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Computer networks are crucial in the attainment of organization goals and objectives. Many organizations are utilizing networks to communicate within the organization, allow access to data through sharing, enhance security of data, promote collaboration among workers and access the internet.  Organizations are therefore interested in designing and deployment networks that are effective and able to serve the needs of the entity. Despite this, many organizations like Star clothing face challenges from bandwidth limitations, increased cost as well as reliability issues. Nevertheless, there are alternate networking options and equipment that can be employed to address these challenges. This may include wireless networks, fibre backbone and satellite.

Needs of Star clothing

Sometimes the use of Traditional wired LANS is not sufficient in addressing the needs of the firms. Star clothing is faced with the challenge of offering the remote connectivity to training centers as well as other stores it runs. Solutions implemented to address these issues should not only be cheap but also provide reliable communication with enough bandwidth to users. To provide an answer, Star Clothing needs to establish fibre optic networks between stores, satellite links between remote offices and wireless connectivity at business premises such as stores.

Fibre optic network backbone

A fibre optic cable consists of jacketed fibres or fiber and used to transmit modulated on unmodulated optical energy from one location to another at greater throughput (Lehpamer, 2010). With a fibre optic cable laid between the major stores, the issue of limited bandwidth will be served as this media has great potential to carry voice, data and video with little latency. However, proper installations and routing needs to be done to ensure the fibre optic work well.

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To provide reliability, two fibre optic links can be laid as the long haul network between stores in order to provide redundancy in case of fails. The routers at both ends of the fibre link must also provide use of IPv4 and IPv6 addressing system to enhance compatibility and addressing needs. However, in small and remote stores, satellite links can be used.    

A satellite link among other similar option is used by organization to provide remote connectivity to sites that would otherwise not be served due to cost in setting up other network infrastructure (Angelescu, 2010) With Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) located at remote site and some at the Star Clothing central Store, communication can be initiated to allow transfer of data so as to facilities business transaction as well as training.  VSAT are beneficial as they are easy to implement and can be moved to new location with minor configuration and alignment done. This alternative will be cheaper than laying fibre in remote locations.   

A point-to-point link can be established between the central stores. This links provides a permanent and reliable connectivity between two points. Reliability is achieved through the establishment of connectivity before packets of data are sent between any two switched points. This option also provides authentication, compression and encryption through the use of point-to-point protocol.  Data loss is therefore unlikely to be experienced as well as bandwidth limitations as point-to-point connection can be used on demand.

The above options are mainly for providing connectivity between stores of Star Clothing as well as other remote sites that require connectivity. However, within the premises, there is need to implement other options such as wireless options that can provide connection of workstations to the network backbone.

Wireless connectivity

In the U.S, there has been tremendous growth in the market due to the extensive use of wireless local area networks that can be employed in areas such as health care, manufacturing and education (Rao & Parikh, 2003). Star Clothing can implement robust local area networks in its store by using wireless networks.  Deploying a wireless network will require the use of network switches and routers as well as wireless access points at the premises. Routers will be connected to the wide area backbone such as the fibre and switches connected to it.

Preferably, layer 3 switched can be used in this case. A number of switches and routers need to be used to avoid grounding of the network. Access points can then be connected to the switches to create host spots.For layer 3 switches and routers, appropriate network protocols such as OSPF needs to be configured to provide reachability and thus enhancing reliability.  The use of access point must be designed in a way that the coverage area of the access points overlap within the premise in order to allow reach to every workstation. For long distance, access points can be configured to act as repeaters, one amplifying the signals of another. However, in all this cases, the access point must be configured to use different frequencies.

Laptops within the premises much have wireless adapters so as to connect to the access points. To boost performance, award winning Cisco switches and routers can be used as well as wireless standards such as 802.11n which has improved capabilities in term of bandwidth utilization. Laptop users can now be free to roam and access the network with the specified range.

With reliable connection such as fibre of point-to-point between stores, Star Clothing can use wireless networks allow networks access as a cheap, reliable and sufficient alternative.

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