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Network Analysis and Design

We are all very aware of the amazing power of computer technology to improve our lives. But we also know from experience that new technology is no panacea. Even if it performs as advertised it can create as many problems as it solves. Anyone who has ever used a computer knows there is nothing quite so frustrating as a freeze or crash at a time when you really need it to perform for you. And finally, even if the hardware and software perform flawlessly and the new system design proves bug-free, it is entirely possible that all the time, effort, and expertise expended in installing it may be wasted if profits or productivity do not improve because of it.

So as Pricilla Oppenheimer so wisely councils at the beginning of her book ôTop-Down Network Designö, ô the first step in top-down network design [is] analysing your customerÆs business goalsö (Oppenheimer 1). What this means is that people take precedence over technology until the logical and physical network designs are conceived. The implication of that statement is that when it comes to enterprise networks the needs of the business must be thoroughly understood, or even the best technology may be useless.

This project involves a fictitious company producing a variety of networking equipment and high-tech gadgets named Technical Products Galore (TPG). It has just acquired another company called RickÆs Place in Alexandria, Virginia, in addition to its far-flung existing locations in Dallas, Texas, Tampa, Florida, Sacramento, California, Charlotte, North Carolina, Detroit, Michigan, and Wiesbaden, Germany.

I will follow OppenheimerÆs Business Goals Checklist as the essential first step before we are able to competently assess what their information processing needs are. Then I will offer some technological solutions to help them meet their goals.

The first thing I would do would be to familiarize myself with the customerÆs business and try to understand what t...

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