Advanced Medicos Limited (AML) is using an old and outdated network design for its organization. It realized the need to redesign its existing network that can modernise its network design to provide better accessibility, scalability, reliability and lesser complexity to meet its business goals. Therefore, a network design, based on combination of star and bus topology has been proposed for AML. The network will use a combination of LAN and WAN to establish direct communication with higher data exchange rate between headquarter and the branch office. So, the choice and implementation of network design is also based upon the needs of future requirement and expansion and the proposed network design is projected to fulfil its intended goals.
Advance Medicos Limited (AML) is a medicinal organization dealing with the manufacturing and sells of healthcare coverage products such as digital healthcare devices (hardware). The organization is planning to take a big leap into its core business domain by entering into a completely new market. It will offer web-based health services to those people who cannot afford their hardware products. Clearly, it targets a bigger market portion and also has immense potential; tough challenges are also relatively higher. There, AML needs to restructure; or in other way, improve its existing infrastructure and capabilities to meet is intended goals. Additionally, the new solution should also enable them with their expansion and business vision for upcoming five years. Therefore, AML signed a contract with me to reframe and develop their horizons with latest technological advancements using such a framework that suits with their current stack and also cater need in upcoming five years while leaving space for further improvements.
1.2. Existing hardware infrastructure
Thus, from the table; it is evident that the organization do not have any direct communication between both blocks of the headquarter and a single web interface is used for associating both the buildings. Additionally, it also lacks direct communication between remote offices and headquarter
1.3. Requirement analysis
Table 2: Requirement analysis; Source: Self (2020)
The proposed network design will facilitate different levels of access to different community groups. So, software development, marketing, production, accounts and finance and admin department will have different levels of access within the network. It can be achieved by accessing by the admin while creating user communities and tabs. Also, different access level will ensure enhanced security features for the organization.
Recently, this organization has started a new office in a remote location; which is nearly 100 KM away from its headquarter. Therefore, a high speed WAN connectivity is also required to facilitated direct communication and video conferencing serviced within HQ and branch office. Here, few sites need to be blocked on these network; as it might create damage to the system, data et cetera.
It will require several new components in the form of hardware and bandwidth. Moreover, the organization is also considering to enable work from home feature for software development team. For this, AML will have to get 80 new laptops/MacBook for SD team. Accordingly, the network needs to be made secured so that unauthorised access can be prevented.
Speed of network: >100 Mbps
Redundant DHCPv4 server needs to be implemented
Should be capable to support video and voice conferences
Primary as well as backup link needs to be provided for redundancy.
Primary link should be able to provide minimum of T3/E3 bandwidth.
Routing can be configured to enable simultaneous use of bandwidths from both of backup and primary links.
Network architecture provides a complete framework and specification of all the physical components, functionalities, operating principle, configuration, procedures and communication protocols (Gupta and Jha 2015). In other way, it determines the overall design of this network and are essentially needed while framing network designs. So, before making any choice on any particular network architecture, all the major requirements need to be analysed. Here are some major deliverables of network architecture:
Combination of WAN and LAN
Firewalls and security features
Hardware as well as software based solution
Therefore, OSI will be the desired network architecture for AML; and It will be established in below sections. A brief description of OSI architecture has been done in below sections.
2.1. OSI model for architecture
Open system interconnects (OSI) is a 7-layered model as shown in figure 1. Each layer of this model has some specific functionalities aligned with devices and protocols needed to perform any specific function (Nath and Uddin 2015). However, all these layers as a whole work collaboratively to process and transmit data anywhere across the globe. For this purpose, layered approach involving hierarchical procedure for addressing communication requirements is utilised in this architectural model. Therefore, it will enable AML to manufacture and design specific hardware as well as applications without affecting network protocol stacks.
Figure 1: OSI model; Source: https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/layers-of-osi-model/
2.2. Advantages of “OSI model”
Selection of this particular network architecture will serve the following advantages to the organization (AML):
Wide range of choices: Large number of hardware and software can work together and thus, fits with all the compatibility requirement.
Lesser reliability on specific OS: Each layer operates individually. Therefore, errors can be conveniently managed at each level.
Interpretation of functionality: Different layers/stages are used for functionality. Additionally, it makes a distinct separation between interfaces, protocols and services. Therefore, higher flexibility is ensured (Soni et al. 2017). Additionally, protocols can be easily replaced in a very convenient manner as per changing network requirements. Thus, leaving scope for future expansion.
Data encryption: Data encryption as well as decryption services make this model more secured.
Easy to add and manage multiple network models: This model is framed in such a way that newer protocols as well as layered architectures can be added into the existing layers.
2.3. Network topology
Network topology is a form of schematic description which defines overall network arrangement in which various nodes are connected (Jiang 2015). The type of topology selected, has a crucial role in determining the performance of overall network. Therefore, before making any choice, a brief description of several network topologies are as follows:
Figure 2: Mesh topology; Source: http://armsitgs.wikifoundry.com/page/Mesh+Topology
Mesh Topology: All the nodes and devices; as shown in figure 2 are in direction connection with each other. However, such topologies generally offer lesser flexibilities. Also, nodes are directly connected; therefore, bulk wiring is involved consequently, its configuration and installation is much difficult (Bisht and Singh 2015). These things make it a costly choice for getting used by any small any medium size organization.
Figure 3: Star topology; Source: https://computernetworkingsimplified.wordpress.com/tag/star-topology/
Star topology: Star topology, as shown in figure 3, has all the nodes, devices and systems are connected with a single central hub using cables. These hubs can be of active or passive nature; which will depend upon the circumstances (Vançin and Erdem 2015). Additionally, the central hub is itself a kind of computer which is faster and self-contained and is mainly responsible for routing traffic to nodes.
Figure 4: Ring topology; Source: https://www.thenationaltv.com/Tech/ring-topology
Ring topology: In ring topologies, each node or device is connected with its two other neighbouring nodes. Connecting all the nodes in this fashion creates a ring (figure 4); and is the reason behind the naming of this topology. However, Tosun et al. (2015) stated that a major concern with this topology is related to system failure. Therefore, if any system fails, the complete system will get affected. Therefore, this topology can never be a choice for network design of AML.
Figure 5: Bus topology; Source: http://www.itrelease.com/2019/06/what-is-bus-topology-with-example/
Therefore, from the above discussion, Star topology; with a combination of bus seems to be the best choice for AML. With this particular topology, AML will be able to create a private data backup into its hub. So, even if any system/workstation gets failed, these data and processes can still be accessed and managed using the nest node. Apart from these, using star topology into network design will also sever some of the following crucial advantages to this organization.
Figure 6: Flexible network design; Source: Self (2020)
Additionally, as shown in above figure 6, flexibility of the network can further be improved by introducing a core module. It will optimize effective modularity to support any future expansion requirement.
2.4. Hardware and software requirements
Some of the fundamental hardware and software requirements needed by AML need to make its network more scalable, available and reliable without comprising security issues are as follows:
Internet protocol (IP) is a unique identifier which is used to locate and identify devices connected with the network (Joanny et al. 2015). The authors further discussed that implementing IP based network design will serve multiple functions. The very first function is subjected to security. IP will be used as an interface identification within the network. Additionally, it will act as the digital address of connected device and its user. Therefore, only the assigned person or authority will be able to access those systems and data. AML has been allocated with IP: 172.16.139.0/21. Therefore, in below sections, a detailed description on address allocation, subnet mask, broadcast address, default gateway et cetera has been mentioned and discussed below.
3.1. IP address requirement for subnet
Address: 172.16.139.0 10101100.00010000.10001 011.00000000
Netmask: 255.255.248.0 = 21 11111111.11111111.11111 000.00000000
Wildcard: 0.0.7.255 00000000.00000000.00000 111.11111111
Network: 172.16.136.0/21 10101100.00010000.10001 000.00000000 (Class B)
Broadcast: 172.16.143.255 10101100.00010000.10001 111.11111111
HostMin: 172.16.136.1 10101100.00010000.10001 000.00000001
HostMax: 172.16.143.254 10101100.00010000.10001 111.11111110
Hosts/Net: 2046 (Private Internet)
3.2. IP address allocation
Table 1: IP details; Source: Self (2020)
3.3. IP allocation for network devices
Based on the IP allocated to AML, all the network address, usable host range and broadcast address have been calculated and mentioned in table 2. Therefore, all the network devices and components can be manually configured to use any of the static or dynamic address
Network diagram is an effective way to represent all the components and infrastructure used in developing the network design. These diagrams are essentially beneficial to troubleshoot, reduce downtime, planning for capacity, avoiding clutter, maintaining system and keeping the network compliant and secured (Parkkinen et al. 2017). Therefore, network diagrams are significant useful while planning or developing any network model. To enhance its existing advantages further, it has been categorised into two types, namely; logical diagram and physical diagram. A brief discussion on both types is done in the below sections.
4.1. Logical network diagram
Logical network diagrams describe the way, data will be exchanged and flow through the network. Thus, it contains subnet (VLAN, mask, addresses) and other devices including firewalls, routers et cetera. The logical network diagram for implementing proposed network within the headquarter buildings and branch office is as follows.
Figure 7: logical diagram of complete network; Source: Self (2020)
Figure 8: Logical network diagram between HQ and branch office; Source: Self (2020)
4.2. Physical network diagram
These diagrams are the representation of the physical topology used in the network architecture and the way, all other physical devices are connected with the network. The projected physical network diagram of the network is as follows.
Figure 9: Physical diagram of network; Source: Self (2020)
Figure 10: Physical diagram of devices within department; Source: Self (2020)
Currently, AML has around 150 active employees and this number is projected to cross 400 in upcoming five years. Therefore, to meet future requirements, this report has analysed network topology, architecture, hardware and software requirements et cetera. A network design, based on combination of star and bus topology has been proposed for AML. The network will use a combination of LAN and WAN to establish direct communication with higher data exchange rate between headquarter and the branch office. So, the choice and implementation of network design is also based upon the needs of future requirement and expansion and the proposed network design is projected to fulfil its intended goals.
Bisht, N. and Singh, S., 2015. Analytical study of different network topologies. International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET), 2(01), pp.88-90.
Gupta, A. and Jha, R.K., 2015. A survey of 5G network: Architecture and emerging technologies. IEEE access, 3, pp.1206-1232.
Jiang, R., 2015, November. A review of Network Topology. In 4th International Conference on Computer, Mechatronics, Control and Electronic Engineering. Atlantis Press.
Joanny, P.M., Verizon Patent and Licensing Inc, 2015. Server IP addressing in a computing-on-demand system. U.S. Patent 9,152,293.
Kraus, D., Leitgeb, E., Plank, T. and Löschnigg, M., 2016, July. Replacement of the controller area network (CAN) protocol for future automotive bus system solutions by substitution via optical networks. In 2016 18th International Conference on Transparent Optical Networks (ICTON) (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
Nath, P.B. and Uddin, M.M., 2015. TCP-IP Model in Data Communication and Networking. American Journal of Engineering Research, 4(10), pp.102-107.
Parkkinen, J., Hyvarinen, M.A., Kaarela, K., Koistinen, K. and Kauniskangas, H., Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL, 2017. System, method, apparatus, and computer program product for providing a social network diagram in a P2P network device. U.S. Patent 9,537,943.
Soni, A., Upadhyay, R. and Jain, A., 2017. Internet of Things and wireless physical layer security: A survey. In Computer Communication, Networking and Internet Security (pp. 115-123). Springer, Singapore.
Tosun, S., Ajabshir, V.B., Mercanoglu, O. and Ozturk, O., 2015. Fault-tolerant topology generation method for application-specific network-on-chips. IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, 34(9), pp.1495-1508.
Vançin, S. and Erdem, E., 2015. Design and simulation of wireless sensor network topologies using the ZigBee standard. International Journal of Computer Networks and Applications (IJCNA), 2(3), pp.135-143.
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