Network fundamentals, unit 1


As promised, today i start a new series of posts for absolute beginners.

Unlike many other ”serious” documents on this subject where they begin with lashings and oozles of theoretical concepts and historical background, I will try to demonstrate how to build a simple company network from scratch using basic configurations and little bits of theory here and there.

Let’s begin! Here’s our scenario.

Our company (let’s call it Evilcorp) has around 70 employees and because they have always worked remotely and have their own home internet connections, Evilcorp never got around to renting an office and building an office network. However, Evilcorp’s boss has now decided that remote workers are passe and rented a big office for their employees.

Here’s what we know:

  1. Currently, the office has 1 CEO, 40 programmers, 10 generalists, 3 accountants, 5 hr people, 3 directors, 5 IT people, 5 assistants. Evilcorp plans to hire 10% more every year.
  2. The office has three floors.
  3. The company has 10 printers, each employee needs an IP phone, there are also other IP-enabled devices (TVs, projectors, etc.).
  4. There are 5 network drives that our programmers need access to and 1 network drive for accountants.
  5. We have ten servers (web servers etc., Evil services etc.) that need to be available to the general public. We may have a lot more in the future because Evilcorp is growing fast.
  6. The network needs to be as secure as possible.
  7. The boss likes to work from home and needs remote access to the Evilcorp servers.
  8. The boss says that the office network can never be down, so it needs to be designed to be failure-proof.
  9. In the future, Evilcorp needs a small branch overseas. Sensitive data and voice traffic (IP phones!) will be transferred between the HQ and the branch.
  10. There is a huge budget for IT so we don’t need to worry about money

You have now been hired as an external consultant to design, configure, and continuously improve Evilcorp’s network.

The plan is ambitious. In the next unit we shall try to break it down into specific network tasks.





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