DesignIT Company: Network Consultation Proposal

DesignIT is a growing graphic arts firm. The company recently purchased a space for the expanding business. The new office will host additional two designers and a receptionist. The proposal presented to the company covers issues related networking and costs.

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A Suitable Network Design

DesignIT would adopt Ethernet network design. This type of network design is considered optimal for a small office with few users, just like the size of the company (Breeding, 2014). DesignIT will find Ethernet ideal because it is not expensive and does not need additional costly materials for configuration since the preferred hardware components already have inbuilt Ethernet components. Ethernet network design will offer specific nodes with access to various data packets with certain address for source and target via a broadcast network (Harrington, 2007). Additionally, Ethernet network design shall ensures that all addresses match for efficiency in running. The Ethernet network design will run various network devices within the office, including computer, a server, printer, and access to other networks (Breeding, 2014). Ethernet is expected to operate on the regular 100 Mbps with nodes bearing the same bandwidth. The Ethernet network design is sufficient for a small growing firm like DesignIT because of its flexibility and scalability to allow for additional other components when the firm grows further. Ethernet network design will also support high-speed Internet if necessary because of enhanced user requirements.

Network Architecture

The selected network architecture for DesignIT will be server-based network architecture. The network architecture would offer optimal security for the firm’s network. The company’s users will be created with the necessary security provisions and access authorization to allow the network to remain safe. Users will rely on the network directory to share files, but there would be no open access to prevent abuse or restrict access to certain confidential files. For this network architecture, the company will have centralized network resources. Server-based network architecture is best for a small firm to support various network components, such as printers and files, which will have distinct supporting systems. It is also necessary for continuous access because the company will be available throughout for users. This network architecture will provide scalability to allow for future network expansion.

The company is expanding and any new extra network features will just be integrated within the available network. The server-based network architecture shall also provide security compared with other network architectures. Employees would have various user rights to share or use network resources. This implies that users with no rights to share or view specific files will not be permitted because of restricted user right groups. The network architecture will allow DesignIT to offer network to serve all its users. As DesignIT grows, it is more likely to have several specialized business units or departments. As such, other servers may be needed to cater for different departments, such as human resources, finance, design and creative, sales and marketing, and accounts among others. After the company becomes larger with increased Internet and network use, it will just use scalability features to revamp the network, improve file sharing capabilities, and create new user groups.

LAN and Wireless LAN (WLAN) Wiring Considerations

DesignIT shall deploy both LAN and Wireless LAN (WLAN) wiring. The two network considerations would meet needs of various users at the company. Wiring preferences require effective assessment to ensure that they have the right hardware and software materials for reliability. DesignIT must assess all its design architectures for compatibility with both LAN and Wireless LAN (WLAN) wiring. Areas of consideration should be network topology or physical layout across the office as provided. DesignIT will install LAN due to reliability, relatively low costs, speed, and simple processes of resolving challenges. Effective planning will be required for its configuration across the office. Notably, the office space may have has some restrictions, but LAN network configuration will offer reliability and speed. Furthermore, scalability provided via server-based network architecture will ensure network expansion when needed. LAN will also serve office desktops and printers.

DesignIT requires wireless LAN because of other portable devices, such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, which may need network connection to provide flexibility for workers. This connection is easy to configure and cost-effective for the company. With Wireless LAN, the company may not depend on physical network connection for some devices. Wireless connection would be a better option for the conference room where users may be required to use their own portable devices during presentations, for instance. DesignIT, however, should always ensure that all wireless connections are secured and user policy restricts illegal access from any devices. The current office setting is small, and WLAN can sufficiently meet user needs. WLAN should be revamped to serve the whole office. Overall, the two network considerations for the company would offer various advantages and support each other based on reliability, security, flexibility, scalability, and speed requirements.

Recommended Hardware Options and Costs

DesignIT will need hardware materials for the preferred network. The company must evaluate costs against reliability of hardware components in order to get reliable network hardware at good prices. Vendors have a wide range of hardware selection with different prices to serve the same purposes. DesignIT is a small company and, therefore, reasonably priced, adaptable hardware options are ideal. Moreover, the company shall opt for discounted products to reduce costs of hardware components and network installation. It is important to have the wireless router installed at the best location to provide stronger signals for the entire office, particularly for the conference room. Location selection is considered to ensure WLAN reliability based on access points (Moran, 2013). DesignIT will use the following hardware materials for network configuration.

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Office Space Materials and Costs
Server Room
  • 1 x Internet Port: $150
  • 1 x Desktop PC for server: $ 1,000
  • 1 x Broadband Router: $100
  • 1 x 8 Port Gigabit Switch: $ 210
  • Data cabling and Switches: $200
Ethernet
  • 10 Base-T Ethernet cards: $ 30 per card
  • 10/100 Base-T Ethernet cards: $120 per card
  • Unmanaged Shared Media Ethernet hubs: $15-20 for every port
  • Switched Ethernet hub (10/100): $150 for every port
  • Fast Ethernet hub: $75 per port
Four Cubicles
  • 4 x Desktop PCs: $ 2,400
  • 1 x Print Server: $80
  • 3 x Color laser / wireless printers: $2,000
  • 4 x Wireless Access Point (Router): $200
  • 4 x 4 port Gigabit Switch: $250
Reception
  • 1 x Power Over Ethernet Adapter: $25
  • 1 x Desktop Pc: $800
Conference Room
  • 3 x Wireless Laptops: $2,700

Based on network configuration and customization, additional costs related to backbone should be considered to support effective network connectivity across the office.

Suggested Security Considerations

Firewalls

Security remains paramount for DesignIT network system. Firewall is mandatory for the network configuration to deter intrusion (Scarfone & Hoffman, 2009). Firewall deployment is expected to be effective to eliminate some notable technical errors. It is recommended that the company should only use firewall after careful assessment of the network to determine the best option. Firewall deployment shall control traffic and stop illegal network access. Thus, firewall will deter potential threats to the network. Additionally, firewall activities are expected to generate regular reports to assist the IT department to understand emerging threats and improve defense strategies.

Antivirus

The company is also expected to install use antivirus for its network and other vulnerable systems. Antivirus the network will protect against viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, malware that corrupt documents and collect user information. It will also protects the company’s online activities and communication. It is recommended that DesignIT should only choose reputable antivirus vendors because of emerging virus threats. The company must ensure that Antivirus is tested for quality and reliability, and the vendor must show continuous update features. DesignIT will only work with known antivirus vendors.

The preferred IT security accounts for the observed security threats in the recent past (Reddy & Reddy, 2014; Georgia Institute of Technology, 2016). Nevertheless, antivirus options and security needs are considered within the company’s budget constraints. The first choice for DesignIT is Norton Antivirus, which costs less $100. Norton ranks among the best Internet security solutions and touted as the future of Internet security. Furthermore, Norton Antivirus can be installed in other gadgets, such as smartphones, tablets and Mac PCs as well as normal PCs. This option offers maximum protection because of its improved security features or layers. Norton also guarantees safe Internet transactions and monthly reports on security threats. Second, AVG Antivirus Ultimate is also preferred. The company will consider $120 for a single user. AVG Antivirus is considered because of it is an award-winning solution. These security software options can be delivered for single users or as a package for small business. However, the company will opt for the most affordable option.

Costs

Estimated labor costs Costs of equipment required Maintenance costs and other related charges
Hourly rate $80
15 days
5 hrs per day
$6,000
All equipment are estimated to cost $3,000 Charges will vary based on specific technical challenge – minimum cost is $50 every hour

The Single Point of Failure

The point of failure will present critical network challenges for DesignIT. For the company, any hardware failure that impacts the network could be a critical source of network issues. The company’s IT solutions should consider redundant network components to mitigate failures. The network redundancy components have capabilities to protect the entire network from total failure when a single system is affected. Thus, the redundant system will function as a backup in case of network failure at any given points. Different points of weaknesses, such as network cabling, gateways, routers, switches and network interface card must be assessed to ensure proper application of redundant network systems. These are major points of weaknesses, which need simulated software and hardware components. The Directory Server is the ideal location for installing the identified components to guarantee constant availability. Consequently, the redundant server will be designed to deliver optimal availability. The company will benefit from relative cheap redundant components, which are easy to install and maintain. Additionally, these options offer scalability benefits because of replication capability. DesignIT will find maintenance costs negligible.

References

Breeding, M. (2014). Designing and building the best small office network from the ground up. Web.

Georgia Institute of Technology. (2016). 2016 emerging cyber threats report. Web.

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Harrington, J. (2007). Ethernet networking for the small office and professional home office. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Moran, J. (2013). Networking a small business office from scratch. Web.

Reddy, G. N., & Reddy, G. J. (2014). A study of cyber security challenges and its emerging trends on latest technologies. International Journal of Engineering and Technology, 4(1), 48-51.

Scarfone, K., & Hoffman, P. (2009). Guidelines on firewalls and firewall policy: Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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