How To Do A Network Assessment

Network Job Solutions – Network Assessment Overview

A network assessment is conducted after we have finished the business and design requirements of the company. A network assessment provides a quick snapshot of the current network with an examination of the infrastructure, performance, availability, management and security. That information is utilized for making effective strategy recommendations and design proposals to the client concerning specific information systems modifications before implementing wireless network equipment.


The current network is examined using 5 primary surveys: infrastructure, performance, availability, management and security. When the surveys are completed, the information collected is then reviewed for trends, problems and issues that are negatively affecting the network. The surveys are reviewed and compared with best practices, business requirements and design requirements. The results from the analysis are then utilized to develop specific recommendations that focus on design, equipment configuration, security and network management strategy improvements. As well the information is used to support the design process.

Specific Assessments

The assessment model describes all 5 assessments types defined with the network assessment. It starts with an infrastructure assessment, which is comprised of a corporate structure interview and a survey of the specific enterprise and office components. The corporate structure interview reviews current locations, number of users and office types. The enterprise survey examines common elements such as circuit maps, routing protocol design and Windows ADS. The office components survey examines campus, WAN, applications, and facilities for access, distribution and core offices.

When the infrastructure survey is finished, we then move on with a performance assessment, which identifies the types of traffic currently running on the network and current average and peak traffic loads. The network is tested at various campus and WAN segments for response time, utilization levels and errors. With that finished we focus on a network availability assessment. That is a survey of diversity, design, configuration and facilities to determine if they address the availability requirements of the company.

The management assessment reviews the current strategy being used to manage enterprise devices and servers. It is a review of seven primary management groups, applications, configuration and IOS services. Finally the security assessment examines perimeter, network, transaction and monitoring security, protocols and processes.

Infrastructure Assessment

Results from the current infrastructure assessment should be analyzed to determine potential issues with the current infrastructure. Equipment information, application types, IOS versions, topologies and circuits could affect design and implementation.

Performance Assessment

The performance assessment identifies any problems with specific campus and WAN segments, devices, servers and enterprise circuits. Traffic analysis should focus on over-utilization issues and errors with those components. The following is a list that describes some typical causes of network performance problems.

• Equipment and Circuit Provisioning

• Network Device Configuration

• Application Configuration

• Application Model

• Enterprise Design Problems

Availability Assessment

The various components that affect network availability are considered since it is a key requirement of many information technologies strategies. Problems with the surveyed groups are identified and the effect that has on company revenues.

Management Assessment

Problems with the current network management strategy are identified and how that is affecting current network operations. The current network management strategy will determine what additional processes, applications and events will be required to manage any new implementations. Network availability is affected a lot by the current network management strategy.

Security Assessment

The developing of a security policy and strategy is important to protecting company assets. The company security strategy is considered and problems identified that would affect company operations.

Assessment Analysis

When the network assessment has been completed, the information collected is then reviewed for trends, problems and issues that are having a negative affect on the network. All five assessment groups are reviewed and compared with best practices, business requirements and design requirements. The results are utilized to make recommendations and support the design process.


With a detailed analysis of the primary assessment groups completed, it is the focus of this phase to make recommendations that address the problems identified. The recommendations should address problems from all groups and consider best practices, business requirements and design requirements. The recommendations are considered when building the infrastructure, security and network management strategy.

Shaun Hummel is an author of various technical books and has a web site focused on information technology job search solutions and certifications.

This story, "How To Do A Network Assessment" was originally published by ITworld.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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