Chapter 4

Planning a Network


Making a network plan

Taking stock of your computer stock

Making sure that you know why you need a network

Identifying basic network decisions that you can’t avoid

Okay, so you’re convinced that you need to network your computers. What now? Do you stop by Computers-R-Us on the way to work, install the network before drinking your morning coffee, and expect the network to be fully operational by noon?

I don’t think so.

Networking your computers is just like any other worthwhile endeavor: Doing it right requires a bit of planning. This chapter helps you to think through your network before you start spending money. It shows you how to come up with a networking plan that’s every bit as good as the plan that a network consultant would charge thousands of dollars for. See? This book is already saving you money!

Making a Network Plan

Before you begin any networking project, whether a new network installation or an upgrade of an existing network, start with a detailed plan. If you make technical decisions too quickly before studying all the issues that affect the project, you’ll regret it. You’ll discover too late that a key application won’t run over the network, the network has unacceptably slow performance, or key components of the network don’t work together.

Here are some general thoughts to keep in mind while you create your network plan:

  • Don’t rush the plan. The costliest networking mistakes are the ones that you make before you ...

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