Network Design

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In designing a network, it is essential to first determine the scope of the project by asking key questions that will aid in the design and build. Questions such as how many servers and computers will be connected, what is the intended purpose of the network, and how much money is available are basic questions that come immediately to mind. Other questions such as security considerations, and how will the physical architecture of the building affect the design are often ignored but are equally important to the success of the network. Once these questions have been answered, the process of network design can begin. As the design of the network affects both media choices and performance, it is crucial that a design which takes current needs into account, allows room for growth, and provides a proven path for upgradeability is chosen.

In determining the physical layout of the network, the decision of what type of cable to be used is also decided. When broken down to its simplest form, all types of cabling provide a medium across which network information can travel. The most popular types of network cabling in use today are Twisted-pair (TP) in both unshielded (UTP), and shielded (STP) varieties, and Fiber-optic cable. While the use of Coaxial cable has declined in the arena of Local Area Networking (LAN), it is still prominently featured by Cable Television firms, providing both Television, and Internet services.

While the electrical pulses that Twisted-pair wiring carries over a copper medium is different from the pulses of light carried by Fiber-optic over a glass medium, there are cabling characteristics that apply to both. Each cable has a Bandwidth rating, which specifies the amount of data the medium is rated to carr...

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...ectronic eavesdropping, as well as interference from fluorescent lighting, while Fiber-optic cable is not affected by either of these. Aside from eavesdropping, the equipment should be physically secure to prevent the casual user from being overly curious, as there are many credible stories of the evening janitor plugging in a vacuum cleaner, and bringing down an entire network. While this paper has focused on a wired network, based upon TP and Fiber-optic cabling, the presence of Wireless Networking in a business operation cannot be ignored. While wireless speeds are only at 11/54Mpbs, it does provide the convenience of un-tethered freedom for use in meetings. However, the use of Wi-Fi should be carefully considered, as it existence presents a significant security risk for any business, by extending the network beyond the physical constraints of the organization.
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