The backbone of every successful organization is its reliable network. From internal communications to providing endless services to clients via the Internet, the network plays an instrumental role in making operations run successfully. Every organization requires a set of professionals which include management team and engineers who can solely work on designing and improving the network within the organization. We have compiled various resources which can help you in successfully designing and establishing an IP based network within your organization.
Network Design Principles
In networking, there is no such term as a perfect network. A network administrator has to compromise with lots of things especially the budget for designing the network. But, these simple design principles can help you establish a reliable network that suits your organization’s needs.
- Avoid Isolations: The most important principle among all would be avoiding isolation of links. An organization making thousands of dollars each day cannot afford even a single minute of network failure. So, the team of professionals must ensure that any link or hardware failure should not isolate any part of the network
- Minimize cost, maximize result: There are a number of network devices with different functionalities and cost. A network designer should try to minimize the cost of devices but still maintain the functionalities.
- Identify the ‘hot’ spots: After deploying the network, there could be an uneven data flow among the subnetworks. Some devices will have heavy client-server data flow and the administrator must ensure to allocate sufficient resources to these ‘hot’ spots.
- Scalable: The design should be scalable i.e. adding or removing devices should not affect the network.
- Easily Maintenance: The deployed network should be well documented and easily manageable by support staff rather than administrator only.
Choosing the Right Equipment
Both Routers and Switches together form the infrastructure of the network and assist in access, distribution and other core layers of the network. The following list highlights some common business considerations to help you select right router(s) and switch(s) for your organization.
- Connectivity: The first thing to consider is what kind of devices, wired or wireless, you would require to connect to the network. Based on this information, you can select the device with the minimum number of ports and bandwidth you would need to connect all of them and also you can decide whether to buy a router with WLAN support or not
- Processing Speed (Latency): The speed at which the router can process the data packets and forward them to its destination
- Cost: The cost of switch or router depends on the number of ports and speed of the interfaces. After deciding how many devices you would connect, you can easily decide which device to pick to minimize your work but at the same time fulfill your requirements.
- Memory: Routers and switches need to store data packets in case of congestion in the network. Devices with more memory tend to be costlier, thus you can take the decision according to your budget.
- Power Consumption: Organizations across the world are switching to more eco- friendly devices which have less carbon footprint.
Deploying the Network
After having a solid and reliable plan, the next step is deploying the network which often consumes a large amount of time. The administrative and support team together works in this process in which the devices are placed, wires are connected to each router, switch and the administrative workstations are configured and connected to every other device to form a network. Each connection is then double checked to ensure the proper functioning and reliability of the network.
From design to deployment, there are many challenges which if overlooked could cost a lot of money and taint the business reputation. In order to keep the network running 24*7, you need to consider following challenges beforehand so that you can avoid them easily when they occur.
Information security is a battle without an end. Every part of your network applications needs to be secured from possible misuse. From malicious code injections to denial of service, a network has to work 24*7 to block security breaches. Network engineers install a firewall and other security software in the system, but it also requires continuous monitoring to ensure that the network is functioning properly. Another breach which is often overlooked is someone within the organization walking into the server room and unplugging a piece of costly equipment and walking out with it. Therefore, the network is designed with a demilitarized zone (DMZ) in mind to ensure the only authorized person has access to the server.
In addition to replacing cuts, configuring new devices and monitoring the vital status of your network, it is also the job of the management team to plan for natural disasters. After all, nature can also breach your network. To analyze its effects, ask yourself what would you do if the building in which your server is placed, is on fire or an earthquake destroys the entire building? It is scary if you have not planned for security attacks or disaster right from the beginning.
Backup and Recovery:
A business that earns millions of dollars business each day will be devastated if any of its networking service is shut down for a week. You must have a backup and recovery plan so that in case of any fault in the device, or security breach, the error could be resolved and the networking service is put to work again in the least possible time. This may include reserving additional devices from the manufacturer and executing system recovery protocols from time to time.