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System Management Guide: Communications and Networks

Planning Your TCP/IP Network

Because TCP/IP is such a flexible networking tool, you can customize it to fit the specific needs of your organization. The following are the major issues you need to consider when planning your network. The details of these issues are discussed at length later. This list is intended only to introduce you to the issues.

  1. Decide which type of network hardware you want to use: token-ring, Ethernet Version 2, IEEE 802.3, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), Serial Optical Channel (SOC), or Serial Line Interface Protocol (SLIP).
  2. Plan the physical layout of the network.

    Consider which functions each host machine will serve. For example, you must decide which machine or machines will serve as gateways before you cable the network.

  3. Decide whether a flat network or a hierarchical network organization best fits your needs.

    If your network is fairly small, at a single site, and consists of one physical network, then a flat network probably suits your needs. If your network is very large or complex with multiple sites or multiple physical networks, a hierarchical network might be a more efficient network organization for you.

  4. If your network is to be connected to other networks, you must plan how your gateways should be set up and configured. Things to consider are:
    1. Decide which machine or machines will serve as gateways.
    2. Decide whether you need to use static or dynamic routing, or a combination of the two. If you choose dynamic routing, decide which routing daemons each gateway will use in light of the types of communications protocols you need to support.
  5. Decide on an addressing scheme.

    If your network will not be part of a larger internetwork, choose the addressing scheme that best fits your needs. If you want your network to be connected to a larger internetwork such as the Internet, you will have to obtain an official set of addresses from your internet service provider (ISP).

  6. Decide whether your system needs to be divided into subnets. If so, decide how you will assign subnet masks.
  7. Decide on a naming scheme. Each machine on the network needs its own unique host name.
  8. Decide whether your network needs a name server for name resolution or if using the /etc/hosts file will be sufficient.

    If you choose to use name servers, consider the type of name servers you need and how many you need to serve your network efficiently.

  9. Decide the types of services you want your network to provide to remote users; for example, mail services, print services, file sharing, remote login, remote command execution, and others.

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