Network Infrastructure Planning

Course number CIS 408, Network Infrastructure Planning, addresses the issue of network design in both peered-network and client/server environments. The topics emphasized in this course are network topology, routing, IP addressing, name resolution, virtual private networks (VPNs), remote access and telephony. I believe that my training and experience as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) fully encompasses the topics included in this course, and I should receive work-life credit for this course.

I gained the skills and knowledge included in this course through a number of training courses for exams leading up to my MCSE certification. The main exam in this series for network infrastructure planning was Exam 70-219, Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure, which I took in 2001.

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In addition to the associated training, work experience consisting of one or more year’s experience designing network infrastructure in an environment with greater than 200 users, at least 5 physical locations, all typical network services including file and print servers, proxy servers and/or firewalls, messaging servers, desktop clients and remote dial-in or VPN servers, and remote connectivity requirements including remote offices and individual users, as well as connection of corporate intranet services to the Internet.

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Some facets of the topics covered in this course were also covered in Exam 70-296, Planning, Implementing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment for MCSE Certified on Windows 2000, which I took in 2005 while gaining my Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MCSA) certification. Requirements for this exam included the MCSE certification I had gained previously, as well as experience in network infrastructure planning and user support.

Network topology planning was covered in Exam 70-219. This included considerations such as physical layout of the proposed network, LAN topology requirements, physical connectivity requirements and business case analysis for the network proposal. Current hardware availability as well as planned network growth, upgrades and user growth were discussed. Network security, both software-based and physical, was taken into consideration. I learned to both design a network topology from scratch as well as to modify an existing topology for new requirements.

Routing requirements using both TCP/IP and DHCP were also covered in these training sessions. Designing TCP/IP subnetting, implementation and optimizing TCP/IP routing strategies, as well as integrating existing systems with newly designed systems were discussed and practiced.

Name resolution using such protocols as DNS and WINS were covered in detail. I learned to create a number of different DNS designs, including a basic design, a highly-available design, security-enhanced designs. I also learned how to optimize DNS designs, performance measurement for DNS and how to efficiently deploy a new DNS system. WINS was also discussed; design strategies, optimization and performance measurement, and deployment were covered exhaustively. Multi-protocol strategies for maximum interconnectivity and flexibility were also discussed.

Design of remote access, telephony and external access strategies, including WAN (wide-area network) and VPN strategies as well as Internet connectivity, were a further topic of these training sessions and the subsequent exam. WAN design was covered from the standpoint of both dial-in and VPN access.  Dial-in remote access security was emphasized, with design considerations including Routing and Remote Access protocols and authentication with RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service).

VPN (virtual private network) access was discussed, with Routing and Remote Access being emphasized as well as a demand-dial strategy. The training also encompassed telephony system design considerations, including traditional telephony switchboard-based services as well as Voice over IP (VoIP) services. Connectivity to external Internet was also a focus of the training; design considerations included inbound connection control, firewalling and proxy servers and other security requirements unique to the corporation.

My training and experience as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer has thoroughly prepared me in the subject matter offered in this course. Formal training as well as six years experience in network infrastructure planning, including such designs as network topology, protocol configuration and monitoring, integration of telephony, remote access and outside connectivity services as well as attention to business requirements, has given me a depth of knowledge and experience in network infrastructure planning equal to or greater than the knowledge I would gain from CIS 408. I feel I am very well qualified to receive work-life credit for this course.




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