This is a business report, so your report should be written in a style comprehensible to a non technical person.

Make extensive use of lists/tables/bullet points and diagrams.

The member of staff who runs your tutorial will be marking your assignment. Treat your tutor as the client and seek clarification on any points from them. Your tutor has an idea of what they will be looking for when they mark the work.

Table of Contents for your Report

Introduction

Description of the site

Topological and physical layout.

Hardware details and inter-networking arrangements

Performance maintenance and management considerations

Security policy

Network Operating System discussion

Implementation strategy

Discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the 2 solutions

Conclusions

 

Additional Notes

You have your initial meeting with the company management in order to identify the parameters which might influence the nature of the network and what service it would be expected to provide. A summary of the notes you took at the meeting is given below.

  1. Nature of the site:

There are currently 3 buildings under construction, arranged around 3 sides of a square. Buildings facing each other on opposite sides of the square (i.e. buildings 2 and 3) are approximately 120m apart.

Each building will be 2-storey and corridors running the length of each floor will be approximately 75m in length. The buildings will be internally partitioned according to the needs of the various Departments (see below).

Issues to consider

    1. Linking the three buildings
    2. Linking the floors
    3. Limitations on cable length

Rooms can be set aside for storage of stock and equipment where necessary but management will require suggestions as to how these rooms should be fitted out to make them fit for purpose.

What are the requirements of having a server(s) + other technology on site?

Anticipated network usage.

The principal aims in implementing the network are to improve communication and to provide access to central information where appropriate. With this in mind, some general facilities such as email and WWW access should be available to all staff but beyond this, different departments may use the network for different purposes and this will impact upon both the design of the network and the network resources to be made available to different staff.. It can be assumed that the network will span/cover the companyís building complex and will consist of approximately 100 nodes.

What Network requirements are there for the entire site as opposed to those for individual departments?

How will the site be linked to the Internet?

What protocol(s) does this imply?

A brief summary of the relevant work carried out by the various departments would be:

General Administration deals mostly with the production of documents, memos, dealing with general inquiries and scheduling of meetings;

Finance & Accounting deals with staff payroll information and invoice payments. Some financial planning software will also be used;

Sales concerned with receiving/processing of orders which may come in via company branches in the major towns or via itinerant sales personnel engaged in sales promotion events. With respect to the latter, less urgent orders can be processed when sales staff return to Head Office but more urgent orders may need to be transmitted back to headquarters when they are still on the move or working remotely. Facilities must therefore be provided to allow remote and mobile access to the network by sales staff.

Publicity & Marketing concerned with the production of colourful catalogues, marketing literature and WWW based publicity material. Appropriate graphical design software will be used allowing the production of material which may be completely new or which may incorporate images/logos from a large number held in store.

Stock Control concerned with keeping records of stock items and updating these records as items are dispatched from the warehouse and/or stock levels are replenished. On-line reports of stock levels would be useful to staff so that orders for new stock can be generated when appropriate.

What are the bandwidth requirements for each department? (low high medium) Donít get bogged down in data rates.

Would all depts require the same topology?

 

  1. Staff Issues
  1. It can be assumed that staff will be reasonably familiar with the operation of relevant software running on stand-alone computers but that they may have had little or no experience working in a networked environment nor with the use of software applications or utilities which relate directly to a network environment.
  2. Company executives have requested the ability to participate in desk-top conferencing sessions with colleagues rather than having the trouble of arranging central meeting places for spontaneous meetings.
  3. Selected staff will be allowed to work from home and so secure dial-in access to the network should be made available to these staff.
  4. Management are aware that the efficient management, and continued performance of, the network is as important as its initial configuration and are intending to appoint network management staff with the required technical ability in this area. However, to be on the safe side, it will be necessary to provide these staff with clear guidelines as to what these management tasks might be and how they might be implemented.

What training will be required?

Judging the executives as a department what are their bandwidth requirements? (low high medium) Again donít get bogged down in data rates.

How can provision for external access be made. (dial in (out) access, security issues)

Will extra staff may be needed?

  1. Network Performance

The company wishes to adopt a network configuration which ensures that the network performs at an optimum level and that the quality of service provided to staff is maximised.

What factors in the design improve network performance? Not interested in data rates, rather topology / fault tolerance / maintenance / isolation.

6. Network Security

The company are very concerned about network security issues and would appreciate an explanation of areas in which network security could be compromised and how appropriate safeguards could be put in place.

What factors will increase security? Software, hardware management policy.

  1. Network Operating System
  2. With respect to the network operating system, the company is considering using either Novell Netware or Windows NT. It is aware that the most widely used versions of these products i.e. Novell Netware v.4 and Windows NT4 are available but that the latest versions, Windows NT ( version 5, to be re-titled Windows 2000 and due for release soon) and Novell Netware (version 5, already released) may provide additional useful features. A section of the report should therefore discuss the merits, with respect to network functionality and management, of versions 4 and 5 of each of these two products and assess the extra features which the later versions provide. Why might these features be relevant and useful to the company (or would they not bring any significant additional benefits?).

    Keep as concise as poss. Keep this to a table / list max 5-10 items!!

  3. Costs

Management do not want to specify a precise budget and do not require you to produce exact details of costing. Rather, they would like to know areas in which costs will be encountered and some idea of the their approximate size.

Draw up your list of requirements then find some prices. Round your estimate to the nearest thousand pounds.

Your brief:

Your report should cover, but not be limited to, the following important factors:

    1. details of the topology to be used along any recommended IEEE 802 series implementation standards and decisions about any network segmentation;
    2. details of minimum and recommended configurations for the nodes, describing the number/type of servers to be used, workstation specifications and any extra hardware, cables, hubs, UPS units etc.
    3. details of any inter-networking devices to be incorporated into the network; If required
    4. discussions of expected network performance and suggestions for on-going performance monitoring; see above
    5. indications of necessary maintenance and management processes;
    6. a suggested security policy to include both the physical security of network devices and also the security of any data/applications;
    7. measures to ensure that the transition to the network environment will be as smooth as possible.
    8. a discussion of the relative merits of moving to the new versions of the network operating systems (see notes above)

 

Management are interested in receiving 2 possible solutions identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each. You have therefore been asked to prepare 2 suitable, but different, network proposals, compare the 2 solutions and suggest a possible choice. Key points for the comparison (you can rank these points according to your view of their importance) could be:

One solution should be a highly appropriate solution, the other solution could be a totally inappropriate solution. You must state clearly why one is better than the other!

The inappropriate solution must not be covered in the detail, the appropriate one must be.

 

Summarise your recommendations in a style which would be suitable for presentation to the owner/executive board members of the company (remember, a picture/diagram says thousand words but adhere to the standard business style).

Submit a structured, word-processed report for marking in which you must address the various sections/sub sections/points. Your report must not exceed 4000 words excluding tables, figures and diagrams.