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1. Introduction / Background
The Ullman, Manly, & Ulysses Corporation (UMUC) has grown substantially in the past decade. It has grown from one location and a few local customers to the international provider it is today. The 250 employees serve more than 75,000 customers worldwide from four locations in the United States and three European offices. UMUC’s catalog of more than 100,000 parts has grown as well. A result of such exponential company growth is the increased network traffic that has overwhelmed the current telecommunication infrastructure. 2. Abstract / Business Case
The purpose of this paper is to provide UMUC’s executives an overview of a proposed network solution to replace the current telecommunications network. The overview will outline how using advanced technologies for high availability, efficiency, and security management, such as virtual private network (VPN) technologies, will give us the ability to facilitate company expansion.
3. Problem Statement / Introduction
A result of such exponential company growth is the increased network traffic that has overwhelmed the current telecommunication infrastructure. UMUC IT staff has seen increases in network issues and system outages due to the fact that the current systems are unable to manage the increased demand. The inability to provide customers with premier service has had a negative impact on the organization’s reputation.
The aforementioned network issues have brought to light a number issues with the network management company. There has been a great level of difficulty with getting issues not only acknowledged but also resolved in an efficient and effective manner. This has forced UMUC’s executives to decide to seek a better network solution that can meet the organizational requirements of Availability, Reliability, Scalability, Security, Flexibility, Performance, Manageability, and Economic efficiency.
4. Proposed Solution(s)
To solve the issues stated above, a proposal to install internal networks (LAN) at each location along with a wide area network (WAN) to interconnect each site. Each of the four US and three European locations will need to be configured with network hardware that allows everyone access to the same network, services and applications. Each network implementation should also be configured to provide a scalable and future proof design in accordance with expected business growth and further expansion. In keeping the design as mobile and flexible as possible it will reduce the need for ongoing administration and maintenance in future. Below are illustrations of the proposed LAN and WAN design: LAN Design:
VPN configurations will be used between each location to ensure site-to-site connectivity. The VPN will allow employees to access the company’s intranet from home or while traveling outside the office, and site-to-site VPNs allow employees in geographically disparate offices to share one cohesive virtual network. A VPN can also be used to interconnect two similar networks over a dissimilar middle network; for example, two IPv6 networks over an IPv4 network. which will allow for high performance and secure access to information and services within each location. Redundancy and availability concerns have been addressed with Domain Controllers and File/Print servers available at each location. Active Directory replication will ensure that the chosen organizational schema is replicated between each location.
This quickly handles security and authorization requests while allowing the admin and maintenance duties to be carried out from a central location. UMUC staff and customers alike will each use corporate domain username and passwords, will allow them to connect and authenticate to corporate services. This distinction is important in terms of Information Security and will serve to provide a key example to the customer base as to how importantly UMUC takes security considerations and concerns. Each resource or service will verify access requests against the closest available domain controller so the provision of multiple, replicated servers will ensure that even if an instance is unavailable it can be processed by a controller at another site which will move UMUC away from certain outages and network issues that they are currently experiencing.
While there are numerous benefits to a self-controlled network, there are still risks to be considered with switching to such a platform. Most importantly is sustainment of network services during the switch. It is recommended to continue using the current network configuration until the new infrastructure reaches Final Operational Capability (FOC). Other factors to consider are finding, recruiting new talent, and retaining our certified network professionals. This can be addressed through job fairs, recruiting seminars. For current staff, in-house training and industry training events will be used to ensure certifications are met. 6. Results / Conclusion
Overall, the main benefit of the network proposal is that it will hand control of the configuration and administration to UMUC directly, rather than forcing their reliance on a third party who are unable to prioritize and respond to issues and requests accordingly. Bandwidth between sites will be solely utilized for UMUC requirements and these can be monitored and adjusted accordingly. Once the fundamental network infrastructure is implemented then it will also allow the organization to consider certain network features and functionality which can further benefit the organization – VoIP would be one key factor which would offer cost and functionality enhancements and an overall converged network infrastructure would be an aim to support future business objectives.
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