Companies are often reluctant to invest in network upgrades because of the expense and labor involved, but making this investment is critical as outdated network can greatly inhibit productivity and service to customers. Telecommunications audit services can identify weaknesses in existing networks and suggest upgrades or new infrastructure to provide a comprehensive, scalable solution.
Network infrastructure is the telecommunications backbone of companies and other organizations. Network infrastructure, in general, serves to connect various devices to allow them to interact. These networks can range from small scale applications such as a computer, printer and wireless Internet router or larger scale applications that connect computers throughout a building or at several sites to connect and interact.
The vast majority of companies need network infrastructure upgrades. More than 90 percent of IT managers at firms around the world said their network infrastructure needed an upgrade to some degree, according to a Vanson Bourne study. Networking experts said that many companies are using network solutions that are more than a decade old. The study found that about a third of IT managers who responded to their poll said their company suffered from several weekly network outages that lasted 20 minutes or more.
Old, slow networks can cause delays that inhibit the productivity of staff and also cause delays in service to customers. Older networks may also be more vulnerable to malware and hacking because they typically run on older software. To improve performance and security, upgrading company networks is urgently needed by most companies.
Common Steps For Network Upgrades
Telecom network management solutions consultants can analyze an existing network and make suggestions for upgrades or a new network. Some common steps involved in this process include:
A site visit will allow network consultants to examine existing equipment and users. Consultants will also quiz company IT staff about future growth and needs. They’ll examine client facilities to see what physical issues could influence efforts to upgrade a network and they’ll also help determine what the wireless needs of clients are. After making these assessments, network consultants will offer possible solutions to clients.
Once the client and consultant have settled on an upgrade plan, the process of selecting equipment will begin. Appropriate cables for the network upgrade will be purchased, as well as needed networking devices to connect devices in the network, such as routers and switches.
There are a variety of different types of network cable that may be used in an upgrade. The type of cable selected will depend on the devices they are connecting, physical space considerations and electromagnetic shielding needs.
Devices used to connect other devices in the network are also a critical infrastructure component. Differing networking devices have differing capabilities to facilitate the flow of information throughout a network. In general, the higher the device is in the OSI model, the more capabilities it provides the user. Higher level devices are more able to analyze data traffic and route it. For example, Layer 1 hubs are only capable of forwarding data out of all ports, but Layer 2 switches can filter data and send it out of the port linked to its destination per its MAC address. Layer 3 routers can make more decisions concerning what traffic to forward or block.
When all needed equipment has been purchased, implementation of the networking upgrade will begin. This process may include some changes to how network devices are housed. In many cases, network consultants will want to establish a closet or room in the facility as a telecommunications room to house networking devices. Centralizing the location of many of these devices will increase security and also make maintenance easier.
Once the implementation of the new network is complete, it will go live and begin performing intended tasks. If the installation has gone according to plan, there should be few problems with the new system once it moves into the operation phase.
To ensure that implementation has gone smoothly, the network consultant will begin an extended period of review and evaluation. Consultants will compare what network users are experiencing in their daily work to the expectations of the client. Planned designs and costs will be compared to actual deployment to garner relevant information for future upgrades. Operation of the network and changes to the design made necessary by events will also be recorded. Documentation of changes makes maintenance easier.
Considerations When Upgrading Your Network
When upgrading a network, there are a number of practical considerations facilities managers must take into account, such as:
- The layout of the office will have a big impact on several aspects of network upgrades, such as where to install components such as cables and wires. Older or spacious offices may pose some challenges to the contractor upgrading your network, so it’s important to find a contractor versed in all aspects of network installation and upgrades.
- Scalability is a key concern for many business owners upgrading an old network or installing a new one. As businesses grow, their network demands are likely to increase. Installing a network with the capability to expand to meet the demands of growth is a key consideration. Also, company leaders will have to decide whether they want a local area network or a wide area network. When making this decision, company leaders need to think about the nature of their business and what network best allows employees to do their work efficiently and securely.
- It is absolutely vital that the company upgrading your network or installing a new one be very knowledgeable with regard to hardware options. Ensuring the new network has proper cabling is one of the most critical components of network installs and upgrades.
- Cost factors, unfortunately, have to be a consideration with regard to a new network. Breaking the bank on a new network is hardly the way to run a successful business. Company leaders need to think hard about what they’d like for their network to be able to do and the bare bones minimum they have to have it do and consider this alongside their available budget for the project.
Fortune Consulting can analyze clients’ existing networks and their current and future needs and suggest cost effective solutions that will provide a modern, optimized network. Fortune Consulting can also analyze clients’ telephone communications setup and suggest telecom bill management solutions to greatly reduce costs. On average, Fortune Consulting can save clients $2 for every $1 spent on its telecom auditing and negotiation services.
Efficient and scalable networks are essential to modern business. Working with a company versed in installing new network infrastructure and getting the most performance out of existing systems will help increase productivity, quality of service and help foster better telecom bill management.