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Lesson 8Networking considerations
ObjectiveDescribe general networking considerations.

Networking Considerations for e-business Solutions

We cannot possibly discuss all the challenges of network architecture in this course, but here are a few general networking considerations an architect needs to keep in mind when creating e-Commerce solutions. Use the MouseOver to learn more about these considerations:

Network Requirements

Today, the Internet-based economy often demands around-the-clock customer service. This means that business networks must be available nearly 100 percent of the time. They must be smart enough to automatically protect against unexpected security incidents. These business networks must also be able to adjust to changing traffic loads to maintain consistent application response times. It is no longer practical to construct networks by connecting many standalone components without careful planning and design.

Building a Good Network

Good networks do not happen by accident. They are the result of hard work by network designers and technicians, who identify network requirements and select the best solutions to meet the needs of a business. The steps required to design a good network are as follows:
  1. Step 1. Verify the business goals and technical requirements.
  2. Step 2. Determine the features and functions required to meet the needs identified in Step 1.
  3. Step 3. Perform a network-readiness assessment.
  4. Step 4. Create a solution and site acceptance test plan.
  5. Step 5. Create a project plan.
After the network requirements have been identified, the steps to designing a good network are followed as the project implementation moves forward. Network users generally do not think in terms of the complexity of the underlying network. They think of the network as a way to access the applications they need, when they need them.

Network Requirements

Most businesses actually have only a few requirements for their network:
  1. The network should stay up all the time, even in the event of failed links, equipment failure, and overloaded conditions.
  2. The network should reliably deliver applications and provide reasonable response times from any host to any host.
  3. The network should be secure. It should protect the data that is transmitted over it and data stored on the devices that connect to it.
  4. The network should be easy to modify to adapt to network growth and general business changes.
  5. Because failures occasionally occur, troubleshooting should be easy. Finding and fixing a problem should not be too time-consuming.

Network Decisions Network design must reflect the anticipated user community for a particular e-commerce architecture or solution.
1. The number of users, 2. type of transactions, 3. how long visitors will stay connected are important considerations for network design.
For example most B2C e-commerce applications consume significantly more bandwidth than an Internet for a medium-size organization or extranet which consists of 3 closely-knit companies.
Frequency of Access The frequency of access also influences network design.
For example an Intranet will typically be used constantly throughout a business day, while the same network will receive little use during the weekend. In contrast, a B2C solution may have wild dips and peaks in usage through out the day , and may peak after business hours when home-based buying peaks.
Localization The amount of localization will affect network activity. For example, an e-Commerce B2C commodity product site localized for Japanese, Madarin and other widely used Asia/Pacific languages will not necessarily have a lull period during the late evening in the US.
Content Consider your content before choosing your networking solutions. Sites that are media-rich typically consume more bandwith than text-oriented sites.
Standards In software, standards are nice-to-have but do not always need to dictate architecture and design. In contrast, networking standards are well established. For e-Commerce in particular, networking implementations must stick to Internet standards (TCP/IP, HTTP, etc.), and should only bridge to proprietary private networks.
Quality Although price is a consideration, network reliability and bandwidth can make or break an e-Commerce implementation. For this reason, it is recommended that you host your website through a reliable hosting company.