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Below are a few rules picked out from a long, long list that we use for building fast and reliable local area networks:

    1. Never use coaxial cable unless you have a serious reason to do so (for example, if you need a trunk over 100 m long). Networks built on twisted pair are much more reliable. If you need to lay a longer trunk, you better use optical cable.

    2. If you are planning a network and know the exact number of ports you need, just order 10-20% more. This will spare you a lot of funds and effort in the future in case of unforeseen consequences, such as company development, various structural reorganizations, furniture moving, etc. Save a penny now - pay a dollar or two tomorrow.

    3. Choosing the topology for your cable system use the star topology whenever possible, avoiding the tree or bush topology. This will take up more cable but leave you with a more flexible and reliable cable systems, which is moreover easy to use and maintain.

    4. Choosing active network equipment always try to give preference to switches, even if at the moment of choice you can easily get running with plain hubs. The "gold rule" of building a data network is allowing some room for growth against the existing requirements. Thus, choosing UTP cable it is worth using CAT6 instead of CAT5E or 5E instead of 5. The number of ports in the active network equipment must be 10-20% greater than the quantity required at the moment of network setup. Even if you are quite content with the capacity of 10Mbit/sec, consider purchasing 100Mbit/sec compatible equipment when you design your network.

    5. Connect servers to the fastest ports in your network equipment. So, if your switch has 24 10Mbit/sec ports and 2 100Mbit/sec, connect servers to the 100Mbit/sec port, leaving 10Mbit/sec ports for user workstations.

    6. It is not necessary but strongly recommended that all of your network equipment - network interface cards, hubs, switches and routers - are of one and the same brand.

In conclusion we want to call your attention to some ANTI-laws of networks:

    1. The perfection of a network is achieved by the moment of its collapse.

    2. The network fails at the moment when it is most needed, the rest of the time it functions perfectly.

    3. Improvements to the network usually lead to its deceleration.

    4. The more LEDs a network device has, the less reliable it is.

    5. The most important cable in the whole network is the first one to get out of order.

    6. There is no network without weird and inexplicable things going on in it.

    7. The smarter the network equipment is, the dumber the data it processes.

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Russia, Moscow
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