Network Planning: High-Level Infrastructure Planning

You will need to plan the details of how you will connect the computers in the network. This task includes determining which network topology the network will use, what type of cable will be used, where the cable will be routed, and what other devices (such as repeaters, bridges, hubs, switches, and routers) will be needed.

Although you have many cabling options to choose from, you’ll probably use Cat 5e or better UTP for most — if not all — of the desktop client computers on the network. However, you have many decisions to make beyond this basic choice:

  • Will you use hubs, which are cheaper, or switches, which are faster but more expensive?

  • Where will you place workgroup hubs or switches — on a desktop somewhere within the group or in a central wiring closet?

  • How many client computers will you place on each hub or switch, and how many hubs or switches will you need?

  • If you need more than one hub or switch, what type of cabling will you use to connect the hubs and switches to one another?

If you’re installing new network cable, don’t scrimp on the cable itself. Because installing network cable is a labor-intensive task, the cost of the cable itself is a small part of the total cable installation cost. And if you spend a little extra to install higher-grade cable now, you won’t have to replace the cable in a few years when it’s time to upgrade the network.