As a business owner, there comes a day when you must change your company’s network design. However, you should be ready to meet the commensurate cost in terms of time and money. It is for these reasons that most network managers tend to wait until they are forced to redesign their networks.
To change your network structure, you have to overhaul the logical and physical equipment & configurations. You also have to think about changing your management metrics and procedures. In the end, you might have to redeploy the technical staff.
So, how often should you change your company’s network design?
Adoption of the Latest Standards
Like everything else, network structures need to conform to certain standards. If you are installing new equipment and software, you need to have an up to the standard environment. You don’t want to end up with an inefficient, breakable, and unmanageable network. That’s why it is necessary to implement a star-based network structure free of non-manageable switches. Every stack should have a limited number of switches. So should the number of devices in each subnet. You should replace UTP cabling with fiber if your home to conform to the latest standards.
Increasing Efficiency of the Network Structure
Mostly, unchecked network expansions over time may result in all sorts of inefficiencies. That’s especially is the expansion did not take into account the needs of the organization in relation to the network structure. You might have increased the network bandwidth but failed to address certain fundamental issues. For example, if a network has a lot of firewalls, the performance will be compromised. Perhaps the network also features unmanaged switches limiting the ability to monitor and manage the network. Also, network security might have holes that are hard to notice.
Introducing New Technologies
With the advancement in technology, networks have moved from 100MB bandwidths to 1GB or 10GB. However, these high bandwidth applications require specialized switching and routing equipment. Otherwise, the high speeds will lack the support they require. For instance, you may have to change the cables from UTP to high-speed fiber to support the high-speed network.
If you are installing a VoIP system, you will require CAT5e cabling or higher. So there is the need to change the cabling once the system shifts. Also, VLAN is necessary for VoIP. To properly implement this, you might have to reconfigure the network switches. It may also be necessary to get rid of NAT to stop it from blocking video conferencing.
Falling Short of IPv4 Addresses
As your business grows, expansion in the network may cause a shortage in IPv4 addresses. This is especially if you choose a WiFi network in the office setting. You may want to try out several solutions. To ensure that addresses are being released frequently, you have to reduce the lease time of the DHCP device. When combined with regular address scavenging, this strategy is effective. By checking the entire network design, you might discover a number of subnets with extra address space. You can then reallocate accordingly. If IPv4 is the issue, consider switching to IPv6. Only that IPv6 addressing may not be supported by existing software.
Change of Business Use
One of the biggest reasons that might necessitate a change in network design is a change in the way the business operates. This change could be in the form of adding a new building to the network. Or the organization might have decided to repurpose old business premises. In essence, any form of scaling up will definitely necessitate network redesign. That’s especially if the current network design has no capacity to handle the changes. If the change is substantial, the network must just be redesigned.
Planning Business Continuity
If you have an online business, you cannot afford to have a disruption in the network. Therefore, every business needs a continuity plan to ensure minimal disruptions in-network services. Under no circumstances should the network fail. The best strategy is to introduce hot-standby sites and network backup. This will not be possible without commensurate network redesign.
It is necessary to review your network regularly or continuously at the very best. As a network manager, you ought to use network metrics to identify possible trouble spots. That might include areas where the network might be congested. You may also rely on feedback from the user to identify potential problems with the network.
If you use planning are a prediction, you will never go wrong. So, plan network changes in the future, factoring in new usage, and other possible changes. Depending on how you want the network to perform in the future, you can then go ahead and make necessary changes.
Do you really need to redesign your network? Hubtech is here to help you. We specialize in a wide range of networking services — from structured cabling to mast and tower solutions to wireless networks and much more. With a properly designed and maintained network, your business will always perform at its peak. Contact us today and take your business to the next level!