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Wireless Networks Thread, Future proofing/ improving our network in Technical; I have been assigned the task of estimating what it would cost to improve our network infrastructure, having invested in ...
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    networkingNut's Avatar
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    Future proofing/ improving our network

    I have been assigned the task of estimating what it would cost to improve our network infrastructure, having invested in VM ware last summer.

    For the moment I am just concentrating on the wired aspect. Wireless is a mix of managed and un managed.


    I was just after peoples opinions on the propsals.

    1) Do you think swapping the core switch is overkill?

    2) What would you suggest as replacement edge switches? Layer two or Layer 3? I would like to stick with HP for consistancy. I am thinking 48 port layer 2 for all areas except the Library, where I am think another 5406ZL


    Current Setup

    Our current switches are:

    • Server Room
    • Server room/ Core Switch - 5412ZL
    • VM Switch 1 - HP 2910AL
    • VM Switch 2 - HP 2910AL


    Outer Cabinets

    • Technology - HP 2524
    • Library - HP 4108GL
    • Music - HP 2124
    • Psychology - HP 2124
    • Acorn - HP 2524
    • Languages - HP 5406ZL
    • Staff Room - HP 5406ZL



    Current Number of Machines
    Server room/ Core Switch - 87 (Approx)
    Technology - 17
    Library - 14
    Music - 5
    Acorn - 9
    Languages - 44
    Staff Room - 7
    Room 4 - 12
    Room 2 - 9
    Rooms 3.5.6,7 - 4 (Total)
    Admin - 25
    PE - 2

    The Acorn, Technology, Languages and 6th Form are all external to the main building

    There is no documentation, to indicate how old any 5E cabling is, however we are currently achieving Gigabit where we have already replaced switches (Server Room, Staff Room and Languages). The Category 6 in languages is two years old

    The only VLANs we have are for the VM hardware (configured locally to the 2910AL switches).
    I am not proficient in VM ware. My current manager was the main contact during the project.

    Domains = 2 (Admin and Curriculum)

    My Proposal


    • Upgrade all current fibre links to OM3 16 Core, 4Gb trunks
    • Upgrade all Switches to 1GB


    • Change the core switch to a Fibre one-

    Our Core switch feeds The Servers, Two Main IT Suites (room 27 and 28) and the entire second floor. All PSUs in it are fully Populated.I was considering replacing this, and giving each IT Suite its own Switch, trunked to a core fibre switch but it was only put it two years ago, and I am not sure if I could justify the expense. Rooms 27 and 28 are next to the Server Room

    • Add more Data points (Category 6) to technology and Admin as there are a lot of desktop switches in use at the moment


    Thanks
    Any feedback is appreciated

    nN
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    gaz350's Avatar
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    1st question whats your budget usually each year?

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with any of that kit... as long as you have sufficient ports it will last you for years.

    1st thing to do is certify EVERY point on your network. By a JDSU Validator and document every point. There's no point putting in gigabit to the desktop if some joker decided to run Cat-3 cable or you have some other problem.

    2nd, if you are upgrading your inter-cab links, try to make two routes so that you have redundancy.

    3rd, sort out your wireless. You mention that it doesn't concern you at the moment but you will inevitably spend thousands on a brilliant wired infrastructure and all your staff will say you have a rubbish network because they can't use the wireless in some random corner of the school.

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    budgester's Avatar
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    What problems are you trying to overcome ?
    Are some of the switches overloaded ?
    Where are your bottle necks ? Is it network fabric or server hardware.
    What do you want to achieve ?
    Will it provide a better service ?

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    networkingNut's Avatar
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    Apologies for the delay - Not been well, I think its more out of frustration, and personal lack of self belief. I tend to try and do everything for everyone until I fall over.

    Where are your bottle necks ? Is it network fabric or server hardware.

    From what I Can gather its a bit of both
    Some Switches are daisychained with the fibre closest to the core being OM1 1GB
    Most Servers are 1GB, with the exception of the Backup Server/file Servers (One of) which is 10GB. The VM Hosts have quad port NICS in them but I couldnt tell you how its set up.
    We are running Server 2003 /2008 R2 (2008 on the VMware kit). Its a HP Lefthand SAN with 3 HP ESX Hosts


    What do you want to achieve?
    To Be honest I really dont know where to start

    Generally

    • automating software deployments as currently we us Symantec Ghost to do an initial image and afer that everything is done manually. I can do initial GPO deployments, Its any subsequent updates (Flash player for example) that i am not sure how to do. On a personal level I need to learn more about GPO.
    • Automate admin as it currently involves pointing the DNS at the admin server manually to add it to the network and then everything is done manually with the exception of a drive script, which does not always run and we cant see why. No errors are shown. All DHCP leases are given from a single server on curriculum. both Domains are on a single /16 network.
      Am I correct in thinking a DNS stub zone on the curriculum servers, which points to the admin DNS will get around the DNS problem?
    • Disk and Email Quotas
    • Backups - Currently done to USB 2.0 disks and take a long time (2.0 TB of data approx)



    In terms of infrastructure I would like to achieve the following:


    Wired

    • More Backbone redundancy and replace the single 1GB links with Trunks
    • All Managed switches.
    • Make Access point placement easier by having POE capability site wide
    • Remove any Switch Daisy chains and and have a direct fibre link from all outer blocks to the Server room (The library for example)
    • More LAN ports to allow for removal of small, Desktop Switches and allow us to network any current printers, which are connected via USB, (due to the lack of ports)
    • Make use of the workstation's Gigabit capability




    Wireless

    • This needs to be improved as it is patchy currently. I have looked at Netstumbler and it can detect 9 access points in one area for example, but still gives low coverage (tested using multiple Laptops).
    • We have recently purchased a 16 AP netgear management console (WMS5316), so expansion of this site wide with AD integration to allow student use.
    • We currently have four WAP350s in our main hall, and a mix of Dlink DWL-3200s and Planet WAP4000s.




    There is lots more that I would like to do but I will leave it at that for now.

    Thanks everyone

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    I think you need to try and sort out things which need doing now, things which need doing soon and things which would be nice to get sorted but can wait a bit.

    Going backwards, the wired network looks basically sound so can wait (dual attached switches; gigabit to the desktop; new fibre runs are long term)

    The wireless network needs making robust (particularly if you need students to use it soon) but it looks like you've got a plan there - getting a managed wireless network in place will make life much easier.

    The things to do now are the ones that probably look small but probably take a disproportionate amount of time - eg pushing out updates to machines, getting initial software deployed (not sure what you're putting in your ghost image but it sounds as if there's quite a bit of work to do once that's in place so you're absolutely right to look at ways of improving that)

    If you understand how to do initial deployments of software with GPO then you're well on the way to getting updates out - set up a test OU (so you don't run a risk of breaking things!), put a machine in it and create a GPO to affect just that machine. You can then look at the options in the GPO to deploy an updated version of the software.

    If you don't have quotas then this will bite you at some point (if it's not already causing grief!) - applying hard quotas could cause chaos if they're not there from day1 so what you need to do is get a report on the status of your user space and find out who would go over limit if you applied quotas now. You can then deal with those people (either decide they deserve a bigger quota and allow it or get them to remove some files). If you have no special quota software you can just use that built into Windows - there's an option to set quotas but not apply them and this will give you reports of who's using what space.

    I would also look at backups; at some point you will need to restore vital data and you need to be sure that that is possible. 2Tb of data is not a lot but if you're actually backing it all up each day (ie not just doing differential or incremental backups) then it's going to take ages and again it's a drain on your time (where are the USB discs? Permanently attached to the server? - I do hope not :-))

    Good luck with it all - it seems daunting and the key to making it not knock you out is to break it down into achievable bits. You then achieve each bit and suddenly there's nothing left to be daunted by :-)

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    networkingNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    There's nothing wrong with any of that kit... as long as you have sufficient ports it will last you for years.

    1st thing to do is certify EVERY point on your network. Buy a JDSU Validator and document every point. There's no point putting in gigabit to the desktop if some joker decided to run Cat-3 cable or you have some other problem.

    2nd, if you are upgrading your inter-cab links, try to make two routes so that you have redundancy.

    3rd, sort out your wireless. You mention that it doesn't concern you at the moment but you will inevitably spend thousands on a brilliant wired infrastructure and all your staff will say you have a rubbish network because they can't use the wireless in some random corner of the school.
    Can these be rented at all?
    We currently have the Fluke Link runner pro extended test kit, but I can only test for gigabit if there is a gigabit switch at the end, (which there isnt in most places). I have been looking at the Fluke Range and am confused between the Cable IQ and the DTX. As in which one certifies the cable to cat 5,5e,6 etc.

    Thanks
    nN

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    The DTX would do the job perfectly tests cable integrity in less than 9 seconds!
    Cat5e, Cat6 and of course Cat6A will even test your fibre segments with the OTDR module

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