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What would you recommend with the goal of building a new network?

What would you recommend with the goal of building a new network? What devices, type of network connection should I use?

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Well, this is a 20 million dollar question. What do you use your network for? Can the token ring be replaced with Ethernet? How much of the physical infrastructure that is available can be used? How far apart are the buildings? Do people need access from outside the network and do people need access to resources outside of the network? How sophisticated is your department at security? At a bare minimum, you will want your servers protected by a firewall or one of the new network appliances that control access, have a firewall built in and also have a card that recognizes denial of service patterns and will shut down that port.

Your options to tie the buildings together are dependent on how far apart the buildings are. If they are in close enough distances for either single mode or multimode fiber then that is definitely the way to go as you don't have to pay for communications lines. Most networks today are Ethernet, switches (not hubs) are used and Category 6 cable, Single Mode or Multimode fiber (the new 50/125 micron type) are the most commonly installed medias. If you can provide some more information in answer to the questions above, I can help a bit more. I am looking forward to your response.

This was first published in June 2004

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