise-class switch to reduce cost and support future progression to a dual switch design.

Step 10 : Last but not the least, the development of  an IP address design that meets growth requirements and selects a routing protocol for the network to support fast convergence with ease of management.

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