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Networking Solutions and Design for StarTech Institute

Assignment Brief

Assignment Brief

As part of the formal assessment for the programme you are required to submit a Data Communications assessment. Please refer to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing and submitting assignments.

Learning Outcomes:

After completing the module, you should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of data communications principles.
2. Apply their knowledge and understanding of networking components in the design of data communication systems.
3. Evaluate existing networked systems.
4. Communicate technical information effectively by writing reports in language that is appropriate to the target reader.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of user support in a network environment.

Graduate attributes:

Lifelong Learning

Manage employability, utilising the skills of personal development and planning in different contexts to contribute to society and the workplace.

Maximum word count: 4,000 words

Assignment Task – Case Study

StarTech is a Manchester-based skills training institute that offers onsite computing training programmes in hardware, networking, security, programming, databases, web development and computer graphics.

They employ 10 full-time admin staff plus a number of part-time trainers. They currently have around 200 students attending different course in morning and evening sessions.

The site is in one building over two floors. It has 4 labs each equipped with 30 PCs. There are dedicated PCs for each of the Admin staff that use 2 offices. The trainers share 10 PCs that have been placed in a staff room. The Director has his personal computer attached to a dedicated printer in his office. There are 2 PCs dedicated in the IT Room for the Network Assistants.

Currently all the students, staff, and trainer details are held on PCs including the sensitive accounts data. There have been various instances of data breach in the past whereas the issues arising from data inconsistency are a daily occurrence. The institute is currently unable to keep track of the printing quota for the staff and the students. There have been complaints from the Network Assistant about students downloading unlicensed software on the lab PCs and accessing malicious websites. The institute is also considering extending WiFi access to the students that is currently being offered to the staff and trainers only.

The director has decided that the solution to their problem lies in networking solution. Since StarTech have just recruited you, straight from this course, as a computer expert. The director has asked you to produce a suitable network solution. They are interested in both the technical aspects of the solution and, of course, the costs.

Task 1 – Benefits of Networking

Learning Outcomes

 a. This company has raised some specific issues that they wish to address and they believe that networking their office will resolve these Are they correct in this belief?

b. Write a brief report for the management of StarTech explaining what network solution would address each of their This must be clearly focussed on the issues mentioned in the scenario and show how a network would help them solve their current problems. (500 words) (10 marks) (LO1, LO5)

Task 2 – Network Design

 Design an appropriate local area network infrastructure for StarTech. You must as a minimum include switches, wired workstations, servers, an Internet connection (hence a router and firewall) and wireless access points in your design.

a. Provide logical network diagrams showing how the organisation might provide the required services and This may be one or more diagrams as you see fit.  Any suitable drawing package can be used and you will not be graded on the drawings themselves; just the network design.  Look on line to see many examples of how to draw network diagrams.

b. Outline the cabling requirements for your design. You will obviously need a basic plan of the organisation for the physical layout design to determine the cabling You can use the information given in the scenario above to sketch a plan of the organisation’s site. Identify and justify the type(s) of cable used.  Provide rough costs based on referenced supplier information found by searching the Internet. Since the organisation is in the UK, the supplier and price must be UK based.

c. Explain each infrastructure device, what its function is and why you have selected that device for the This explanation must focus on the organisation and its requirements.

d. Identify and justify TWO specific products that could be used for each infrastructure device, including the exact make and model along with a supplier and Since the organisation is in the UK, the supplier and price must be UK based.  Remember that this is a business and covers a large site, so equipment designed for home network use will not be appropriate. (1,200 words) (30 marks) (LO2)

Task 3 – IPv4 Addressing

For the network you designed in task 2, devise appropriate IPv4 address allocations and explain how these will be implemented. You need to include both static and dynamic addresses in your scheme.  You should cover the following:

Graduate attributes

a. Actual addresses and address ranges used, with This should clearly identify appropriate logical groupings of devices and show the relevant address ranges used by each group.

b. Methods used by different devices to acquire their address, with (500 words) (10 marks) (LO2)

Task 4 – Network Services

Every network depends on the services provided to make it useful. These include obvious foreground user services such as e-mail and less well known background services such as the Domain Name Service (DNS).

Identify at least 5 appropriate services (both foreground and background) for the organisation to run on their network.  For each service, clearly explain why it is necessary and how it helps the organisation either in running their network (background services) or operating as a business (foreground services).  Make sure you discuss services, not servers (the computers and software that provide services) and not clients (the computers and software that use services to perform functions). (600 words) (15 marks) (LO2)

Task 5 – Network Monitoring

Identify one specific network monitoring tool that the StarTech could use to ensure that their network continues to perform correctly. You should identify a specific product (including manufacturer, product and exact version or model number as appropriate) including supplier and price.  This should be appropriate to the size of the StarTech and their network.

For the tool you have identified, explain what it does and how the information it supplies can be used by the organisation. You should support this explanation with screen shots from the package to show how it performs these tasks. These screen shots may be taken from the manufacturer’s web site and should of course be referenced. (500 words) (10 marks) (LO3)

Task 6 – Security

As with any computer system, security is an issue with a new network. Identify three possible security issues that the StarTech will face with their new network and outline how they can provide appropriate levels of protection. (700 words) (15 marks) (LO3, LO5)

Report Writing

Your entire report will be graded for presentation and use of appropriate English to communicate technical information to the reader. This will include correct use of English and technical terminology, including the correct spelling of technical terms such as Wi-Fi. This is NOT a separate task and does not require any additional work. It will be graded based on the entire contents of your report. (Entire report) (10 marks) (LO4)

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