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Thread: Designing a network for a fictional highschool.

  1. #1
    Hi mom!
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Designing a network for a fictional highschool.

    As part of my education, I'll be designing a network for a fictional high school in the next three months together with some of my classmates. The course hasn't started yet, but some of the material has already been made available. As a way to get started I'd like to ask you for hints and tips on what to keep in mind while designing this network.

    Because it's designed for a school, (and we try to be a bit realistic ) the network has to be run at extreme low cost, possibly with help of students to maintain it. Furthermore, at least 3 segments have been identified (read below). Brand of computers and OS is up to us.

    These items came to mind while reading the assignment. What are your thoughts on these:
    • What are the pro's and cons of running free/open-sourced software on both workstations and/or servers? Will the users adapt to non-Microsoft software? What's the security impact? Will there be a significant cost reduction, since most non-free software can be bought a reduced prices if used in a academic environment?
    • How can one reduce the risk of having students (help with) administrating the network. Apart from the obviously security issues, there might be a problem with students leaving all the time once they graduate, and there might be a problem with limited knowledge, or even limited volunteers (solution: paid student assistants?)...
    • The assignment doesn't say anything about backing stuff up, but I'd like to include it non-the-less. How does one set up a cheap but effective way to backup at least all critical data?

    I'm not asking you to do the assignment for me, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this assignment, tips and hints are much appreciated. I'd love to have some feedback from people running a network in a simillar environment as well - you might be having some practical guidelines that are overlooked or not included in the assignment.

    I included a more detailed version of the assignment below.

    The assignment includes designing a school network of computers of a brand and running an operating system of our choice. There are 48 workstations in total: 32 for students, 10 for the teachers, 2 for administration, one for the dean, one for the principal, and two to be used by the students for exam admission.

    The workstations must have an application suite that lets the user do everything that's in a ms-office suite: text-editing, spreadsheet-processing, designing presentations, web browsing, manage email and agenda. Furthermore, workstations must be able to run java-software and users must be able to draw.

    At least four servers have been identified: one common server for email, www and dns. One file-/application server for the students and one for the teachers. One server for administrative purposes (database applications and storage). We can add additional servers if needed (for network support like DHCP for example).

    We have free choice in choosing a WAN connection.

    As for the usage: most computers are occupied daily running local network applications

    As for security: Students are only allowed to have access to a student network. Teachers have access to both student and teacher networks. Administrative employees only have access to a administration network. Systemadministration has access to everything. The outside world only has access to the first mentioned server (email, www and dns).
    I wish to express my gratitude to the people of Italy. Thank you for inventing pizza.

  2. #2
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I did something like this for the Cisco academy.

    Look into the cisco threaded case study.

    There are plenty of examples available. I can give you access to what I did too... if you really want.

    If you want to go opensouce, then for a disaster recovery option... I'd check out mondo.

    I know a company who has just implemented that and they love it.

    Can't help you on the pros/cons of using open source...

    If you have any universities near you... look to a linux users group.

    You'll find quite a few college students who are willing to volunteer time to help admin the network.
    There is a LUG around me that does the same exact thing. A couple of the more active members are even paid.

    Have any idea what you're going to use for networking gear?
    I had to use all cisco gear... but it went together well. fiber for the backbone, cat5 for the drops from switches to workstations

    vlans and ACLs
    kept the students off the admin and teachers' subnets
    teachers had access to both students and teachers
    school admin personel also had their own subnet (grades and student records).
    network admins had access to all

    It was actually a fun project! I wouldnt mind doing it again.
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  3. #3
    Senior since the 3 dot era
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    You could take the direction of a network with a centralized firewall idea with VLAN's
                             internal servers
         Exam admission PC's    |     System Admin PC's
                            \   |     /
    student network -----    Firewall   ----- teachers network
                           /    |      \
                        WAN     |   Dean and Principal network
                               DMZ (www-servers,...)

  4. #4
    hey phish what academy did you attend.. And I ask becuase im starting on the 28th @ a place called J&T networking academy in southfield for my ccna?

  5. #5
    for your aplication suit open office is always good

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