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  • #2174632

    Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?


    by dmambo ·

    The other day, I submitted a request for an new switch and some cabling work. I work in a manufacturing plant and the General Mgr is not well-versed on IT or network issues. The first reaction I got was “This network was just installed a few years ago, Why wasn’t it planned for expansion?”

    I had to spend an hour explaining that 4 years ago, we had only 2/3 the number of users that we have now. That all of this growth has been in an area served by a single IDF, that with the closure of another plant, we have responsibilities that we didn’t have then, and that I had a hard time justifying the capacity and expense of the network when it was originally installed.

    If this isn’t approved (I’m sure it will be) I’ll get hung out when I tell them that the next user in the new offices will not have a LAN connection. When I suggested expanding wireless connectivity, I was told that couldn’t be done because they are still working on corporate standards.

    Am I just feeling sorry for myself? Should I take responsibility for “poor design”? Or is this the standard reaction to projects that have a significant expense? What’s your experience?

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    • #3173783


      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      a bit of all of the above.

      it’s standard reaction for people who don’t understand information technology and it’s requirements

      it’s a bit of you are feeling sorry for yourself. which is a standard reaction to dealing with those twits that are fighting you doing your job correctly.

      maybe not “poor design” but for poor planning…
      you should always pad your requirements for planned capabilities by 10%
      4 years ago if you had asked for and gotten 10% more, you would still be in the situation of needing to be expanding, but would have more time before it became critical. ( or you should have noticed that the network was getting close to capacity and started this process when it hit 80% of total capacity. )

      but hey, i’se jest an undeumicated iggeramos, so don’t take me werds to hart.
      ( special event planning and organising taught me to always expect 50%+ more than estimated at a minimum, so I developed the habit of padding estimates to cover my butt )

      + worst miss estimate was out by 200 bodies… cater for 100 have 300 show up. good thing I ignored the company owner and planned for more than 100 huh? ( fed 600 people with food originally intended for 100, and only spent 100 cash on food )

      • #3173664

        I did pad the original design

        by dmambo ·

        In reply to it’s

        The problem is that all the growth has been concentrated in one area of the building. Closets turned int offices, single offices shared by 2 or more people, users who NEED a 2nd phone extension, networked printers just TOO far away, etc. And we’re not totally saturated yet.

        I AM still feeling sorry for myself.

        What, are you the chosen one feeding 600 people with only 5 loaves and 2 fishes? 🙂 (I’m sure I got the numbers wrong and someone will correct.)

        • #3173594


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to I did pad the original design

          just lucky….

          nno no horseshoe up my butt…maybe the entire blacksmithy with luck like that. 😉

          ahh, you mean the network alterations also require a new location… definately not something that can be planned for.

          like I said, feeling sorry for yourself is natural.
          just think about this, he bosses ain’t gonna lump ya with mj ( a wierdo that should have been fried. 😉 )

        • #3173320

          miracles shouldent we all be able to do them?

          by jeasterlingtech9 ·

          In reply to I did pad the original design

          jfyi 5000 men (they didn’t count woman and children)

          All of us have had miracles expected of us even when we guess right some bean counter second guesses us
          I speced a college lab, we used six sided tables so I planned 7 cat5 to each table (6 for computers and 1 network printer or the like) how many did they put? 4 and had to use cat5 splitter dongles (of course the most fragile ones they could find) they have to replace about 10 or 15 a year (at about $15 a pop) because of peoples big feet

        • #3175926

          Reply To: Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

          by techrepublic ·

          In reply to I did pad the original design

          Mate, I’d be feeling pretty peed off too!
          When starting any such job, in my design I normally cater for what I call an essential minimum, an an optimised goal. In everything, I ask (in writing) for kit needed to build the optimised goal. I save all responses and obviously insist on written responses. My requests all follow the format of “We need a to achieve b. If we have c instead, we can achieve d. If we haven’t got a, x might happen and if we haven’t got b, z might happen”.
          Where the response will put me below the essential minimum, I point out that it’s a no-go.
          At some stage down the line when the sh*t hits the fan, I whip out my saved responses.
          The way I look at it is simple: I’m paidd to do a job and part of that job is to complete projects as cheaply as possible. Now cheap means cheap in the medium to long term. Short-term savings will come back and bite you! It is NOT my job to dictate to my employers, but to advise them of what I believe is the best way forward. It’s up to them to take my advice, or leave it. If they don’t and it all falls down, my back is covered and I’ll simply start building it all over again.
          Whatever you do, DON’T take it personally. That way lies madness.

        • #3175823

          Technology related poor cover

          by rsmmail04-tech1 ·

          In reply to I did pad the original design

          As a technology consultant I am often faced with this challenge. Knowing what’s best, but completing the project within a certain budget. First thing I do when “spec’ing out” a project is start at the top. Start with the best of everything in, highest name brand, most features etc. Price the project at 50% more than you need to actually meet the requirements. Then as upper mgt. starts to hum and haw at the price, start moving down the scale, documenting every time what the drawbacks are. Best done in emails so theirs a trail.

          Then once all is agreed upon, come back with three designs. One that is about 10-20% under the original price, one at the original price and one about 20-25% over the original price.

          One thing to do is a “forecasted price of operation” for each quote based on an expect turn of events. I.e. if you are building a network now for 100 people and you are expecting your organization to triple in size in 5-6 years, what is the cost to operate the network over that period, based on buying the scalable hardware now instead of buying cheap hardware now only to have to replace it again in a few years.

          Also, as a consultant I often get customers who want all the greatest features and scalability, but don’t want to pay for it. If I start to feel the customer is just to cheap to let me do the job right, I turn the job down. In fact, during the “spec’ing” process, I will identify which products, services or aspects of the project that are “required” for me to complete the project myself. If they are not willing to agree to these requirements, I politely decline and further participation.

        • #3175729

          You did a good job

          by blart ·

          In reply to I did pad the original design

          With the cost of network equipement dropping and the spec improving all the time it would be foolish to build much more than you require at any time. You saved your company money when the original network went in by keeping to the requirements, and you’ll save money in the long run by increasing the network where it’s needed.

          Work what it would have cost to put in the extra network you need now at the time you originally installed it, plus any other plausible contingency you can think of, deduct the current cost (reduced for inflation) and suggest to your boss that he give you half the difference.

          Or maybe not, since he sounds like a grouch!

      • #3173380

        Optimistic, Realistic, Pessimistic

        by thatboy ·

        In reply to it’s

        If what you mean by “a hard time justifying” is that you could not come up with good justifications for your recommendations, then it is your fault; if what you mean is that you came up with good justifications, but management ignored or rejected your recommendations, that the problem rests squarely and surely at their feet.

        I don’t advocate simply padding the estimate. You should make your realistic estimate and then do a sensitivity analysis, i.e., create two other growth senarios called optimistic and pessimistic that bound your realistic scenario cost above and below, and then discuss the consequences implied in each case. You’ll likely see that over-building results in a a relatively small, fixed, up-front extra expense which will be seen as an unnecessary waste if reality conforms with either the pessimistic or realistic plan; underbuilding will result in requiring a relatively or disasterously large unplanned extra emergency expenditure if reality conforms to the realistic or optimistic plan.

        Then ask the manager if they want to prepare for different future this time than they did last time.

        • #3175849

          Well in another thread was mentioned

          by cowen80194 ·

          In reply to Optimistic, Realistic, Pessimistic

          There was a mention that the growth has been concentrated in one part of the office. It is hard to plan to have extra cables in the legal department which is normally 4 people when you think the R&D side will be growing because of a proposed contract for widgets that does not pan out but intern you need more lawyers to protect company secrets.

          I install networks and a typical BICSI standard is to run 3 cat6 cables to the desk.

          Spare, Computer, Phone in some installs we split the phone for A and B others we install a 4th cable. To have enough cables at every desk and in every wall you would need extra patch panels and switches that would be connected and un used for a while where some been counter would question why that equipment is using electricity and was even bought and just hangs in the rack unused.

          There are a few ways to expand with out adding cable immediatly. The methods I use are solid but stress is made to follow thru with the updates. I have even added a charge for rent of the solution if the updates are not made in the time set upon default of the customer.

          What I usually do is get a signed contract for the upgades but will install a solution to allow the company to get work done as the updates are made. Extra phone lines, and computer connections.

          The more I can make the solution work for the customer the more flexable they are allowing the updates then I take out the solutions as the updates are tested and certified.

          By the end the Solution is removed and the updates are in place and running.

      • #3173325

        What about planning?

        by ashembers ·

        In reply to it’s

        Stupid that you would get criticism. Adding a switch does not mean that your design was poor. It might mean that you planned a network that allowed the option of expanding later, while saving money by not overbuying switches at the time. That IMHO is very good design! You can always buy a better switch with the same money down the road because, thanks to Moore’s Law, better technology is more affordable in the future. Don’t feel badly about that – you’ve made a good network that worked without needing new wiring or major replanning for 5 years and more to come. F*&% anyone who disagrees.

        • #3173299

          But you can’t F*&% the Boss!

          by cloakedrun2001 ·

          In reply to What about planning?

          It is all fine and good to say “F*&% anyone who disagrees.” The problem I have seen is that uninformed bosses and bean counters second guess you, and do things the “cheap” way. So yes, the blame falls squarely on them.

          Unfortunately, when the crap hits the fan, then suddenly “the boss is always right”, and you get to wear the hat of “Scapegoat”, even though it was someone elses bad decision!

          I am sick and tired of bringing critical issues to managements attention, and providing a couple of simple and cost-effective “no-brainer” decisions (ie <$500 to solve the problem), and having them say "I'll think about it." And think they do! For weeks, and even MONTHS. Meanwhile everyone's productivity suffers and I am on the front-line listening to it. I feel your pain. But I have finally come to the point where I simply refuse to take it personally. Ethics demands that I bring critical issues to managements attention. As a professional, I also bring not just problems, but suggested solutions. Management must accept repsonsibility for bad decisions. And I now tell users that if they have a problem with management's decisions, that they should take them up with management. I am NOT vendictive about it. I am NOT sarcastic. And I refuse to "bitch" at users about my problems. If they complain, then it is plain, simple, and matter of fact. If I am not allowed to make the decision, then I refuse to be made respoinsible for the decision that was made by someone else. I sleep a lot better at night now. 🙂

        • #3175869

          Have user email issues

          by jmgarvin ·

          In reply to But you can’t F*&% the Boss!

          Or create a logging db for user problems. That way when you go to management you can SHOW them what the users want and need.

          This also helps with CYA. You are set because you planned and responded to the customers needs.

    • #3173559

      Four out of the six

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Companys that I have contracted to have had some of the worst networks that I have ever seen. You should not accept any responsibility for the network! Unless you had a hand in designing it.
      You should doucument the problems with the network and how to fix them. And submit them to your boss and see what he/she dose with it.
      I have been at too many contract jobs were the network was so messed up that I suggested a total rebuild. But at most it was rejected. It is not your fault and not your problem unless they want you to fix it. If so then tell them it will cost time and money to get it right.
      But that is why IT people are getting more jobs now, because things have been done half way and now companies want them done right.

      • #3173131

        I had a hand in the design

        by dmambo ·

        In reply to Four out of the six

        I worked with my boss at the time who was a sharp guy. (He quit a year ago. It sucks to lose a good boss). We over built it by about 50% at the time. The issue is that we took a lot of “dead” space and converted it to office space and crammed more people into existing offices. Growth is good, it’s just that it can’t happen without infrastructure improvement. The facilities manager told me that he got a somewhat similar reaction before his project to increase the power capacity in the area.

        What gets me is that it’s really not that expensive relative to other things going on. The problem is that there is no existing capital project and all the costs need to be expensed. Now that I understand this, what I’m going to do is do it piecemeal. I’ll get 2 24-port switches rather than a single 48-port. The cabling will be done on 3 different purchase orders. Crazy, but the bean counters rule the world.

    • #3174193

      Ah, IT life….great

      by vince ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Dealing with pigheaded brass is pretty much the biggest problem an IT departement can have, it makes spam prevention look great by comparison. As an IT departement it is your duty as it is all of ours, to never let the user know things are ok and you don’t need anything. If you can justify the expense on paper and shop for the best deals and they don’t buy what you tell them, instead of them coming to you with accusations and the weight of the companies entire productivity on your shoulders, they’ll come to you bearing gifts of coffee, donuts and sweaty foreheads. Ok maybe not exactly, but you do have to plan for expansion at all times. Modular design in switching is a good start, licensing is another good one to keep an eye on. Just prepare something on paper and CC everyone, so when disaster strikes your ass is covered.

      • #3173424

        A great new start

        by justinf ·

        In reply to Ah, IT life….great

        I have just taken over as IT state manager where only outsourcing companies have been used before. The network is a mess; 20 servers where 5 would do, unmarked cables disappearing into racks, erroneous switches balanced on servers, tucked in at the back of the rack etc. The good thing is that we are moving into new premises soon and I have made it clear to management that things will be done properly this time and I will be spending lots of money to do it & they agree!!!

        • #3173390


          by fgarvin ·

          In reply to A great new start

          Unfortunately, there are a lot of networks out there like you describe. Recently, I was involved in the installation of a new network for a small law office. we did everything right. Top of the line all the way, including Cat 6 cabling, and gigabit NICs. when the job was finished, one of the law firms biggest clients came in and saw the job we had done, and remarked how clean it was. Their network is all rat nested. Also, not long ago, there was severe weather which caused power outages. The entire rest of the building had no network or phones. The Office we built had network, phones and internet access because the guys who designed it (I only helped install) thought everything through and were prepared. Now we’re getting inquiries from the other businesses in the building to do work for them.

        • #3173371

          kind of like

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Yikes!

          when I installed / wired several floors of one tower for a wang mini computer.
          properly designed system, with the correct power backup and grounding, water cooled, everything redundant to avoid problems in power outages.
          ( took 15 years before there was a power outage though, we have an excellent power grid here )

          even got a gut splitting laugh during the installation.

          me sitting on floor behind unit, soldering connectors onto the cables to plug workstations into the system.
          smoke from flux rising above unit from behind.

          it department head sees smoke, before installation completed.. freaked out.

          we only asked him how he wanted the connections ttached to the cables for the system and he realised it was his fault for not thinking.

    • #3173412

      hard to explain

      by martykro ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      I think that it is hard to explain it to non informed bosses but try to let them know that the company cannot afford to be cheap. In the end it will cost more. Try to get in writing a future growth prediction in order to avoid the same problem a few years down the line.

      • #3173408

        Whats to explain!

        by jeff.mcfee ·

        In reply to hard to explain

        Surely a switch is just something all the cables go into. Makes no sense that THAT should be so expensive. I’ve seen those hub things very cheap that do the same thing! 😉
        It really is one are where it takes for you to have alot of clarity as to why it is needed because non IT people (and many, many IT people who don’t know networks) just don’t get it. Largely in my experience it’s about being clear and positive about why it is needed and just hope they trust your opinion enough.

        • #3173391

          Depends on who you talk too….

          by jsdutcher69 ·

          In reply to Whats to explain!

          When I walk into my new job here I inherited a nightmare and lucky for my boss IS an IT guy so i needed little justification because he knew what was going on with everything. However, if your boss in the CFO or some schmuck that has no clue then you’ll be better off pulling teeth on an alligator. They will require justification, and you need to explain it like you’re talking to a 5th grader because we all know they are so intelligent…NOT. Just remember if you didn’t design it’s not your fault. But when you upgrade it, plan to upgrade it again in 3 yrs and explain it all to everyone. email your plans to you boss and CC everyone above him (just make sure you tell your immediate boss so you don’t make him mad) that way your tuch is covered.

        • #3173384


          by dmambo ·

          In reply to Whats to explain!

          There was no Cisco switch vs. Linksys hub at Staples confusion because as soon as I got into details, you can just watch the eyes glaze over. There’s not enough knowledge in the front office to make the distiction.

        • #3173277

          Are you mad?

          by carntsen ·

          In reply to Whats to explain!

          You seem like the type of IT Manager that gives us all a bad rap!

        • #3175844

          Yes and No

          by cowen80194 ·

          In reply to Whats to explain!

          I hope you are just typing quickly in your post.

          A Hub and a Switch are not the same.

          In principal yes but that is where it stops.

          Hubs take a say 100mb connection and split it up between each connection requested. 10 computers would get 10mb out of 100mb in. Even a 10/100 hub will split up the connection into smaller amounts. Cable modems work this way.

          Switches are smart and switch between the requesting and source connections providing a full 100mb connection which is more balanced.

          Switches provide a much faster connection between server and client.

          Hubs are 1/3 the cost of a switch but if you depend on hubs to split the connections you will so find a bottle neck.

      • #3173294

        Four years is great

        by gdoc ·

        In reply to hard to explain

        The issue isn’t in scalability but capacity.
        These are two different animals.
        I’d have to say that given the unforcast increase in users due to the consolidation, plus the (implied) fact that this is the first increase in four years, that your design is justified. If it comes down to the bean counters, have your boss request the funds come out of the consolidation budget, vs. IT. It is due to the additional client load that you’re having to build out the network after all. What scares me is that we’re talking about <48 ports, and they're squealing about the cost? It may be time to move to a bigger pond.

      • #3175887

        Hard not to keep emails and notes on file

        by beads ·

        In reply to hard to explain

        This like many other situations, you should always keep any and all correspondence on nice little pieces of paper and put them into a file for “review” later, if needbe. Sometimes mediocre managers forget some of those little details and need to be reminded.

        If your so inclined you can always seek out someone above your boss to ‘shepard’ the project along as well but that can be treading on some very shaky ground if you screw up.

        – beads

    • #3173411


      by ccube ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      I have seen in several of the posts and replys about dealing with the planning and cost issues. In each reply, you stated you anticipated growth and factored for that growth during the intial installation. What happened to reexamining those figures as you started to see the business grow and advise management of this fact. Somewhere in the reevaluation of services and technologies, you had to know the capacity would need to be adjusted for. What are you looking for in the reply to this post? Should you feel guilty? About the original design, probably not. About your lack of reevaluation and refocusing of priorities as it relates to network infrastructure capacity and capabilities, YES! Everyone in this industry knows its better to be proactive than reactive. If you have documented everything about expansion and need for newer, better equipment, and management blew you off, then it’s their issue. But if you did nothing about it until now, then fault is clearly on your shoulders.

      If I have done my job right, management would have been advised when capacity exceeded 70% and would have received a warning at 80%. Based on the statement of having a hard time justifying original network, I am sure that the succeeding advisement and warning would have met resistance as well. If they chose to balk at these, then the fault is with them. I myself had been faced with a similar situation and after repeated denials to deal with the issues at hand, I resigned my position and looked elsewhere. Unfortunately, IT is seen as a COST center and in the eyes of many who do not understand IT, a necessary evil to doing business.

      • #3173376

        Very true!

        by dmambo ·

        In reply to Justification

        You’re right that I should have been more vocal about the need to upgrade/expand. I have mentioned it to management in the past, but never with enough emphasis or back-up documentation. I see that I should heve been a lot more specific and formal in making my case.

        You’re also right that IT is looked upon as a cost center and it’s tough to justify the investment with ROI, etc. I explained it by comparing this type of cost to a roof repair. It’s infrastructure. I contrasted it to a new software application that might actually streamline the work process.

        BTW, the project is approved. It just required that I break it up in chunks so it would not be considered a capital expenditure.

    • #3173407

      Momentum line budget model

      by penguinvitamins2 ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      The problem of making provision for capacity for the next 4-5 years is that
      1. Network kit you buy today will most likely cost a fraction of the price in the future and most likely have more features available. So is it wise to let network kit sit in a storeroom until it is used?
      2. The lifespan of network kit is average 10+ years. One, in most cases, forgets that all IT hardware investments require some sort of rotation plan. Else you do not have control over cash flow and in most cases huge replacement expenses are done in a short period of time. Not good for the company?s cash flow.
      3. Did the firm have any HR, acquisition or growth strategy in place that was passed on to IT for long term planning? I guess not. So how is it possible that the IT department can foresee company growth? Make it clear that your guess is as good as anyone?s, but suggest that it might be time to get this in place to prevent a similar problem.

      You (your IT dept) will most likely continue to provide networking services for your company? Thus there will always be associated costs.

      Putting in place a momentum line budget schedule might help. This schedule is a summary of the continues running costs associated with any IT service for e.g. the next 5 years. Indicated costs totals with annual periods.
      Graphs might help to illustrate this to your management.

      A typical momentum line includes the following:
      1. The associated vendor maintenance or SLA cost,
      2. The internal support costs for keeping it running, (might be difficult to get staff salaries, but you might ask what are your IT department charging per headcount to the rest of the firm) to recover such costs (or they could start using this model to recover costs).
      3. The (rotation plan) replacement costs, e.g. say based on a rotation plan you need to replace 4 end of life switches this coming budget year, 3 more next year etc. etc.
      4. The cost for the projected network growth (say 10% annually, and that will mean 1 or 2 switches a year for the next nth period)

      You?ll soon notice that getting 1 or 2 more switches are the least of these costs of providing your company with network connectivity.

      A business case is always a good idea to propose anything new. A business case has elements of 1. The requirement, the options and the solution with cost and recommendations. It also helps to have a Executive sponsor for such a business case. Tip: Write it in such a way that all levels of staff understands their documented own requirements, the solution and recomemndation. Even more important is to explain costs and include it in the momentum line above. Further tip. It sometimes costs money to save money. A momentum line can highlight this. e.g. acquisition of new technologies might have a cash flow impact in the first year but can taper or decline IT costs in the next few years.

      Hope it helps


    • #3173404

      don’t feel sorry for yourself

      by ramrod ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      ..I would avoid feeling sorry for yourself. Your bosses initial ignorance and lack of understanding is not your doing. The fact that you were under a budgetary constraint when this was initially designed is enough for him to realise what was going through your mind when you designed and built the network. And while the discussions are still civil and no shouting has started yet, ask him if he was in the same situation what would he have done? Having said that the ‘business case’ is always compelling an excel spreadsheet with solid figures should do the trick.

    • #3173402

      Take Ownership

      by harvinder.thandi ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      I have worked for many a company over the years who have poorly implemented networks…. wireless, corporate standards, history aside its your responsibilty as a network professional to get to the bottom of your organisations problems and find a solution that matches the businesses requirements within the budget that you have available

    • #3173401

      It happened to me to

      by david ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Simular things ahve happened to me as well. Although in some cases I had documented the situation properly at design time (and had General mangement sign it off) so they had to tone down.
      Unfortunately there is in some cases top management that does not see anything else but dollar signs.

    • #3173397

      hard to explain

      by martykro ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      I think that it is hard to explain it to non informed bosses but try to let them know that the company cannot afford to be cheap. In the end it will cost more. Try to get in writing a future growth prediction in order to avoid the same problem a few years down the line.

    • #3173395

      Prior Planning…..

      by fgarvin ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      prevents piss poor performance. You can only plan for what you know from experiance you will need. You had no way of knowing that todays closet would be tommorows 2 man office, and I don’t know about you, but most broom closets i have been around require network connectivity.

      All you can do is do a professional, complete job. If they change the parameters, it is going to cost them extra.

      • #3175868

        Too true

        by jmgarvin ·

        In reply to Prior Planning…..

        There is no way to plan for amazing growth in one specific part of the building like that. Who would think a broom closet would become an office?

        There are many issues to deal with in this case and part of it is that management didn’t plan for the growth. However, Mombo should have been more vocal about the insane growth strategies management put forth…

    • #3173389

      Stop weeping- your not the first

      by reddittlouise ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      It’s a standard reaction from people who don’t understand the technology infrastructure. I think if you note your work and make sure that your providing quality- in the end you will reap what you have sown. The business world is full of know it alls and what we know as Techinician in the IT field is that we are used to spending more time with a system that response then people who don’t. Perhaps showing them an infrastructure worksheet will help, and the question would be in this worksheet when the budget could provide for an upgrade- that way you would have protected yourself and your job. Hope this helps

    • #3173381

      Management won’t take responsibility

      by rickky ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      I have had similar problems. I was wiring a new building and was told not to wire a storage area. I finally convinced them to let me run 4 drops as I could only picture 4 cubicles ever occupying the space. Well, 1 year later they managed to squeeze 6 cubicles and a network printer in the room and they wanted to know why it wasn’t done correctly the first time.

      They want it done right, but don’t want to pay for it. What can you do.

      I have also tried to make recommendations to add certain equipement to stay ahead of the game to only be told that they can’t spend that kind of money. Later they suddenly agree to it because somebodies cousin or such said it was a good idea. And they don’t even know what they are talking about. We can’t win.

      • #3173375


        by bill.beckett ·

        In reply to Management won’t take responsibility

        No, they don’t want it done right, that’s the problem. Management never wants it done right, they just want it done with the least expense. Then, after all is said and done, they want to know why 6 people can’t fit in an area that was wired for 4.

    • #3173374

      Advice, maybe. Well sorta…

      by bruce.meyer ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      “This network was just installed a few years ago, Why wasn’t it planned for expansion?”

      A good answer “Well, 4 years ago we bought enough ports for 25-40% growth, and we’ve grown.” Also point out the price/capability of the gear you bought then versus now. I’d bet that either the same $ will buy you more ports now, or more speed (from 100 to 1000).

      “If this isn’t approved (I’m sure it will be) I’ll get hung out when I tell them that the next user in the new offices will not have a LAN connection.”

      So tell them! Over and over again! Write up purchase reqs or whatever with enough stuff to do the job right. Then write it up with just enough to get by for now. If this project is not budgeted for now, you may have do less now and wait for the next fiscal period. Just make sure to do some CYA.

      “Am I just feeling sorry for myself? ”
      Maybe. Don’t get sucked into emotional reactions, just present several choices and leave it up to management to decide. Give them good, better, and best choices. You may look at them and think “Why, any idiot would pick my best case, it’s got the Terabit core switch with the Flux-Capacitor time shifter!” but the other people at the table didn’t come from a tech background.

      Try to remember at the end of the IT day, it’s “This is what it costs. What DON’T you want to do?”

      Hope this helps some!

    • #3173351

      Technology Strategic Planning and Budgeting

      by tedu ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Had you justified a greater capacity four years ago, you would have spent five to ten times what it would cost today to install the same technology. Therefore, the company has saved money in not overbuilding their network.

      It all comes down to planning. Updating management on the costs of IT must be an ongoing effort. Management should be made to understand that requiremenets change and so does technology. Each piece of equipment should have a replacement cycle. Each of us managing networks should have a technology strategic plan that we update annually that indicates our anticipated needs over the next three years. From that plan, approved by management, we get management “buy into” the growth process by approving your budget. You should also have a technology budget which gives you some flexibility to handle unanticipated requirements.

      Ted Udelson, President
      Integrity Computing, Inc.
      We Make IT Work for You

    • #3173350

      Reply To: Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      The answer to this is that the network was designed for scalability. Here is how to word it:

      The network was designed for scalability, and with that design, we had the option at the time to purchase hardware and not use it, or not purchase the hardware until a later time until such time that it was needed. Since the network design allows us to plug in additional networking, at the time the network was installed, it was decided that the additional hardware was not needed until demand required it, saving the company money for that quarter.

      Now that it is needed, you are only purchasing the hardware on a need base, saving the company from investing heavily in the network quarter to quarter, thereby not having a significant impact on the companies bottom line.

      The fact of the matter is that no matter what you do, the bottom line is what they are interested in protecting. If you plea the case to the betterment of the bottom line, you will have less of a problem getting the hardware you need.

    • #3173349

      Switch specifications???

      by kevin ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      What was the dollar value of the “new switch” request? With a 24-port 10/100 unmanaged switch currently priced at under $90, you may be working for a company that has NO “supply” budget. On the other hand, if you are specifying a layer 2, gigabit managed switch, to add a few new users…management might have a right to be upset with the numbers presented. Surely there is a compromise solution to be found that will make everybody satisfied. If the people you are ?PROPOSING TO? add to the network don’t get connected, isn’t that going to have a bigger expense than what you need to get them working?

    • #3173343

      What I would think you’d have to do

      by jck ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Is show them that you planned padding into your design according to what the labor force was within each location and had a margin for extras.

      Since the closing of the plant, that shifted unexpected labor resources to your location and caused an unexpected jump in network allocations necessary to accomodate access requirements.

      You did what you could, within budget, to accomodate those needs responsibly. You could not have predicted a plant shutdown.

      If they can’t understand that, you should consider going to another employer.

    • #3173333

      This is everyday business…

      by shanecse ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Your scenario is both usual and expected. Nobody likes to spend money, especially if money is tight. Your GM is right in asking you to explain the need for the new equipment. Your justifiactions (as you wrote here) are sound, logical and in the best interest of the plant. Expansion (or lack thereof) does not always indicate poor planning. Get use to presenting a business case and be prepared to submit your justification for new equipment in advance the next time you ask and your GM will be impressed. Don’t take on issues that you don’t own, like being “hung out” when you tell users they can’t connect. If the GM says “No” then refer the users to the GM.

    • #3173301

      Padding and heading off problems.

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      First, for planning network, phone or electrical I look at what the forseeable use WILL be, then I double it. Always. At least for the cable runs. As far as switches, I make it so I can expand AS NEEDED without buying too far in advance. When my switch gets half full, that is time to look at another BEFORE I need it.

      This helps stay up on expansion. The way it USED to be done before I took over was you wait until you need something to see if you have it. Then you have to wait to get new equipment approved AND ordered before you can add that new user.

      Not much you could have done to forsee this, and don’t know how far you got before you asked for the new equipment.

      Just learn from it and move on! It isn’t the end of the world, and anyone that complains that you didn’t plan for this ask them why the upcoming plant closing wasn’t mentioned when the network was being put in so you could plan for it? If they don’t tell you, how are you to know?

    • #3173263

      It happens everywhere

      by kamotto ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Just wanted you guys to know that this happens in every industry. Management always says no, and then down the line will say why wasn’t it done. The best way to prepare is to document everything — every proposal, every decision. I think the feeling we get is a combination of feeling sorry for ourselves and sheer frustration. Especially if you’re accused of doing or not doing something and you cannot recall and person/people conveniently forget that the decision was theirs in the first place. Since I work for a small company this happens in every area of the business. Boss doesn’t want to spend money and then gets angry when the very thing I warned against happens. And he never remembers the problem had been brought to him firsthand.

    • #3173256

      CYA – Cover Your Assets

      by michael.hernandez ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Planning for expansion is one of the cardinal rules for Network Engineers and Systems Administrators. Having said that, there are always unexpected changes lurking about.

      A five year plan is a reasonable expectation; however one should use qualify and quantify those expectations.

      For example, a statement such as “our network infrastructure will support the current employment trend within the company’s workforce and expected market-growth”, should be included in your project analysis.

      The key here is getting reliable numbers from management. If you can get your managers invloved in the planning process, they are less apt to fault the decisions when a situation such as yours occurs.

    • #3173233

      You did good

      by charlieharley ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Sounds like you did what you can do from the get go, so don’t feel bad. Take pride and do what’s right. It does take patience dealing with management folks who have little or no IT knowledge. The trick is you have to sell them the idea that upgrade is a bargain with all the added benifite that comes with it – ROI and dollars – savings in the long run.
      Good luck my friend.

    • #3173225

      Typical dumb-pass-the-buck mgmt response

      by admin ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Yup, Typical response of management that doesn’t want to shoulder *ANY* blame themselves, but typically only authorizes cost+ or minimal budget requirements for their IT. If they didn’t want to buy a LAN/Wan forseeing reasonable expansion, then they wanted to pay for only a simplistic solution for right then. It’s akin to him having bought a Honda civic for the basketball team – he could have bought a bus, with a pup-trailer option or he could devise passing the buck when his capable IT guy comes to hime 4 years later needing upgrades.
      The fact is, your solution got you 4 years of business expansion – 4 yrs he should be very happy about. It’s not like you can’t redeploy that gear into the expansion plan, you’re just redeploying to accommodate expansion.
      If this lame mgmnt attitude is pervasive, I’d suggest taking your talents elsewhere, and let him flounder. He has no real appreciation for I.T.

      • #3175612

        Part of the problem is…

        by dmambo ·

        In reply to Typical dumb-pass-the-buck mgmt response

        as a manufacturing plant, the comparisons are against production equipment which often lasts 10, 20 years or more. Sometimes people have a hard time wrapping their minds around a shorter lifespan of IT equipment when 30 years of experience points to something else. Of course, that 20 years of production equipment life includes routine maintenance, spare parts and breakdowns that don’t always have strict parallels in the networking world.

    • #3175936

      Standard reaction

      by homernet ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      This is standard reaction to any computer issue by the PHBs, period. I just stopped working for a tech support company where the big concern wasn’t infrastructure, it was fire-hazard. The cabling (power, network, telephone, etc.) was so haphazard and slipshod that /one/ employee moving their foot the wrong way could take out an entire bank of computers. You would think that a simple request to take an afternoon, yank the whole kaboodle, and reassemble the office in something resembling sense and order would have been welcome. It wasn’t even a request for more equipment, just a request to clean up what we have. The response? “We can’t afford the downtime.” I would have bought this excuse were it not for the fact that we were *ahead* of the trouble-tickets at the time.
      Fast forward several months. The office is moving to Phoenix, so we’ve got to prep everything to be moved. I was lead on the team taking everything down. By the time we had untangled all the cables, we found that the office was running on TWO seperate networks due to FOUR extra switches and an extra feed to the server that didn’t need to be there, about 3,000 feet more CAT5 cable than necessary, four powerstrips that were plugged in to nothing, two power strips that were plugged into each other, and a massive wall length power strip that was plugged in to one monitor and one switch.
      The worst part of this fiasco was that we actually had passed a fire safety inspection a month or two ago.

    • #3175859

      why so expensive?

      by techrepublic ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      The are dozens of low-cost ways to make certain packets move faster across a LAN/WAN. Most of them aren’t physically pretty to look at in the wiring closet. It shouldn’t take you 4 hours to explain anything. It should be a business need driving IT spending. Most your responses should be constructed as questions about business need, and your responses should be about cost of options and how they do or do not fully cover business needs.

    • #3175835

      Unfortunate but true

      by jamie.hamlin ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      I don’t beleive it is a case of poor design so don’t beat yourself up.

      You need to phrase the explanation in terms of the changing business context and highlight some of the positives.

      1) The fact that there has been no investment for several years.
      2) By adding an additional switch you can spread the load and eliminate a single point of failure. (What would the cost be to your business if your switch failed for a whole day?)

      You might want to also consider reducing the cost by sourcing second hand hardware?

      I get this all the time, you just have to learn to speak their language – good luck.

    • #3175777

      The Manager is an A.hole

      by bongomundo ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Just checked Ebay, network switches are going for a hundred bucks. Cable is cheap. The manager is just another Kim Jong Il wannabe. Typical kick the dog managment style. Maybe you could hire a hooker for him to improve his mood.

      • #3175749

        Risk Acceptance

        by justinf ·

        In reply to The Manager is an A.hole

        I used a certain amount of reverse psychology on my previous manager, (a bean counter of the highest order!!). I would identify potential issues and the resources needed to rectify and future proof them and then get him to either approve the work or to acknowledge in writing that I had brought the issues to his attention & that he accepted the risk.
        9 times out of 10 he would approve the work :o)
        You have to be able to articulate what you want, a mumbled techno-speak monologue is not going to get any results with a bean counter, no matter how important, they’ll just send you back to your hobbit hole & forget about it.

    • #3175616

      Re: Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      by scottpmullins ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      This scenario is very interesting and points to a number of issues.

      We all have experienced the pain of requesting funding for upgrades, new assets, etc. in order to maintain current operations. But, as with any other aspect (shareholders’ conference calls comes to mind), it is incumbent upon us as professionals to educate and make the case for our initiative.

      Let’s take a look at what can be done… just as the General Manager has other direct reports that are providing current and projected statuses, so should IT. This should not have be anything new to the General Manager. It should have been laid out as a contingency that will need to be dealt with.

      Preparation and projections – good or bad – always make things easier to deal with in the long run.

    • #3175446

      Ah yes..

      by winkyx ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Ah yes, we see this sometimes when IT takes it upon themselves to appease everyone at their own expense. I am constantly amazed at the defensive position IT takes when asked to justify expenditure for equipment or expansion as if they are asking for toys when it?s not even their birthday. Let?s change that problematic encounter with the boss over spending on IT upgrades by shifting the responsibility to the deserving parties. WHO wants WHAT is a position that needs no defense. If management wants a particular situation to be resolved or implemented, or not implemented, what should that matter to IT? Don?t make the mistake of taking on yourself the responsibility for the cost, or the lack of performance, or availability, of the solutions that management decides on as long as you make full disclosure as to the available solutions and possible ramifications of each, now and in the future; to include disclaimers of future technologies, unknown security risks, and implementing new procedures. Certainly this involves a bit of paperwork. Be sure to document everything sent and received because in the end, he with the greatest documentation wins. Stop taking responsibility for poor management; it?s not your job. Start thinking like a business and run your shop accordingly, always act in good faith with the well being of the company in mind, and stop worrying about others as long as you have your act together.

    • #3175287

      Bottom line always wins

      by ozi eagle ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Many years ago I was in charge of supplying telecoms to a large organisation. The main PBX was an old crossbar unit with 1600 lines, taking up a quarter of a floor in the central business district. Our Telco was on our backs to get rid of it as it was almost beyond repairability. The organisation was going through a project to replace all its telecoms, over 20 odd depots, and didn’t want to spend any money on improving things for now.

      By doing a bit of creative accounting, including the value of the floor space recovered, if a (then) modern PBX were to be rented and installed for the interim 3 years till the final system was implemented.

      The rental cost of over a quarter of a million annually came up much less than the cost of maintaining the stauts quo. The bigwigs couldn’t sign fast enough.

    • #3175286

      Reply To: Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      by henz ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      the situation was happend to me, and from my experience i change the strategy for designing and planning the network.

      the first thing is, we must ask and coordinate to the management (in my company they are finance, business control, and operation) about the company’s future, how the company will grow, how many employees that company will recruit in the next years.

      Then we design and calculate from the management projection for perhaps 5 years(?), for total users, total switches, and total investment ($$).

      the main idea is we ask some investment (and approval of course) for 5 years but when we only ask the investment ($$) year per year for realization.

      so when there are new users and we need more switches, we can ask the management for new investment based on the design and planning that they already approved.

    • #3174825

      Think of cost of switch three years ago and cost now.

      by rosshowatson ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Compare the cost of the switch from three years ago and the cost now. The cost would have gone down. Explain to personnel that due to expansion in the office that what was purchased three years ago and used filled the needs of what you needed then and due to expansion that extra equipment is needed. Explain that the cost of running extra wiring to the new locations and extra computers at these locations now requires you to add more equipment.

      The design was good for what you needed a few years ago. The design needs to be expanded on due to the expansion of the number of users on the system.

    • #3174677

      Give Yourself A Break

      by ldsibert ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      When my company decided it was time for a new network, I immediately informed them, that this network would always need to be upgraded. I explained it to them in dollars and sense. Fortunately for me, my immediate boss is into IT as I am, and he was the buffer between my department and the Finance department. My network is 3 years old now, and I have updated it 4 times since then, and believe it or not, without any problems from theu finance dept. or upper management. I do find myself extremely fortunate here, as I have worked for other companies that would complain if I had to swap out a 25′ CAT5 cable. However, do not take this upon yourself. you have someone to answer to, they in fact hold the responsibility to approve or disapprove your request. When you are dealing with people that are not computer and network savy, expect the worst. They feel that you install a server and a switch and your good for eternity. Pray for these type of people, it is really not their fault, they just do not know.

    • #3177870

      Don’t worry, it happens to me all the time

      by pdpmurphy ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?


      I get the same reaction all the time when I go looking for money for IT. The incredulous stance by management is generally used to make you justify the expenditure. Just make sure that you submit to them in writing how much spare capability the proposed expenditure will buy, so that you can remind them of this bit of paper next time you go looking for money (all tactfully done, of course).

    • #3178571

      There’s more to come (The Hero and the Chump)

      by the ole coon ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      Eventually you’ll need to implement a technology refresh on those “dumb” 10/100 core switches that you installed a few years ago. Let’s say, you suddenly have a need to implement gigabit layer 3 switching and QOS packet prioritization because somebody realizes that they can yank the PBX, drob in a VOIP solution, and save money on monthly telecom charges…

      The Hero will be the guy pushing VOIP benefits cost savings.

      The Chump will be the guy protesting that the current network infrastructure can’t deliver the necessary performance.

    • #3187647

      your turn to say “i told you so !!”

      by avid ·

      In reply to Poor Network Design – Has this happened to you?

      i am sure when you did the original plans for the network they most likely made you scale it down until it fit “their” budget. if this is the case, simply remind them of that what they cut out would be in use now if you had been given what you asked for.

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