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Wireless Networks Thread, New network infrastructure recommendation in Technical; Hi all, our school is going to be transferred to new buildings. We currently don't have much of a network ...
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    New network infrastructure recommendation

    Hi all, our school is going to be transferred to new buildings. We currently don't have much of a network going, mostly unmanaged switches and a Mikrotik router working as hotspot for teachers' internet use and no real use of network as I wish it to be. So I am taking this chance to change the network to something useful. I started looking at other schools' network diagrams on the internet to get ideas and inspiration. I draw a simple draft network diagram to help understand the requirements for our network



    wireless access points were not included as I couldn't figure out how to survey a site while it was still under construction (any clues here?). I called a guy from cisco and gave him my draft network diagram then he sent me the following network diagram, I would like to know what do you think of it and if there anything that might be an overkill for a school network to cut down the costs.

    new school network diagram - cisco proposal.pdf

    I hope you guys could share your knowledge, ideas and network diagrams if possible.

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    Might be helpful if we have a little more information on your school

    What you currently have?
    Primary or secondary (or equivalents for where you are located)
    Number of students and teachers?
    Number of workstations? Split this into number of hard wired workstations and number of wireless laptops.
    Other services to be run onsite?
    How many rooms is the new building going to have?

    basically as much relevant information as you can give, then people can put forward some recomendations based on your requirements.

    Also what sort of budget have you got to play with, it all makes a difference.

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 13th January 2010 at 09:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    Might be helpful if we have a little more information on your school

    What you currently have?
    Here is diagram of my current setup


    - our mail server is for internal use only and its Exchange 2003
    - the web server currently used by me only to help me test the school's joomla-moodle website before I upload to the live site.
    - The proxy/firewall server is PFSense
    - file servers are windows 2003
    - router is MikroTik RB433AH
    - WAPs are Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 (flashed with DD-WRT)

    Primary or secondary (or equivalents for where you are located)
    k-12 school

    Number of students and teachers?
    currently we have almost 1800 students and 250 teachers, the new building will have a maximum capacity of 2500 students.

    Number of workstations? Split this into number of hard wired workstations and number of wireless laptops.
    the current situation is miserable we have a total of 150 workstations in the school, the new school will have capacity for 500-600 workstations, those are all hardwired we are currently using wireless for teachers' hotspot (30 laptops).

    Other services to be run onsite?
    I plan on:
    - using exchange for internal and extrnal emails
    - installing sharepoint for document management for teachers' and administration staff
    I would like to know your suggestions for k-12 schools applicable services.

    How many rooms is the new building going to have?
    currently I don't have the blueprints with me, but you can find how many computers in each floor from the draft network diagram in my last post.

    Also what sort of budget have you got to play with, it all makes a difference.
    No budget is yet decided for this project.

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    Well the diagram made by the cisco guy is VERY nice !! but also VERY costly !!.
    ITs redundant, FAST...one can clearly see cisco idea on designing (CORE - distribution - edge layers).
    IF you have enough $$$ and you'll get a go on this design i would be VERY happy.
    But perhaps its a little overkill.. I dunno how many building you'll have in a new situation but you could look at a design that does not use the distribution layer switches (to cut down costs)

    bio..

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    @sacabonos:

    I would, personally if the money was no object, go down this route.

    As has been said full redundancy has been built in and it will be fast, only thing is the connections have not been identified as I would not like to presume that the fibre backbone is 10Gb have you any information on this?

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    I agree with more or less everyone else - the Cisco solution is really nice. It's more or less the same as your proposed layout with added redundancy - it would be interesting to see (you might want to ask) what they intend to do on top of it, will the redundancy be implemented at layer 2 or layer 3 (BGP, MSTP, both)? I expect the Cisco solution will also be monstrously expensive, but if you've got a new build, money might not be an issue.

    Definitely find out what the backbone is - I don't see a reason why the links back to the core shouldn't be 10GbE, certainly with that many clients - putting in 1Gig links at this point seems like they'll just have to come back in afew years to upgrade it again. Looking at the spec of the 3750G switches, they don't appear to have support for 10Gb modules (but I'm not intimately familiar with the Cisco product range).

    Finally you might be wise to check with the architects for the new building how they're doing the cabling. Sometimes they do a decent job - check if the fibre they've put in is OM3, so can support 10GbE between your buildings.

    edit: Looks like you need the 3750-E for 10GbE support (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps7077/index.html).
    Last edited by james_yale; 14th January 2010 at 10:14 AM.

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    Thanks guys for all the input, I really hope the administration will approve a good budget for this project, now I am waiting for second cisco associate opinion on the network design he is expected to meet me today. Meanwhile the first cisco associate sent me more details regarding the 4507E-E modules:

    - One Supervisor Engine Module 6L‐E, 2x10GE (X2) or 4x1GE (SFP).
    - One 48‐port 10/100/1000 Ethernet interfaces.
    - Two modules Gigabit Ethernet Module, 6 Ports (GBIC) each, it will be used for the fiber
    connectivity.
    - Three Slots are empty for future expansion.
    - Two 1300‐watt Power Supplies for redundancy and moreover, the switch can load sharing
    power supplies. So even if one of the power supplies fails, the other 1300‐Watts power
    supply will be capable of providing the needed power to the 4507R‐E switch and all the
    components installed.
    Seems like its not decided on which of the two 1GE or 10GE. I hope the 3750-E isn't much expensive. Which wireless equipment are you guys using and which IP cameras?

    Also I would love to hear ideas for services that you guys have implemented in k-12 schools so I can have that planned ahead

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    Good, so you can get 10GbE at the core, however I'd suggest that isn't really where you need it - you're probably not going to have a massive amount of traffic there (unlike a big business with lots of application servers), most of the traffic is going out to the edges.

    Even if you don't go 10GbE to the edge straight away, it would be worth making sure the switches are at least capable of supporting it, so it's a case of buying some trascievers rather than whole new switches when you want to upgrade.
    Last edited by james_yale; 18th January 2010 at 10:32 AM.

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    Well, looking at cisco’s website I can only find a few switches that support 10GbE uplinks like some of the 3500 and 3700 series which are really meant to be distribution switches and are really expensive. I just wish I can get away with enough budget to implement something decent. The second cisco associate came today and I asked him if it will be much more expensive if we decided to go for 10GbE from core to distribution switches and he said that there isn't really a lot of links between the core and distribution so I can't see why not install 10GbE from day one and not have to wait for later upgrade. Makes sense but let’s hope I won't break the bank going cisco's route, if the administration decided that its more than what they would like to pay, all this effort will just go in vain. The same guy will also provide me with a complete network infrastructure, IP Cameras and PBX design and budgetary by next week. Let’s see what he will come up with.

    Edit: BTW James, you mentioned that redundancy could be implemented at layer 2 or layer 3. what difference could it make?
    Last edited by sacabonos; 19th January 2010 at 03:44 AM.

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    Hi,

    Sorry for the tardy reply - have been without 'net access for afew days.

    On the redundancy front you would probably implement either at layer 2 or layer 2 and layer 3. Layer 2 redundancy will involve using protocols that operate below the IP layer like [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanning_tree_protocol]STP[/ame] and it's deriviatives. With STP the switches allow multiple links between them without creating loops and shutdown redundant links by assigning costs to each path on the network, then if a primary link fails it will automatically switch to another link to transmit the data. Doing it at layer 3 means using routing protocols ([ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ospf]OSPF[/ame] or [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BGP]BGP[/ame]) to manage the traffic over your links, and may have an impact on how you address different parts of your network.

    This is where the brand and specification of the switches outside the physical interfaces may make a difference. The Cisco kit will almost certianly support these more advanced routing features out of the box while other brands may require license upgrades, or may not offer support at all. With that in mind, you may still like to look further than Cisco for switches - HP do some good kit, which port for port will probably work out significantly cheaper than the equivilent Cisco stuff (we use it here and managed to implement a 10GbE central ring within a normal budget, not part of a new build).

    There is plenty of reason to have redundancy whereever possible, I've found some limitations with the HP kit we've got (no VRRP support without a premium license) but if budget is an issue then you may well consider layer 2 reduncancy sufficient (that's what we've got here).

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    The school administration think that this is too much for what they expected to pay for network infrastructure, guess I'll have to get some alternative plans ready in case I can't really convince them of the benefits of getting cisco equipments. In the mean while could you guys tell me what are the options in case I wanted to buy something like HP or Netgear? and which models will be equivalent to cisco proposition?

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    From the HP side you could fairly directly swap the specificied Catalyst 4507R-E for a Procurve 5400zl, looks to be around 2/3rds of the cost for the same number of ports.

    For the fixed configuration switches the HP 2810 is probably fairly closely equivilent to the Catalyst 3750G, but look at the (HP) 2910al if you want 10GbE support and layer 3 switching (the former probably being more important than the latter).

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