WAN Planning, Design and Implementation

By xavier_talla ·
Our company is a middle size (and growing) financial institution with six (6) branches in the geographical region of the country. I am the IT staff in charge of the WAN implementation. I have never implemented WAN before but I have implemented LANs. Could any one help me with a good solution, that is, what do I need to put in place, to make provision of, the type of link to use, the bandwidth, and so on...Thanks a lot for all your contributions.

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If you haven't done it before

by cmiller5400 In reply to WAN Planning, Design and ...

I would suggest that you sub it out if you are not experienced. WAN management (routers, firewalls etc) is not an easy job to accomplish (well at least securely) if you do not have adequate training. At a minimum, you will need a router at each location; depending on what connection you use, the hardware is different.

The starting question would be, what type of connection are you going to have between branches. The rest will flow from there.

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Hire out

by jdclyde In reply to WAN Planning, Design and ...

You need to size the network based upon your needs.

If you do not accurately scale the WAN, it will never work correctly, and it will be your head on the plate.

You will need leased lines, with a router (I use Cisco).

Will there also be internet? You will need a firewall too.

Depending on how much data goes between locations, you could just have a VPN connecting each location. But if there is a heavy volume, VPN will not handle it.

Will there be central servers? Will there be replication between servers?

Again, this is NOT something you want to learn on-the-job.

Just make sure that as part of the quoted job, that they will map it out and show you the basics. You will then need to get further training on the devices to maintain them, but the hardest part is putting them in place to begin with.

Good luck.

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Depends on your needs

by Jellimonsta In reply to WAN Planning, Design and ...

How you design the WAN will depend on your needs as a company.
If you can suffice with a single 'corporate' office, and other branches will be just that, then you can go with a 'hub and spoke' design. Wherein you have 1 main location and all of the others have leased point to point T1/3 lines back to the central site.
If you have information sources in each location and the need to pass information between all sites, and not just back and forth to corporate, you may want to investigate an MPLS full mesh. Wherein, each site can communicate directly to the other sites, without the need to pass through the main (corporate) site.
This may be more expensive, but could work out cheaper if your sites have a larger geographical footprint (i.e. sites in CA, FL, KS). Point to point leased lines from one coast to the other are expensive, and MPLS may help reduce those costs.
If you believe you may be growing a diverse footprint (spread out between EST and PST), and adding sites rapidly, MPLS will most likely be the way to go.
Also, data/ voice needs may determine the 'size of your pipe'. If you will have a lot of data that needs to pass between sites consistently, you may want to look at getting multilpe T1's, or a fractional DS3. These options are not cheap though, but it is a balance between ongoing circuit cost, and the loss of profit due to productivity loss for employees.
You may also want to investigate the options of redundancy and diversifying your WAN provider in each site. If you have a good enough budget (and need HA/ DR), you should look at dual providers and 2 MPLS clouds to each branch. This is by no means a low cost option, and does require additional hardware. It is all a balancing act though.
Also, if you do not have experience, you may want to investigate a 'managed' solution. Wherein, your provider manages your MPLS router, and can also provide a 'firewall in the cloud' so all internet traffic is firewall in the MPLS cloud by the provider.
If you are OK with farming out management, that may be your best bet (unless you plan on getting really good, really fast).
Good luck!

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Thanks Jelli

by xavier_talla In reply to Depends on your needs

You gave me great ideas and boosted my confidence. I will contact you fr further details.


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