Network Design Tools

Several types of tools can be used to ease the task of designing a complex modern network, including the following:

■ Network modeling tools: Network modeling tools are helpful when a lot of input design information (such as customer requirements, network audit and analysis results, and so on) exists. Network modeling tools enable modeling of both simple and complex networks. The tools process the information provided and return a proposed configuration, which can be modified and reprocessed to add redundant links, support additional sites, and so forth.

■ Strategic analysis tools: Strategic analysis or what-if tools help designers and other people who are working on the design (engineers, technologists, and business and marketing professionals) to develop network and service plans, including detailed technical and business analysis. These tools attempt to calculate the effects of specific network components through simulated scenarios.

■ Decision tables: As discussed, decision tables are manual tools for choosing specific network characteristics from multiple options, based on required parameters.

■ Simulation and verification tools or services: These tools or services are used to verify the acquired design, thereby lessening the need for a pilot network implementation.

Figure 2-24 illustrates how the initial requirements information is processed with network design tools to produce a network design.

Figure 2-24 Using Network Design Tools

Figure 2-24 Using Network Design Tools

To verify a network design that was produced with the help of network modeling tools, strategic analysis tools, and decision tables, either use simulation and test tools or build a pilot or prototype network. The pilot or prototype network also creates a proof of concept that confirms the appropriateness of the design implementation plan.

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