Building an IT network can be haphazard and inefficient if not planned well. We will look at network design and planning stages to help you make the communications flow better in your business.
Network design- what is it?
Network design is planning a communications network, which can be simple for a small business or complex when a company employs more significant numbers or spread across sites. You should start this process before buying equipment and end it after implementing the network system. Regular review and redesign as the business expands or changes. Network design includes things like analysis of the network, IP addressing, selection of hardware, and implementation planning.
Using the Cisco model of Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate and Optimise means that you can work through the design of your network and its lifecycle. The network’s lifecycle will determine its design. More info on this is available here
Steps to a well-designed network
Step 1- Identify the requirements
Firstly, we need to identify the requirements of the network, setting out clear targets. Include the business requirements, examples such as improving end-user experience or cutting costs. Then add the technical or functional requirements; examples here include the bandwidth needed to perform essential tasks, service level agreements and security levels required.
Step 2- Assess the current network
This step is where you look at existing equipment and the design of the network, noting what works and should be retained and what needs to be upgraded. Starting from a clean slate is not usually the case, and this is an advantage because we can see what needs doing. However, it can also be a problem if there are substantial structures in place that cannot support the future development of the network. An example may be cabling or broadband issues.
Step 3- Draw your network design on paper
In this design step, you draw a layout plan of the components of your network, start with elements already in place that are staying. This process can highlight the gaps. Planning on paper before purchasing equipment can help you budget more effectively.
Step 4 – Choose software to partner with hardware
People often forget this section of the network design stage! Bespoke software takes time to finalise and needs to be planned. The software can sometimes negate specific hardware or even require more. Make sure you outline which program is running which element of your network and check they are compatible with each other. Another area often overlooked is Security software; it is best to know what type of security systems you will have in place for your business data protection.
Step 5- Planning for the future
Not all network designs are implemented instantly; some elements of future growth will need to be foreseen and planned for. No one knows how technology and infrastructures to support technology will evolve.
Help with Network design
You can get expert help with network design from us here at Jolly IT. We specialise in making IT easy to understand and even easier to use within your business. Talk to us today.