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Network Design for School

By kismeth786 ·
I am a currently a final year university student, doing a dissertation on network design for an idependant school/sixth form.

I need to network two computer labs on seperate floors onto two separate domains. The first domain will be set up for School students, and the second computer lab will be set up for sixth form students.

I need to design the network using Active Directory and simulate it using OPNET or another piece of software that allows the two to be tested together. As I am new to all of this, could you please recommend what form of AD structure I should follow, what equipment should I use, e.g. cisco routers, switches, cables. Servers and Network Operating Systems I could recommend.

If you could please make a few recommendations, that I could start researching and following up.

Thank You!

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by BFilmFan In reply to Network Design for School

Using OPNET you should have manufacturer specs for most of the CISCO hardware built-in with the CISCO and AD modules.

My recommendation for a school AD environment, would be:

2 different kinds of AD forests. Forest #1 would be a real PRODUCTION AD Forest. Forest #2 would be a virtualized AD Forest running on VMWare ESX software. The virtual forest would allow students to play with the schema and **** it up without affecting production. They could also model AD's behavior and if they screwed up a setting, it is a short re-install from an image rather than a torturous rebuild of physical boxes.

Peer-Domain Empty Root Forest Design with 3 domains:

Root of Forest (myschooldesign.local)
Floor A Domain (FloorA.local)
Floor B Design (FloorB.local)

This would offer maximum security to the root of the AD Forest and allow more granular security control over domains, ie you could assign domain admins that would only have authority to screw up their domain and not someone else's.

Design to include the following:

Forest in Windows 2003 Functional Mode.
All domains in Windows 2003 Functional Mode.
All domain controllers to be global catalogs.

Server Specs:

Quad processor with 16 gig of memory.

Network Infrastructure

GIG E Fiber
Cisco Switches of your choice based on your port requirements.
F5 switches if you really want to go all out.
Cisco Load-Balancers.
Don't forget the DMZ and Exchange needs. You will need application servers for all the SQL, Exchange, Proxy and Bastion Host requirements.
Also account for your DHCP needs.

Virutal AD forest

For the virtual AD forest, you simply need VMWare and recreate your forest on it. Then students could **** it up to their heart's content and not affect the real production environment.

Best of luck with your studies.

One of the better books for AD is Notes From The Field. You can pick that up on Amazon for a nominal cost.

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by kismeth786 In reply to Network Design for School

Hi BFilmFan,

Sorry I must have posted my question wrong. The students will have no access to the software or AD structure.

I have been asked to design a network for the school, as part of my uni project. I will be using the OPNET software to test out throughput etc.

I need to design an AD structure and hopefully implement before September this year.

The info you have provided is VERY useful. I'll have One forest with multiple domains. I'll research up on " Forest in Windows 2003 Functional Mode, All domains in Windows 2003 Functional Mode.
All domain controllers to be global catalogs."

I'll mention VMWare to my project supervisor and see if he can get hold of an evaluation copy.

Thank you so much for your input, any more suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

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