Network Design Process – Effective Network Planning and Design



The network planning and design methodology describes a process with 9 specific steps and sequence for those activities. As mentioned it is an engineering life cycle that supports technical initiatives such as Windows migration, IP telephony and wireless design to name a few examples. The methodology begins with examining company business requirements. It is absolutely essential that you understand the company business model, business drivers and how they are growing from a business perspective. Who will build the foundation for the design proposal that serves the business, technical and operational requirements of the Company

Step 1 :. Business requirements

Any design project starts with an understanding of what the company does and what they need to accomplish from a business perspective. This starts with an understanding of their business model, which really describes how their company works from operational and business perspective to generate revenues and reduce costs. Many vendors today have conducted their own return on investment (ROI) studies for new type as Unified Communications and Telephony. It is an effective sales tool that shows the cost benefits compared with investment over a specified period

This is a list of some typical business drivers :.

• reduce operating costs

• Generate Revenue

• Customer Satisfaction

• Employee productivity

This is a list of some typical tasks business requirements

• budget constraints

• Office Consolidations

• mergers and acquisitions

• Business Partner Connections

• telecommuter Remote Access

• Implement new offices and employees

• New Data Center Applications

• reduce network outage costs

• Cost Effective Network Management

• Vendor Contracts

STEP 2: Design requirements

Now that you understand the basic business requirements of the company, you can determine the standard and specific design requirements. The design requirements process is focused on defining requirements from a technical perspective. These requirements and companies will build the framework that is used to define infrastructure, security and management. Design requirements are defined as standard and miscellaneous. The standard design requirements are generic and are considered by many design projects. Several conditions are those that are not defined by any standard requirements.

• Standard Design Requirements

• Performance

• Availability

• flexibility

• Standards Compatibility

• Rapid Deployment

STEP 3: network assessment

A network assessment is conducted after we have finished the business and design requirements of the company. A network assessment provides a quick snapshot of the current network of observation infrastructure, performance, availability, management and security. This information is used to make effective policy recommendations and design proposals to the client for certain information system changes. Mat network model has 3 sequential activities, which are assessment, analysis and recommendations. The current network is examined five primary surveys: infrastructure, performance, availability, management and security. Once the surveys are completed, the information collected is then reviewed for trends, problems and issues that are negatively affecting the network


After doing a network assessment we are ready to start selecting specific infrastructure elements for the network design. This phase starts building the infrastructure with a specific sequence that promotes effective equipment selection and design. It is important that you consider business requirements, design requirements and network assessment when building your infrastructure.

The following numbered list describes the specific aspects of infrastructure and special order.

1. Enterprise WAN Topology

2. Campus Topology

3. Traffic Model

4. Equipment Selection

5. Circuits

6. Routing Protocol Design

7. Address

8. naming conventions

9. iOS Services

10. Domain Name Services

11. DHCP Services

STEP 5: Security

We must now define a security policy to ensure the infrastructure. The need for enterprise network security should not be ignored with the proliferation of the Internet. Companies are continuing to take advantage of public infrastructure for connecting national and international offices, business partners and new acquisition company. Safety requirements and network assessment recommendations driving range of safety equipment, protocols and processes. It identifies what assets must be protected, what users are allowed access and how those assets will be secured

STEP 6 :. NETWORK management strategy

This section will define a network management strategy for managing all equipment defined from infrastructure and security. It is necessary to define how the equipment is going to be monitored and determine if the current management strategy is adequate or if new applications, equipment, protocols and processes must be identified. Management components are then integrated with infrastructure and security to finish building the proposed design. These primary elements comprise any well-defined management strategy and should be considered when developing the technology.

• 7 Management Groups

• SNMP Applications

• Monitoring Device and events

STEP 7: proof of concept

All infrastructure, security and management components must now be tested with a proof of concept plan. It is important to test the current design, configuration and IOS versions in a non-production environment or on the production network with limited disruption. Implementation of new network elements on the way, for example, may require that you change the current IOS version that is implemented. Make the changes may affect WAN or campus modules already installed at production routers. That is the real value of doing a proof of concept and confirms that the new equipment and IOS versions integrate with each device as well as the network. The following list describes the advantages of doing a proof of concept with your network design. The proof of concept test results should be viewed and used to modify current infrastructure, security and management information before forming a design proposal. The proof of concept model suggested here involves prototype design, equipment requirements, defining tests, building equipment scripts and view results.

1. Prototype Design

2. Provision Equipment

3. Define Test

4. Build Equipment Scripts

5. Review Test Results


With proof of concept completed, you are now ready to build a design proposal for the design review meeting. Intended audience could be the Director, CIO, CTO, Senior Network Engineer, Consultant or someone approved budget for the project. It is important to present your ideas clearly and professionally. If a presentation is required, Power Point slides work well and could be used to support concepts from the design proposal document. Emphasis is placed on it usually consists of the design proposal and the sequence for the information.

The working design proposal is presented to the client after addressing any concerns from proof of concept assurance testing. The design review is an opportunity for you to present a proposal for the design to the client and discuss any issues. It is an opportunity for the client to identify concerns they have and the design engineer to explain. The focus is to negotiate any changes, if necessary, and make changes to the infrastructure, security and management for the implementation begins. Business and design requirements can change from project started which sometimes will necessitate changes to infrastructure, security and management of information. Any changes should then go through proof of concept testing again before final changes to the design proposal


The final step will be to define database implementation process for the specified design. This describes a suggested implementation methodology proposed design, which should have minimal disruption to the production network. As it should be efficient and cost effective as possible. As with previous methods it is a series that should be utilized as well. When the project is completed, it is monitoring network for any problems. Design and configuration changes are then made to respond to problems or concerns.

Copyright 2006 Shaun Hummel All Rights Reserved