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IP network design

Extracts from this document...


Network Design



1.2Target Audience

1.3Strategic Issues

1.4Summary of Responsibilities

1.5National Education Network

1.6Interoperability and Standards

2Network Design

2.1Transmission Technologies

2.2IP Addressing

2.3Network Address Translation

2.4Wide Area Network Topologies

2.5Routed or Switched Backbone

2.6Schools' Local Network Considerations

2.7Separation of Administrative and Teaching Traffic

2.8Network Security

3Router Management

3.1Edge Equipment

3.2Router Security Policies

3.3Firewall Features

3.4Remote Management

3.5Interface to the National Interconnect

4Provision of Network Services

4.1Domain Name System (DNS)


4.3Web Services

4.4External Access

4.5Location of Network Services

4.6Disaster Recovery

5Support Services

5.1Technical Support

5.2Network Monitoring

5.3Information Dissemination and Staff Development

6Advanced and Emerging Technologies


6.2IP Multicast

6.3IP Quality of Service (QoS)


Appendix A: Network Topology Discussion

Appendix B: Glossary

  1. Purpose

School networks are complex and serve a rapidly developing set of educational requirements, some of which challenge the technology and its security, implemented within limited budgets.  Many agencies are involved in providing the end-to-end network service.  There are networks on school premises, regional networks, Internet connectivity and the National Interconnect via JANET.  The whole forms the National Education Network.  At least three layers of educational management are involved: schools, local authorities and national oversight.  Suppliers include commercial network suppliers and Internet services providers, Local Authorities (Las), Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) and national agencies such as UKERNA.  These agencies must work together to produce a consistent, functional and secure IP network across the various management domains.

This document sets out a number of considerations in the design of IP networks and the basic network services provided over them.  It does not attempt to recommend or specify particular products or managed services; however it does describe best industry practice in building and operating an IP network.  In particular, it recommends open industry standards, which should ensure that networks built in this fashion can function as part of the global Internet.

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The most difficult of these guidelines requires that an application for a sizeable number of public IP addresses provide a detailed breakdown of proposed address use in an IP addressing plan.  No provision of spare addressing is permitted for administrative ease, which would entail the use of different allocation and subnet sizes depending upon the size of school.  No single IP addressing scheme could be applied to every school on the RBC/LA network.

The Internet Registry that serves Europe is the RIPE NCC; further information on public IP address application requirements is published on their web pages.

Because of these tight restrictions on assignment of public IP addresses, many networks choose to use private IP addressing.  Private IP addresses are reserved by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and will never be routed on the public Internet.  Any part of this reserved address space can be used by any number of organisations without any prior applications or registrations; these address ranges are set out in IETF RFC1918.

Private IP address ranges: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1918.txt

The IANA: http://www.iana.org/

RIPE NCC: http://www.ripe.net

  1. Public and Private Addressing Schemes

At first sight, using private address space for internal connectivity may seem ideal, as it removes the constraints on planning imposed by public address allocation.  However, there are some considerations when choosing to use private address space.

Private address space is, by definition, private.  Organisations connected to the same network will be able to interconnect using their private IP addresses; however it will be impossible to make connections to other networks, particularly the Internet.  Another interesting issue is what happens when two organisations merge.  If both are using the same part of private address space, work (most likely renumbering)

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Formulating a routing plan is critical to the success of resilient configurations.  The plan should detail where particular traffic is expected to go under normal operations, and consider traffic paths under failure conditions.  This helps to adequately provision network links at the planning stage, and also to troubleshoot when problems occur on the deployed network.

Where multiple IP routed paths are available to a destination, particularly if there are links to multiple external networks, an IP routing plan is essential.  For example, if a network has a connection to a service provider and JANET, how should IP traffic be routed?

External routing protocols such as BGP allow network reachability information to be exchanged, but require careful configuration of BGP metrics to attempt to influence the flow of traffic.  Unlike internal routing protocols, BGP does not intrinsically have any knowledge of link capacities or utilisation, and does not have a particularly intelligent path selection algorithm.

In the case of two links, the plan is not particularly difficult - the connection to JANET is likely to be used to exchange traffic with JANET networks only, and the remainder of the traffic will use the service provider connection.  The connection to JANET in this case is known as a "private peering" - traffic is only exchanged between customers of the two networks.

However, where multiple service provider links are available for full Internet access, how should traffic be exchanged?  Which service provider link should be used for outbound traffic for which networks, and (more problematically) which service provider link should take traffic from the Internet to the local network?

This sort of arrangement is known as "multi-homing", and is one of the hardest IP networking issues to solve.  As such, it is beyond the scope of this document, and it should simply be noted that extreme care is needed in such situations, and close co-operation between all networks involved is required.

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