This assessment will cover the following questions:
- Evaluate your choice of WAN network device showing the suitability of you components and designs.
- Explain with the help of diagrams where possible different WAN Technologies available in the market, evaluate different WAN technologies suitable as per the given scenario.
- WAN is open to many security threats and performance degradation; Explain WAN concerns and make recommendation in context of network reliability, security and performance? Include a critical evaluation of different trust systems.
Wide area network (WAN) is defined as a computer networking system that is used to connect networks over large geographical regions. These effective networking protocols can also spread across different countries. WAN serves as the interconnection of various smaller networks and ensures that systems and users at one location can easily communicate with those at different locations (Nolan, Guibene, and Kelly, 2016). The report will analyze the impact of different WAN technologies and their effectiveness in terms of cost and scalability.
It will also evaluate the traffic-intensive services and security concerns associated with the wide area network. The document will also describe the topology, communication devices, and networking devices that can be used in designing WAN infrastructure. The report will discuss the tools which can monitor and evaluate the performance of WAN. It will also recommend improvement strategies for ensuring the required security, performance, and reliability of the developed infrastructure (Feghali et.al., 2016).
1.1 Different types of WAN technologies
OptiNet Ltd can effectively establish a network channel between its London office and other sub offices. The organisation use variety of WAN technologies. The analysis of these technologies on the basis of their scalability and cost effectiveness is given as below:
Point to point link technology: These are also known as the leased lines because these are leased from a carrier point. Thus, the wires and hardware will be allocated to only lines of OptiNet Ltd. The cost of this approach depends upon the distance between London office and other branch offices (Tego and et.al., 2018). Hence, as compared to other approaches like frame relay it can be considered as more expensive. However, this lease line connection between nodes of WAN provides excellent security and quality with lower supporting cost.
Frame relay WAN technology: To overcome the limitations of point to point approach such as high implementation cost, rigid bandwidth and flexibility OptiNet Ltd can also use frame relay. It is based upon IP based virtual private networks. In terms of security, service level agreements, and cost it can be considered as the appropriate technology (Cheng, Han and Pan, 2018). It will provide a virtual circuit permanently so OptiNet Ltd will get a dedicated and continuous connection without paying for full-time leased line. At the service level routes can be charged on usage basis.
Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology: It is more suitable for applications with real time. Thus, it can be used to address the high bandwidth and quality requirements of OptiNet Ltd. It is a switching technology and provides bandwidth consistency and quality (Tammana, Agarwal and Lee, 2016). In order to provide voice and data transmission OptiNet Ltd can use voice over ATM (VoATM) but is more expensive than voice over internet protocol.
1.2 Traffic intensive services
Internet protocol (IP) telephony can be defined as the technology or the set of IP protocols which is used to transmit and exchange fax, voice and other formats of information over switched telephone network. The voice over IP has been commonly used by OptiNet Ltd for its wide area network. As compare to chats, web browsing activities such as downloading, video streaming and VoIP are considered as the traffic intensive services because these activities makes network traffic extremely engaged and occupied (Kaur and Gobindgarh, 2015). Thus, other networking operations are put in queue for further execution. The heavy traffic can make it difficult for OptiNet Ltd to execute and transfer the priority audio or video calls to connect due to long queue created by other traffic intensive services. Hence, it is very essential for OptiNet Ltd to manage the priority of these traffic intensive services so that communication is not affected by network service quality.
For instance if OptiNet Ltd will give higher priority to its VoIP services then WAN network of the company will give more bandwidth to its voice services over video streaming or downloading or database accessing as well. It will provide a uniform distribution of bandwidth and thus cost will also be reduced because company can go for low bandwidth package from internet service provider (Wu, 2017). It is important for OptiNet Ltd to manage these traffic intensive services Traffic intensive services can also occur when more number of users spike within network in very short duration of time and main server of company can become unable to handle such huge number of requests. The reduction in quality of services due to packet loss, delay caused by traffic intensive services is known as network congestion. Differentiated services code point (DSCP) can also be used by OptiNet Ltd to manage network traffic and to ensure the quality of services.
For traffic management it uses scalable and simple mechanism such as 6 bit DS in IP header. Quality of service (QoS) protocols provide effective services to chosen network traffic in various WAN technologies. The key objective of QoS is to prioritise each network activity and to control factors such as bandwidth, jitter, latency and loss characteristics of the information. It also prioritises the networking objectives (Maveli, Nagaraj and Yu, 2018). For instance when higher priority services are functioning then it puts the other activities into queues and traffic is forwarded from medium priority lists only when traffic intensity is low.
1.3 Security concerns for WAN and recommendations to improve reliability and security
For error free and qualitative performance of OptiNet Ltd the security of its implemented WAN must be monitored and controlled so that it is not affected by security threats such as unauthorised access, malware and viruses. The ineffective security measures can lead to severe threats to information system and information resources of organisation. To secure the information assets from unauthorised access WAN of OptiNet Ltd uses measures like cryptography, access control list, encryption and authentication. The most effective tool which can increase the security and reliability of the designed network is virtual private network (VPN) (Sung and et.al., 2018). It uses tunnelling protocol which is based upon cryptography principles. It gives encryption to the transmitting data which can be decrypt by only authorised user.
To make the hardware systems of network more secure the implemented network of OptiNet Ltd must contain firewalls, crypto- processors, secure design mechanism of operating system and access control list (Chow and et.al., 2016). Malware and data breach can be considered as the biggest security threats for wide area networking systems. One of the most effective measures which can be implemented by engineers of OptiNet Ltd is to regularly monitor and analyse the network traffic. This network evaluation will help organisation to review each and every activity taking place at the network thus it will become very easy for system and networking engineers to detect suspicious activities which can act as security threat. The implementation of network analysers and flow applications can will help organisation to enhance its security and to minimise the networking attacks (Voit and et.al., 2015). Before implementing security strategies, it is also required to evaluate the possible risks associated with designed WAN.
Access control list and strict log in credentials can serve as the key factors to improved the reliability and performance of the network (Wu, 2016). The networking security goals cannot be achieved without participation of the staff members of OptiNet Ltd. Thus, network security and management team of organisation must guide each of the employee to follow the basic security protocols so that the security of entire network is not put at stack. For instance if employees will not be aware of these securities concern and they will not keep their firewall systems updated and will follow suspicious links or documents then it will surely give rise to extremely vulnerable security threats. Such events are not appreciated for the reliable and high performing secure wide area network (Bejerano and Francini, Alcatel-Lucent SA, 2014).
2.1 WAN network infrastructure
The WAN infrastructure can be evaluated by following attributes:
Technology/topology: For WAN system of OptiNet Ltd can use asynchronous transfer mode topology. It is cost effective and will provide high security solution to the organisation. It optimizes the transfer of voice and data with efficient bandwidth usage, speed and QoS. However, it requires more time to install and is more vulnerable to congestion loss (Chakraborty and Telgote, 2019).
Devices: In the WAN infrastructure following devices are used:
- Switches: These are multi port devices and are used for interconnecting other devices. They aim at switching the traffic.
- Routers gives interconnecting paths between WAN of the organisation and LAN of each of the regional office of OptiNet Ltd.
- Access servers will enable OptiNet Ltd to support multiple number of users simultaneously (Wu and et.al., 2015).
- Modems are used to send digital data over analog medium and to receive the data.
Communication: Network monitoring tools and analysers can be used to support the quality of services. For communicating with other devices in network various switches and routers are used. The security enhancement tools such as encryption and access control lists are also used in network to make the connection between two devices safe and secure.
Users: Software defined WAN are effective approach for enhancing he scalability of branch offices of OptiNet Ltd across different corners of world. This approach focuses on scaling VPN so that the WAN does not affect the configuration of any existing branch on addition or removal of other branch or by scalability (Han, Gopalakrishnan and Lee, 2015).
2.2 Evaluation of ATM switch
Asynchronous transfer mode technology is considered as the effective device for long distance transmission. It can be used on different transmission medium such as coaxial cable and optical fibre (Aguirre and et.al., 2015). It provides efficient use of bandwidth and thus achieve standards of QoS by maintaining high speed and flexibility in bandwidth allocation. It makes the ATM topology more reliable and secure. In future if OptiNet Ltd will require scaling its number of users and branch offices then also ATM access server will allow extending the bandwidth limits and to support the goals of scalability with its wide area network.
For improving the quality of services it follows the concept of dynamic allocation of bandwidth means only sufficient amount is given to users so that bandwidth is not occupied by unnecessary consumption. The ATM technology uses virtual channels and paths for providing communication between WAN devices. The ATM technique also includes the fix sized data packets which are called cells (Vasisht, 2016). These cells are of constant size thus connections can be easily managed to control the network traffic by predicting the priority and size of transmitted data. It also makes provides the high transmission speed over the network.
The key application of this WAN technology is in the communication of voice, data and video which is the basic requirement of OptiNet Ltd. It can also replace the existing network infrastructure which is based on internet protocol telephony (Sivasubramanian and et.al., 2015). Thus, in future if OptiNet Ltd will require exploring new branch offices which already have network then it will be easy to upgrade its networking requirement and devices.
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3.1 WAN configuration
The WAN configuration of OptiNet Ltd meets its requirement of security and functional attributes related to performance. The implemented design includes following elements:
Devices: A WAN switch is employed in carrier network for interconnecting devices with its multi-ports. To direct and manage the network traffic of OptiNet Ltd routers are used. The organisation wants to implement is corporate network thus for configuration of its router at first point to point protocol (PPP) authentication type, client name and passwords are generated. By default, DHCP is used by router to obtain address from service provider (Feghali and et.al., 2016).
Technology: The network design configuration for OptiNet Ltd includes installation and support services for computer and wireless network, cabling, installation of hardware, software, network server and mobile devices. The configuration of network design ensures that data is processed fast and with more accuracy. The configuration of DHCP packets can be used to allocate the IP address. DHCP server provide support to only address assignment which is based upon internet protocol. For configuring it lease time, domain name and IP address range must be provided in configuration window (Rodriguez and Pan, 2018). Voice over IP configuration can transmit the telephone voice data over the internet protocol network.
Security: The access control list (ACL) control the transmission of routing packets or updates (Visser and Wiant, 2017). They can permit or deny the transmission of specific routing updates through the network of OptiNet Ltd. In the implementation VLAN membership can also be used. In static VLAN first VLAN is created and then switch ports are assigned (Edwards and Bramante, 2015). On the other hand in dynamic VLAN there is automatic assignment of ports to VLAN by information such as IP and MAC address. Routing protocols describes the communication pattern between routers and router selection process for distributing information.
Services: Domain name services (DNS) converts hostnames into IP address. OptiNet Ltd is using public IP addresses thus in implementation process public DNS is configured. In the implemented wide area network of the organisation there will be a centralised server while the email service providers will be installed on each device of the network so that communication can be managed on network (Kuzlu, Pipattanasomporn and Rahman, 2014).
Documentation: The network diagram will demonstrate that how various systems or local area networks of OptiNet Ltd. In Rome, Berlin and Paris will connect with the main branch situated in London. It will show interconnection between each network.
3.2 Suitability of network design and WAN testing
The key requirements of OptiNet Ltd is to establish a communication path between its main and branch offices. This network connection must be secure and reliable so that IP telephony can be used by the company. In order to evaluate that if these requirements are fulfilled in WAN designing network is tested so that its performance and security aspects can be measure. The major testing approaches are as follows:
- The implemented WAN must give suitable test result to ensure that necessary bandwidth is available for the network and there is no loss of data packets.
- The network of OptiNet Ltd is complex and large. Thus, if there will be a change in routing path then it can have adverse impact on the routing table of WAN. The testing procedures will evaluate that network monitoring tools executes regular ping and tests so that real time data validation occurs and changes in routing policy are reflected in routing table as well (Han, Gopalakrishnan and Lee, 2015).
- To control and monitor traffic the firewall rules are also tested so that it can be verify that ping test or port scanners are performing their roles effectively.
- Quality of services must also be tested so that it can be ensured that time delay, queues and network traffic are managed securely and effectively.
Along with these testing requirements following elements must also be included in test document
Services: In testing procedures it is analysed that DNS server and address of internet protocol are in same order and correct. The errors in these parameters can disconnect the network. For quality of service and achieving networking benefits DNS configuration is also tested and checked that if it is able to pull the IP (DNS) from dynamic host configuration protocol server (The Importance of Monitoring Your Networks, 2018). To conduct the error free functional activities it is also tested that if designed network of OptiNet Ltd. Can manage the increasing overload and simultaneous access on its web server. The host services, time delay and time out events are also analysed in testing so that these attributes can be improved and WAN performance can be improved (Sivasubramanian and et.al., 2015).
Communication: The communication channel between different network of branch offices of OptiNet Ltd must be secure. The communication bandwidth must analyse the traffic so that network queues can be minimized and maximum bandwidth is available for transmission of voice or data over IP (Maveli, Nagaraj and Yu, 2018).
Documentation: Speed testing tools are used so that the effectiveness and speed of WAN link can be calculated. The delay must be reduced so that latency and reliability parameters can be achieved. The ping test are one of the effective test tools to measure the latency of network. The ping test uses ICMP (Internet control message protocol) to the host of the designed network and then time delay is calculated for the time in which host sends a reply to single purpose IP utility used in ping test (Sung and et.al., 2018).
4.1 Network monitoring tools and network troubleshooting
In order to ensure the effectiveness and security of the designed network of OptiNet Ltd network monitoring tools and troubleshooting is crucial. Network monitoring tools regularly analyses the traffic and other network activities and identifies if there is any activity which can affect the performance and security of the network (The Importance of Monitoring Your Networks, 2018). Such issues are identified and reported so that they can be managed and network can be protected from the hazards. These tools also detect the connection failure, bandwidth utilisation and other operational behaviour (Wu, 2017). The most basic monitoring tool is the Ping while website monitoring or server monitoring tools can also be used by the organisation. WAN also includes simple network management protocols (SNMP) which serves the function of monitoring. These tools monitors errors, disk space, bandwidth as well as system software. There is a wide gap between testing intervals thus in this duration system crash or overload must not affect the network performance. It is regulated by monitoring tools. Network troubleshooting tools are used to resolve the problems (Why Network Monitoring Is Important For Any Business. 2006). Apart from the ping troubleshooting tools like trace route can be used to resolve the routing issues by finding routing path. Organisation can also use top down or bottom up approach to troubleshoot the errors. In order to resolve the errors or issues associated with dynamic name system tools such as Nslookup can also be used (Wu, 2017). These network monitoring and troubleshooting tools are essential because it helps organisation to analyse and fix the networking threats before they can affect the networking goals of the company and users.
4.2 Approaches to improve network security, performance and reliability
It is very challenging task to maintain the reliability, latency and other performance parameters of the implemented wide area network of the organisation. The security threats are also important to resolve so that network can be protected from unauthorised access and other networking threats. To provide more reliable performance OptiNet Ltd must conduct regualr audit and mapping of its network so that all information regarding network is managed and can be used to resolve further performance related issues (Aguirre and et.al., 2015). The security of network can be increased by using MAC address filter approaches such as encryption to prevent network threats and data stealing.
The reliability of the developed WAN of OptiNet Ltd can decrease if organisation does not segregate or monitor its traffic. For this purpose organisation must use VLAN membership or network monitoring tools (Network Troubleshooting Commands, 2010). During WAN testing it must be tested that data is encryption along with the entire network path. It will minimize the risk of security threats. The main office as well as branch offices of organisation must pay equal attention to the performance and security aspects.
However, it is also challenging balancing the performance and security. OptiNet Ltd can use automated process and network visibility tools so that network anomalies and traffic can be identified on time and vulnerabilities can be addressed before they create any significant losses (Maveli, Nagaraj and Yu, 2018). To make the network performance more reliable it is essential that there must be strict regulations and polices which can monitor the network utilisation and all security tools such as firewalls, antivirus and network analysis tools are updated.
4.3 Performance evaluation of WAN
The designed network of the organisation must meet the required performance criteria. The key performance evaluation parameters which can be used to monitor the performance of network are bandwidth, latency, throughput, jitter and rate of errors (Cheng, Han and Pan, 2018). The network performance can be considered as effective if it is able to troubleshoot the network problems. With future growth and development the needs and scope of OptiNet Ltd will also change. Thus WAN must have capacity to deploy and modify rapidly (Why network testing is important, 2016). This adaptability indicates the higher performance standards of network. During network testing procedures suspicious data and security risks can be used to analyse the response of system.
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The high performing wide area network can easily mitigate such security and performance risks. The bandwidth is one of the vital factor which affects the networking performance. When multiple users tend to share the same link path for the transmission then bandwidth availability can create issue (Nolan, Guibene and Kelly, 2016). To evaluate the performance of network it is important that WAN must have sufficient network traffic analysing and monitoring tools so that during network traffic the delay and data queues are managed and bandwidth is distributed in a way that latency and delay parameters are improved (Kaur and Gobindgarh, 2015). Another significant approach to evaluate the WAN performance is the analysis of latency factor. If latency is higher than users will have to wait for longer to receive the transmitted data over network (Aguirre and et.al., 2015). Thus, it will directly reduce the efficiency. Ping network utility is effective and commonly used way to measure the latency.
From the report it can be concluded that wide area network can provide effective solution to business groups in terms of connecting different branch offices through networking. The report has provided the critical evaluation of different WAN technologies which can be used by organisations to meet their networking requirements. It has also analysed performance of traffic intensive services and approaches through which WAN security and reliability can be improved. The document has discussed the suitability of various WAN components and its configuration.
It is also analysed from the report that WAN testing is an essential part of the implementation process. The report has reviewed the several parameters involved in testing and approaches which can improve the performance of implemented network system. Thus, it can also be concluded from the study that WAN monitoring and testing are vital for assuring the quality of performance and to resolve the security concerns associated with the WAN.
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The routing and switching configuration are demonstrated by following screenshots. The router set up consist of options of local settings, global connections, router use and data to router. It also includes the IP address section.
The layer 3 switch configurations can be used for WAN network. This configuration routers are able to perform the functions such as intelligent network services, route processing and packet switching.