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Logical Network Design and Physical Network Design are different but depend on each other when implementing. The logical network design pertains more to a high-level view as opposed to the physical network design which is more of a low-level view.
Logical Network Design
A logical network design is the way the devices appear connected to the user. The logical network design is the way the data will be accessing the medium which is considered to be the logical topology, helping to provide the network backbone requirements and the overall systems and performance criteria. The logical design of the network is created first and is used to create the physical design. In the logical network design an example of IP addresses and how they are structured in their range is good to use. Machines are on the same network wire, but on separate networks which is what coins the term logical network. If there are IP address ranges such as 231.41.xx.x for approximately 20 machines, and IP address ranges such as 232.42.xx.x for 20 different machines, they are connected to the same network backbone but are on separate logical networks or in other words, have separate IP networks. The workstations on the two separate IP networks will be unable to talk to each other.
When planning, the logical design process will look at the amount of traffic and patterns which will be present on the network. There will be a need to locate potential bottlenecks and alleviate these by providing multiple paths to the various resources which will exist on the network. The organization will find a benefit in looking ahead to plan for any potential future growth so a system is not implemented which will not serve the purpose of the business a few years down the road. This logical network example looks at things in the upper layer and addresses the IP protocols of the network as aforementioned, and shows how things logically get to their intended locations:
(Cited from more.net, 2006)
Physical Network Design
The physical network design is the actual layout of the network and its media also referred to as the physical topology, highlighting the way the network is interconnected with wires and cables. This physical network design showcases exactly how the network will be implemented and how everything is interconnected. Some aspects of the physical network design are such things as the hubs, switches, routers, servers, and workstations which connect everything.
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The machines on a physical network can be connected via several methods and it is all dependent on what the network structure is. Some examples of physical network structures are token ring, Ethernet, and ATM. The token ring network is quite old and rarely used anymore. I remember when I first started working at my current job; we were on a token ring network. Over the past several years, it has been slowly phased out and replaced with switched fast Ethernet which is the technology on the wire on a switched environment, 100 Mbps to the desktops. Our network consists of multiple VLANs which are miniature networks on each floor, a logical design network scenario.
When implementing a physical network, understanding how everything will be physically laid out and the connectivity among all hardware included is important. The following diagram shows how everything physically works together and the components which need to be showcased and it describes how everything should work in sync with the logical network design.
(Cited from more.net, 2006)
Designing carefully is always important when considering the organizations network needs as it may be hard to change the structure later. It is most important to realize the logical design must be considered and understood before plans can be made to move on to the physical design. The end environment structure from the physical design, which is based off of the logical design, will be how it will best serve the business and the needs for the present and in the future.
Tech Target. (2006). Expert Knowledgebase. What are the benefits and drawbacks of Logical Network Design?. Retrieved July 14, 2006 from Website: http://expertanswercenter.techtarget.com/eac/knowledgebaseAnswer/0,295199,sid63_gci974706,00.html
Network Architecture. Understanding the Structure of a Network. Retrieved July 15, 2006 from Website:
All pictures retrieved on April 21, 2006 and cited from Websites:
Logical Network Design Example (figure 7):
Physical Network Design Example (figure 5):