WAN & LAN Network Design Best Practices
Whether your business is a large, multi-location company in need of a wide area network (WAN) or a small, single-location office that requires a local area network (LAN), the design stage of your business network should be carefully executed. Therefore, regardless of whether you are building a WAN or LAN, you should adhere to network design best practices and standards in order to ensure that your network works optimally from the beginning and has fewer issues down the road. Here are a few network design best practices you should keep in mind as you create your WAN or LAN.
Choose Equipment Designed for Your Needs
Find a balance between affordability and functionality. After all, there are plenty of routers on the market ranging from simple, inexpensive home network models to high-end enterprise models with all the bells and whistles. Instead of choosing the one that you’re most familiar with, the cheapest one, or the one with the most features, pick the one that is going to fit your budget and as many of your company’s needs as possible.
Take Wiring and Cabling into Account
LAN or WAN design best practices include a lot of planning, and that involves wiring and cabling, too. When you’re putting together your network design, regardless of the type, you need to consider the cabling requirements that your project will have, and determining these requirements is a process in itself. Don’t ignore this important step, or you could be facing major issues down the road.
Standardize as Much as Possible
Wherever you can, try to use the same equipment in multiple areas. For example, if you need multiple switches, try to use the same model as much as possible so that maintenance becomes easier; this way, there’s only one type of switch to learn and keep track of. It simplifies the entire configuration and maintenance process, and makes things easier when something goes wrong. Plus, with standardized equipment, it’s easier to keep a few spares on hand for quick replacement, if needed.
If one system in your network fails, there should be others to take up the slack to minimize downtime. This is called network redundancy, and it could keep your business running in the event that a system shuts down unexpectedly. Quite simply, it adds another layer of protection that can prevent your network from coming to a screeching halt, which could cause lost customers or sales, and even legal trouble.
Make Monitoring and Management a Priority from the Beginning
Incorporating monitoring and management tools in your network design process can offer a lot of benefits. Monitoring allows you to assess when you’ll need additional capacity and, therefore, when you’ll need to upgrade your system. You can also determine how many devices are accessing the network and what resources they are using. By doing so, you can identify if there are any cases of unauthorized access. Plus, you can also use network management tools to ascertain the status of equipment, which is especially useful if you have network redundancies in place; if something fails, without management, you may not notice until the redundancies fail, too, and then your whole network could go down at once. With monitoring and management, you can see problems as they happen and fix them right away.
Secure from Start to Finish
Do not consider security at the end of your LAN or WAN architecture design process. Security should be integrated from the beginning, and you should keep in mind how you will incorporate measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security methods when you first begin designing your network.
Don’t Guess. Know.
Whether you are dealing with a LAN or a WAN network, the design is complex and vital, so you don’t want to leave anything to chance. In other words, “I think” or “I’m mostly sure” aren’t going to cut it in these circumstances. Uncertainties can lead to security vulnerabilities or performance flaws that bring a business network down, and your business relies heavily on a smooth-running network for customer satisfaction and productivity. Be clear about what you need in your network design and do plenty of research into the requirements to make it happen.
If You Don’t Know, Ask.
If you aren’t completely sure on all of the LAN or WAN design standards and best practices, it’s best to ask the professionals for help. Customer 1st Communications has years of experience and we offer a range of network design and installation services. We work with you to design and build a network (LAN or WAN) that meets your needs and fits in your budget, crafted just for your business based on size, scope, and industry. For a free consultation, call 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) or contact us online.