January 23rd, 2007, 12:33 AM
Upgrading our Network Equipment
So as the company I work for has been expanding we have been adding more and more switches for the computers, game consoles, phones and more. We need to make the upgrade to a total gigabit network (instead of the mix and match network equipment I have, including an old 24port hub), but since I am going to be adding new switches should I go for anything in paticular? Brand? Features? Type?
I have a network with over 50 computers, a number of servers, 50 of both the PS3/XBOX360 consoles, 50+ IP phones and over 50 employees. What would be a good way to configure this type of network or does it not really matter enough for a company of my size? Is there some sort of network segragation or design I should use?
If I left out some pertinent information let me know and thanks for any knowledge you wish to drop on me.
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January 23rd, 2007, 12:47 PM
Why do you need to upgrade to gigabit? Do you know what the current load is on your network? Find out if you can. Use things like MRTG or NetFlow to get an idea where your bottlenecks are. Talk to Cisco, invite them over.. Talk to Nortell, invite them too.. Invite a couple of the "brands" to look at your network and make suggestions. They're used to this sort of thing and can make a really nice plan for you. They will be asking questions about the load, so measure that first. An old carpenter's quote says: "Measure twice, cut once"
As for segregating I'd suggest using VLANs, seperate the workstations, servers, consoles and phones. Put them all in their own subnet (broadcast domain). It will benefit the performance, you can tweak the different parts according to it's use and it will make it easier to measure the load on different parts of your network. You'll need to keep an eye on that so you can easily spot potential future bottlenecks and make the necessary changes before they happen.
Last edited by SirDice; January 23rd, 2007 at 01:04 PM.
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January 23rd, 2007, 03:30 PM
SirDice has very nicely listed out the performance and management benefits of VLANs, but I would like to add the level of security management you can gain as well. Keeping workstations, servers, VoIP devices, and others (game consoles, etc.) in separate subnets can help minimize overall impact if something inside the network is compromised or infected. It's not a guarantee of protection, but if you have proper filtering between the segments of your network, you are likely to save a lot of headache, heartache, and productivity later when the next "Nimda" or "Slammer" comes along.
I say this because I think we will see an increase in attacks against platforms that are not running 'traditional' windows or *nix operating systems (IP connected game consoles, for example), and with the prevalence of these systems on your network, this could be a big deal. (My reasons for believing in this threat vector are diverse and I won't go into them here.)
So yes, let the vendors do the work for you. Don't sign anything yet.
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