How to design a computer network
I assume that you have bumped into this article during one of you numerous journeys in the internet in search of information and in the hopes of educating yourself – essentially feeding your brain. I assume that you know little or nothing about networks – except basic facts that are in the ‘know how’ of every computer or internet user.
And I assume that you can understand English fairly well (if you can’t, kindly use any online translation tools such as Yahoo Babelfish or Google Translation to convert this text into a more comfortable language – since facts are after all, universal)
Before we go about designing a network, we need to know what exactly a network is. We need to get several facts and descriptions clear – because you cant design a hat unless you’ve seen or worn one – except hats cant communicate with each other!
A computer network is a group of computers that are connected to each other for the purpose of communication, sharing of information, management and resource utilization. Examples range from your home network to a school network to an organization’s network – and even to the internet – which is by far, the largest network on this planet! Therefore, a computer network is simple a ‘team of computers that can co-ordinate with each other’ (and are more efficient and punctual than those made up of biological beings!)
After understanding what exactly a ‘computer network’ is and as part of the design process, you need to answer the following questions:
1. Why do you need a network? For what purpose do you need? – describe why you need a network. This will help you in deciding required functions and relevant hardware or software
2. Is it for an organization, a school or for personal use? – Corporate networks, school networks and home networks differ in size and capability. This will help you in short listing required functions as well as security issues.
3. What functions will you include? – describe specific functions such as file sharing, printing, communication that should be a part of your network. This will help you in deciding what hardware and software components your require.
4. Will it be public or private? Will it have remote access or not? What size will it be? – Describe who will have access, whether this access will be limited, will access be restricted to in organization computers or will remote access be allowed. This will assist you in defining what security parameters you require
5. What budget do you have? This will assist you in determing what type of hardware you can get and allow you to streamline your computer network. Using Open Source software is recommended in case proprietary software is required.
6. How many computers will be in this network? This will help you with determining hardware that is required. Additionally, you will be able to determine if more hardware is required or not.
This will then help you design a comprehensive computer network. Based on this ‘design’ you can then build the infrastructure. The infrastructure for a LAN (Local Area Network) is mentioned below.
The Requirements for a LAN
After the above procedure, you then have these are the requirements in terms of the network infrastructure: –
1. Wired – Coaxial Cables are recommended. This option is recommended since it is less costly and more secure. However it is more difficult to configure and less flexible.
2. Wireless – This option is not recommended due to the poor security of such networks. However, if you have the necessary skills and funds to set it up – you can do so. Additionally, you can ‘hard wire’ your wireless network for additional security. –
1. Coaxial Cables (for wired) – several metres depending on the size of your network
2. Network Cards
4. Connectors –
Software – you do not require any software since in almost all Windows OS’s the software is inbuilt. All you have to do is manually configure each of the computers