You have obtained a contract position at a medium-sized marketing and advertising firm called Priority Advertising. Your contract responsibilities are to help them plan their emerging networking and communications requirements and update some of their IT resources. Priority Advertising currently hires 95 employees and operates from Level 10 and 11 on the X Tower in Brisbane CBD. Priority Advertising has recently purchased a five-story building in a Brisbane suburb – see Fig. 1 for the floor plan – where they can allocate a separate floor to each of their five departments, namely
(1) Marketing, (2) Advertising, (3) Graphic Design, (4) Photography, and (5) HR and accounting. They plan to move to their new office in a three-month period. Also, Priority Advertising’s list of customers has greatly expanded to other cities, mainly Toowoomba where their customers in Toowoomba are demanding more interactive advertising media, including video presentations. The management recognizes the business potential in this new market in Toowoomba and have leased a small office in Toowoomba (aka Priority Advertising’s sixth department) – see Fig. 2 for the floor plan – to host 8 local employees.
They have hired you to review their existing IT resources and produce a proposal that allows the company to take advantage of their firm’s expansion. The management has stated that if the proposal meets their requirements, they may hire you full-time to implement and manage these new resources.
Brisbane Office Floor Plan (five identical floors)
Toowoomba Office Floor Plan
You now have an idea of the scope of the project that you have undertaken, but do not have all information required to proceed. Using the details provided in the following sections you are required to prepare a professional business report of 2500 words addressing the seven activities identified below.
Part 1: Gather System Requirements.
Priority Advertising has provided a written summary containing floor plans for their Brisbane and Toowoomba offices, and notes from a verbal interview with the management team. Gather as much information as possible from these two sources to help you plan a technical solution for Priority Advertising’s networking and communications requirements.
Step 1: Review available information.
Priority Advertising Information: Because Priority Advertising is a medium-sized enterprise, it has no IT department. Everyone has taken care of their own resources in the Brisbane office. If they could not fix the problem, they would call in an outside service technician. Currently, the machines are connected together through fourteen (14) 10/100Mb switches (with 10 ports each). Employees work with older PC tower computers with 2 Gb of memory, a 250 Gb hard drive, and 7 USB ports. The processors are AMD Athlon 64 x2 dual-core processor and a CD/DVD read/write drives.
Additionally, graphics production editors (team of 10 employees in Brisbane) utilize PCs with 8 GB of memory and 500 Gb hard drive to run special editing software that uses very high-resolution graphics.
The systems are all still running the Windows 7 operating system, and there is a low-capacity, monochrome laser printer attached to each machine. These machines are not capable of running the software application required for video development.
The Toowoomba office will be operational soon, and additional employees will be hired to handle the new video production work. The company will have the following employees at the Toowoomba office:
Toowoomba Department Manager – Duties include scheduling work, hiring and managing part-time workers, weekly payroll, and project tracking. The administrative manager uses spreadsheet and database software and must be able to use email.
Film Production Editor – Requires special editing software that uses very high-resolution graphics and requires at least 16 GB of memory to run effectively. The software also interfaces with a video capture interface board that uses PCIex16 slot in the computer. This specialized software only works in a Windows 10 environment. It is important that the computer purchased for this position supports high-resolution video and has enough memory to enable the editor to work quickly. The production editor produces the final copies of the films and works within very tight deadlines. The editor must also be able to use email.
Film Crew – The other six employees are mobile workers, consisting of two production assistants, two camera people, a production manager, and a film director. They are in the Toowoomba office an average of two days per week. The rest of the time is spent either at customer sites or on film locations.
Because all the mobile workers are required to have access to email and production schedules, both at the office and while on location, it is important for them to be able to connect to the main office from anywhere. They have no special software requirements, but they do need a large hard drive to store the film files while they are working on them. The mobile workers must work at various locations and may not always be able to plug into a data port. It is important that they are able to connect to the internal network wirelessly.
Because of the sensitive nature of some of the documents and records required by the managers of all six departments, private color laser printers must be installed in the managers’ offices in both Brisbane and Toowoomba. Combination copiers/printers and high-resolution scanners must also be purchased and shared among all employees.
For the purposes of training and compatibility, all the computers should use the same operating system and applications, if possible.
Step 2: Interview with the Management.
Below are the notes collected during an interview session with the management team.
• Priority Advertising employees need access to email, which they currently get from their ISP. The email system that the ISP provide uses a web client that Priority Advertising employees can access over the Internet. Priority Advertising employees are also able to access this email from their home computers.
• Priority Advertising wants to be able to internally set up email accounts for employees to use while they are working with them. Any maintenance work such as Hardware or Software upgrades to the email server must not interrupt access to files.
• It is necessary for managers and employees to share files between themselves. These files are usually spreadsheets and documents, but sometimes, they must send large film files back and forth between the mobile workers and the office. Files must be available for download during the day, and also at night, when employees are away from the office. These film files are usually between 5 GB and 20 GB in size.
• The management wants some project files to be kept securely and backed up regularly in the Brisbane office building and can be accessed and shared only by the department managers from both office locations. Any maintenance work such as Hardware or Software upgrades to the file server must not interrupt access to files.
• Color printers that are also capable of making copies are required for each workspace, i.e., one on each floor of the new Brisbane office and one in the Toowoomba office. Because the printers are expensive, it is necessary for everyone to be able to print to it when they are in the office. Some of the storyboard documents are over 100 pages, with lots of graphics.
• Wireless internet access should be made available in all six departments.
• In response to the Priority Advertising’s enquiries regarding their IPv4 needs, their ISP has advised that Priority Advertising can continue using their current block of public IPv4 addresses, that is 184.108.40.206/28.
• Each department should maintain an individual network, while all the departments and the Toowoomba office should be able to communicate with each other, and any necessary internal server(s), and access the Internet. Network management protocols must be deployed to make identification and management of network devices easy and convenient.
Step 3: Select the appropriate equipment and services.
After you have gathered all the appropriate information, it is time to do some research. You must now use your knowledge and research skills to propose an appropriate technical solution for their limited budget and time requirements. Proposing a solution that is beyond the financial capabilities of the company is of no benefit. However, it can be helpful to propose a solution within the current budget, and offer suggestions that would improve network performance or productivity if additional funding becomes available. If you can justify these extra expenditures, the company may consider them for later implementation or may even find the extra funding needed.
When developing a plan, it is often easier to start at the end-user and then work back toward the network and any shared resources, and then finally, any external connections to the Internet or other networks. Many different forms have been developed to help with planning and equipment selection. It is a good idea to use one of these forms or to design your own to keep everything organized.
Propose a computer system for each of the specific uses, i.e., general use, graphics production and film production. Search the Internet or local sources for availability and pricing information.
Use the following form to propose a server that can support their email and FTP requirements. Server Planning Form
Develop and demonstrate a complete network layout plan for Priority Advertising requirements. Because the company has limited funds available for this project, it is important that where possible only equipment designed for the small business and home markets be used.
After the end-user systems and network layout have been selected, it is time to look at the workflow and decide on any shared components and network technology to support this workflow. This can include such things as shared printers, scanners, and storage as well as any firewalls, routers, switches, access points and integrated service routers. When planning a network infrastructure, always plan into the future. For larger companies, because it is usually a substantial investment, the infrastructure should have a lifetime of about 10 years. For smaller companies and home users, the investment is significantly less and change occurs more frequently.
Using the Internet and locally available resources, research available high-speed color copiers/printers/scanners, access points, switches and routers that are suitable for the Priority Advertising offices. In your report include a write-up for at least two devices of each equipment type and provide supporting details to justify your selection. Included in the write-up should be a description of the device, including the manufacturer, the model, the seller, the cost, and a brief summary of the manufacturer specifications.
It is necessary to plan the Internet connectivity, and which services are provided by the ISP and which services must be provided in-house. Larger companies usually provide services in-house, while small businesses and individuals normally rely on an ISP to provide these services. Most ISPs offer a variety of services and service levels.
In your report include the specifics of internal services (networking and security) that must be offered by Priority Advertising, and the devices and protocols that provide these services. Provide supporting details to justify your answer.
Part 2: Plan the installation.
After the equipment has been selected and the required services planned, the physical and logical installation is planned out. Physical installation includes the location of equipment and devices, along with how and when these devices are to be installed. In the business environment, it is important to minimize disruption of the normal work processes. Therefore, most installations, changes, and upgrades are done during hours when there is minimal business activity. Physical installation should also consider such things as adequate power outlets and ventilation, as well as the location of any necessary data drops. Planning for physical installation is out of the scope of this assignment.
Equally as important as planning the physical layout of the network and equipment is planning the logical layout. This includes such things as subnetting, addressing, naming, data flow, and security measures. Servers and some network devices are assigned static IP addresses to allow them to be easily identified on the network and to also provide a mechanism for controlling access to these devices. Most other devices can be assigned addresses using DHCP. Note that both a server and its backup server must be accessed via the same public IP address.
Devise subnetting and addressing schemes for Priority Advertising. The schemes must provide servers and some other network devices (where necessary) with a static address and allow all other hosts to be configured via DHCP. Identify and list the details of all internal and external subnets and the ranges of useable IP addresses (and default gateways) for DHCP within each internal subnet, and also assign an appropriate IP address (and default gateways) to network devices that should use a static IP address.
Priority Advertising is concerned that their files and resources may be vulnerable through the wired or wireless networks. Explain how the use of public and private IP addresses together may address this concern and provide a security plan that allows only Priority Advertising employees to connect to the network and gain access to company information and resources.
Part 3: Prepare and present the proposal.
All gathered information and the proposed technical solution must be assembled into a format that makes sense to the company who has asked you to provide a solution. The formal report usually contains many different sections, including:
• Title page
• Executive Summary
• Tables of Contents, Figures and Tables
• Project proposal, comprising needs statement, goals and objectives, methodology and timetable, technical solutions and evaluation, budget summary, and future plans.
• Recommendations and Conclusions
• Bibliography and List of References
• Appended information
The report is often presented to various groups for approval. When presenting the report, present it in a confident, professional, and enthusiastic manner. The report must be technically accurate and free from spelling and grammatical errors.