How to Design a Network: 6 Best Practices for Success

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A network provides a way for many computers to all be connected and exchange data with each other simultaneously. It allows members of organizations to quickly complete tasks, share information, and carry out any computing responsibilities that rely on a working network. It’s important for each organization to ensure that their network design is suitable for their needs.

What is network design?

Network design, or network topology, is planning and mapping out the infrastructure of an IT network. It requires identifying the various design requirements of the network and creating a plan that is both aligned with those requirements and can be successfully implemented. Network design is necessary because individual organizations will have unique requirements for their computer network.

How to design a network

Designing a functional network for your organization will lead to smoother computer tasks and efficient business operations. Here are five key steps for how to design a network:

Write down network requirements

Each individual network may have slightly different requirements, which depend on the size of an organization and the operations that will be carried out using the network. Consider if the network will serve users that are all on the same floor with a local area network (LAN), or whether the network will span a couple levels. The network might also need to reach across a campus or even miles apart with a campus area network (CAN) or wide area network (WAN).

Choose necessary devices

Determine the hardware and software that will be used within your network. A few standard network devices include things such as network servers, a reliable internet connection, modems, routers, and firewalls. The types of computers that will be connecting to the network, the operating system, applications, and more all have an effect on the network as a whole, so it is important to choose ones that are compatible with each other.

Decide the type of network topology

There are many various types of network topology, so you should choose one that will meet the needs of the organization and allow operations to be effectively completed. Network topology types include ring, star, bus, mesh, tree, and more. Whatever your network needs are, these types can be used or modified to help you reach your organization’s network standards.

Map out network connections

Draw the connections that will need to be made within your network. You will want to have a network specialist either review the connections or map out the connections to ensure that it is successful and doesn’t lead to connectivity issues.

Create a plan for successful design implementation

Once the network design has been completed, begin making preparations for implementing the design in your IT environment. A great network design will only be helpful to your organization if it is executed properly. After the design has been implemented, you can use NinjaOne’s network monitoring tools to ensure your design functions well.

6 best practices for network design

Here are six best practices for your organization’s network design:

1) Simplify

The best network designs have simple and straightforward connections, and everything in the design serves a specific purpose. Avoid adding unnecessary components to your network or making unnecessary connections. This will make it easier to set up, operate, and restore if ever needed.

2) Secure

Install firewalls to protect your organization’s network. The firewall allows you to view and prevent traffic coming to and from your network on your various endpoints. Depending on the size of your organization, you may need a few firewalls, or one might be enough.

3) Document

Record your network design and store it in your IT documentation. Company SOP’s and other instructions related to the setup and operation of your network should also be documented. If anything needs to be altered, fixed, something goes wrong with your network, or if your IT environment goes into full disaster recovery, you will have documentation provided to help you restore and operate your network.

4) Consider scalability

As your business grows, you will want to have your network grow with it to accommodate the growing needs of the company. Functionally design your network now so it has the ability to work well now and also change and evolve in the future.

5) Monitor

Continually monitor your network to ensure that all devices are working properly. Active monitoring supports network uptime because it gives you clear visibility of what is operating efficiently and what might be lacking. If you can determine areas of weakness in your network design early on, you can fix those issues and update the design in your organization’s documentation.

6) Make changes as needed

Just because a network design has been finalized does not mean that it is unalterable. If a certain aspect in your network design isn’t working as effectively as originally planned, make changes to the design.

Set a solid foundation for your IT environment with network design

Designing a network is a crucial first step in creating a functional network for your organization. With the help of knowledgeable network experts combined with careful planning and preparation, a reliable network design can be created.

NinjaOne provides network management software so you can track activity and performance to ensure your network design is optimal for your organization. Sign up for a free trial today.

 

5 Bite-Sized Ways to Improve Your Business Every Week

NinjaOne Newsletter

Join fellow growth-minded MSPs and feed your business with new tips and tutorials delivered straight to your inbox.

Don't miss any promotions, free tools, events & webinars and product updates. Subscribe to receive the NinjaOne Newsletter.