Network Infrastructure


The modern business relies almost completely on the services that their computer networks provide, everything from telecoms and unified communications, to storage technologies, data provisioning, and applications.

With networks featuring so prominently in the modern business landscape, it is important to ensure that the infrastructure remains optimised, secure, and as fluid as possible to provide a reliable platform capable of meeting current business demands but also incorporates scalability to facilitate any future system expansion.

Network Design

Performance, security, scalability, and reliability are all qualities inherent in a well designed network. Few networks are designed from the ground-up, most have evolved as the business has expanded and different requirements have been placed upon it. With this in mind it is important to first evaluate current network capabilities, infrastructure design, operational efficiencies and security, in order to proactively address issues and ensure that planned changes are in alignment with business goals. A well designed network is planned, this is documented comprehensively utilising up-to-date drawings to show both the physical and logical characteristics of the network. Outlining a detailed design is fundamental to reducing risk, delays, and total cost of network deployments.

Designing a network is more than merely planning to use the latest gadget in the market. A good network design takes into consideration many factors:

  1. Size of the network
  2. Geography
  3. Office politics & segmentation
  4. Types of application
  5. Fault tolerance
  6. Switching or routing in the distribution layer
  7. Strategy
  8. Cost constraints
  9. Standards
  10. Security

Network Infrastructure

This can be considered as the ‘wires’ and connectivity that carry the information and is an important component of any network design. A well thought-out network infrastructure not only provides reliable and fast delivery of that information, but it is also able to adapt to changes, and grow as your business expands. Building a network infrastructure is a complex task, requiring work such as information gathering, planning, designing, and modelling.

When you build a network infrastructure, you look more at the lower three layers of the OSI model, although many other factors need to be considered. There are many technologies available that you can use to build a network, and the challenge is to choose the correct one and the tool that comes with it. These include the various Ethernet standards from 10BaseT to 10000BaseT, fibre, and wireless; all having different properties and applications within a network infrastructure.

Switching and Routing

Networks are made up of devices called hubs, bridges, routers, and switches. These devices are the building blocks of a network and each of them performs a specific task to deliver the information that is flowing in the network. These connecting devices all have different properties and function at different layers of the OSI model. The correct choice has implications on reliability, cost, and speed of the network and it is important to know this so that a choice can be made in using them. Similarly the choices available in these devices across multiple manufactures have a significant bearing in the overall cost and reliability of the network also.

In addition there is a myriad of network switching and routing protocols that can be utilised to gain specific qualities from the network including:

  1. VLAN Segmentation
  2. Resiliency Protocols (STP, RSTP, HSRP, VRRP)
  3. Routing Protocols (OSPF, EIGRP, BGP)
  4. VRF’s (Virtual Routing Forwarding)
  5. Quality of Service (QoS) profiles
  6. Multicast planning for IPTV
  7. VOIP

Network Topology

Network topologies may be physical or logical and correlate to the layout of interconnections of the network elements. Physical topology refers to the physical design of the network including devices, locations, and cabling. Logical topology refers to how the data is actually transferred through the network.

There are different kinds of network topology, all having different characteristics as far as connectivity and data flow is concerned. A good network design may consist of one or a combination of these topologies in order to provide the characteristics that the business requires from the network.

It is important to hold complete and up-to-date physical and logical network topology diagrams for your network. These should be produced prior to implementing changes and also reviewed or updates after upgrades have been made, as they provide a clear picture to engineers and consultants as to how the network fundamentally works.


A qualified network includes the following documentation:

  1. Physical and Logical Layout Drawings
  2. System Boundary Document (including diagrams)
  3. Network Document Index
  4. Location of wall outlets
  5. Description of components used (e.g. patch panels)
  6. Copper and Fibre Cable Test Results (to prove that all installations are in accordance with industrial standards)
  7. Documented Device Installations and Configurations for all Intelligent Devices (e.g. Switches, Routers, Firewalls, and Wireless Access Points)

Networking Services

  1. Network design
  2. Cable infrastructure installation
  3. Multi-vendor switch and router installation and configuration
  4. VLAN segmentation
  5. Resiliency Protocols (STP, RSTP, HSRP, VRRP)
  6. Routing Protocols (OSPF, EIGRP, BGP)
  7. Quality of service (QoS)
  8. Network review (architecture, logical/physical inconsistencies, peak and average traffic levels)
  9. Capacity Planning
  10. Network documentation (detailed network diagrams, physical/logical topology diagrams, cable performance testing, device configurations)