What Resources Are Needed for the Upgrade?
If you already have a good inventory of the network, you are ahead of the game. Keeping an up-to-date listing of network
”including hardware and software, along with other pertinent information such as network addresses, serial numbers, manufacturers' help-line
, and so on ”is a task that, when done on a regular basis, will yield great results down the line.
Without a good network map document, you won't
be sure that you're not violating some of the topology rules for your network. Before beginning to plan an expansion or the addition of new equipment, review documentation for that which you already possess. You might have some devices that do not need to be
. For example, if you already have network adapter cards that are 10Mbps/100Mbps, you will not need to add the cost of new cards to an upgrade plan when going from a 10BASE-T network to a 100BASE-T network.
Although 10BASE-T is discussed in this section, you should consider that now is the time to upgrade to 100BASE-T. The network cards are very inexpensive (less than $20 for a 10/100Mbps card), and switches are respectively priced at a much lower rate. You will gain a large increase in performance by upgrading, at a minimal cost.
Items that you should be sure to inventory include the following:
Workstations and servers.
Hubs, routers, and switches. Consider replacing hubs with switches, because there is little if any price difference, and switches
at a much faster bandwidth.
Test equipment. Depending on your equipment (from hand-held cable testers to high-end network analyzers), this can be an expensive item.
Workgroup and end-
software applications. Most of the
applications require a much higher bandwidth.
Mechanisms used to exchange data with contacts outside the company. You may still be using an older 10BASE-T network, but a good vendor is going to be operating at a much higher bandwidth.
Management and control applications, such as SNMP, DHCP, DNS, and NIS.
Looking at your inventory, determine how the existing pieces can be used in an upgraded network. For example, it won't do a lot of good to install a faster switch and hook a server to a faster port if the server is not capable of supporting the bandwidth. In such a case, upgrades to the server (or a replacement) would have to be
as part of the plan. Although installing switches can dramatically improve performance in a departmental LAN, an older hub might be sufficient for a few more
in an office where network utilization is not high. Test equipment and management applications are not
inexpensive items. Be sure to include the costs of upgrading these management tools when calculating the cost of the upgrade.
When determining your resources, don't forget people. A major project of any kind should always have an identified set of team players that will be responsible for the project. A clearly defined project team will identify the person responsible for each aspect, such as purchasing, infrastructure, systems, and documentation. This will greatly improve communication during the length of the project, because a point of contact is identified for specific areas.
A project leader should be designated to be the focal point both for the project team and for others in the company who need to get information about the project or its progress. Each project team member should have a clearly defined role and area of responsibility. The area of responsibility is a very important one. As in any social interaction, overlapping duties can generate personal resentment between people working on the same project. When a clear, defined set of job responsibilities and
is spelled out in writing, you have a better chance of achieving harmony among the team
A project team will work best when it is dedicated to the project. Giving users multiple roles to fill in their jobs can lead to confusion, unexpected priorities, and degradation in the progress of the overall project. Although the current support staff might be knowledgeable in the network and its
, bringing in additional help, by using
contact workers, for example, might keep the project focused on its goals and the time frame associated with them.