Kudler Fine Foods Network Overview
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Without a doubt, Kudler Fine Foods is definitely one of a kind. Kudler Fine Foods has come a long way in comparison to its early beginnings; however, Kudler has outgrown the old network infrastructure and is in dire need of an enterprise-wide upgrade. The strategic goals of the enterprise network are to introduce new methods to collect data, to communicate among the different branches, and to protect the information without sacrificing speed in the process. This is very important because if this is done correctly, it will result in higher profits while reducing the operational costs in relation to all Kudler Fine Foods stores. The new network will bring Kudler Fine Foods back up to technological speed, while at the same time, improving the way they keep track of inventory and sales by using data mining techniques which will be collected and analyzed in real time. Network Overview
After reviewing the current network, it was determined that Kudler is currently operating by use of the bus network. This is accomplished by connecting all nodes via a CAT5 connection to the communication line. Each of the 3 different sites have identical setups, with the exception of a few peripherals. Although there is internet access provided across all branches, it is accomplished by use of an antique 56k modem. One of the advantages of these types of networks is that it is very inexpensive to implement and operate. On the downside, if one day, the backbone was to become unstable, this would affect the entire network all at once. Another equally negative downfall is that in the event that two systems send data across the network at the same exact time, a signal collision will occur and will result in failure on both ends. One feature that would help prevent this issue is called carrier sense, multiple access with collision detection, abbreviated as CSMA/CD. The way this feature is meant to work is by putting the network into a listen mode as a way of preventing collisions from occurring in the first place. Network Response Time
One of the major goals is to improve the lack of response time and latency, which is currently a major issue due to the slow network speeds of the 56k modems that are being used at all 3 sites. The reason for this being a potential problem is that due to the slow speeds, the potential for a modem crash is imminent, and once it happens, the entire site would be down. Issues such as latency, jitter, and response times are quickly becoming a major issue, and are not solely a result of slow network speed, but also the systems that are currently being connected to the networks. A method for measuring response time is usually done by looking at the amount of time one has to wait for a system to respond once a user inputs a certain command. This is also a result of using outdated operating systems and system processors, which are mostly over 10 years old. The main cause for this is low bandwidth available from the 56k modem, which translates to up to 56,000 bps.
The fact that all servers on the Kudler Fine Foods networks are running Windows NT, while operating under the processing power of Pentium III processors. In the future, once these connections are replaced with a much faster T1-line, the network-connected systems will be able to receive up to 1.54 Mbps, which happens to be about 27 times faster than the current modem speed. As a result, the latency, response time, and jitter will be greatly decreased. Once the network is at the increased speed, the performance as a whole will benefit when it comes to the Kudler Foods daily operations of sales and inventory tracking. Traffic Analysis
A very important aspect of this entire process is conducting a thorough traffic analysis on the network. This traffic analysis will provide a means for detecting intrusions on the network, while discovering response time as well as latency issues. One of our main concerns here at Kudler Fine Foods is overall security of our network systems. A very important aspect of security also involves determining any latency issues that may be taking place in order to correct them without any major issues farther down the line. Although I’m sure there are plenty of other third-party software used for things of this nature, one that stands is called Wire Shark, which is known for its simplicity and superb performance. This software works by providing the capability to conduct a thorough packet level analysis in order to mitigate or stop issues in their tracks. Trace Route is also another program which will display the entire connection between the user and the destination that they are trying to reach. Having the ability or the means to stop issues before they occur is perhaps the best measure in relation to network security. It does little to no good to identify issues once they have already affected the company, and have concluded in negative effects. Networking Standards
In every network, it’s important for all standards to be set and implemented in order for it to be a reliable system. If a network is not able to efficiently connect different systems in order to share information and resources, then its basic purpose is lost. One important factor that allows for this to happen is to have appropriate standards set in place. The following organizational standards set basic parameters which will be set in place throughout the newly implemented network at Kudler Fine Foods. Standards such as: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IEEE organizational standard is followed in any type of network, regardless of connection type or configuration. Protocol and Security Overview
Among any network, regardless of size, the most important aspect must always be security. This applies to both internal and external threats. Regardless of how complex and dependable the newly implemented network at Kudler Foods proves to be, it will be useless if not sufficient effort was placed into the security of the network. The appropriate communication protocols is imperative in this aspect of the new network. The protocols should accurately match the equipment used in the specific network infrastructure. The new network at Kudler Foods will be emplacing a wide area network (WAN) in order to connect the 3 separate sites, which are also formed of much smaller local area networks within those sites. The appropriate communication protocol is essential when it comes to security and dependability of the networks. Within the local area networks at each site, the connection medium most likely will be through wireless connectivity, also known as WiFi. As such, we have selected to use the WPA-2 Enterprise standard for authentication. This happens to be one of the most secure methods for securing large networks.
Another capability that must be present in this new network infrastructure at Kudler Foods is creating Virtual Private Networks (VPN) connections among the 3 different sites. This will serve as a secure means of communication within each network by use of a separate high speed connection. This VPN will be essential to the daily operations at Kudler Foods because not only will it allow for systems to conduct periodic backups of all essential data, but it will also serve as a secondary means of Internet connection for all the systems in the network in the event that the main primary network goes down. This will give the entire network a valued level of protection, security, and redundancy. As for voice communication, a new method that will be set in place will be the Voice over IP method, also known as VoIP. This method uses “RTP, UDP, and IP to and from a skinny client for audio” (RADCOM Academy, 2012).
The skinny protocol as mentioned here is the same one used by many different Cisco equipment. Although the initial cost of VoIP is a bit higher than traditional methods, it is one something that is essentially worth it. In conclusion, I believe we all agree that Kudler Fine Foods is among the best in the business, and can only benefit from this much needed improvement. This is the push that will take Kudler Foods from among the best, to easily the very best in the industry. What used to work back in the day, is simply proving to be not sufficient in this ever changing world of technology. The competition is gaining speed, and Kudler Fine Foods simply cannot afford to sit still and let other companies catch up. The new network platform that Kudler Foods will be implementing will ensure that the quality of service continues to stay ahead of the competition. The benefits will be enjoyed not only by customers, but by employees throughout all of the Kudler Fine Foods job pool. The chain of events in positive consequences will be endless.
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