Design & Implement a New Network for a Small Company

No matter how large or small the network, all have similar foundational requirements. Start a network design project to identify your current and future business needs. 

This will help you plan the best technology for your company’s growth. The most important decision is whether your business should consolidate voice services on the data network in order to reduce the cost. 

These types of issues can be highlighted and discussed clearly before the start of the project. This will benefit both technical and financial planning.

10 Steps of Network Design For Small business

Step 1 – What does your small business need?

Find out what your small business needs are in terms of performance, capacity, and network ports. To understand the needs of each department and to discuss potential expansion, meet with your coworkers. 

Local area networks are used to support one location (e.g., an office or building). They use switches to provide ports for connecting servers, storage hardware, and computers to the network. 

The LAN is made up of switches, routers, cabling, and switches that allow connectivity to the Internet and other locations if necessary.

Step 2 – Layout the cables

Because it is the physical connection point for your manufacturing company, cabling plays an important role in network design. To minimize interference, consult a professional cable designer who is familiar with manufacturing areas. 

A cable company can help you ensure that the right type of cable is chosen and meets all fire codes.

Step 3 – Create a Spreadsheet

To gather the key information needed for the design, create a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should include information such as the location of the users, their roles, the LAN port speeds, and the node type. 

This includes printers and other hardware that will be connected to a network. Programmable logic controllers are required for robots and other automated systems that require network connectivity. Create row categories for users and list physical locations in the top columns of the spreadsheet. 

You should list the total users for each site and their classification type (e.g., office, engineering, and manufacturing). A separate section should be dedicated to the computer room. This section should identify each server and all applications, as well operating systems and speed of the network cards. 

Document the environmental services of the computer room, such as air conditioning, electrical power, and controls to monitor temperature and humidity.

Step 4 – Analyze the network’s current performance.

You can use protocol analyzers or network management software to perform analysis at different times during the day. 

This activity includes information about LAN andWAN performance, protocols used, areas in the topology that cause performance bottlenecks, and application characteristics. Protocol analyzers may be able to identify protocols that are running by default on certain nodes and can be turned off.

Step 5 – Identify switches.

To support the current state design, gather your physical and logical network diagrams. Identify switches, routers, LAN bandwidth, network equipment cabinets, and power information. 

Also, identify current standards for copper and fiber cable plants. If more than one building is present, get current information about the IP address design of the LAN. Document protocols for the network, as well as routing protocols that are used to connect buildings.

Step 6 – Find Out Current LAN and Project Required Number

Find out the current LAN switch port requirements and project the required number over the next 24 months for each location. Although this building is small, it may contain one or more intermediate distribution frames called telecommunication closets. 

If the distance to the computer room is greater than cable limits, the telecommunication closets will provide copper network cables to each employee’s desk. 

This closet can also be used to install LAN access layers switches, which provide connections for wireless access points, computers, and printers, as well as other network hardware for your company. Access layer switches connect to the computer room switches via multi-mode fiber optics.

Step 7 – Network ports

Based on your future growth needs for network ports, future expectations for quality of service, voice and video integration, and future network service requirements, you can select access layer switches. 

This ensures that the network hardware is able to meet the company’s needs and allows for the addition of new features without affecting performance. For growth, plan enough fiber between the access layer switch and the computer room switches. Also, ensure that fiber uplinks are available to support bandwidth requirements.

Step 8 – Select routers and switches

You can select routers and switches, then establish standards for each layer. Consider standardizing on a chassis-based switch for access layers. This is to allow you to expand and add ports or features. You can use smaller switches in other areas. 

You can reduce variation and make it easier to support staff by creating a standard for network hardware. The network switches and routers should be able to support the immediate port requirements as well as expand when new features are added. 

If the manufacturing section of the network requires switches that can withstand higher temperatures or conditions, a tough industrial-based switch will be required.

Step 9 – Dual Switches

Choose computer room switches. Dual switches are designed to allow fiber connections from each access level telecommunication closet. The port density and speed required to support servers in a combined distribution layer and core layer should be planned. 

If you use chassis-based switches, a dual switch configuration in your computer room will provide redundancy as well as scalability. A single enterprise-class switch can be used as an alternative to cut costs and allow for future development to a dual switch design. Both options can be presented to management with the goal of identifying the advantages, risks, and costs for each.

Step 10 – Design an IP address

Design an IP address that is flexible enough to accommodate growth and choose a routing protocol that will allow for fast convergence. This will make it easy to manage. 

You should consider your growth projections and performance requirements when designing a network transport service. Consider the ability to adapt to future demands when choosing WAN transport services to connect buildings.

4 Steps of Implementation For your Small Business

Step 1 – Implementation should be planned in phases

The computer room core switches should be introduced first to provide connectivity to the servers. It may be possible to follow this activity immediately, depending on the company’s size and business processes. 

After the installation of the core switches in your computer room, schedule wide-area connectivity. Choose a time that is not interrupted by the access layer installation. Coordinate wide-area connectivity with the vendor that provides this part of the network service.

Step 2 – Informed about the phases

All employees should be informed about the phases of each phase and dates and times. The implementation of new equipment usually means that systems and data won’t be accessible at the time of change. This allows employees to plan around any downtime.

Step 3 – Test and Configuration

Before implementing network equipment, pre-configure it and test it.

Step 4 – Schedule

You can schedule the support and personnel that you need from the IT department staff and any vendors who will be supporting the implementation.

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