Introduction to Network Design and Analysis​

Introduction to Network Design and Analysis​

Network design and analysis are integral to the modern digital landscape, underpinning the connectivity and communication that drive our interconnected world. In an era where data flows seamlessly between devices, where the reliability and security of networks are paramount, understanding the intricacies of network design and analysis is not merely an option but a necessity. This discipline forms the backbone of our daily digital experiences, from sending an email and streaming content to conducting business, making informed decisions, and ensuring global connectivity. To embark on a journey into network design and analysis is to delve into the architecture of our digital society, shaping how we exchange information, safeguard our data, and harness the power of a connected world.

Course Overview

We will cover the following in this course.

  • Fundamental Networking Concepts​
  • Network Design Methodologies​
  • Network Architecture​
  • IP Addressing and Subnetting​
  • Routing and Switching​
  • Network Security​
  • Performance Analysis and Optimization​
  • Hands-on Labs (Packet Tracer, Wireshark)​
  • Case Studies​
  • Troubleshooting​

What is a Network?​

A network is a collection of interconnected devices, such as computers, servers, routers, switches, and more, that are linked together to enable communication, data sharing, and resource sharing among them​

Characteristics of a Network

Network characteristics are the fundamental building blocks that define the behaviour and functionality of computer networks. The following are some of the characteristics of computer networks;

Interconnectivity: Interconnectivity in a network refers to the ability of devices to link and communicate, enabling data and information exchange across various hardware and software components.

Communication: Communication is the core function of a network, allowing devices to send, receive, and exchange data, messages, or commands, facilitating real-time or asynchronous interactions.

Resource Sharing: Networked devices can share resources like printers, files, and internet connections, promoting efficient utilization and collaboration among users.

Scalability: Scalability enables a network to grow and adapt to increased demands by adding more devices or expanding its infrastructure to accommodate a growing number of users or data traffic.

Data Transmission: Data transmission within a network involves the movement of information in different forms, such as text, audio, video, or files, using various communication media and technologies.

Protocols: Protocols are standardized rules and conventions that govern data transmission, addressing, error handling, and more, ensuring devices can interpret and exchange data accurately and efficiently.

Traditional Computer Networks

In the realm of computer networks, traditional networks have long been the backbone of data connectivity. These networks serve as the foundation for communication and data exchange within local environments such as homes and offices.

  • Enterprise WAN​
  • Internet

Using the network by accident and by purpose

Using the network can happen either by accident or by purpose, depending on the intentions and actions of the user. Let’s explore these two scenarios:

Using the network by accident occurs when an individual unintentionally connects to a network or initiates an action without prior planning or awareness.

Using the network by purpose, on the other hand, involves deliberate actions and intentions. Users actively seek out network resources and services for specific reasons

Well-known Network Applications

Well-known network applications, like email, social media, and video conferencing tools, are the digital tools that define our modern interactions. They bridge geographical gaps, facilitating communication, information access, and collaborative work across the globe. Understanding these applications is akin to navigating the bustling avenues of the digital age, where each serves a unique purpose in our interconnected society.

Web Browsers: Web browsers are software applications that allow users to access and navigate websites, making the internet and its resources accessible.

Email: Email, or electronic mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages and documents over the Internet, facilitating communication and information sharing.

Instant Messaging and Chat: Instant messaging and chat applications enable real-time text-based communication between users, often used for casual and business conversations.

File Transfer Protocols: File transfer protocols like FTP and SFTP provide a structured means of transferring files over networks, ensuring data integrity and security.

Remote Desktop Applications: Remote desktop applications allow users to access and control a computer or server from a remote location, facilitating remote administration and support.

Video Conferencing: Video conferencing tools enable real-time audio and video communication, connecting users in different locations for meetings and collaboration.

Voice over IP (VoIP): VoIP technology enables voice communication over the internet, allowing users to make phone calls using IP networks.

Network Monitoring Tools: Network monitoring tools are software or hardware solutions used to observe network performance, detect issues, and ensure optimal operation.

Network Security Tools: Network security tools encompass a range of applications and systems that protect networks and data from threats and unauthorized access.

Web Servers: Web servers are software applications or hardware devices that host websites and serve web content to users’ web browsers.

Database Servers: Database servers are dedicated systems that manage and store databases, providing efficient data storage and retrieval for applications.

DNS Servers: DNS (Domain Name System) servers translate human-readable domain names into IP addresses, ensuring proper web resource resolution.

Network File Sharing: Network file sharing allows users to share files and resources across a network, enhancing collaboration and data access.

Building a Network: Starts with a Plan

Building a network begins with a plan. Planning is a fundamental step in the network design and implementation process. A well-thought-out plan ensures that the network meets the specific needs and requirements of your organization while also considering factors like scalability, security, and efficiency.​

The following is a flow of planing a network.

  • Define Objectives and Requirements​
  • Budget and Resources​
  • Network Topology Design​
  • IP Addressing and Subnetting​
  • Hardware and Software Selection​
  • Security Measures​
  • Scalability and Future Growth​
  • Network Policies and Procedures​
  • Disaster Recovery and Backup​
  • Testing and Validation​
  • Documentation​
  • Training and Education​
  • Implementation​
  • Ongoing Monitoring and Maintenance​

Examples of Good Rules for Networking​

Creating and enforcing good rules for networking is essential for maintaining a secure, efficient, and well-managed network environment. These rules help ensure that network resources are used appropriately and that security measures are in place to protect against threats.​

 Proprietary and Public Models​

In the dynamic landscape of network design and analysis, two prominent models, proprietary and public, define the framework and principles by which networks operate.

Proprietary Network Model

Proprietary Network Model: In a proprietary network model, organizations rely on network components, hardware, and software that are developed and sold by a specific vendor or manufacturer. These components are often designed to work seamlessly together within a closed ecosystem.​​

Public Network Model

Public Network Model: The public network model, also known as the open or best-of-breed model, takes an agnostic approach to network components. Organizations select hardware and software solutions from multiple vendors, aiming to choose the best-of-breed for each specific network function or need.​​

Two-Well Known Networking Models

Two renowned networking models, OSI and TCP/IP, are the foundational blueprints for modern computer networks. They guide data transmission, addressing, and communication standards across networked systems. Understanding these models is essential for comprehending network design, shaping how data flows across local and global networks.

OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) Model of the OSI Model:

The OSI model is a conceptual framework that standardizes the functions of a network into seven distinct layers. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to facilitate interoperability between different network technologies and vendors.​

  • Physical Layer: Deals with the physical medium and transmission of raw bits over the network (e.g., cables, connectors).​
  • Data Link Layer: Responsible for framing and addressing, error detection, and flow control (e.g., Ethernet, Wi-Fi).​
  • Network Layer: Manages routing, addressing, and logical topology (e.g., IP, ICMP).​
  • Transport Layer: Ensures end-to-end communication, reliability, and error correction (e.g., TCP, UDP).​
  • Session Layer: Manages session establishment, maintenance, and termination.​
  • Presentation Layer: Handles data translation, encryption, and compression.​
  • Application Layer: Provides network services directly to applications and end-users (e.g., HTTP, FTP).​

Use Cases

The OSI model is primarily used for educational and conceptual purposes, as it provides a comprehensive framework for understanding how network protocols and technologies interact. It helps in troubleshooting network issues by isolating problems to specific layers.​

TCP/IP Model

The TCP/IP model, often referred to as the Internet Protocol Suite, is a practical and widely used networking model that underlies the Internet and many private networks. It consists of four interconnected layers.​

  • Network Interface Layer: Corresponds to both the physical and data link layers of the OSI model. It deals with hardware and media access (e.g., Ethernet, Wi-Fi).​
  • Internet Layer: Equivalent to the network layer in OSI. It manages IP addressing, routing, and packet forwarding (e.g., IPv4, IPv6).​
  • Transport Layer: Similar to the transport layer in OSI. It provides end-to-end communication, flow control, and error handling (e.g., TCP, UDP).​
  • Application Layer: Combines functionality from the presentation and application layers of the OSI model. It supports various application protocols (e.g., HTTP, FTP, DNS).​

Local Area Network​

Local Area Network (LAN) is a network of interconnected computers, devices, and peripherals within a limited geographic area, such as an office building, school, or home.​

Purpose: LANs are designed to facilitate data sharing, resource sharing, and communication among devices within the same physical location.​

Components: LANs typically consist of computers, servers, switches, and other network devices connected via Ethernet cables or wireless connections.​

Scope: LANs provide high-speed, low-latency communication, making them ideal for local, in-house or office operations.​

​Charactristics of LAN

  • Geographic Area: LANs cover a limited geographic area, typically a single building or a group of nearby buildings.​
  • Ownership: LANs are often privately owned and managed by an organization or individual.​
  • Data Transfer Speed: LANs offer high data transfer speeds, often in the range of gigabits per second (Gbps).​
  • Topology: Common LAN topologies include star, bus, and ring, with Ethernet being a widely used LAN technology.​
  • Low Latency: LANs have low latency, ensuring fast response times for applications and services.​
  • Scalability: LANs can be scaled by adding more devices or expanding network infrastructure to accommodate growth.​
  • Security: LANs typically implement security measures like firewalls, access controls, and encryption to protect data.​
  • Applications: LANs support various applications, including file sharing, printing, internet access, and local server services.​
  • Examples: Examples of LANs include office networks, campus networks, and home networks.​

Self Assessment

  • What is a computer network?
  • What are the traditional computer networks?
  • ​What are the well-known network applications?
  • ​What are the proprietary and public models?
  • ​What is the OSI model?
  • What is the TCP model?

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