Scaling Your Network
The purpose of scaling your network is allowing it to grow. Rarely do networks need to remain their original size. Over time you need to add more devices, rooms of equipment, or possibly even another location. This applies to both homes and businesses so it is equally applicable.
You have hooked a few computers together through a switch. Then you added a router to get to the internet. So you have a nice shiny new network. This could be at home or a small business. What now? How do you make it even more useful? How do you get it to the size you need? These are all questions I hope to answer.
Scaling your Network : Budgeting
This is one of the key points. you just have to budget for updated equipment and software these days. Figure out what you can do and set it aside at some regular interval. Even if you do not use that money every interval at least let it grow so you can be saving for that new switch or backup router. You don't want your only router to go down and not have a replacement ready.
The same goes for software considerations. Occasionally everything just needs to be updated. Whether no one develops for it anymore or it just stops getting security patches, you need to be ready to move on if it does not meet your needs anymore. The only way to do this is to have a budget for a replacement when you get the idea it will need to be replaced soon.
Scaling Your Network : Understanding Its Characteristics
Understanding what your network consists of is key to planning for future growth and budgeting. You could have a small network with only a single server to multiple locations and a hundred servers. Whatever it is, you need to know what all is involved and a little bit of how it works.
Local Area Network
Local area networks are made up of switches, routers, cables, computers and information. Switches have less capabilities than routers but will send traffic to different areas. Routers are quite intelligent these days. Expanding your lan is the usual way you will start scaling your network to make it larger and more useful.
They are smart and will route traffic to different areas as well as decide what is the best route. They also will make sure your traffic gets through if part of your network goes down. Information, or data, is the key thing here.
Most people do not think about this at all. Your entire reason for having a network is the storage and manipulation of data. Your network is information. It does not matter whether you analyze spreadsheets all day, code your new cloud software or play games, you still have information that needs to move around on the network.
Wide Area Network
Fixed Line Services
Scaling Your Network : Technologies Used In A Wan
If you have a larger network then you undoubtedly use 1 or more of the following technologies. Businesses often use a mix or older and newer technology. Since this is a more complicated routine than setting up a small house hold network, there are several technologies used to integrate everything together. Some of these are ATM, Frame Relay, SONET, and X.25. Some of these are very old but there are several companies that still use them. Communication using one of these protocols is essential in scaling your network in order for it to connect to other networks.
ATM stands for asynchronous transfer mode. It is one of the more current technologies and still used a lot by equipment. It is a digital system unlike the old telephone system that was once used. Speeds obtained from ATM are limited mostly by the media and and your cash. Fiber optics will be your best media here.
The protocol used in ATM to get all this done is call cell switching. These are very tiny packets and are called cell switching. They are called this because the packets are so small. It is very fast too. It is able to reach speeds of 10 gbps.
This is the synchronous optical network. It is used a lot these days for WAN connectivity and can also be used in digital technology since fiber is used with it extensively. Being very popular for very large areas, it is very versatile in what it can do. SONET can transfer and carry almost any kind of data.
This technology is like X.25 but is digital. It is still used but near as much as it used to be. Being faster than X.25 though makes it a great alternative. Performance in your usual environment makes good use of your existing bandwidth.
Scaling Your Network : Choosing Vendors
The equipment and software that you buy on a regular basis is vital to your success. If you buy hard drives because they are cheap then either your customers or your staff will be disappointed. That will not be good for your business. Stability is very important in this regard. Use a quality vendor that sells solid infrastructure.
You also want a vendor that is just a little larger than you are. That is the best recipe for your business. The reason why is that they will be close enough in size to understand what you need. However, since they are a bit larger than you, you can take advantage of their better pricing.
Increasing Your Storage
Sometimes to grow your network you will need to first increase your storage capabilities. This can happen in many ways and no two situations are identical. This means that you will need to evaluate what makes sense for your situation and budget. Adding some direct attached storage is an easy and quick way if you have a very small network. Choosing network attached storage is the next step and is typical of a large home network or still a small business setting. A SAN(storage area network) is popular for businesses that can afford them. Don't fall into the trap of getting more than you need even if you can afford it. You should only get the technology that makes sense for you. For example, getting a SAN dramatically increases the complexity of your storage and is a lot more expensive than plain network attached storage. I am just saying be careful is all.