First and most important question you need to know is: What the custom
er?s data requirements are i.e. applications, e-mail services, remote access, etc? The second most important question is one of budget. How much do they have to spend on the network?
Number of users, and peak times of data usage.
Any special requirements i.e. video, graphics, Voice over IP, etc.
Disk Storage requirements per user.
LAN technology they will want, i.e. 100BaseT, Gigabit Ethernet, etc. You should always design a network than is scalable to the customer.
Where are all the locations involved in campus, you should do a site survey of all locations. Can connecting all sites in the campus be accomplished by fiber cabling or do leased lines need to be put in place. Make them aware of the ongoing cost of leased lines.
Different rights to individuals or groups in the network. i.e. you may want the Accounting group to have all the financial information that the Engineering group doesn?t need.
Security? How secure should the network be, the more secure the more expensive.
Ongoing support? Who will support this network after you install it and walk away?
Will they be willing to retain your services to provide this support or will they hire someone to do it?
Training? Will they need training to operate this new network? Who will provide this training? Find out their training budget.
This was first published in April 2002