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design: How to
design a network

Author: Shane Schick

You might decide to embark on a network infrastructure design project out of a need to improve everyday performance, but you're missing out if you don't know how to design network infrastructure that can help yield long-term benefits.

Your business could make ends meet with a piecemeal network, but one way to push and exceed your business goals is by creating a network with high reliability, low latency and robust data protection.

The world looks a lot different from when most companies set up their networks. Traffic volumes are heavier. There are so many more mission-critical applications—and so many more cybersecurity threats, too. And as databanks grow and as traffic includes an ever-changing mix of images, videos, documents and other files, network quality gets even more complicated.

The catalyst for a network infrastructure design project could be something simple, like latency or network jitters. But it could be something more serious, like a total application failure. You might need to invest in new network infrastructure altogether. Whatever spurred it, a network infrastructure design initiative is a huge project, but it can also be straightforward—if you know how to design network infrastructure.

How to design network infrastructure

A network overhaul should prioritize areas where your existing network struggles—poor throughput, perhaps, or high error rates—but it should also include a holistic assessment of your organization's needs.

When considering how to design network infrastructure, first determine where teams such as marketing, sales and customer service are on their digital transformation journey. Your new network needs to be ready to support a diverse and evolving mix of applications and use cases.

Next, think through what the future of work will look like across your team, including the ways it might already be changing. Many organizations have pivoted to remote work models, for instance. How decentralized is your organization likely to become over time, and how will your network need to adapt?

It's also important to determine how much downtime and data loss cost your organization; this will influence the security and business continuity features you build into the project.

As more organizations place an increased focus on the customer experience, your organization needs to ensure that ongoing network maintenance doesn't bog down your IT department. The more automated your network becomes, the more agile and efficient your IT staff can be, and the more it can focus on complex and creative projects.

Maintaining business continuity during a rebuild

Now that you know how to design network infrastructure that can meet your needs, you need to take steps to help prevent your business from slowing down during the network rebuild. To prioritize the most urgent areas where an overhaul is necessary and execute the changeover accordingly, you can plan and design a network infrastructure project with this in mind.

This might involve running new equipment in a staging environment and testing it before deploying it. There might be other scenarios where it makes sense to set up a parallel network that you can gradually put into production as part of a phased rollout.

Whatever your approach, you need to identify which data flows are most mission-critical. Clear and consistent communication with employees whenever a switchover is scheduled will help minimize any business interruption.

Network infrastructure design: The power of a professional services partner

A decision to plan a network infrastructure design project is the kind of program that outside expertise can bring real value to. At some point in the process, you will probably have to run two parallel networks. That can quickly drain budget and personnel resources, so keeping the project on track is crucial.

A trusted professional services partner can lean on what it has learned during similar network builds for similar organizations, and it can offer innovative solutions that might not be familiar to your in-house IT department. The right partner can provide the people, processes and tools to help plan a network infrastructure design project and ensure that the entire process is a timely success.

Discover how Verizon's network consulting services could help steer your upgrade project.