What Is A Network?


In simplest terms, a network is a group of computer systems joined together for the purpose of sharing information. There are two types of networks:


Local Area Network (LAN): Networks that are based in one location. These are connected through wiring like ethernet or fiber. These also can be connected using wireless access points.


Wide Area Network (WAN): These networks are how multiple networks are connected together to make one larger network. These are typically done through VPN routers or alternative software.



What is Required In A Network?


There are a few basic equipment needed to construct a network. In its simplest for you only need a cable connecting two computers together at the ethernet port, but there are so many more items to consider when making it larger and more secure:


  1. Cabling - network cable is essential in order to connect devices together, even if it is just connecting the modem to the router or for you to achieve internet access.
  2. ISP modem - This device is only needed if you want your network to access the internet. Connections vary from Coax, Fiber, or telephone wire.
  3. Router/ Firewall - This device acts as not only a barrier of protection, but also routes data between multiple devices.
  4. Switches - These devices connect multiple devices to the network at one time
  5. Access Points - These are needed is you want to achieve a wireless network
  6. Computers - You can not have a network without a device to share and transmit the data, otherwise, what is the point?


There are other devices for more sufficicated networks, but you should always start by understanding what you want to accomplish before picking the correct equipment.



Network Security


Securing the network is trickier than ever. While the threats are evolving and multiplying, the very the nature of the network is changing, too. No longer is it enough to lockdown the in-house enterprise system: Employees now work from everywhere and on all sorts of devices, both company-owned and personal.


The first thing to consider is "What would be lost or what damage could happen if something was to get in the network?" The answer to this is all dependent on you. A couple simple things to remember is:


  1. Use strong passwords and authentication techniques
  2. Keep your equipment updated
  3. Physical access is total access
  4. Encrypt data whenever possible
  5. Have intrusion detection and virus software in your equipment


The Federal goverment have a governing body that sets standards and best practices for network security and infrastructure. Having an IT Department that stays current and educated on these practices is important in maintaining your network for your business or home.

9 Immutable Laws of Network Design


Follow these simple rules to ensure your network is stable, secure and built to last as you overlay new services and applications.

Each year, my company has the opportunity to work with many clients on their network architectures, designs and configurations. We also work with clients when they have network issues and need troubleshooting assistance. Based on those many years of experience with a variety of environments and customers, I've developed this list of nine immutable laws of network design.

Following these simple rules helps you create and maintain a stable, long-lasting network infrastructure that will be invaluable as your organization begins to overlay additional services or applications. Whether you’re redesigning for wireless, preparing for software-defined networking (SDN) or simply expanding your virtualized environments, designing by these rules will increase the stability, manageability and security of your network.


1. Know, Don’t Guess


Two phrases uttered frequently during network design are “I’m pretty sure” and “I think.” As a professional tasked with discovering, researching and documenting client networks, I can tell you those phrases don’t cut it in our organization, and they shouldn’t be accepted in yours. There’s more than a 50% chance what you think you know is wrong. Networks are inherited, many admins may touch them, and they’re frequently changed in a fit of fury, troubleshooting or testing. When documenting a network or committing even a minor change, you should always look, verify and know--never guess. The mantra in our office is, “No information is better than wrong information.”


2. Avoid Dangling Networks


As SDN, virtualization and application-based technologies creep into our networks, we need to take a hard look at configuration sprawl and prepare for a massive cleanup. Avoid dangling and mismatched networks and VLANs throughout the infrastructure. It’s not unusual to see VLANs tagged where they should be untagged, or a VLAN dead end into an untagged VLAN. There are some instances of think-outside-the-box moments where a configuration like this is needed, either for a transition period or to work around a specific situation, but the practice should be the exception, not the rule.


3. Route Where Needed, Not Where Possible


Routing at the edge sounds like an advanced approach to network architecture, but it can cause more problems than it solves. Sure, you may get some additional speed, but in most networks, that speed will never be measurable, and the complexities of overly distributed routing lead to management and security headaches.


4. See All, Manage All


You certainly can’t manage what you can’t see. Visibility into the network has always been important, and it’s going to be even more essential as networks evolve to solve the demands of virtualization and applications. Know what you have, where it is, and monitor it constantly.


5. Know When To Standardize


There are times when standardizing offers great advantages, and other times when it will be working at cross-purposes to your objectives. This might mean standardizing on a single vendor for interoperability, or it may mean standardizing on configurations, security settings and management. Either way, make sure your choice is serving a purpose and providing flexibility as your network grows in the future. Don’t get pigeonholed in to a single-vendor solution when the costs outweigh the benefits, and don’t miss opportunities to standardize on platforms that can increase effectiveness of management and security.


[ Common errors like mismatched masks and duplicate IPs can spell disaster on a network. Find out the top mistakes to avoid in "The 10 Deadliest Networking Mistakes."]


6. Layer 1 Is King


Your sleek new infrastructure of VLANs and virtual devices is complete trash if the foundation of your network is faulty. Layer 1 is king, and disruptions in Layer 1 still contribute to a huge volume of detrimental network outages. As network capabilities develop and grow, Layer 1 requirements will evolve and remain the most critical consideration.


7. Simple Always Wins


Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Labs and test environments are the place to play and think outside the box with your configurations. In an enterprise production environment, you’re best served following the K.I.S.S. model, and keeping your network as simple as it can be while maintaining the required connectivity and security.


8. Power Is Important


To say we’ve been spoiled in recent decades with our power sources seems strange, but it’s true. As power demands increase with newer technology, availability and consistency of power is more critical than ever. The addition of virtualized machines and software-based appliances that are more sensitive to power issues compounds the problem. Oftentimes, power issues can cause widespread network disruptions without ever triggering an alert. Clean, conditioned, consistent power used to be a luxury, but is now a necessity in the network.


9. Embrace Documentation


You may have flashbacks of writing book reports in high school, but maintaining documentation on your network is the easiest way to ensure you’re following best practices, tracking changes and creating the means to troubleshoot effectively. As we layer on more technology and applications, documentation will increase in significance. Embrace it, live it, love it, do it. Twenty minutes of documentation now, even if you feel you don’t have 20 minutes to spare, may save you 20 hours down the road.


Jennifer Jabbusch




5 Things to Consider When Building a Network



Connectivity & Security - How will you allow devices to connect to the network? Will you allow only computers or will you allow mobile & remote connectivity?

Redundancy - Will you have backup devices in-case a part or all the network goes down. Is the data being duplicated off site?

Standardization - Are you going to pick equipment based on price or functionality. Will you use all of the same brand or mix it up?

Disaster Revovery - Do you have a detailed plan for rebuilding your network in the event of a major outage or catastrophe?

Growth - Are you only building for now or are taking into account growth and cost of that growth? Buying slightly bigger equipment to allow for growth will save thousands in the long run.



There are many governing bodies that have requirements in regards to security of information.


The Health Information Portability & Accountability Act is the governing body to secure medical records and other information. This data has requirements in encryption, redundancy and backups.


PCI DSS(Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is used to govern how credit cards are processed and stored.


These compliancy agencies have strict guidelines and can impose fines in the event that security is breached. To find out if you are in compliance contact us to do a site survey and inquiry.



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