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Network Upgrade Proposal - Riordan Manufacturing

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Background and Statement of Need

Riordan Manufacturing, Inc. is a plastic manufacturing company that specializes in developing "high tensile strength plastic substrates." The company is headquartered in San Jose, California with production facilities located in Pontiac, Michigan and Albany, Georgia. Since 1992, the company has expended its services and product line to include "plastic beverage containers and customized plastic parts." Its "major customers are automotive parts manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers, the Department of Defense, beverage makers and bottlers, and appliance manufacturers." Due to the company's rapid growth, Riordan decided to expand its operational facilities to partner with its Chinese affiliates. In 2000, Riordan's expansion efforts took the company overseas to Hangzhou, China. Riordan now employs over 500 employees world wide. Therefore, the company is heavily dependent upon its communication networks. (Riordan, 2006)

In order to stay competitive in a constantly changing business environment, it is essential that companies like Riordan to remain current with the latest technology, recent industry developments, and attend to the service needs of its customers. According to Riordan's CIO and other staff members Riordan's telecommunication and data networking systems need upgraded to better support the company's recent and future growth needs. Staff members have documented several problems with the current systems and identified numerous areas that need immediate attention. (1) Users experience system and component capability issues between locations, as well as, between the company's major purchaser's systems. (2) The databases for marketing and sales do not communicate with each other, manual data entry is required. (3) The existing wide area network (WAN) connection is not stable and is frequently not available. (4) There were several instances where the data integrity and security protocols were compromised. (5) With facilities in four locations and in two countries; internet, networking, and data security is an ongoing concern. These are all factors that need to be considered in the new network design.

Project Objectives

Riordan's Information Systems (IS) department is proposing to upgrade the company's network and telephone systems. The primary business objective is to enable seamless compatibly between all four facilities. Riordan's goal is to standardize network configurations, hardware components, and software applications improving data integrity and availability throughout the entire organization. This includes implementing a telecommunications system that supports all four locations. As well as, employ security protocols and policies that will safeguard both the network and ensures accessibility for Riordan's customers and employees. Riordan hired DSSM Telecommunications and Networking Consulting Firm to evaluate the current infrastructure (hardware and software) and devise a system solution that will benefit the company overall. As well as, support Riordan's demand for future growth.

Systems Investigation / Analysis

DSSM began its investigation by gathering information about current problem areas with the existing networking system and to understand the business purpose for upgrading the network. DSSM interviewed staff members and reviewed the company's open IT service requests (listed in table 1.1, page 11). Based on the diagrams provided, DSSM inventoried the existing hardware (listed in table 1.2 on page 12) and evaluated the security protocols and wide area network (WAN) connections in each location.

The current networking model in place is the server-based (client/server) design. As each location has dedicated hardware (servers) for handling network requests from the workstations and each site supports more than 10 users. (Greg, Tittel, & Johnson, 2004) In examining the networking schematics, DSSM found that the diagrams are out dated and the logical designs are not consistent with the actual physical implementations. The existing network consists of aging and outdated technology and devices; such as, hubs, Cat3 cabling, Windows 98 workstations and NT Servers. The IS department indicated that implementing security protocols is difficult with the use of hubs. In fact, two of the four facilities are not even using firewalls on the networks. Another drawback with the current system is the bandwidth is limited between locations. However, information regarding the port and router configurations, and security software were not available.

Examining the Infrastructure

The current infrastructures implemented at each location were designed with a unique approach. However, there is some basic resemblance between current network designs in place at the San Jose and Hangzhou locations, with only minor alterations based on the specific needs of the individual locations. In addition, the network designs at the Albany and Pontiac locations also bare some similarities with one another. Nonetheless, overall there appears to be a basic need for all location to mirror one another and standardize the network configurations.

In further review of the San Jose (figure 2.1) and Hangzhou (figure 2.4) locations it appears that these networks follow the Bus and Ring topology principals with 2 WAN connections. Each network is based on a 100 base T Ethernet backbone with an edge router for data transmission to and from the other locations and external sources on a full T1 line. The number of users supported in each location is between 35 and 50 users, per site. The workstations connect to the network via 24 port Cisco 5950 switches running on 100 base T Ethernet lines. In addition, each location is running the following servers: basic Windows NT network/domain Network and Exchange servers, UNIX based ERP/MRP servers, and NAS file storage servers. However, there is only a single UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) backup device in each location to support the entire site in the event of power loss. Each location also contains a satellite connection that serves as a back up for these locations in the event that the primary T1 line is unavailable. Both these locations also use Voice over IP (VoIP) systems. The VoIP traffic is routed through the same routers used by the data network and goes through either the T1 line or satellite transmitter, depending upon availability. However, the Research & Development department is based in the San Jose facility. The current network design extends to connect to a 1 GB Ethernet based backbone that supports 15 additional users running on an unknown MAC platform with its own Windows network server.

In reviewing



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