IP network design guide: Managing an IP-based network

Network design underlies the performance of your enterprise IP network. This four part guide by Cormac Long offers you a comprehensive roadmap to designing IP-based networks, from the basic principles involved to the more complex finishing touches.

Network design underlies the performance of your enterprise IP network. This four-part IP network design guide by expert Cormac Long offers you a comprehensive roadmap to designing IP-based networks, from the basic principles involved to the more complex finishing touches. 

Fundamental principles of IP network design

A successful network implementation starts with a competent network design. This is the first of four articles that focus on the design of IP-based networks, due to the prevalence of IP as the de-facto standard desktop protocol. A modern IP network supports diverse application; along with traditional data applications, IP has become a transport mechanism for real-time applications such as voice, video and multimedia. As a result, IP network design has become more challenging. This article will discuss the fundamental principles that should be followed when designing an IP network. The subsequent articles will focus on specific LAN and WAN technology, which are part of a proficient network design.

Read more on IP network design basics in part 1.  

The IP addressing plan

The IP addressing plan is part of the foundation of a logical network design. This section explains how to manage scalable IP addressing planning that can support the network as it grows. Learn about key tools such as variable length subnet masking and route summarization and why choosing the appropriate routing protocol is equally critical. This section will also review the parameters used to evaluate the suitability of a routing protocol. Find out about IP routing protocols and the operation of industry standard protocols such as Routing Information Protocol (RIP) and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF).

Read more on IP address planning in part 2. 

Designing the wide area network

The wide area network (WAN) is a significant contributor to a corporate network's cost of ownership. Because of this, the WAN cost versus performance trade-off is pronounced and most critical. This article explores the various alternatives that must be evaluated when choosing and designing a WAN infrastructure. Read about different topological and technological options and how they relate to the fundamental WAN design goals. Also find out about traditional technological alternatives that include synchronous serial lines, frame relay, and ATM and more state of the art options such as DSL and MPLS.

Read more on wide area network (WAN) technology in part 3. 

LAN design

This final section of the IP network design series discusses common challenges encountered with campus LAN design. This article will explore the benefits of Ethernet switching over a traditional hub environment, then delve into the benefits of virtual LANs (VLANs) and the issues faced when planning and configuring VLANs. This article also discusses techniques for ensuring a scalable and resilient campus network design. Learn about the spanning tree protocol and how it can be optimized on a large switched network. Finally, learn about the design issues associated with an IP telephony rollout in the concluding section of this article.

Read more on LAN design and find tips for designing LAN in part 4.

This was first published in February 2010

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