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Operating and Administering a TCP/IP Network


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Operating and Administering a TCP/IP Network


13.1. -

Designing for Growth


13.2. -

Design Guidelines


13.3. -

The Departmental Network


13.4. -

The Company Backbone


13.5. -

The Internet Service Provider's Network


13.6. -

Network Security


13.7. -

Network Management


13.8. -


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TCP/IP Blueprints

From: TCP/IP Blueprints
Author: Martin Bligh
Publisher: Sams
More Information

13. Operating and Administering a TCP/IP Network

by Mark Vevers

The key to operating any TCP/IP network is trying to ensure that the network runs itself as far as possible. To this end, it is important to ensure that the design is correct from the outset.

It would be impossible to place enough emphasis on the importance of planning a network thoroughly, especially a TCP/IP network. Too many people have paid the price of building a network, piece by piece, only looking at their current goals. Even the most experienced network managers have looked back and wished they had spent a little more time thinking before acting. Failure to plan will result in a mess that is difficult to administer and virtually impossible to document.

You may not know how large your network is going to grow at the outset. However, with a little forethought and careful design, adding to your network becomes a quick and simple task. The following pages will discuss designing, building, and running a network. The basic principles can be applied to whatever size network you are implementing.

13.1. Designing for Growth

The first stage of design involves specifying a network to match your requirements. You'll need a vision of the purpose of the project. You might be adding IP to an existing network, or you might be installing a brand new network but integrating existing equipment. Questions to ask yourself include the following:

  • How is the network going to be used and for what purpose? The graphics design bureau is likely to require more bandwidth per workstation than the administrative office because images are often many megabytes.

  • Remember that your total bandwidth is limited by the weakest link in your network. If possible, a server should have a bigger pipe to the network than the workstations it serves. An example might be allocating a single port on a switch to each server, instead of concentrating multiple servers into the same port.

  • What security requirements are there, both between users and departments and also the outside world? Is this network likely to be connected to the Internet now or in the future?

  • Where can I physically locate my servers? Does this suit the network topology I am proposing?

  • What is the projected growth of the network in terms of workstations, data capacity, and transient traffic such as e-mail and Web browsing?

  • As for flexibility, your requirements will change over time. Are you choosing components that allow for easy reconfiguration? Can you make peripheral changes to your network design without interrupting service?

Users will expect this new network, or new service you are adding, to work perfectly. Managers, specifically, and other network managers are likely to worry about the impact of adding IP to an existing network. You need to make sure what you propose is cost effective and will be efficient.


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