Network Design Installation & Maintenance

























































































Topological Design

Network Topology is a logical hierarchy that allows network functions and data to be secure in a managed compartmented design.

This means the network is designed in a fashion to allow access and security in a way that logically gives access to the people that need access. Networks are designed from the ground up. Usually they are grown organically, this means they are created, enlarged, and added to as the additional functionality is required. This usually happens without any design, it just occurs. It is not until the network starts to fail or has a security risk or breech that some starts to think it could be designed better. The reason that this occurs is that the network was originally put together by either an amateur or a professional that was limited by a budget constraint.

To make an organically grown network into a secure, well designed network is not hard nor is it expensive. We have done this for many companies, in fact we took an organically grown network that was supporting 125 workstations, servers and printers and redesigned it topographically, so it can now support over 1000 workstations, servers and printers. The network previously had very little security and was prone to failure. In fact it failed daily, slowing down productions and in soon cases loss of data.

The network is now as secure as can be reasonably designed and can be expanded without worry. Backups are easily performed, and data loss is no longer an issue.

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Network Cable Installation

We have been installing network cable for the past 15 years. We started with Novell coax cable and have progressed from the various forms of category cabling through Multi –Mode Fibre Optical cable. We are qualified to install any type of data or voice cabling All of our cable installation come with a life time warranty. We only use the best quality plenum cable and network connectors. We use Hubble Structured Network Components to guarantee network integrity and quality . Over the years we have installed over a million feet of cable. All of our installations have always been completed on time and with-in budget.

We start with the building plan and architect’s drawings or we will design the plan if no architect is involved. A detailed but simple to understand quote is produced and an installation schedule is developed. Once we get the approval we will run the entire installation without any over-site. Since we have a detailed plan and scope of work there are never any surprises. If questions do arise we are quick to ask before we proceed.

We test/certify every connection end to end. Since we are network engineers and not electricians we will design the entire network from a network troubleshooting point of view. From the smallest job to the largest multi-building network, you can count on us to make sure your network performs to spec.

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Data & Phone

When it comes to data and phone system networking, we have decades of experience. Our stock in trade is to move or expand your network around you without impacting your business. We have expanded and moved networks to other office space expansions, moved phone rooms and built server rooms with little or no interruption to the daily business of the client. It can be 3 users or 50 users it makes no difference to us. We can work around any circumstance or obstacle.

We only use CAT5e plenum wire for both phone and data to insure that you can move to any phone or network equipment with assurance that it will all be compatible. 1Gigabit transmission rates are easily handled by properly installed and terminated CAT5e wire. If you require higher transfer rates then we will use CAT6 wire for the data. Cat6 as compared to Cat5e carries a very high premium. It can cost 2 to 3 times more for the same job and the highest transmission rate you can attain on a LAN is 1 Gigabit. There is no cost justification that makes a good argument for CAT6 over CAT5e, except for the supplier.

Although phone support is not our business, we can move your phone system and do the infrastructure wiring to make it work as it did before. If the phone system is a brand name and you have the manual we can do whatever is necessary to get your business up and running.

We have many happy network clients that can attest to our ability to build or expand a network around them.

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Racks & Enclosures

It is important to make every installation neat, clean, and maintainable. A network rack or enclosure is the only way to accomplish this. It adds more expense to the overall project but the increased reliability, serviceability and availability of your data and applications make it worthwhile.

The difference between a network rack and a network enclosure is how secure the network room is. If the room is locked and secure then you can use a network rack and cable ladder to secure it to the wall and floor. This gives you a supported rack that will contain your patch panels, network equipment, uninterruptible power supply batteries, and servers. Many server rooms are setup this way. In large server or network rooms usually the patch panels are installed in open racks and the servers are installed in enclosures. The Racks are usually more serviceable than enclosures because everything is open and easily gotten to.

If the server room is not secure or it is located in a common area that many people have access to, then you would use a server enclosure that can be locked to restrict access. The security component of having a centralized enclosure to keep all your network and server resources locked is very important. Once locked, the physical access to your servers or network equipment is restricted to authorized personnel only.

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Servers Room Configuration

Physical plant starts with the actual room the company server(s) is located. The server room should be on a raised floor, air conditioned, with an exhaust fan (in case of an air-conditioning failure). The room should have fire retardant filled walls, doors, floor and ceiling. The room should be equipped with a water detector alarm under the floor, a smoke and heat detector on the ceiling. The exhaust fan should have a temperature sensor and cut-off, you do not want the fan to help a fire spread. The alarms should be setup to notify security and your IT support staff automatically. The support staff must have 24/7 coverage The room ceiling should be reinforced and water proofed. The water proofing should be built in such a way that the water is directed away from the room ceiling to a drainage area. If you are starting from scratch these are easy things to design in. If you are trying to improve an existing area then the building engineers need to examine the existing location and come up with the way to build in the most protection possible. The money spent here is very short compared to the cost of a potential facilities disaster.

Old buildings generally have old plumbing. Water damage is one of the most common facility disasters. A major water pipe bursts a somewhere above the area where the company servers are located. If this event happens after hours, a lot of water can flow before someone notices the break. Another common problem is also water based, a small leak in an old pipe goes undetected for months or years. The water weakens the ceiling above the computer room, the ceiling collapses destroys the computers.

Physical Security

Everyone always worries about computer security from the point of passwords and file access security. Security starts with access to the computer room. If the server room is unlocked and everyone has access to it, then the system actually has no security.

Any person in the company can trash the physical system by just picking the server up and throwing it to the floor.

If the computer room is not protected by a sealed locked door, then even a very minor fire can effect the server through smoke, or heat damage. Only trusted people should have access to the computer room. The door should be locked with a push button security lock. There should be a water and smoke detector under the floor. There should be a heat, smoke and water detector in the ceiling and floor. There should be an access sensor installed in all doors. All sensors should be managed by a security system that alerts the appropriate personnel depending on the event.

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Power Management & Backup Power Design

Power Management is the most important part of network design. The power that is available for the servers needs to be sufficient to run the server load, and the UPS battery backup load. If required generator capacity needs t be understood so the correct generator can be installed. We usually determine what the maximum power needs are, and maximum time the server has to remain running.

If 15 minutes of power for a single server is all that is required, then an inexpensive UPS unit is all that is needed. If you need 4 hours for a 4 server array, then you need a more expensive set of UPS units that will allow you to survive the expected power fail.

If you need 5 hours of power to run your server, point of sale terminals, all your charge account machines, counter screens, a few lights, and all your network equipment, then your UPS unit starts to get very expensive. Once you need more than 8 hours of power for multiple servers and network equipment, you need to think generator.

Every server situation needs an expert to design the power requirements. We have years of experience in the area of power management and backup battery requirements.

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Power Protection

The most common power protection is a powerful UPS (uninterruptible power supply). This can be the most effective way to project your data. Servers do not like to lose power, they tend to have a very good chance at corrupting the data when they take an unexpected power fail. What the UPS does, is manufacture a buffer time zone that is configured to manage short and long power outages.

When a short power outage occurs the UPS is programmed to ride out the power outage. This means that a short power outage has no effect on the server data or operation. For long power outages the UPS waits until the power outage exceeds the short power outage time. It then sends a shutdown signal to the servers. This causes the servers to go through a normal shut down process.

The ideal Primary Domain Controller (PDC) is also protected with parallel 400+Watt power supplies. The system only needs 400+Watts of power to run all the server services. The PDC is configured with 2-400+Watt power supplies that are normally running at 200 Watts each. If one power supply fails, the other takes on the additional 200 Watt load and sounds an alarm. Since each power supply is rated at 400 Watts, the surviving power supply can continue to operate indefinitely. Each power supply is hot swappable so replacing the power supply does not require a system shut down.

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Network Monitoring

A network is like anything else that is mechanical In nature, it needs monitoring and maintenance. It can be as simple as using the built-in network performance monitor, to elaborate monitoring equipment like Network Sniffers. It is important to know what your baseline performance is both electronic and software driven. The speed of a network or lack of it can tell the technician what is wrong, or where to look. Alt-Net Computer Solutions can perform all types of performance measuring tools. From certifying the actual wire and installation to live network performance monitoring.

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Managed Services

Managed services means that as a network service company we install software on each of your network devices so that we can monitor and repair them remotely. We can also install remote control software on each workstation and server so that we can service your whole network from our offices. Having the ability to monitor and service your network will cut your IT support costs significantly. For one thing it cuts down travel time and these services allow us to monitor or repair any problem that does not need new hardware.

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