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How To Design A Network

The college of Business (COB) server is now being used to support deliver to the Computer Information System (CIS) department. The CIS professors would be using the server for various operations. Assignments, e-mail, and other types of information would be easier for the students to access. Network users are able to share files, printers and other resources; send electronic messages and run programs on other computers. However, certain important issues need to be addressed and concentrated on. In order to begin the process of setting up the COB server, the total numbers of users (faculty and students) must be determined.

Some other significant factors to be approached are: the required software applications needed on the network, an efficient and appropriate directory structure and effective security structure. In designing the directory structure, the major focus must be on accessibility. The number of undergraduate CIS courses that the server will be used for is be! tween 15 and 17. For the users to be ensured that their information is not at risk, we will create an effective security structure. In composing the appropriate security structure there must be certain access rights assigned to the users.

An important technical detail in setting up a server is the amount of money that will need to be allocated for the restructuring of the system. For the system to function properly, the amount of hardware/ software will need to be determined. The COB server will primarily be used by CIS professors and CIS students. The approximate number of professors in the CIS department is between five and seven and the approximate number of CIS majors is between 100 and 120. As computer technology continues to grow, the number of CIS majors is vastly increasing.

If we see a considerable rise in Computer Information Systems majors the department will have to expand its faculty members. The CIS professors will be using the server to disburse their syllabi, distribute specific assignments and send e-mail to their students. The layout, design and complexity of each class will determine how much the professor may be using the server. The first class a CIS major usually takes at Western is CIS 251. Management Information Systems (CIS 251). This class offers students a basis for management information systems in business organizations.

In putting the COB server to use and getting the student ready for hands-on knowledge of computer-based information systems, CIS 251 focuses on analysis, development, design, implementation, and evaluation. Other tasks that are covered in this class are computer applications ins spreadsheets, word processors, and database systems. Information systems affect both business people and people who live in society. The first programming class CIS majors take is CIS 256. This CIS course will be very beneficial for the server.

Business Computer Programming (CIS 256) introduces the student to an application of programming principle in business. Detailed assignments involve flowcharting, coding, documentation, and testing. This course provides the student with a background of computer architecture and data representation. This class account will require the BASIC programming language that will be used as well as the compiler. The CIS elective, CIS 301, emphasizes maximum \”hands-on\” experience with microcomputers and software packages, including word processing, spreadsheets, database managers, and graphic systems.

Microcomputer Applications (CIS 301), is an important course for students not majoring in Computer Information Systems, but would like to familiarize themselves with the personal computer. This account will contain Microsoft Office and e-mail capabilities. An important class that becomes useful for the server is the CIS 358 course. The professor can send applications, reports, programs and other data to the server where the student can transfer to a disk or their VAX account.

Applications Development II (CIS 358) is a study of the state of art tools and techniques for developing complex business applications; data organization, on-line processing, software engineering, and software maintenance. This CIS class is an extension to CIS 258. The student will expand his/her knowledge of the COBOL programming language. In order for the CIS major to apply principle of good application design and solving problems, the Visual Basic programming language will also be introduced. The account for these two classes will contain the COBOL programming language and the compiler for it as well as Visual Basic.

For the students to learn more about client-server technology, CIS 365 is required to the Computer Information Systems curriculum. The student will be involved in learning about different types of client-server environment such as configuring Worldwide Web environment and building a Netware LAN to support delivery client-server computing. Computer Architecture, Communications, and Operating Systems (CIS 365) focuses on the architecture of modern computer systems including peripherals; data communications networking with fault tolerant computing; language transition; operating systems software/hardware and utilities.

This account will have internet connections and Netware operations. In studying Database Management Systems (CIS 453), the CIS student will learn the role of databases, database applications, data modeling using entity-relationship and semantic object models. The significance of the COB server for CIS 453 is that the student will focus on multi-user database processing on LANs with the emphasis on client-server systems. In this database class, students will also be required to design and implement a database using the current technology.

This account will require Microsoft Access and Salsa. To familiarize the CIS major with systems development, CIS 455 is required by the curriculum. This class introduces the student with cost/benefit justification; software design; implementation and maintenance procedures; quality assurance; and integration of information systems into management decision-making processes. Computer Information Systems Analysis and Design (CIS 455) will require that a student design an appropriate computer system for a specific company or business.

The account for this class will contain Microsoft Office and will have internet connections. The last class that is required for in the CIS core is CIS 465. In this course, the focal point is to strategically use information systems in the business environment. Information Resource Management (CIS 465) centers on responsibility and accountability of information resource managers; security, legal, and ethical issues; procurement and supervision of resources and resource assessment. This class will have Visual/IFPS Plus as well as Internet capabilitites.

III. Technical Design Local area networks (LANs) could be thought of as pockets of coordinated computing within a small geographic area. The network has three layers of components: Application software, network software, and network hardware. Application software that will be used will consists of computer programs that interface with network users and permit the sharing of information, such as files, graphics, and video, and resources, such as printers and disks. The type of application software that will be used is called client-server.

Client computers send requests for information or requests to use resources to other computers, called servers, that control data and applications. The network software to be used will consists of computer programs that establish protocols, or rules, for computers to talk to one another. These protocols are carried out by sending and receiving formatted instructions of data called packets. Protocols make logical connections between network applications, d! irect movement through the physical network, and minimize the possibility of collisions between packets sent at the same time.

Network hardware is made up of the physical components that connect computers. Two important components that will carry the computers signals will be wires or fiber-optic cables, and the network adapter, which will access the physical media that links the computers, receives packets from the network software, and transmits instructions and requests to other computers. Transmitted information is in the form of binary digits, or bits which the electronic circuitry can process. The new local area network (LAN) that we are proposing to design will only be a one volume server.

The directory structure for this server will go as follows: There will be a system directory where the queue holds and services the print jobs prior to being printed. A login will be established to activate and open a session to the Network Operating System for a user. The DOS applications available to the public will be Word Perfect, Excel, Power Point, and Lotus 1-2-3. A mail directory will be created for users to be able to send e-mail and also retrieve it. The users of this directory structure will be focused around the faculty which will be Heinrichs, Perry, Banerjee, Clapper, and Carland.

The faculty will have the rights to the classes that are taught here at Western Carolina University. These classes will also be used by the students of the Computer Information Systems program. The applications that will be used by the students and faculty of CIS will be Salsa, CO! BOL, Visual Basic, Database applications, Basic, and Visual/IFPS Plus. In these courses faculty can assign programs or assignments to the students and all they have to do is go to the appropriate class that they are in and get the homework that is do for that certain class.

The medium used to transmit information will limit the speed of the network, the effective distance between computer, and the network topology. The coaxial cable will provide transmission speeds of a few thousand bits per second for long distances and about one-hundred million bits per second (Mbps) for shorter distances. The type of topology that will be used to arrange computers in this network will be the bus topology. The bus topology is composed of a single link connected to many computers. All computers on this common connection receive all signals transmitted by any attached computer.

Local area networks which connect separated by short distances, such as in an office or a university campus, commonly use a bus topology. Twisted pair, for slow speed LANs, will be the cabling of these computers. Here, the main cable is typically a shielded twisted pair (like phone lines). The board is attached to a TAP via three cables then the tap is connected to the twisted pair again at three points. An active hub will connect up to eight PCs and workstations. Each PC or work station can be up from two thousand feet from the active hub.

Each port of the active hub will be electrically isolated and will not need terminators for unused ports. Typically a LAN has a server node to provide certain services to the LAN users. In this case of a small scale PC LAN, the server is attached to a laser printer, so that all users can share that printer through the server. Another use of the server is that if the LAN users need to get some updated files. Instead of copying to all the nodes each of them can copy / share from the server, where only once those files can be loaded or updated.

The Network security structure would not be a very complicated. The Supervisor would be granted full access to all the resources in the CIS program. Students who are a CIS major will have read, copy and write capabilities for the classes they will attend. The Public accounts will only have the right to be able to access the rights to Word Perfect, Excel, Power Point, etc. The Faculty will also have rights to the classes with read, copy, write and send. Networks are subject to hacking, or illegal access, so shared files and resources must be protected.

A network intruder could easedrop on packets being sent across network or send fictitious messages. For important information, data encryption (scrambling data using mathematical equations) renders captured packets unreadable to an intruder. This server will use an authentication scheme to ensure that a request to read or write files or to use resources is from a legitimate client (faculty or CIS majors) and not from an intruder. The system will have a security measure of telling whether or not the user is a CIS major or not by given each CIS major and faculty a code or password..

The CIS majors will be given a code in which they will have to enter in every time he or she gets to the computer and wants information from a CIS class. Every time the student enters in the code the computer will keep it in memory so if the same password is entered somewhere else the person wil! l not be allowed in. This station restricitions will keep students from going in and messing around with the students information while that CIS student is working. There will be disk restrictions to assure that storage space is evenly allocated.

The CIS users will also have to change the password every now and then to keep confidentiality of his or her passwords. This will put an account to have an expiration date to it so that the user will have to change his or her password as the semester goes on to insure the security of their account. Under no circumstance should an administrator put an entire system at risk for the convenience of a few users. Certain measures and precautions should be implemented to ensure that the network will operate effectively and effeciently.

Another major concern when designing a system is to anticipate the addition of more workstations and eventually more users. By considering this now many problems can be solved even before they exist. If there is room allotted for expansion in the beginning, then actually implementing the new ideas and hardware should be simple. Assumptions about how large the system will actually get and how many users it will accomadate are very serious issues that need to be addressed in the utmost fashion. These questions require serious answers that if not dealt with could destroy a system.

Another key issue that needs to be addressed is who will be issued an account on the system. Certainly each CIS faculty member will have his or her own personal account. In these accounts some items such as personal research materials and grades will reside. Then there is the matter of the individual CIS classes and individual CIS students. Logically each class will have a separate account because the information in each account will be different (applications etc. ). The main point of concern is the applications involved with each class.

Using Visual Basic and Visual/IFPS Plus, having a COBOL compiler to run your programs on and so on. CIS students will have their own personal account. A space will reserved for them to execute e-mail and other personal things. They will need to have a good understanding of the network to be able change their directory to the class that they need to locate and do their work in. Each faculty member will have their own account as well. They will be able to send e-mail to students and also put homework in the accounts of the classes that they teach.

Other faculty members will not have access to the server. As stated before the main purpose of the server is to deliver CIS information only and for the CIS discipline only. The main points of concern when dealing with the printer configuration are reliability and accessibility. Reliability is centered around quality and effeciency. Top quality network printers are expensive but sometimes are not the best choice. Speed of output, such as papers per minute, play a big role in choosing a network printer.

Printers that are easy to get to and easy to service are a key to a successful network. I personally can not stand to walk into a lab and have to hunt where the printers are and have to wait for someone to remove a jammed paper. The lab on the second floor of the Belk building is a good example. An excellent example of a good configuration is in Forsyth. The printers are easily seen and easily worked on. The printers separate the two main islands of workstations which allow for effecient management. This system will be of considerable size and area.

It will require constant monitoring and any on-line maintenance will be in the form of a supervisor or network administrator. This designated person or persons will need to be very knowledgable in all the systems hardware and software. For example CAN certified would be an excellent standard for consideration. The person or persons would have to be a full time faculty member in the College of Business. I feel that having a daily interaction with the system and the users would prove to be very helpful in comparison to having someone called in to diagnose and solve the problems.

Outside consultants are usually expensive and are most of the time are not worth it. The load placed upon the system will vary at times. Classes are going to have a conflict in assignment due dates and everyone is going to rush to the lab to finish their assignments. However I think that most of the time there will be a slight to moderate load placed on the system. Most students bounce in to check their mail or to send a quick message anyway. Sitting down and writing a program in one session is impossible any, so that will reduce the load in itself.

Login scripts for each user need to be simple. Allowing students to write their own should not even be considered. Each student should have the same format and be placed at the same starting point each time that they login. Alloting a specific number of search drives and network drivers would definitly reduce problems. Students should be required to change their passwords periodically. The system login scripts could execute certain commands for each different users, faculty and students. These are just a few areas within the entire Technical Design process that require a serious answer.

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