Proposed Network Design: Part I

A:  Network Topology:

Technical Requirements:

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The University has just purchased a new wing and has yet to determine if they will use all the space.  There have been some five classrooms, admissions office, a student computer lab, and a library with 10 computers available for student use.  We will wire all offices in the new wing for wired internet access.  The staff has requested that there be a minimum connection speed of 50Mbps and there must also be a plan in case this goes down.  There will also be a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) for the common areas where access is not available via Local Area Network (LAN).

Proposed Topology:

The proposed topology to be used will be a Bus topology (Fig. 1) which will provide connections to each of the classrooms, offices, lab, and library in the new wing.  The computer lab (Fig 2) and library (Fig 3) will then contain a star topology stemming from a switch on its own server that is connected to the server via the bus topology.  The admissions office (Fig 4) will also have a switch but not from a server and it will also employ a star topology from the switch. The Bus topology is easy to install, and in this topology, each node sends a message to another node on the network [2].  The main wire will originate from the servers on each floor   the demarcation point (demarc) is in the server room on the main floor so there we will connect the Main Distribution Frame (MDF) to the server on the bottom floor and we will employ a demark extension for the server room on the top floor.  The server on the top floor will then also be connected to the MDF from the demarc extension.  The wireless network will originate from the network controller on the server and we will place two high end wireless access points at in the of the hallways on both floors to maximize the bandwidth.  The wireless access points will be placed near the center of the building on both floors. Figure 11

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

B:  Cables and Connectors:

Technical Requirements:

Cables and Connectors are the means of connecting a network together by wired connections or also commonly called Ethernet. There are a few options to choose from when deciding what type of cables are in need.  These are twisted pair, coaxial, and fiber optic cables.  The twisted pair is by far the most common and cost-effective means to connect all the computers to the network through wired connections, whereas fiber optic cabling is the most expensive but provides the best performance.  The twisted pair (Fig. 5) cabling can be classified by the protection it provides the signal from Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) by the makeup of the outer sheath.  Those two types are the Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) which offers added protection against EMI and Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) which are less expensive and the most common twisted pair cables available but do not offer as good of protection against EMI.  In addition, there are six types of UTP available which are phone cables, and categories (CAT) 3, 5, 5e, 6, and 6a all of which use the RJ45 (Fig. 6) connector besides the phone cable which use the RJ11 (Fig. 7) connector.   CAT 8 technology is currently in production and is supposed to provide four times the bandwidth available today with the CAT 6 UTP cables.  The best protection against EMI under UTP is the CAT 6a also provides the best performance and speeds up the 10Gbps. The coaxial is method of cabling originating from a cable company Internet Service Provider (ISP) where you connect a coaxial cable to a cable modem in your house which many times comes serves also as a router to provide both wired and wireless connections.  The assumption of the minimum bandwidth being 50Mbps and cost are the deciding factors in selecting the right cables.  The threat of EMI is lessoned because we will be running the cables along of inside of the walls protected by plastic coverings. 

Proposed Cables and Justification:

Based on the requirements set forth and assumptions made the cabling running in the building will be CAT 6a with RJ45 connectors.  CAT 6a will add the best performance so even the furthest computers away from the server will still get the minimum 50Mbps bandwidth which is required.  Below I have conducted a cost-analysis based on the requirements needed.  I estimated that the building will need 1000 ft of CAT 6a cabling which allows for some overage and 100 RJ45 connectors based on the amount of connections and an overage in case some break.  The cost is based on figures from Warehouse Cables which is available at  

C:  Networking and Interworking Hardware:

Technical Requirements:

The University of Maryland (UMUC) has specified that there will be a server on each floor in the server rooms, a server for the computer lab, server for the library, and a switch for the admissions office.  We also need a network controller to and two access points for the wireless in the common areas for both students and staff.  The requirements for servers require the new wing to use a client-server network, which are more expensive then the traditional peer to peer, but are easy to expand, easy to support, they have centralized support services for the Information Technology (IT) technicians and are easy to back up.  UMUC has stated that importance of the Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) need so security will also be imperative.  This will require certain applications to ensure security of information. These applications will have to be modeled after the client server architecture where software is centralized on a back-end server and a client component resides on the end system device.  There will be establishment of three Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs).One will be used with students staff with laptops. One will be for students and staff with cell phones and one will be for guests. With users with laptops there will be a policy to assign group by the device type. Only operating systems used in laptops (ie. Windows, and Linux) will be allowed this will help with people with cell phones accessing the SSID. SSIDS set for guests and mobile phones will deny any Local Area Network (LAN) access, there will be use of Network Address Translation (NAT) MODE: Use of Meraki Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) but on each set SSID there will be different passwords to be used for both guests and cell phone users(students and staffs). 

Proposed Network Hardware and Justification:

Based on the requirements that were set by the University of Maryland (UMUC), the new wing will need a total of four servers all equipped with switches for the two server rooms, computer lab, and library.  The new wing will also need a network controller to manage the two wireless access points which will need to provide a radius of up to 150 ft. to provide wireless access in the common areas of the building. We need a wireless network that supports 802.11n with backwards compatibility to 802.11a/b/g.  This will supply us with enough channels that we don’t need to worry about interference. The network controller will be on the server on the ground floor server room.  Finally, we will need another switch for the admissions office for the five computers which will be in that office. The best switch will be the Cisco Catalyst 3850 as it has a larger stacking bandwidth of 480 gigabytes per second (Gbps) and also the maximum members in stack is 9 people. Below is a cost analysis of the hardware required. We will purchase all from amazon where the prices will be much more competitive and if required try and negotiate the price based on the mass amounts of products we are purchasing.  We will also save on the taxes and shipping costs since it’s a large purchase and it’s all from out of state.  The specific types of networking devices providing the wireless network will be cisco catalyst 3850. This will be efficient as it will converge wired and wireless access to support Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD). In addition it has full support of Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+).Lastly the cisco catalyst 3850 has a larger memory/flash of 4GB/2GB.

D:  Wide Area Network Design:

Proposed Wide Area Network and Justification:

The university has made it abundantly clear that all computers and devices will need to receive at least 50Mbps, so this entails needing a high-end Fiber-Optic Broadband Wide Area Network (WAN) to provide this bandwidth especially based on the number of computers and mobile devices which will likely be connected to the network.  WAN’s are all over the United States, but what is WAN? A WAN is a communication network that connects geographical dispersed locations across cities, countries or even continents. In one of its common implementations, a wide area network connects an organization’s local area networks (LANs) to one another.  After conducting a search of WAN carriers in the Adelphi, Maryland area for business we came up with three that supplied cost estimates with Comcast Business providing the fastest bandwidth.  Below is the cost analysis of those three carriers.  There was only one other carrier that had faster but provided no online cost estimate so therefore was not included in the figure below.  The justification for the decision to go with Comcast Business is simply it offers the fastest fiber optic broadband and the best price per 25Mbps.200Mbps will cost the University an estimated $560 per month with Comcast, which is very reasonable compared to their competitors and has received better reviews compared it its competitors.

E:  Network Security:

Proposed Network Security:

Network Security is bar far the single most important aspect of all for the University of Maryland (UMUC).  We must be equipped with enough network security for both our computers as well as that of our students.  The software needed for both the network security of both the university’s machines.  The Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 offers everything you need for a small business environment.  An estimated 60 licenses for all the machines will be needed to secure the wired network.  A picture below describes the complete package. The highlights are the anti-virus/anti-malware, firewall, and the ability to support with MAC and Linux systems.  We can also likely bargain with Symantec for the lower cost per license, but the estimates are based on the higher end.

 Estimated 60 licenses at highest cost $55/license = $3300/year

Proposed Wireless Configuration:

We also need to ensure the security of our wireless network which will be available to both the students and faculty with their own mobile devices.  We need to first change all the default SSIDs to be the same but undiscoverable to those we don’t want access.  The passwords should be specific to the students and faculty; therefore, we will use password combinations based on student and faculty numbers for access.  The security settings for the network must be WPA2 with AES encryption since it’s the security, which requires the passwords which were previously identified in the sentence prior.  We will have both wireless routers on separate channels, so they will not cause interference with each other and that way we will have continuous connectivity throughout the building.  This will all be managed by the network controller on the ground floor main server.  We will also strongly emphasize all the mobile devices to have their own anti-virus/anti-malware platform.  We can likely introduce the Symantec 30-day trial to all and during negotiations for the licenses being cheaper negotiate for a cheaper personal price for the students and faculty.

F:  Computer Systems:

Computers are the basic requirements that all small businesses and of course universities can not live without.  The requirements which were outlined states that there must be five in the admissions office and must use the business suite of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems (OS) as well as that of Microsoft Office for business. The admissions office is where the rubber meets the road and must be equipped with all the capabilities to manage an office environment.  We will need four computers to manage the servers with server software.  Finally, we will need a total of four computers for the other office or classrooms, 24 for the computer lab, and 16 more for the library which includes six for the library staff.  That brings us to a grand total of 53 computers needed but we will round up to 55 in case one goes down.  The four server computers should be of higher end to support the managing the server.  Finally, the final 51 computers just need to be able to support basic functions for student and faculty and enough to support the admissions office.  Below is a cost analysis of those machines and software proposed.  We may be able to secure a better price if we negotiate with Microsoft Corporation for the five licenses of Microsoft Office Professional and 46 licenses of Microsoft Office Student. There maybe also ways to negotiate with Dell on all the desktop computers needed to lower costs and therefore serving also to advertise for them since we will use their hardware exclusively.  All costs are based on cost information form Amazon.com and therefore are worst case estimates with options to save on bulk purchases.

Computer Hardware/Software Total = $35,473 minus tax from out of state shipments

G:  Conclusion:

In conclusion of Part I, there comes a considerable cost as displayed below.  We must remember if we go too cheap and get very cheap hardware, cables, and software this will in the end cost us more in the long run.  This is also true with security for our machines.  Any intrusion and compromise of personal or professional data could very well be very costly as well as if our finances were compromised by a cyber-attack.

Total Cost Analysis:

Cable and Connectors = $310.42

WAN = $560/month

Network Hardware = $11, 647.98

Network Security Software = $3,300/yearly

Computer Hardware/Software = $35,473

Total up front = $19, 361.40

Monthly = $560

Yearly = $3,300 (Annual Microsoft Office/Server Software Licenses not included)

Sources and Citations

[1] Test Out. (2018). Test Out Network Pro [Online].  Available https://cdn.testout.com/client-v5-1-10-501/startlabsim.html

[2]  Third International Conference on Mathematics and Computers in Sciences and in Industry (2016). Sensors Networks – Localization and Topology (Article Issue Date 2016-08).  

[3] Network World (2013). Cat 8: TIA performance standards committee chairman previews parameters of forthcoming twisted-pair cable standard for 40G. [Online]. Available http://www.networkworld.com

[4] Warehouse Cables (2018). Warehouse Cables. [Online]. Available https://www.warehousecables.com

[5] Information Management Journal (2013). Keep your data from walking out the door. (Article Issue Date May-June 2013).

[6] Amazon (2018). Amazon.com [Online]. Available https://www.amazon.com

[7] Fiber Guide (2018). FiberGuide.net [Online]. Available  http://fiberguide.net

[8] Broadband now (2018). BroadbandNow.com [Online]. Available https://broadbandnow.com

[9] Symantec (2018). Symantec Corporation [Online]. Available https://www.symantec.com/page.jsp?id=eol_av_ce

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