LAN: A Fundamental Requirement for Doing Business

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For small- and medium-sized businesses, digital communication with data, voice, and video is critical to performing day-to-day business functions. Consequently, a properly designed LAN is a fundamental requirement for doing business.

Cisco 3-Layer Hierarchical Model
Core - The core layer of the hierarchical design is the high-speed backbone of the internetwork. The core layer is critical for interconnectivity between distribution layer devices, so it is important for the core to be highly available and redundant. The core area can also connect to Internet resources. The core aggregates the traffic from all the distribution layer devices, so it must be capable of forwarding large amounts of data quickly. Distribution - The distribution layer aggregates the data received from the access layer switches before it is transmitted to the core layer for routing to its final destination. The distribution layer controls the flow of network traffic using policies and delineates broadcast domains by performing routing functions between virtual LANs (VLANs) defined at the access layer. VLANs allow you to segment the traffic on a switch into separate subnetworks. Distribution layer switches are typically high-performance devices that have high availability and redundancy to ensure reliability. Access - The access layer interfaces with end devices, such as PCs, printers, and IP phones, to provide access to the rest of the network. The access layer can include routers, switches, bridges, hubs, and wireless access points. The main purpose of the access layer is to provide a means of connecting devices to the network and controlling which devices are allowed to communicate on the network.
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