Development of a Network System for BiggsTech Electricals Inc.
Development of a Network System for BiggsTech Electricals Inc.
Network Architecture Assessment
This paper reviews the network architecture of BiggsTech Electricals Inc. and enables us to design a better and more reliable network for the company. Currently, the business has been experiencing some networking problems, which have made it unable to complete most of its computer-based communications and transactions. With the high rate of adoption of technology coupled with an increase in e-commerce, the failure of the company’s network system has made it incur massive losses. Accordingly, there is a need to carry out a network architecture assessment to identify weaknesses in the existing network, which will inform us on how to develop a more efficient one.
General Business Environment
BiggsTech Electricals Inc. specialises in the sale of consumer electronic products. Its main products include smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, iPhones, IPads, cameras, MP3 players, headphones, laptops, televisions, video games, home theatres, and speakers. Due to the rapid adoption of technology and e-commerce, coupled with the ease of access to the internet, the business has recently added an online shopping platform. Importantly, the online shopping platform had enabled it to capture the techno-savvy buyers who mostly prefer to make online purchases.
BiggsTech Electronics Inc. has five major departments, finance, human resource, sales and marketing, logistics, and procurement, which enable it to function properly. The finance department deals with all activities that relate to incomes and expenditures of the business. Incomes are normally received from the sale of electronic goods, while expenses include salaries, leases payment, purchase of inventories, and recurrent expenditures. The human resource department allocates duties, determines employees’ leave days and offs, and also established their promotions or demotions. Additionally, these department recruits new employees or cancels the contracts for the underperforming ones.
The sales and marketing department is in charge of promoting the company’s items to potential buyers. Therefore, it is actively engaged in both online and physical advertisement. Additionally, it evaluates the customers’ purchasing behavior and the market trends to know how the company can competitively position itself. The logistics department main duty is to deliver online purchases to customers. Finally, the procurement department analyzes the company’s inventory levels and consumer purchases to establish the items that should be ordered and also the business’ optimal stock and re-order levels.
BiggsTech Electricals Inc. shares all information from each department using an open systems interconnection (OSI) and transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) in a dual-stacked environment. This network was established to enable all departments to share interdependent information and facilitate online shopping. Unfortunately, this system has proven to be memory-intensive and has caused an inability for application internetworking to occur.
Network Goals and Objectives Statement
- Connectivity and communication: The establishment of a stable network will connect the users of computers in all BiggsTech Electricals’ departments.
- Data sharing: The interconnection of all departments will facilitate secure sharing of information.
- Hardware sharing: The networking system will facilitate sharing of hardware such as scanners and printers by placing these systems on the network ((FitzGerald, Denniss, & Durcikova, 2014).
- Data security and management: The installation of a network will enable administrators to better manage the business’ critical data by safely storing information in servers and controlling its access (McMillan, 2015).
Assessment of the Network Architecture
Currently, BiggsTech Electrical Inc. uses an open systems interconnection (OSI) and transmission control protocol/ Internet protocol (TCP/IP) in a dual-stacked environment. In this system, routers are connected to the network backbone which is enabled for IPv4 and IPv6. One rooter is used to connect to the host computers using a network that also supports IPv4 and IPv6. Another router is connected to the NFS (network file system) server using a network that also supports IPv4 and IPv6. There is also a router that connects to the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) server, Mail server, and DNS (Domain name system) server using a network that also supports IPv4 and IPv6. All the small routers are then connected to a primary router (Router 2), which also has a firewall. Router 2 is connected to primary router 1(boundary) which has a firewall and connects to the internet service provider. Between router 1 and router 2 there is a DMZ (demilitarized zone/ perimeter network), which connects to the web server and FTP (file transfer protocol) server.
The company’s network is memory-intensive, which makes it inappropriate. As a result, it has caused an inability for application internetworking to occur. Due to this challenge, the organization should use a less memory-intensive network.
Business Goals and Objectives as Supported by the Network
The current network is designed to support all the operations of BiggsTech Electricals Inc. Firstly, the network facilitates online shopping, which is a major segment of the company. In this case, the network provides a gateway for the online shopping platform, which enables buyers to know the items that the company is selling and their respective prices. Additionally, the network enables the inventory to be automatically updated on every purchase, which is essential in avoiding cases of customers’ buying non-existent items.
The sharing of information facilitated by the network is also important in enabling reconciliations in all departments. In the financial department, the network will help the company to track all its sales, incomes, losses, and liabilities. The network also helps the procurement department to have a track of the company’s inventories (Kurose & Ross, 2016). In this case, the department can know how many items are remaining when a purchase is made, which helps it to know when to place an order for new inventories.
The network also supports the business goal of being efficient, by enabling the sharing of hardware. Firstly, various hardware such as computers and scanners can be connected to the main network, which can eliminate the need for the company purchasing these items for each employee.
Lastly, the network ensures that the company’s data is safely stored and managed in the company’s server. Therefore, the network avoids the cases of the company’s sensitive information being haphazardly stored in small computers. Additionally, the data manager can control the information accessed by each individual.
Networking Problems in the Business
The main problem of the current network is the failure of the application internetworking, which has led to the collapse of the entire network. The current network is memory-intensive, which has made the local area network of each department being unable to connect with the wide area network. As a result, BiggsTech Electrical Inc. does not have communication and connection across departments. Additionally, its departments are unable to share information or share hardware. The business is also unable to manage its data safely.
The failure of the network has also resulted in each department not being connected to the wide area network, and the company’s server. Accordingly, the departments are not interconnected; therefore, they cannot communicate on a shared network (Kurose & Ross, 2016). Also, the failure of the network has made it impossible for all departments to share common hardware, such as printers easily.
Another concern with the failure of the company’s network is the lack of data security and management. Due to the failure in the connection of the company’s network, the data manager is unable to safely store all the data in the server and control the information that various individuals can access (McMillan, 2015). Furthermore, employees are in some cases forced to carry sensitive data using flash disks so that it can be used in other departments.
The network architecture assessment has enabled the fulfilment of our mission of developing a stable network for the company. In particular, this assessment has disclosed that the current network is memory-intensive, which has resulted in the inability for application internetworking. Additionally, this assessment has informed us of the business structure and operations of BiggsTech Electricals Inc., which will be essential in enabling us to design an efficient network for the company. Accordingly, the new network will not be memory-intensive and will focus on data management and security, information sharing, and connectivity and communication, which are essential in BiggsTech Electricals Inc. operations.
Network Referencing Model (OSI versus TCP/IP)
Network Reference Model (OSI vs TCP/IP) Comparison
The current network architecture at BiggsTech Electricals Inc. is running on a dual-stack model that has implemented both OSI and TCP/IP protocol. This architecture has resulted in challenges and compromise to the security and infras tructure of the retail store. A dual stack model duplicates the implementation of the application to network layer across the communicating devices on the network, which makes it memory-intensive (Lin & Lei, 2008).
OSI Model Concept
The retail store implements the OSI model in its communication and resource sharing processes. Whenever users in various departments are communicating within the store, the information has to pass through all the seven steps from sender to destination, which are application layer, presentation layer, session layer, transport layer, network layer, data link layer, and physical layer. Each layer communicates with the peer layer in the two communicating devices. Noteworthy, the devices sending data must initiate the communication from the top layer, but the receiving device receives the information from the bottom. The communication takes the reverse action mechanism of natural communication.
OSI Reference Model and Data Flow Diagram
Roles of the OSI Layers in Communication
The application layer is the interface layer between the user and the computer device. It provides the interface between the applications running on the computer devices and the underlying layers. The protocols at this layer include Telnet, FTP, email client (SMTP) and HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Protocols are simply the rules that govern communication in a network.
The presentation layer delivers the information passing through from the application layer in a manner that can be transmitted across the network. For example, when a user is sending an email, the presentation layer transforms the text into email format for transmission.
This layer initiates and terminates communication between the sender and the recipient.
The transport layer helps in maintaining the flow of data and provides error checking mechanisms and recovery of data between devices. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) protocols operate in this layer.
Usually, routers determine the paths to use for the destination of the data being sent. The network layer provides the logical addresses that are used by routers. Logical addresses are equivalent to the IP addresses used on the network, which include the source and destination address.
Data Link Layer
This layer is useful in formatting the message into data frames by adding headers containing the hardware destination and source address. This mechanism makes the header to find the next destination device on the network for the message. This layer comprises of Logical Link Layer (LLC) for managing frames of upper and lower layer, error control, flow control, and the Media Access Control (MAC) for carrying the physical address of every device on the network.
This layer defines the physical layout of the network such as the connections and timing.
Network Reference TCP/IP
TCP/IP communication suite helps in interconnecting network devices on the internet. The protocol also applies to private networks such as intranet and extranet (Mazzon, 2000). Unlike ISO reference model, this protocol suite has five layers, which are the application, transport, network, data link, and physical layers.
TCP/IP Reference Model and Data Flow Diagram
The application layer is where users get the interface to interact with applications on the computers and communicate with other devices on the network.
In this layer, programs transfer information between various applications on the network and between the clients and servers. The layer uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for a reliable connection between server and client applications. The protocol can check and handle errors, lost packets and correct them without relying on the application programs. The protocol also handles flow control for slow transmissions.
For unreliable transmissions, the layer applies the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) with no sessions and flow control. This protocol is used in Voice over internet protocol and video streaming, and there is no error detection.
This layer is responsible for routing packets across the network for communication. The protocol used is the Internet Protocol (IP) with the complexity of the message left for the TCP.
Data Link Layer
Data link layer transfers information/data between the network’s hosts. It mostly applies to the Local Area Network (LAN).
The physical layer is used for handling the physical characteristics of the network’s transmission medium, such as radio transmission, optical fibre, and copper medium. The software application has no reliance on this layer.
The figure below shows how data travels through this layers between communicating devices.
Data Flow Diagram for Both OSI and TCP/IP
Revised OSI Model with Hardware and its Data Flow
OSI Reference Model Connectivity
For the retail store to be able to stabilize and secure its communications and resource sharing across the network, both local and external, there is need to implement best mechanisms for connectivity via the OSI model. The revised proposed network solution will have every required device at any given layer for enhanced communication.
For secure communication and transfer of information, there will be a security and encryption mechanisms for the information. This mechanism will be achieved through implementation of firewalls to safeguard communication and prevent intrusion of data and information.
Revised Proposed Data Flow Diagram
In any organization that relies on the network for communication and data sharing, there has to be a well-implemented network architecture that facilitates the flow of information. For the revised analysis and connectivity of the network devices, the retail store requires every employee and user to have access to connectivity and security of information (Kołodziejczyk & Ogiela, 2012). The OSI reference model is a primary requirement in making sure that communication flows from the top to bottom layer is well secured, and encryption is guaranteed for data integrity. Having the routers connected at the application layer linking to the switches fulfils the requirement for connectivity, which is the number one objective.
The implementation of the network protocols such as TCP/IP is a good practice for secure communication and flow of information across the network. The implementation will ensure that all the rules that govern data communication have been considered in the long run. It is upon Biggs Tech Electricals Inc. network administrator in ensuring that there is the implementation of a firewall at the application and physical layer for security reason to prevent intrusion (Kołodziejczyk & Ogiela, 2012). Having the log of all the traffic flowing through the network will be an essential implementation for intrusion detection and prevention. The design and flow of data will rely on peer-to-peer communication between the sending and receiving the host on the network. Translation and presentation of information will be handled by the specific network layer in the business entity.
The connectivity of all the devices provided by the management will rely on the OSI model for communication. Every protocol will route information and convert the data in the way that realises the needs and requirement of users across the network (Kołodziejczyk & Ogiela, 2012). Improving network infrastructure is a process that requires enough analysis and penetration testing for the organization to realize stability in communication and data sharing. Biggs Tech Electricals Inc. retail store requires protection of their confidential information. The security of data has been considered in the revised plan by implementing peer-to-peer communication across the OSI model layers on the network. The realization of the mission is upon the architectural design and implementation of the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates on the organization’s domain. The primary goal of the new design is to make sure that there will be secure, efficient and reliable communication.
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