justifying the design and choice of components used in a networked solution

In this article we’ll justify the design and choice of components used in a networked solution – a solution we’ve created based on a fictional network for a fictional organisation called ‘Y Youth’. Y Youth is a youth centre that is opening soon. It is located in a four story building with a lot of networking requirements including:

  • 3 offices – Top floor, administration, marketing and co-ordinator
  • Café area – 1st floor, Area for café, music and bands
  • Basement – Basement Area for games, activities
  • Computer room – for training purposes
  • Front drop in computer area and reception – Drop in for the public to use computers

The computer room in the building requires more equipment and connections than any other so we will use this room in our design below.


As you can see from the illustration above, this is the layout of the equipment within the computer room.  At first glance, the topology appears to be a BUS topology but each connection to the network connects directly to a switch so it is in fact a Star topology. The switch uses a bus topology to connect to the server and combining a bus and star topology make it a Tree topology. The reason we chose this topology is because if there were more workstations or equipment needed, they could be added quickly and easily. The range of equipment and reasons for choosing it are as follows:

  • Workstations – The workstations are for students so they would have to be capable of running modern software students use to do school work. The computers would need to be capable of running Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite etc… and they would also have to have network interface cards (NICs) in order to be able to connect to a network.  Wireless capabilities, while useful for students are not necessary as this room is for training purposes and wireless on phones can be distracting.
  • Projector – The projector would need some kind of connection to the network, such as through a laptop or computer, in order to project the images from whatever a teacher wants to show students. Most modern projectors are smart projectors that enable touch technology in combination with a whiteboard.
  • Printer – In order for the printer to be used on this network, it would need its own unique connection to the network. Computers connect to the printer through the switch.
  • Switch – Control of the network in the computer room can be made possible through programming the switch to handle the traffic without having to contact the server directly. If anything outside of the network such as the internet or web applications are needed then the requests first go through the switch then on to the server where they are checked for validity (to make sure the device requesting access to the web is recognised and has permission to use the internet).
  • Server – The server for this room would be the server for the building itself which controls the various network segments for the building. Each switch connected to the server has certain permissions in order to control traffic flow. The server will hold sensitive data as well as user accounts. Many students will use the computer room so user information is held on the server plus any data that may be important (perhaps assignment files or portfolios of work). Administration accounts and permissions (for editing information on workstations) would also be held on the server.

As you can see in the diagram above, there is a firewall connected to the server before it reaches the internet. This is software that controls who can access the network from outside of the building and what data is allowed to come inside.

Each of the workstations will have its own security software such as antivirus, anti-malware and general performance scanning software to ensure safety of that individual system. The server will also have its own security software. Other components to be included on this network are a backup system to backup system information and important data to protect against data loss / damage. A profanity filter, adult content filter and blacklist of websites will also be added on the network to ensure the safety of students and maximise productivity.