Determining Client And Networking Requirements


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Determining Client And Networking Requirements

  1. 1. Networking Fundamentals<br />Determining Client and Network Requirements<br />
  2. 2. Determining Client and Network Requirements<br />Introduction<br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />Before you begin designing a network you need to have a clear sense of the client’s expectations.<br />Too often in the past, technology has been purchased or developed without a clear idea of why it is needed.<br />The aim is to find a solution that fits the requirements, not a requirement that fits the technology.<br />
  4. 4. Determining Client and Network Requirements<br />Identifying Organisational Requirements<br />
  5. 5. Identifying Organisational Requirements<br />A prerequisite to good network design is to discuss the client’s networking needs, as this will enable you to analyse the various issues the network needs to address.<br />To do this you will need to arrange several meetings with the client.<br />Initially these meetings will probably focus on fairly broad managerial type issues, but as you obtain more and more information about the client’s needs you can then arrange meetings to discuss specific issues.<br />
  6. 6. Defining Business Objectives<br />You should start the analysis process by asking the client some questions about the desired functionality of the network, such as:<br />What tasks would the client like to automate or make more efficient?<br />What business applications does the client need to support?<br />Does the client simply want to have shared access to word processing files, or do they have multi-user databases to support?<br />Does the client require electronic mail and Internet, perhaps even a web server?<br />Is the client planning to incorporate EFTPOS operations into the network? <br />What is the estimated size of the network; how many users will the network service?<br />How important is network security?<br />Does the client have an existing network, and what is its function?<br />
  7. 7. Defining Business Objectives<br />Once you have considered all the business tasks and functions the client requires, write them down and assign priorities to each item – this is the beginning of your network plan.<br />As you create the plan, consider which parts you can do now and which can be addressed later, taking care of critical business functions first. <br />
  8. 8. Defining Business Objectives<br />The following points address some of the issues that should be included in the network plan: <br />
  9. 9. Defining Business Objectives<br />Sizing the Network<br />It is important to have a clear idea of the network’s expected size, taking in to consideration the number of users and the level of use.<br />Plan for future growth by building in extra capacity from the beginning.<br />Consider what capacity the client may need in two or three years and how an increase in the number of users will affect data storage needs.<br />A good network should be designed to grow easily with the careful addition of existing technology. <br />
  10. 10. Defining Business Objectives<br />Following a Standards Approach<br />It is important that you plan and build the network using standard industry-proven components.<br />As business relationships change, the network may need to interconnect with others.<br />It is therefore wise to design a network that is not likely to pose compatibility problems.<br />If you are designing a network for an independent branch of a larger organisations, obtain copies of current network operations and use these as your standard. <br />
  11. 11. Defining Business Objectives<br />Connectivity<br />What types of external connections will the network need?<br />Is Internet access necessary?<br />If so, will a dial-up connection suffice, or will you need a fill-time dedicated link? <br />Will the client require remote access for their staff?<br />One of the most challenging aspects of designing a network involves setting up links to external networks.<br />Not only are these the most technically complex tasks of implementing a network, but they also carry significant costs, that the client needs to be aware of from the very beginning.<br />
  12. 12. Defining Business Objectives<br />Connectivity<br />Many organisations maintain a ‘web presence’ via the development of an Internet home page, allowing them to showcase their goods and services to the general public.<br />However, there is much more to the Internet than simply creating a home page.<br />It is important to make the client aware of the various Internet services available as well as the technical issues surrounding the implementation of those services.<br />You need to make sure that the client is well informed about the potential security issues involved in connecting their network to the Web. <br />
  13. 13. Defining Business Objectives<br />Connectivity<br />The first question you should ask the client is what level of Internet access they require: do they want the use the Internet to promote their own business or to access information?<br />If the organisation simply wants to set up a home page to provide client information, then they may choose to contract an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a web designer to maintain their web presence, with little if any interruption to internal network services.<br />If the organisation decides that they would like their staff to have Internet access, to be able to send emails and browse the web, then the task becomes more difficult, and more costly. <br />
  14. 14. Defining Business Objectives<br />Security<br />While the network operating system is responsible for maintain the overall security of the network, especially in terms of user access and authentication, the type of network hardware used can also have an impact on security. <br />
  15. 15. Defining Business Objectives<br />Security<br />Consider the following hardware-related security risks: <br />The nature of wireless networking means that a potential hacker does not need to have physical access to the network. <br />Establishing a permanent Internet connection via ADSL potentially makes the network accessible to anybody connected to the Web.<br />
  16. 16. Defining Business Objectives<br />Security<br />The risk may be minor, but it is important to make the client aware that a risk exists.<br />Of course there are also a number of hardware solutions that can be implemented to help minimize risk and improve security.<br />For example<br />Using intelligent routers with built-in firewalls which offer a higher level of security than those without<br />Using a switch or bridge to partition sensitive areas of a network from public access areas <br />
  17. 17. Defining Business Objectives<br />Security<br />The level of security required is going to depend on the type of information stored on a system.<br />For example, a video store is going to have limited security requirements whereas a legal firm is going to have significant security requirements. <br />
  18. 18. Defining Business Objectives<br />Interoperability<br />This refers to the hardware’s ability to communicate and interact with different hardware and operating systems.<br />When recommending new hardware you need to consider what type of hardware is already in use and make sure that the new component is compatible.<br />You should also consider what standards exist within the industry: if most other industries in this organisation use XYZ, and you advise the client to use ABC then you need to make sure that the two systems are compatible. <br />
  19. 19. Defining Business Objectives<br />Ease of Use<br />The hardware needs to be easy to use, especially for the end user. <br />In situations where the client requires ongoing administration access to the system, then the recommended hardware should come with an easy-to-use configuration interface, as well as good quality documentation.<br />
  20. 20. Defining Business Objectives<br />Software Compatability<br />You need to know what software the client intends to run, both now and in the near future. <br />Advising the client on a particular piece of hardware, only find that it does not support the client’s operating system or application software is embarrassing and can be extremely expensive. <br />
  21. 21. Defining Business Objectives<br />Warranty<br />Most manufacturers offer some level of warranty on their hardware, but these can vary greatly not only from manufacturer to manufacturer but also from item to item.<br />For example, some manufacturers have a ‘return to base warranty’ which means that if a hardware component fails, it needs to be couriered back to the manufacturer for inspection and repairs or replacement, and this can take several weeks. <br />
  22. 22. Defining Business Objectives<br />Cost<br />Most clients will tell you that the most important requirement they have is cost and they are right.<br />However what many people fail to realize is that the cheapest option is not always the best, and what the client really needs is not the cheapest but the best value for money.<br />As an IT professional advising a client on network hardware it is your responsibility to ensure that the hardware you recommend offers the best value for money possible.<br />
  23. 23. Defining Business Objectives<br />Existing Infrastructure<br />If a network already exists, then it is important to consider the existing infrastructure as it may limit what options are available.<br />In order to do this you will need to meet with other technical staff as well as gain access to any existing network documentation<br />
  24. 24. Defining Business Objectives<br />Existing Infrastructure<br />Some of the issues you will need to address include:<br />Can any of the existing hardware be reused?<br />Will the new hardware be compatible with the existing hardware?<br />Will the new hardware be compatible with the existing software? <br />What effect will the new hardware have on productivity?<br />Will the new hardware enable any new functions to be undertaken (for example, video conferencing)?<br />How many users will benefit from the installation of the new hardware?<br />How long will the new hardware take to install? <br />What sort of disruption to existing services is likely during the installation of the new hardware?<br />
  25. 25. Determining Client and Networking Requirements<br />Working with the Client<br />
  26. 26. Working with the Client<br />In order to ensure that the network design best suits the client’s needs, you will need to work closely with them over a number of days, weeks or even months.<br />This will require you to organise meetings with the client.<br />You will also need to meet with a number of different personnel within the client organisation, such as team managers, key employees, and with other maintenance support providers and managers.<br />
  27. 27. Working with the Client<br />It may not be necessary to meet with key employees as a group since mostly their team managers will represent them.<br />It may be more productive to conduct a number of informal interviews or meetings with individual employees and simply make notes of their business requirements.<br />You should make it clear that you value the contribution of these employees.<br />
  28. 28. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />Meetings and Interviews involve communication and collecting data, by asking questions and discussing various issues concerning the network requirements.<br />The objective is to obtain information that can be analysed in order to determine requirements.<br />
  29. 29. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />To do this successfully, a range of skills are required:<br />Speaking<br />Listening<br />Observing<br />Understanding<br />Questioning<br />Analysing<br />Note Taking<br />
  30. 30. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />Some helpful things to remember include:<br />Your speech should be clear and understandable: do not talk too quickly and avoid technical jargon.<br />Many clients just want a computer network that works, and are not concerned with all the technical detail.<br />They also want to know that they are dealing with professionals, so remember to be courteous and helpful.<br />
  31. 31. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />Some helpful things to remember include:<br />Develop good listening habits: concentrate on the speaker’s message and listen for the main ideas, concepts or principles.<br />One technique that can be used to improve listening skills is ‘active listening’.<br />This means listening to what the person is saying and mirroring what you believe has been said, by paraphrasing or summarising their words.<br />In this way, errors and misconceptions can be corrected<br />
  32. 32. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />Some helpful things to remember include:<br />Take notes, but do not write down everything word for word.<br />Listen and think before writing, then record the key words.<br />Notes help you recall information revealed during the interview.<br />
  33. 33. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />In between meetings, you should be talking to vendors of equipment and services relating to the network plan.<br />You should be very familiar with the costs, the services offered and the weaknesses of these vendors.<br />As you become familiar with these, you will be better positioned to understand and recommend an appropriate solution for the organisation.<br />
  34. 34. Conducting Meetings and Interviews<br />It is also useful to maintain good documentation throughout this process.<br />This documentation will form the basis of a report you can present to management to summarise and clarify your findings.<br />Management can then sign off on the report as a true and accurate description of the business needs.<br />