· An analysis of the network systems in use?
The Network in current use is a high end 1GB Network. That uses Cat 6 and single Mode Fiber to affect those greater speeds and trusted reliability. Also, the technologies in use make it very hard for an inside malicious employee to sniff the network as it Giga Bit HUB’s have intelligence built into them that will alert the Network Operations Center (normally called a NOC) that this activity is going on. Tracing it to a specific port in a certain geographical area. This helps secure the Network and is a tool used to user both the Data and the Quality of Service (QoS) for the Network and assist in thwarting malicious employee attacks.
Also, the Network appears to have built in redundancy when it comes to accessing the Internet. This is done by the use of a CISCO Systems 7609 Router and a CISCO Systems ASA 5510 VPN (Virtual Private Network) Router. This configuration allows for secure VPN and Internet traffic through the ASA 5510 VPN Router, used for remote access to inside the protected areas of the Hospitals Network. The 7609 Router is connected to an OC 1 line, this is type of SONET Network it connect to. Running at speeds of 51.84 MBps (Mega Bytes per second) in both directions or Full-Duplex if you will. Please note that the designation of OC means that each ascending power of the OC scale is 51.84 MBps times the power it is being raised by. So a OC 3 line would be 51.84 MBps x 3 or 155.52 MBps. These two Routers assure reliability of Network traffic and a Fail Over if one router fails. Though it would be better for the Hospital if they used an additional two matching Routers and used what is called the CISCO Systems Hot Swappable Protocol to ensure near absolute up times. The CISCO Protocol mentioned allows for the setup of two identical Routers, one is designated as 0 the other is 1. They are changed to have the exact MAC address and IP Address. This is so if one of them fails, the other in the series takes over immediately and alerts the NOC that the first Router in the series has gone down. This may cost a little more for the hospital, but it is worth it to ensure uninterrupted access in and out of the Network. Much like the Fail Over Generators that they have installed.
Speaking of which, the Hospitals boasts of Backup Generators across the entire organization. This means that in the case of some sort of electrical interruption, like a power outage or even an electrical spiking. The Generators will kick in to ensure the quality of the Alternating Currents (AC) signal is what is known as a clean and usable signal. This will prevent the destruction of Hospital, PC and Network assets, thus ensuring that the Return On Investment (ROE) is fully returned. Most CTO would not like to replace millions of dollars in equipment before it is time.
· What may be missing from the current network architecture?
Looking at the information provided there are a few needed pieces of Network equipment missing. Such as a Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS), either a Network Appliance as offered by CISCO Systems or a Sever based approach as offered by www.IDSSoftware.com. For the purposes of ease of administration and shear speed we will talk about CISCO Systems products, not to endorse them. But, since they are currently in the Network in the form of the Routers, it would be an easy implementation of the hardware. The CISCO ASA Router is an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and will ensure the threats from outside of the Network are handled; it is the ones in the Network that the ASA Router will not detect. So the need for a NIDS is justified and can be an addition to the ASA Router. CISCO has a Firewall Appliance that can be used in concert with the ASA Router, thus ensuring near total protection of Network traffic. Lastly, CISCO Systems offers a module that can be added to the ASA Router thus making it a total solution in one package.
Even though there is Wi-Fi access form the Hospitals staff, there appears to be none for the patients and guest of the Hospital. This would be a major oversight since many family and friends visit the Hospital daily and some. Stay for weeks at a time. Since some Hospitals charge for TV access, it would be great to allow those who come there as either patients or guests to be able to do class work, remote in as if they were working from home to their jobs or to even watch movies and play games on the Network. The current infrastructure can handle the traffic, all that needs to be done is a VPN setup and the traffic will not interfere with the normal Hospital traffic as it will be moved along its own “Logical Channel” through Network Switches.
Network Switches are also absent from the Network diagram. This will allow for the setting up of VPNs and greater security throughout the Network. Since Switches allow for the traffic to be placed in Logical Channels, it is possible to allow each of the varying departments their own Network as it were. Providing for greater security for all Network users. I would suggest the CISCO Systems Switches, the CISCO Systems approach breaks the OSI 7 Layer model into a 3 Layer Model, thus allowing the CISCO Switches to forward all 7 Layers of the OSI Model. This allows for great use, flexibility and reliability from using the CISCO Switches. Thus to the Hospitals CTO (Chief Technical Officer), the return on investment would be huge as the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for these devices are literally years apart and the cost of them can be justified.
· Identify wireless technology in use and how it enhances the hospital network.
The Wi-Fi technology in use is a CISCO Systems solution of the 1250 5 GB Wireless Access Point (WAP). These devices are high-end and offer Enterprise Class performance, delivering effectively 600 MBs speeds. Able to offer jitter free audio and video for the Hospitals employees. This means Web based conferencing and meeting of all types can occur at once without a major degradation of the Networks performance. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a set or standards that govern how devices use Cellular and Radio Networks. It also provides an inter operable platform that is vendor neutral, thus assuring across the board functionality. The layers used in WAP are:
· Wireless Application Environment (WAE)
· Wireless Session Layer (WSL)
· Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS)
· Wireless Transport Layer (WTP)
WAP was created by four companies: Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Unwired Planet. This standard allows for secure communications and near instantaneous access of the Web. But the CISCO 1250s can run more than one access protocol standard, which is why they are called Autonomous Access Points. Also from the point of administration, these devices all have images. Like a PC HDD if you will, allowing for the loading of the images via Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP). Since these devices are spread out across a Campus area, this is a welcome feature as it would be too costly to always have to send out an engineer each time one of the devices has an issue, You can also use the Web interface similar to the Linksys routers that we are all nearly familiar with. Again allowing for another way to access and manage these devices.
This CISCO Systems solution enhances the Network because it offers security, speed, QoS, encryption, the ability to carry all know protocols to my understanding, built in redundancy as there are two modules in each device and if on fails the other can route the traffic for the failed module and the ability to provide jitter free audio and video. Effectively moving the data at 600 MBs (Mega Bytes per second,) this provides confidence in the Network. This allows the hospital employees to work form the laptops or even smart phones like a BlackBerry, iPhone 4 or even use IP phones that I am sure have been implemented at the Hospital. These devices allow for the nearly teatherless movement of the staff from one end of the Campus to the other, freeing them to do more and be tied down even less than in years past. This should realize greater productivity from the staff and satisfaction with work. For a Hospital, this is an added bonus as employees will not miss time from places that they enjoy going into.