Computer network is a collection of computers connected together. It will provide the following advantages to the customer:
- Resource sharing: Computer network allows sharing of resources such as printers and programs. This saves on costs and space that would have been used to purchase and install these resources.
- Ease upgrading of programs: Computer networks enables programs to be installed and shared on a server. This saves on costs of buying individual software licenses. It also allows easy upgrade as it is only done at the server.
- Ease of software management: Since software is installed on one computer, updating them and tracking files becomes easy. This saves on time that would have been used to install and track files on individual computers.
- Access flexibility: Employees can access their work from any computer connected to the network.
An engineering approach to system analysis and design is to be used in order to complete this project. This consists of the following stages: System planning and selection, analysis, design, and implementation and operation (Valacich, George, & Hoffer 13).
System planning and selection. This involves identification of the needs of the company and various projects that can satisfy the needs. Feasibility study is conducted to identify both the economic and organizational impacts of the project. The customer processes large volumes of data daily. A network that is capable of processing large amounts of data needs to be set up by the organization.
The project is both economically and organizationally feasible. There is a budget of one million dollars allocated for the project. As will be shown later in the project budget, the amount is enough to run the project to completion. Due to the benefits the network is expected to give, there is no doubt that the project is going to directly or indirectly provide good financial return to the customer.
The time given to complete the project (4 months) is enough but in case there is a need for extension, extra time may be requested with justification. All hardware, software, and communication infrastructure required to successfully accomplish this project are locally available.
Analysis. This involves the study of the flow of information in the customer’s facility including its physical layout. The facility is situated into two-storey building with five floors each, which are separated by a distance of one mile. Each floor has dimensions of approximately 250ft by 250ft. There are many other buildings obstructing the two buildings, therefore, there is no line of sight between them. Moreover, the buildings have good electrical, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation.
Design. This is where the project specifications are changed into logical and physical design. The network should include a wired client/server network with each workstation in about every two thousand square feet with a central server where files and applications can be accessed by all workstations. There should also be shared printers in each building to allow users to print their documents. Client server network will provide several advantages. First, it will allow the use of a variety of operating systems on clients’ computers with server running server operating system. Second, it will provide easy software management as most software is installed and managed on the server. Third, it will provide high levels of computer security as this is controlled and managed at the server. Finally, there is no limit on the number of computers which should be connected at the network.
Wired network is advantageous over wireless network because wireless networks work at a speed of up to 54Mbps while wired network works up to a speed of 100Mbps on fast Ethernet. Moreover, a wireless network always slows down when the number of users increases or when large files are transferred.
To utilize the advantages of both bus and star topologies, the network will be based on a star-bus hybrid topology. Star topology will be implemented of the computers in every floor, while bus topology will connect computers from one floor to the other. This will provide several advantages to the network. First, it will have good performance and be reliable i.e. failure of network in one floor does not affect networks in other floors. Secondly, it allows easy replacement and addition of components in the network. Finally, it enables easy installation, management, and troubleshooting.
The network in two buildings will be connected using fiber optic cables. This is because fiber optic cables have the capacity to carry signals at very high speeds due to its high bandwidth. This will enable the customer to transmits big amounts of data easily between the buildings and save on space that would have been used to install many wires to accommodate the same amount of bandwidth. Moreover, immunity to electromagnetic interference provides greater security.