risks and benefit

You are a sought-after technical consultant known for your excellent solutions that tailor-fit
a project’s requirements, with a minimal spend, and a quick return on investment (RoI).
The board has asked you for a meeting with them for restructuring their IT infrastructure
and services, given the needs during the pandemic and the never-ending lockdowns.
You are contracted to advise the company on a re-design of their online infrastructure,
suggest a state-of-the-art design that includes new communications technologies and
services available from providers. The system must support voice, data, images, video and
audio streaming. The associated costs for the re-design will need to be allocated
sanctioned by the management team. The costing accuracy requires to be within ±15%.
This means, the cost estimates for the infrastructure and devices you will include in your
report should be as accurate and realistic as possible and supported by references.
You are called for a meeting convened by the Chief Information Officer. The meeting is
attended by the management team as well. On a video conference call, you are told:
“Tech & Co.” is a fast-growing online consumer electronics company with an annual
turnover of £4 million and a gross profit of 20%. We are growing to target our turnover to
£8m and expect to retain the same gross profits the following year as well. We are looking
to restructure following the changes to business due to the pandemic. Presently, they have
an in-house networking and computing infrastructure. The company is known for its
excellent customer interaction and support – a unique selling point that has seen their
business grow almost exponentially in the last few years.
There are four core functional components of the business – Management, Infrastructure
and Operations, Marketing, and Sales & support. All documentation and business
operations are online. The business runs out of a single large building with an adjoining
warehouse for the inventory. The online business is in the consumer retail sector.
The business fulfils over 150,000 customer orders per day on average and about ten times
the number during the end-of-year sale and the annual Summer sale. The customer
deliveries are handled by delivery companies that organise deliveries as per the
requirement of the customer orders.
All the employees are located in the four-floor building with the inventory in the adjoining
warehouse. The Management and admin team is on Floor 1, the Infrastructure and
Operations is on Floor 2, the Sales and Support team are on Floor 3 and the Marketing
team is on Floor 4. One part of the sales team that handles inventory and shipping is in the
warehouse adjoining the office building.
Currently, the online operations are all handled by an internal network that spans across
four floors and the warehouse. A server farm located in floor 2, houses all the servers and
a core switch in a redundant configuration. There are six distribution switches in all – one
for each floor and two in the warehouse. A WLAN controller and 50 access points provide
WiFi access. An Intrusion protection system is deployed with sensors in each of the
network segments. Each of the distribution switches and WiFi controller are configured as
VLAN segments from the core switch.
The Internet access is via two providers (redundant Internet access, load-balanced) and
the links terminate on Floor 2. A firewall and access router, both in redundant
configurations, interconnect the internal network to the Internet. All Internet-facing servers
(WWW, email, VPN, load-balanced proxies for access to the sales, etc.) are in a DMZ with
the firewall regulating access to and from the DMZ and the internal network and the
The company realises the need to restructure its network and integrate newer
technologies for its operations. The management however specifies that their ERP
systems must be located on site. It realises the need to use cloud service providers
appropriately. However, it’s primary concern is providing customer interaction and support.
The sales and support team works from home. In total there are 90 personnel that work
across three shifts, round the clock. These are the key people that are required to be
online to service customers. Apart from this, all other customer services are online.
Due to the pandemic, the sales & support, marketing personnel work from home, as do the
management. The infrastructure and operations personnel that comprise of the warehouse
team, the IT operations team, and the physical security team will remain on-site. In the
expected restructuring, the company intends to permanently move the personnel in Floor 3
and Floor 4 to work-from-home. The network restructuring must ensure:
• No compromise in customer interactions – online chats, emails, video calls,
requiring high-bandwidth communications links to support real-time streaming of
multimedia content.
• Reducing on-site equipment and infrastructure
• Minimising the on-site work force
• Identify quality broadband (wired and wireless) providers for work-from-home users
The meeting ends with a request for you to provide an initial documentation addressing a
specific set of questions (listed as tasks below), packaged as a report. This report is
expected to be circulated to the entire management team as well as the Chief Information
Officer and his team. You are requested to provide the initial report for review in two
weeks’ time.
Guidelines for addressing the tasks:
• The company has not provided you any specific inputs in terms of their network
diagrams, functional schematics, etc. Therefore, making assumptions appropriately
and stating the list of assumptions made, upfront, is a good practice.
• Similarly, you have not received any specific details about their suite of services.
Make appropriate assumptions and state them clearly, upfront.
• When presenting schematics or network diagrams, use landscape orientation on
your pages.
• Attempt to package information into tables and illustrations wherever possible. That
can contribute to reducing word count while increasing the information content.
• Research real-world costs for all network devices and provider services and provide
a web link to the sources used.
The specific tasks are set out on the next pages.

Task 1
a) Complete the following tasks based on the case study:
i) Draw a functional schematic indicating the functional sections of the network
infrastructure and their interconnectivity.
ii) Identify the various services provided, their type (voice, video, data, or multimedia)
and the direction of access to them (incoming or outgoing with respect to the
iii) Give a list of services provided and profile the services in terms of their data
characteristics such as typical data rates, response times, etc.
Make appropriate assumptions and state them. This schematic and profile will be
the basis of the rest of the tasks. HINT: Research real-world data traffic statistics.
b) Extending from the previous task, complete the following tasks base don the case
i) Draw and present the network schematics. The primary schematic will be a
broadly labelled schematic of the entire network.
ii) Next, prepare a schematic of the network backbone connectivity (core and
distribution switches), indicating their locations.
iii) Follow this up with schematics of each of the floors and the warehouse.
iv) Make a listing of all the equipment used and the approximate amount and type
of cabling used. Indicate the make, configuration, and market price of each of
the network equipment.
Make appropriate assumptions and state them. Remember to orient the schematics
in landscape. Indicate the source from where you quote the price of the equipment.
Questions continue on the next page
(20 points)
Task 2
Use the output of task 1 as the basis and address the potential restructuring requested by
the company using the following points.
• What factors would you consider when suggesting broadband providers for use by
the work-from-home (WFH) users? Specify the requirements per user connection
for the broadband provider. Use diagrams to illustrate where possible.
• What would you do to minimise the computing infrastructure? How would you
manage the interconnectivity from an Internet provider’s perspective? What fail-over
provisions would you build in to the requirements? Recall the company’s USP. Use
diagrams/schematics to illustrate your proposals.
• What modifications would you suggest to the infrastructure, on-site, after the
minimisation? Illustrate with a schematic showing the services and access, as well
as a high-level network diagram indicating the components on-site and their
interconnectivity. Illustrate the minimisation giving a list of equipment and services
• Summarise overall plan by listing a set of action points that you would perform in a
Guideline: Make appropriate assumptions and state them clearly at the beginning of your
response. Use costs (capital and running) as a basis for your choice of technology or
services. Your technical reasoning must be well supported by evidence (in-text citations)
that should be listed in the references, using the Harvard referencing system. You may
make reasonable assumptions of costs for those that you cannot get in online searches.
Focus on the business needs and how they will be met and not only the technical aspects;
the technology must meet the business needs.
Task 3
Based on the previous tasks, draw a single unified network diagram showing the
recommended solution. Include a list of networking devices, accessories, software, and
provider service costs, along with their configurations/services and pricing. Assess the
total cost of ownership of the network which you have proposed.
Task 4
List the risks and benefits of your proposal. Include the technical risks (including cyber
security) as well as any business risks that arise due to the technical risks. To end the
proposal, highlight your key selling points for the proposal and include a quick RoI (return
on investment) as one of the primary points.
(20 points)
(25 points)
(15 points)