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Network Consultant Scenarios

Case Project 3-1


Old-Tech Corporation has 10 computers in its main office area, which is networked in a star
topology using 10 Mbps Ethernet hubs, and wants to add five computers in the manufacturing
area. One problem with the existing network is data throughput. Large files are transferred across
the network regularly, and the transfers take quite a while. In addition, when two or more
computers are transferring large files, the network becomes unbearably slow for users. Adding
the manufacturing computers will only make this problem worse and result in another problem.
Because the ceiling is more than 30 feet high, theres no easy way to run cables to computers,
and providing a secure pathway for cables is next to impossible. Devise a solution to this
companys networking problems. As part of your solution, answer the following questions:
What changes in equipment are required to bring this companys network up to date to solve
the shared-bandwidth problem?
What topology and which type of device can be used in the manufacturing area to solve the
cabling difficulties?

At this point, the Old-Tech Corporation is running inefficiently and the core business is
suffering as a result of their use of obsolete network technologies. These cascading issues can
be overcome, however, with some careful planning and meticulous execution. Below, I will
describe the basic outline of my solution to their technical quandary.
To begin, I would remove the 10 Mbps hubs currently in use at this location. Though
these devices have served their purpose for a number of years, they now cost the company
both money and time by remaining in service. Because Old-Techs new network will inevitably
consist of a total of 15 workstations, divided into two groups (ten office PCs and five for the
manufacturing area), I will need to deploy three major network devices to create maximum
efficiency. For the office area, I will install one (1) 18-port Gigabit switch which will connect each
of the existing desktops and leave room for future expansion within the office. The workstations
will be linked to the switch via twisted pair (CAT 5e) cabling, effectively creating an individual
sub-network, known as a broadcast domain. The new switch will enable the office computers to
make use of the full network bandwidth available, as the device is capable of handling multiple,
simultaneous communications in full-duplex mode.
For the next phase of this network overhaul, I will focus on the manufacturing area. OldTechs manager has stated that they will be deploying five new workstations for dedicated
manufacturing tasks, all of which need to communicate with the office computers, as well as
with one another. Because the manufacturing area is not cable-friendly, I have decided to
implement wireless technology for this portion of the building. To solve this issue effectively, I
plan to install one (1) Cisco Systems WRVS4400N wireless-N, Gigabit security router in the
ceiling of the manufacturing area. The wireless device will connect to the 18-port switch inside
the office via hardline (twisted pair cabling), and will communicate with the workstations
wirelessly. I will achieve this connectivity by installing wireless network interface cards (NICs) in
each of the machines. To complete the network, I will configure each manufacturing PC to
identify and connect with the wireless router, thus creating a second sub-network and broadcast
domain.
In closing, I will state that this configuration exemplifies an extended star topology. OldTechs new network will combine the use of Ethernet and wireless 802.11 architecture,
enabling all networked devices to communicate with each other, regardless of the buildings

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complicated physical structure. In addition, as there is no mention of any use of
file/print/web servers at this location, this network follows the client based model, with all
devices on the network equally sharing the processing load.

Case Project 3-2


EBiz.com has 250 networked computers and five servers and uses a star topology wired network
to reach employees offices, with a bus interconnecting three floors in its office building. Because
of a staggering influx of Internet business, the network administrators task is to boost network
performance and availability as much as possible. The company also wants a network design
thats easy to reconfigure and change because workgroups form and disband frequently, and
their membership changes regularly. All computers must share sensitive data and control access
to customer files and databases. Aside from the customer information and billing databases,
which run on all servers, employees desktop computers must run standard word-processing and
spreadsheet programs.
Use the following write-on lines to evaluate the requirements for this network. After you finish,
determine the best network topology or topology combination for the company. On a blank piece
of paper, sketch the network design you think best suits EBiz.coms needs. Remember: High
performance and easy reconfiguration are your primary design goals!
What type of topology should be used in this network?
Ebiz.com would gain the most advantages by using an extended star topology for its
reconstructed network. I would achieve this by creating five separate LANs, each comprised of 50
workstations connected to two (2) 26-port switches via twisted pair cable. Each sub-network would also
house a single server (each department would be locally linked to its most relevant server), which would
also connect to one of the two new switches. All five LANs would then be globally linked by a central
Gigabit router, providing company-wide network access with the added benefit of departmental broadcast
domains.
Will the network be peer to peer or server based?
This network would obviously fall under the server based model, as each workstation is
dependent on the servers for customer information and billing database access. To assist with Ebiz.coms
requirements for frequent workgroup reconfiguration, the Windows Server 2013 environment is
recommended for its Active Directory services. This comprehensive service allows the Network
Administrator to easily create unique user groups and individual logon credentials for each employee, all
of which can be modified at any time, if necessary.
How many computers will be attached to the network?
Ebiz will have a total of 255 machines (250 workstations and 5 servers) connected to the new
network. This improved design will be more efficient and manageable however, as it makes use of five
smaller interconnected departmental LANs, in place of the single massive network currently in place.
What kind of networking device is easiest to reconfigure? What kind
offers the best access to the network mediums bandwidth between?

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In my opinion, a network switch meets both of these criteria. Tomsho (2011), describes
the device:
A network switch, like a hub, is used to interconnect multiple computers so that
they can communicate with one another. A switch looks just like a hub, with
several ports for plugging in network cables. However, instead of simply
regenerating incoming bit signals and repeating them to all other ports, a switch
actually reads data in the message, determines which port the destination device
is connected to, and forwards the message to only that port. So the first
important difference between hubs and switches is that hubs work only with
electrical signals and the bits these signals represent, whereas switches work
with the actual information these bits combine to make frames. (p. 66).
Network switches are very easy to reconfigure, allowing the IT professional to
disconnect, reconnect, or add a specific machine from its port at any time without
affecting the other workstations. The network device will then modify its switching table
to accommodate the change. This table is a record of the media access control (MAC)
addresses of all connected computers, which enables the switch to route data more
quickly and efficiently as it learns.
The switching table makes a switch capable of forwarding frames to just one
single port, instead of all of them, allowing it to handle multiple simultaneous computer
conversations. That means that a switch offers each workstation full network bandwidth,
rather than requiring each PC to share the total available bandwidth.

Case Project 3-3


ENorm, Inc. has two sites in Pittsburgh that are four miles apart. Each site consists of a large
factory with office space for 25 users at the front of the factory and up to 20 workstations in two
work cells on each factory floor. All office users need access to an inventory database that runs
on a server at the Allegheny Street location; they also need access to a billing application with
data residing on a server at the Monongahela site. All factory floor users also need access to the
inventory database at the Allegheny Street location.
Office space is permanently configured, but the manufacturing space must be reconfigured
before each new manufacturing run begins. Wiring closets are available in the office space.
Nothing but a concrete floor and overhead girders stay the same in the work cell areas. The
computers must share sensitive data and control access to files. Aside from the two databases,
which run on the two servers, office computers must run standard word-processing and
spreadsheet programs. Work cell machines are used strictly for updating inventory and quality
control information for the Allegheny Street inventory database. Workstations in the
manufacturing cells are switched on only when theyre in use, which might occur during different
phases of a manufacturing run. Seldom is a machine in use constantly on the factory floor.
Use the following write-on lines to evaluate the requirements for this network. After you finish,
determine the best network topology or topology combination for the company. On a blank piece
of paper, sketch the network design you think best suits ENorm, Inc.s needs.
Will the network be peer to peer or server based?

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The new Enorm Inc. network will follow the client-server model. The company
workstations require frequent access to an inventory database, as well as a billing application
which are each housed on separate servers.
How many computers will be attached to the network?

The corporate network will ultimately consist of 92 connected computers. The


description explains that each location contains 25 office workstations, 20 more in the factory, as
well as a single server. 46 machines in two locations combine to equal 92 total computers.
What topology works best for the offices, given the availability of wiring closets? What topology
works best for the factory floor, given its need for constant reconfiguration?

For the office, I would recommend the use of star topology. All workstations could
connect to a single 26-port switch, or two smaller switches which would allow the Network
administrator to divide the office into two sub-networks, delineated by department. Either way,
the server would also connect to the switch(es) via twisted pair cable. The wiring closets could
be used as link stations, where a switch could be strategically located for easy access. The
CAT5 cable would be run up through the ceiling and drop down into RJ-45 wall ports for each
workstation and server.
In the factory area, I would suggest using a single wireless access point (WAP) which
would be mounted in the center of the ceiling. Each workstation would then be fitted with a
wireless network interface card (NIC) for connectivity. Because these machines are used so
infrequently, one WAP should be sufficient for bandwidth sharing requirements.
That being said, there is also another viable option for the factory setting. It would be
possible to use one 26-port wired switch, mounted to the ceiling, with single drops for each
machine. These drops could be made using a retractable cable leash with a track system that is
able to slide along the length and width of the ceiling. This enables the company to
accommodate their ever-changing physical configuration within the factory. This option, coupled
with switched Ethernet topology would make sense, considering the sporadic use of these
workstations. A switched topology maintains a constant electrical connection between each
computer and switch, but disengages the logical connection between the devices when they are
not in use. This would be the most efficient option, if Enorm is willing to relinquish the
convenience of wireless technology. Either way, the office and factory should be connected to
one another by a central router, which would then be responsible for linking the two locations
together.
Once each location has been configured, I would then create a wide-area network
(WAN), from building to building. The most logical choice of network medium would be a fiber
optic connection, as it supports long-distance runs such as this. There is also less chance of
electrical interference with a fiber connection and a higher bandwidth rate, overall. Fiber
Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) is one such option, and would require the use of a physical
ring topology. This is an older technology and has widely been surpassed and replaced with a
large extended star topology.
In the end, each location would consist of at least two LANs (one or more for the office
and one for the factory), linked by a central router. The two routers would then form a WAN,
supported by fiber-optic cable as the network medium. This configuration ensures high-speed

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data access for all network users, while meeting the specific requirements of Enorm Inc.
managers.

Reference

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Tomsho, G. (2011). Guide to networking essentials (6th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Course
Technology, Cengage Learning