Milgor Associates is a distinguished law firm with over 1000 successful legal battles won around the globe, cutting across various sectors such as in the financial services, marine, and the business world. Its notable success is based on professionalism, with the firm using information technology to streamline its operations in order to meet service delivery, as well as to maintain its high profile clients. The firm handles various communication processes through an in-house network, which is a 10Base T configuration, supporting various office operations, including employees and the firm’s administrators.
The firm has computers that run on Windows 7, which supports the local office and other administrative tasks such as word processing, internet browsing, bookkeeping, scheduling of appointments and payroll functions through quick books. Despite the firm’s use of information technology, there has been a shortfall in terms of bandwidth, with the current infrastructure limiting the firm’s expansion in regard to employee’ number, while on the other hand also limiting the location of employees since it does not support mobility.
To mitigate the limitation of current IT infrastructure, there is a need to implement a wireless solution that will improve operations in respect to mobility and portability within the two-storey building where its main offices are located. This will enable all staff to work irrespective of their positions while being hooked into the firm’s main computer infrastructure and enjoying the services as though connected through a cable. This calls for a network design plan to help in the implementation and deployment of the best wireless solution to be used by the firm, which will consider the current configuration of the network and any other upgrade that may be included in the network design process.
A mission statement is a declaration statement that highlights the company’s purpose of existing. The mission statement is to enhance service delivery among stakeholders through the building of technological platforms and infrastructure that strategically positions a company among its competitors. The company achieves this using structured and proven network design approaches in order to meet the expectations of its customers in terms of value addition for its customers.
Network design strategy
- Planning the logical and physical design
- Establishing the design components
- Configuring and deploying the wireless network
The goal of the network design is to develop and implement a secure and fully functional wireless network solution in order to enhance services as well as prevent unauthorized access to private network infrastructure, while also enhancing aspects of portability and mobility.
The document also highlights the various building locks, which describe the entire network design project, clearly stating the scope and boundaries expected to be covered. Also stated are the goals, design, and customer requirements, including the state of the current network, its physical and logical designs, as well as the intended implementation plan and budget estimates to be used in project facilitation and sourcing of hardware.
- Stakeholder commitment
- Service quality
- Good network architecture
Pitfalls to be avoided
- Last minute hardware deliveries
- Incompatibilities during installation and configuration
- Hardware failures during the live network deployment process
This network design plan will form the guiding principle of the project. It will guide the overall project implementation in order to ensure that the project is successfully implemented.
Designing and constructing a modern wireless network solution to provide wireless coverage at the firm’s premise.
- Designing and constructing a modern wireless network solution to provide wireless
- Structured cabling
- Installing wireless access cards to the standalone computers for wireless connectivity.
- Configuring the switches and access points to support wireless signal propagation
- Upgrade parts of the existing 10Base T network.
- Designing and constructing a modern wireless network solution to provide wireless coverage at the firm’s premise.
An underlying network architecture supporting a given network is critical if the project is to be successful. This is because it is critical in the delivery of a reliable network solution. The design for the solution will take into consideration the points of presence for optimal signal coverage as well as the layout of the cabling and the termination points within the backbone infrastructure.
At the core of the network shall be a backbone network that shall be fed directly by an internet service provider. This will allow communication to take place between the network devices and communicating wireless hosts. There will be a link through a shielded twisted pair cable from the backbone network to the access layer switch, which will supply internet to the switch in order for the same to be propagated through the access points.
The backbone infrastructure will coordinate with a communication server, a device that facilitates and controls communication between the communicating devices accessing network to enhance quality of service and security related issues during signal propagation in the open environment.
The purpose of structured cabling in the design is to provide a conduit for the connecting components in the network (Shimonski et al, 2006). Structured cabling will involve constructing the cable runs, placing the communication closets and linking the network devices. The idea behind this will be to ensure that the additional cables are properly fitted in the building to avoid damage to the cables, especially by the use of cable trunks.
Installing wireless access cards to the standalone for wireless connectivity.
The wireless solution brings about connectivity also to the standalone computers, which
can only be achieved by adding a peripheral interface card that adds wireless functionality to a computer.
- Configuring the switches and access points to support wireless signal propagation.
Signal propagation and communication is only made possible after the devices have been configured with some parameters. This shall be done on the access layer switch and the access points. The switch shall be configured with security settings to prevent unauthorized access, as well as wireless virtual local area network settings to help shape traffic and to facilitate load balancing within the network, to reduce clogging in the network, a key management issue.
On the other hand, the access points shall be configured with SSID settings, a logical based identifier used in wireless local area networks (Coleman & Westcott, 2015), and authentication settings to help users in identifying the network as well as prevent security breaches by protecting the network from unauthorized entry by intruders.
- Upgrade of part of the existing 10Base T network
The firm’s current network currently utilizes a mixture of hubs and switches which
Make the network prone to congestion and signal loss during data transmission. The upgrade shall involve installing an advanced switch and part of cabling.
Milgor associates shall receive the following deliverables.
- Reporting to brief the management
- Documentation in hardcopy and digital form of the deployed wireless solution
- Successful project delivery
- To design an elaborate and efficient network solution in order to meet the customer specifications and to facilitate faster information retrieval and response time.
The underlying 10Base T network infrastructure has in recent times been unreliable due to a decrease in response rates and speed. One of the goals of the project therefore is to implement a faster wireless solution that meets the customer’s objective for implementing the solution, which will guarantee high browsing speeds in order to streamline the firm’s appointment scheduling system and internet functions.
By implementing the advanced wireless solution, the firm would be able to scale its internet functions in order to maximize the number of clients booking for an appointment through their online system.
Therefore, network design will play a key role in designing a solution that can support high data throughput using standardized cabling system.
- To implement a wireless solution that is secure and can be monitored through the use of an intelligent switch and a monitoring software solution.
Network management and security form a critical component in today’s wireless networks. One of the goals of the project is therefore to design and implement a secure wireless solution which can be monitored through the switch and a monitoring appliance to mitigate intrusion attempts. This is due to the sensitive nature of the customers work in the society and the business world, which would always attract intruders into gaining access to sensitive information.
By implementing the project, the firm would therefore mitigate a number of potential threats emanating from the external environment, because of the sensitive nature of the clients information being stored in the premise.
The above can be measured by recording an increase in the number of appointments realized, as well as the number of threats kept at bay and recorded by the monitoring software.
A successful network design has to consider the customer requirements, which constitute the major reasons for implementing the network solution. This is because the requirements inform the design aspects of the network in order to meet the customer’s objective.
|Improved network speeds to fasten internet and browsing related functions.|
|Secure network to mitigate the threats which may cause service downtimes as a result of hacker activities.|
|A fast internet connection with minimal interruptions.|
|Access to private legal files and confidential information.|
|Portability and mobility without necessarily being hooked into the firm’s network infrastructure.|
The network design project will help in implementing a wireless solution with considerable speed due to the large capacity backbone network that will be implemented and will be used in feeding the access points in which users will use to gain access into the network.
It will also ensure that security aspects are included in the design to control access to confidential files and information, while on the other hand inform how the access points and the access layer switch communicate which results to signal propagation hence giving wireless hosts access to the firm’s resources without considering the aspects of location.
The design meets the customer’s requirements since it implements a wireless solution which is secure, faster and enhances mobility. The central communication sever enforces security, backbone network allows for high data throughput while mobility is brought about by the access points since they propagate signals which can be tapped by mobile devices around the building.
In order to meet the design and customer requirements, the network design main function will be to establish the possible network architecture for the wireless solution, using a model while taking into consideration the possible layouts for the logical and physical network models. The design shall encompass the logical mappings of IP addresses to be used as well as how they shall be configured in order to meet the customer requirements of mobility.
On the other hand, network design will play an important function of choosing among various alternatives. It will help in implementing the best strategy based on the customer needs, business needs and the findings from a site survey, which will inform the team on the best mix of hardware equipment that will suit the premise to meet customer expectations.
The design will have certain characteristics to ensure that customer requirements are fulfilled in order to meet the firm’s mission statement as well as the user needs of the organization. The design will be secure, reliable, redundant, scalable, of good speeds and uptime, as well as easy to manage.
Due to the nature of the firm’s activities, the network design will have security mechanisms to ensure that the network resources are safe and that threats can be mitigated by the design. This will ensure that there is minimal interruption, which may occur because of the open nature of the wireless solution.
The firm uses the network for office administration, payroll tasks and as an appointment scheduling system. Therefore, reliability is central in the new design, which shall be implemented to ensure that correspondences are well and timely responded to, in order to ensure that high service delivery levels are maintained all the times to sustain and maintain the cordial relationship between the firm and its external customers. This will meet the customer need in relation to browsing functions where the means of communication will be improved.
The network design shall offer redundancy in cases where one option does not function as expected. This will be implemented by installing wireless cards on standalone computers which will be used in the event of service interruption on the cabled network and vice versa. This will bring about minimal interruptions since two networks would be able to function when the other fails hence ensuring that there is reduced instances of network interruptions.
The network design shall be scalable which will be informed by the logical and physical design aspects. The logical aspect will ensure that the IP addressing scheme used is scalable
and can adjust in instances where additional portable devices are used at the firm’s premise. This is because network access will be based on the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), a technique which delivers network parameters to network clients (Hadden, 2000). This will bring about scalability to reduce instances of network denial in the event an administrator is not available immediately to manually configure the devices.
Speeds and uptime
The design will ensure that the speed is modest to support the browsing functions, especially when searching for some information that is legal in nature. On the other hand, it will encompass the fundamental design aspects of network uptime to ensure that network availability during work hours is guaranteed, in order to mitigate the aspect of service interruption.
The design will be easy to manage in terms of load balancing, traffic monitoring and troubleshooting. It will encompass design fundamentals that will provide a way of managing the aspects that may decrease network performance.
Current state of the network
There are roles that network devices play, particularly in data transmission that ensures that packets are effectively delivered to the intended destination devices. This can affect service delivery since most of the time there must be communication between the network devices, which thereafter enables two separate entities to communicate. Therefore, a breakdown in this relay mechanism affects the interaction process resulting to downtimes due to equipment inefficiency. Therefore, for a network to perform optimally, all devices need to be able to interact at an optimum state, a state preferred by all network users (Zhang & Guizani, 2011), to facilitate
an uninterruptible flow of data at the firm.
The current network at the firm has in the recent time presented many bottlenecks due to the hardware capability in managing the network aspects. There are instances of non-redundancies, hardware failures, low data rate, poor structured cabling technique and network management, which all have reduced the expectations of the network in the provision of services at the firm.
The firm’s local area network uses the 10Base T configuration, an IEEE standard that is typically used for providing 10Mbps through an unshielded twisted pair cable (Muller, 2003). The configuration is also known to limit the scalability and operational efficiency of networks, by allowing a maximum limit of 100 meters of cabling between network devices. The firm’s network, configured in a bus topology uses a central hub which is connected by the cabling infrastructure on a cat 3 cable which helps in interconnecting the hub, computers and other network resources. The hubs contain some nodes that the devices are attached to in order to facilitate communication between the devices.
Hardware (network hubs)
The firm uses legacy equipment that consists of a hub as the major interconnecting device. This causes many broadcast storms, a situation arising from the destination devices responding to broadcast traffic (Javin Technologies, 2007), hence causing the broadcast storm problem. This in turn results to congestion that chokes the network since the hubs are only capable of communicating in a half-duplex mode, a technique that allows for one instance of sending or receiving of data over a communication channel (Liotine, 2003). This causes the whole network to slow due to the reduction in response times between the devices, hence significantly making it impossible to access the mail system and the browser since the network slows down due to congestion.
The network also operates under a single collision domain, an area likely to experience collision (Lamle, 2007), facilitated by the network hub – a device that lacks the capability of controlling traffic flow in order to mitigate the aspects of broadcast storms. This has the effect of slowing much of the network, making it impossible to access the shared resources, such as internet connection, and perform other payroll and accounting tasks through the installed software in the computers.
The network also lacks traffic demarcation, a technique that can be used to assign critical departments more traffic to enhance service delivery. This is because the hubs lack intelligent capabilities hence chocking bandwidth as a result of the unnecessary operations in the computer background such as system updates, which would be prevented by creating virtual local area networks on the network. The chocking effect presents an issue especially when the number of in-house staff has increased beyond the expectation and there is a lot of communication because of the many clients being served at a go.
The current network also lack administrative capability, due to the lack of a network infrastructure that can support a mechanism in order to enhance security and overall management of the entire network infrastructure. This is because the hub which plays a central role of relaying data has no management capabilities which can be used in enforcing quality attributes, hence making the network to be susceptible to network intrusion attempts as a result of inadequate threat monitoring appliances which can be integrated into the network. The lack of equipment opens up the network hence increasing the chances of the network being hacked into.
The current configuration of the network utilizes a single channel to feed the switch and the access points with data, which results to service interruption especially when the single channel is affected hence preventing data transmission from occurring thereby affecting the operations of the firm. This is because the cabling system is centrally connected to the hub that sometimes fails as a result of heavy workload during peak times.
In addition to this, the current network does not scale in the event there are additional staff members who would like to use their laptop computers to access the firm’s shared network resources. This reduces service delivery among the employees especially when the network temporarily experiences a service downtime.
The baseline of the current network
- Network uptime and service availability
The current network presents a major challenge in terms of service availability. It is frequently affected by broadcast storms hence causing network congestion thereby reducing the network efficiency. It also limits the bandwidth whereby critical applications are starved.
The current state of the network is prone to network intrusion attempts due to lack of a monitoring appliance to monitor the state of the network.
The network is in elastic in nature, as it does not support additional computers or mobile devices.
Logical and physical design of the network
These design fundamentals are important as they help in understanding the design attributes used in networks. The logical design involves characterizing the logical infrastructure of a network, which may involve naming and addressing issues as well as establishing how devices communicate, while physical design is tasked with describing the physical components which constitute the network and how they are interconnected (Ciccarelli, 2013).
Logical design of the network:
The logical design aspects will utilize a set of private and public IP addresses, with an IP address being defined as an identifier used in the network layer. The private addresses will internally be distributed while the external will be provided by the internet service provider. The network will use the addresses on the switch, access points, communication server and other network resources, while at the same time performing static IP configurations on to the communication server, access point and the switch to prevent service interruption since the IP leasing mechanism may lease all addresses to mobile devices.
The IPv4 will be used in a way that it will be subnetted into various sub-units that will be assigned to various devices.
IPv4 addressing scheme
IP address 22.214.171.124/24
IP subnet mask 255.255.255.224
The address will be subnetted to provide additional IP addresses which will be assigned to a network host within a given department.
Outcome of the subnetting process
Subnet 1- (administration) 126.96.36.199/27
Subnet 2- (lawyers) 188.8.131.52/27
Subnet 3- (legal aides) 184.108.40.206/27
Subnet 4- (support staff) 220.127.116.11/27
Subnet 5- (Guests) 18.104.22.168/27
Subnet 6 – (network resources) 22.214.171.124/27
Administration (Port 1)
They will be assigned the subnet 126.96.36.199/27. The addresses will range from .1-.32/27. These addresses will dynamically be allocated to all administrative computers in a given virtual wireless local area network in order to mitigate the aspects of load and service quality as they perform critical operations in the firm.
Lawyers (Port 2)
They will be assigned the 188.8.131.52/27 subnet. It will range between .33-.62, in which all lawyers will fall under this subnet, and their devices will only be assigned this address range.
The department will be assigned the 184.108.40.206/27 address range. It will range between .65-.94, where all devices in this department will be assigned this address range.
Support staff (Port 3)
The department will be assigned the 220.127.116.11/27 address range. It will range between .97-.127, where all devices in this department will be assigned the address range.
The visiting guests will be assigned the 18.104.22.168/27 address. It will range between .129 -.159, where all visitors will be assigned the WLAN.
The communication server, access points, switch, and printers will be assigned the 22.214.171.124/27 address. The address will statically be assigned in these critical devices.
The rationale behind subnetting is to control traffic load. This is because subnetting prevents data packets from flowing into other network subnets (TechRepublic, 2003). Hence, designing this logical design would reduce an overflow of traffic to the whole network hence would reduce congestion as currently experienced. On the other hand, this design enhances security, in that a guest with ill motive may not be in a position to make a remote connection since this hardens the network.
The IP addressing mechanism will be implemented in the switch which will manage the virtual wireless local area network. The switch ports will be configured to propagate a given subnet which can only be accessed by a member in the given department. This design therefore blends well with the security and management aspects that will be implemented upon deploying the design.
Physical design of the network
This will constitute the physical aspects of the network, which will include the switch, cabling, access points and the communication server.
The Cisco catalyst 2960 series switch, with transmission speeds of up to 100Mbps and Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability, a mechanism of providing electrical power to devices over an Ethernet cable (Szigeti et al, 2009), will connect together the access points with the backbone network and the communication server. It will obtain data from the backbone network and relay it to the destination devices through the cable and the access points.
The shielded twisted pair cable will be used to connect the access points to the switch, the communication server to the switch as well as the backbone network to the switch. The cables will be shielded by cable trunks to prevent damage to the cabling infrastructure.
The physical network will utilize access points, which are devices used to propagate radio signals (Gast, 2005), in a wireless setup. They will be wired to the switch where each will be allocated a specific port on the switch which is mapped to a specific virtual wireless local area network configured port.
The rationale behind the physical design is to implement security, mobility and management aspects in the design as well as service enhancement. This is because the propagated signals classify given networks which prevent intrusion by a visiting guest, while mobility is brought about by the access points and management, service delivery is enhanced by the communication server and the backbone network, with the server enforcing administrative functions while the latter brings about additional bandwidth to improve service.
Therefore, the logical and physical network designs implement the goals of implementing this project.
This implementation plan is for implanting the designed wireless network solution for Milgor associates, a law firm that uses technology in its operations. The solution will use a range of network devices to provide internet and wireless connectivity at the firm’s premises. The plan assumes that the client will provide the tools needed to fix the network solution at their premise.
Source for additional staff
Additional staff with varying specialties in network security implementation, configurations and structured cabling will be hired on a short-term basis.
Prepare network hardware
In order to successfully implement the network design, the hardware and software will be procured from vendors, transported to the site and testing carried out to ascertain whether they are working.
The actual setup of the wireless solution
The main tasks will revolve around installation of a network cabinet, trunking, and configurations. The network cabinet will be installed in the appropriate location in order to protect the switch from damage and unauthorized attempt aimed at making configurations. Trunking on the other hand will involve creating cable trunks to protect the cabling system, apart from which the access points will be mounted and be configured to propagate the firm’s network.
Apart from this, the infrastructure will be connected to the main backbone, which will feed the access points with internet connection that will be propagated to various wireless host devices.
Testing will be conducted to check that all the subnets are working and can be accessed by various administrative units.
The implementation plan will ensure that the wireless solution is deployed in the right manner, which would result to various positive outcomes that will be a success as a result of designing and deploying the wireless solution. The design will increase the security levels, administration and network efficiency. Security levels will be enhanced by the subnets which will enforce certain switching parameters in order to protect a certain network segment. The administration will be enhanced through the communication sever that will enable the network administrator to monitor the traffic, apart from which network efficiency will be improved by the additional backbone network with high data rates to reduce congestion and increase response times.
On the other hand, a negative outcome of designing the solution is that it is complex and as such, the firm will incur additional costs in network support, especially due to the complexity of the configuration parameters.
After a successful implementation, the network will be managed for optimum outcomes. These will include the aspects of mobility management and resource allocation. Resource allocation stands out as the main factor, which needs to be considered in order to optimize the network. This will be done through allocating more bandwidth to subnets with dense traffic in order to ease the flow of data, as well as to ensure that optimal outcome regarding network use is achieved. The network would also be designed in a way to limit the number of external devices accessing the network to reduce threats such as malware that may compromise the network.
Budgeting shall be factored in to guide the procurement aspects and project management. The following indicates the breakdown of the budget.
Item Cost ($)
1 catalyst switch
1 wireless router
3 access points
1 Roll STP cable
Internet Service Provider $800
Software licenses (one-off) $700
Maintenance & support (annual) $14,000
Staffing & salaries $5000
(“Cisco-Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router, n.d.”)
Total projected expenses $23590
The above plan will guide and inform the strategy to use in order to implement the wireless solution.
Cisco-Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router. (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2015.
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