Planning Networks

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If you’re planning on taking the Network+ exam, you should have a good understanding of how to plan a network. For example, can you answer this question?

Q. A business owner hired you to help her create a basic network. Of the following choices, what would you do FIRST?

A. Purchase a switch and access point supported by the ISP

B. Identify the operating systems used within the network

C. Create a list of requirements and constraints

D. Upgrade computers within the network

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Planning Networks Lists

One of the first steps you’ll need to take when planning a basic network is to create a list of requirements for the network, and a list of devices to meet these requirements. You’ll consider the owner’s needs and desires, along with any constraints such as environmental or equipment limitations when creating this list. One of the first things that you’ll need to determine is if the business owner wants to use a wired network, a wireless network, or a combination of the two.

Remember This

One of the first things you’ll need to do when planning a basic network is to create a list of requirements and constraints. You should complete this list prior to making any purchases.


For a basic wired network, you would typically use the following devices:

  • Switch. The switch provides connectivity for all the devices in the network.
  • Router. The router connects the basic network to the Internet.
  • Firewall. The firewall provides a layer of protection for the internal network. For small networks, you will often use a device that functions as both a router and a firewall.
  • Internet access device. This might be a DSL or cable modem or another device depending on the ISP requirements.
  • Cables for wired connections. This includes cables from desktop PCs to a switch, a switch to a router, and a router to the Internet connection such as a cable modem. These are typically twisted pair cables with RJ-45 connectors.
  • NICs. While most computers have built-in NICs, you’ll need to ensure they meet the equipment requirements of the network. For example, if a desktop PC has a slower NIC, you might need to replace it with a newer, faster NIC.

Planning Networks

Remember This

A basic wired network needs at least one switch and cables to connect each device to the switch. If the basic network will connect to the Internet, you’ll also need at least one router, a cable to connect the switch to the router, and a cable to connect the router to the ISP device.


 

Q. A business owner hired you to help her create a basic network. Of the following choices, what would you do FIRST?

A. Purchase a switch and access point supported by the ISP

B. Identify the operating systems used within the network

C. Create a list of requirements and constraints

D. Upgrade computers within the network

Answer is C is correct. One of the first steps when creating any network, including a basic network, is to identify the requirements and constraints.

You should not purchase equipment until you identify what equipment is needed.

Most network devices are operating system independent so the type of operating systems running on the computers might not be relevant, and certainly isn’t as important as creating a list of requirements and constraints.

The computers probably don’t need to be upgraded but if they do, you would identify this in your list of requirements and constraints.

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