The design of a network defines how this network will look like. When creating it, there are a set of requirements that have to be fulfilled. These requirements change based on what is the purpose of a network. Is it the internal network of your home, your datacenter, your office or is it a WAN network that expands throughout earth or beyond (interplanetary links are not yet supported).
These are the requirements to take into consideration when creating our network designs with NetworkMaps:
- Redundancy. Make sure that each pair of network elements have fully redundant paths. The number of redundant paths depends on the level of redundancy you require (N+1, N+2, ...). A path is redundant if it has independent devices, independent links and specially on WAN environments, the links follow independant physical paths.
- Bandwidth. The links that form paths between devices have to provide to the applications running on top, the bandwidth they need. When planning for bandwidth, consider also the required redundancy. The network has to be able to provide this bandwidth in the worst failure case scenario.
- Latency. Latency is the time it takes for a packet to travel between one point of the network to another. Most applications don't really have strong requirements here (as long as these numbers are in reasonable values), but in some specific cases (yes, voip, i'm looking at you), they require low latency.
- Simplicity and Standarization. A standard and simple solution is always easier to maintain. Try to avoid complex protocols if the don't add value to the solution. Also try to create a solution that is fully standard and easy to automate (provisioning of devices, monitoring, changes, ...).
- Scalability. Make sure the network can scale up to as many devices as the business needs. As an example, for a datacenter network, consider how many servers will be connected to the network and make sure your network can grow to support these.
- Security.Security has to be considered during the design of the network and not applied afterwards. This includes physical security (location of devices, who has access to the hardware, ...) and logical (who can log in into the devices, authentication methods, ACLs, accounting, ...).
- Cost. Network designs have to be cost effective. Stick to the requirements and provide the best solution that fulfill the requirements. Don't only consider how much costs to implement the network but also what is the cost of maintaining it. A simple and standard solution is easier to automate which reduces the cost of operation. Also, the least amount of devices and links reduce the cost of implementation and operation.