Mini Case 1: Smith, Smith, Smith, and Smith is a regional accounting firm that is putting up a new headquarters building. The building will have a backbone network that connects eight LANs (two on each floor). The company is very concerned with network errors. What advice would you give regarding the design of the building and network cable planning that would help reduce network errors?
I have to make some assumptions regarding the network design for this new building. Since they are a regional accounting firm, constructing a brand new building, and mainly concerned with network errors and data reliability, I have to assume that cost is a lower priority. Cost is always a concern, but having accurate information is the key to an accounting firm. This will allow me to make recommendations that use newer hardware. These recommendations will also help guarantee future growth and agile network expansion in the future. My big picture recommendation would be a fiber optic based network, using multiswitch V-LAN that are interconnected to support redundancy, and finally all of this will connect to a core/internet router.
Let’s start at the user end. This is commonly called the access layer in network design. Since we are concerned with low error rate and high reliability, we need to use an infrastructure that will negate as many common sources of errors as possible. I recommend using 1 Gbps multimode fiber over Cat 6 STP or UTP. The fiber will negate several common sources of cabling errors. Impulse noise which is the most common source, cross-talk, and white noise will all be significantly reduced. Attenuation is also less of a concern due to the fact that fiber allows for longer runs with amplification. Fiber in my opinion also removes some common user and hardware errors that can arise when using twisted pair cabling. Poor connections can cause circuit echo and circuit outages. With twisted pair these are sometimes hard to find...
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