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Kudler Fine Foods Network Overview Essay

Introduction

One of the considered “best fine food stores” around is the Kudler Fine Foods. However, Kudler is in serious need of a network infrastructure upgrade of their old one. To introduce the latest technologies in data collection; company communication; and information protection while providing the best data speeds and network access; are the main goals of the enterprise network. This huge step is significant as this will increase the revenue and will reduce the costs of operation throughout the Kudler Fine Foods stores. Kudler Fine Foods will go back up to technological speed as the network upgrade is completed, while at the same time improving the way they keep track of inventory and sales by using data mining techniques, which will be collected and analyzed in real time.

Network Overview

The review of the current network used at Kudler Fine Foods was able to determine that the network topology that is being used is the bus topology. The bus network is set-up in such a way that all the network components are connected via CAT5 to the bus or communication line. This configuration is true at sites in the corporation for their workstations, servers, and standalone UPS. A 56k modem is the device that is used by all of the networks communicating to the internet.

Although the bus network is very reasonable when it comes to cost, the downfall is that when the backbone goes down, the entire network can encounter an outage that is very difficult to troubleshoot. Another disadvantage this network is the occurrence of signal collision. This happens when two systems are sending signals at the same time to one another, collides with each other and causes to drop both signals. To solve this problem, CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) technology will be set-up in the network, which will put the network into a listen mode before sending, to prevent collisions from taking place.

Network Response time

The current network is experiencing lack of response time and latency due to the use of 56k modems installed at all of the sites. The major goal of the
upgrade is to respond to the critical issue of speed performance and possible network outage when there are no other mean of communication exists in case the modems went down. The use of outdated system hardware and software, including the modem and operating system of computer, are seen as the main cause of the problem in terms of response times, latency, and jitter that in the entire network. Response time is being measured by the time that the network takes to respond to command of the users. The slow response time is happening because the host systems at all sites are running only with Window 98 and Pentium II processors, which are over 10 years old.

The available bandwidth is related to the latency and jitter issues that are being seen over the network. “Jitter is defined as the amount of variation or randomness in latency or response time, measured in milliseconds” (What is jitter?, 2006). The 56k modem provides up to 56,000 bps of speed only, which is very slow response time, thereby causing low bandwidth. Another reason is that all of the servers on the Kudler network are running Windows NT with Pentium III processors only.

By upgrading the hardware, updating the software, and installing a T1 line which can offer a speed up to 1.544 Mbps (27 times faster than the old modem), the major problems can be solved. By then, the network performance can cope up with all the real-time information coming from all the Kulder Fine Foods locations which will result to better sales and inventory tracking. This will give great improvements from the existing network and will provide an uptime of up to 97%.

Traffic Analysis

Traffic analysis is used for detecting network intrusions to be able to determine response time and latency that is taking place. Traffic analysis concerns more on the security of the network than the protocol being used. It will be able to detect about when and where a latency issue is taking place. Traffic analysis is being done through command line tools to provide the vital information about the network latency. Wire Shark will be used to allow deep packet level analysis of the network and to mitigate possible network latency problems. Ping is also used to provide the user the ability to check the network conductivity from the workstation to a specific node or internet site.

Trace Route is still another utility that can show the full connection path between the user’s workstation and the desired destination system being reached. The use of these tools can decrease the amount of time of an outage on a network by identifying which devices are not passing on the packets and where the packets drops are taking place. The ability to detect an outage before it results to a bigger issue would be the best case scenario for any network. Kudler’s network will be implementing Nagios.

It “Nagios is a powerful IT management system that lets an organization to easily identify and resolve problems in IT infrastructure before it can greatly affect the critical business processes” (Nagios, 2012). Nagios provides a system that gives alerts whenever a network device is detected acting abnormally, thereby providing a fix immediately. One network can live without the help of traffic analysis tools but it would take a huge amount of man-hours to pin point where in the network the problem exists.

Networking Standards

It is very important that a network is following and applying the right standards in connecting and sharing information. Open standards allow connecting and sharing information possible because it allows everyone using different technology such as NIC (Network Interface Card) to connect to the internet via CAT5 (Category 5) cable. Using new technology standards can be beneficial but can also give a lot of disadvantages when not using the open standards because it can cause incompatibility with other existing devices. Kudler Fine Foods needs to follow the networking standards issued by the standard-giving bodies as follows: IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance)
IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force)

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is the organization that sets the standards for all networks. Wireless networking standards also fall under this organization. The IEEE has a wide library of information and standards which will be very valuable for the new network. WLAN is also incorporated into this network that is why WECA standards are also worth including. The WECA standards are applied “ensuring the cross-vendor compatibilities of 802.11b wireless-networking hardware and software” (Kozierok, 2005). If these wireless standards were not applied properly to the network, then the individual wireless users would not be able to connect properly. The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) plays a very important role in networking as they are the one who issues standards on how to communicate via TCP/IP. These standards and standards-giving bodies need to work together so that network can perform in its fullest potential.

Protocol and Security overview

Security plays a vital role in the network of any company. The advancement in the hardware and software being used by the network is useless, and costly acquisition and installation are non-sense, if these were no properly secured. To provide the security needed by the network, it is very important to choose the correct communication protocols and individual protocols (under the communication protocols) to be used. For example, TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol) is a communication protocol, but within the TCP/IP are protocols that allow for network communication to take place such as port 80 or HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). These protocols are properly chosen based on the characteristics and ability of the devices acquired for the network. The TCP/IP operates at layers 3 and 4 of the OSI model. The new enterprise network will be using WAN which will connect all the sites with their individual WLANs.

Again, choosing the right protocols is essential to the security and performance of these networks. WPA2 Enterprise, which is the most recommended encryption used to secure a wireless network, will be used for the WLAN. WPA Enterprise utilizes 802.1x authentications by means of a RADIUS server. RADIUS server, “is a client/server protocol and also a software, which enables servers that access remotely to communicate with a central server to make authentication of dial-in users and authorization of their access to the requested system or service possible”(Thomas & Oosten, 2006). This will provide user account certificate-based authentication to take place and will form signal-based authentication on to the wireless network. The protocol that is applicable to this implementation is Port 443 or HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), which uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) over HTTP, which will encrypt any communication going over this port.

The use of this protocol will prevent network sniffing from unwanted entities and will provide DLP (Data Loss Prevention). Another implementation is the ability to connect to one another via VPN (Virtual Private Network). This will allow a secure communication tunnel to all of the sites using the enterprise network. The VPN connection will have the ability to be accessed anywhere by just setting up an additional high speed internet. The VPN is also significant as it will allow the systems to have back-up system on a central server and provide redundancy of connection in case the main internet connection goes down. Almost everything that will be implemented in the new enterprise network is new technologies but the basic phone line should not be taken for granted. Either VoIP or Centrix can be used for the implementation of the phone line.

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) “is using RTP, UDP, and IP to/from a Skinny Client for audio” (RADCOM Academy, 2012). The Skinny protocol is used by Cisco devices. VoIP systems can cost a little more expensive due to the total ownership of the systems once purchased. This is an extra overhead for Kudler, so choosing Centrix system is a better option because the company will not be taking on the cost of the system, but only the cost of the service, thereby incurring less overhead and saves money.

To conclude, Kudler Fine Foods’ new enterprise network will bring the best choice of hardware, software and service in terms of cost and quality of performance to perform the collection of data, communication, and protection of information vital to the company. This will also increase the revenue and will reduce the operational costs at all Kudler Fine Foods stores. This will then in turn allow Kudler to offer lower prices of their products and services while still providing the best quality of food in the state of California.

References

RADCOM Academy. (2012). Voice over ip reference page. Retrieved, 15 January 2012, from

http://www.protocols.com/pbook/VoIP.htm

What is jitter?. (2006, January 6). Retrieved, 21 January 2012, from

http://www.nessoft.com/kb/article/what-is-jitter-57.html

Nagios. (2012). Products. Retrieved, 21 January 2012, from http://www.nagios.com/products

Thomas, O., & Oosten, C. V. (2006, August). Radius (remote authentication dial-in user service). . Retrieved, 21 January 2012, from http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/RADIUS

Kozierok, C. (2005, September 20). Networking industry groups. Retrieved, 21 January 2012, from http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/t_NetworkingIndustryGroups.htm


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