Computer Network Designing

by Adrian Griffiths

Computer network designing takes into account different aspects and topics. An ideal computer network design will be based on the layout, capacity planning, and security plans.

Computer network design requires a good understanding of the topologies such as a bus, ring, star, so on. Designing a network has to follow certain rules. The set of rules governing the setup of a network is called its topology. Ethernet, today, is the most popular topology in use. It consists of computers and peripherals cabled together in specific ways. Ethernet is relatively cheaper, easy to set up and use, and faster. There are two types of Ethernet – Standard and Fast Ethernet.

To talk of the cables, you can use the twisted-pair (also known as 10BaseT) or the thin coax (also known as 10Base2) for your network cable. The choice, however, will depend on the type of network you’re setting. You can use both the types together. Twisted pair cabling is cheaper, flexible, and ideal for cabling short distances. You can use thin coax for larger networks.

A network interface card (NIC) connects the network computer to the network cabling. While some NICs are installed inside the computer others may need PCI slots. A network adapter is needed when the network is supposed to support very high speed data transfer.

The final piece you need to get through the network design is a hub. It is used to gather groups of PCs together at a central location. The type of your network and data transfer support required will again decide the type of hub the network requires.

Understanding the roles of these bits of hardware and the nature of network to be built takes you a long way in deigning the ideal computer network.

Understanding the implementation of network protocol and services design also contributes to a good computer network design. You can use other area networks besides LANs and WANs. A good knowledge about the different forms of area networks and their roles in network designing throws up better ideas for the framework.

However, the two significant elements influencing network designing are the bandwidth and latency supported by a network.

Bandwidth in computer networking means the rate at which data can travel through a network connection or interface. It is usually expressed in bytes per second (bps). Bandwidth, however, is just one element that dictates the speed of a network. Latency, the other important element of speed refers to the delays in processing different types of network data. Usually, tools such as ping and trace-route assess latency by determining the time taken by a network packet to travel from source to destination and back.

Once you have planned the budget and the various factors influencing a network design, you can think about the various template designs. You can think of a symmetric computer network, where all devices can transmit and receive data at equal rates, or an asymmetric one which can supports different proportion of data or bandwidth in different direction.

Adrian Griffiths, write article and provide consultancy to Viper Systems

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