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Network Design

A General Look at the IIIT Network

D Deepak International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India { deepak_d@students.iiit.ac.in } Like depicted in the Fig. 1, various network devices like the L2/L3 Switches, Routers are in use. These devices and network topology employed will be discussed along with some other popular devices and topologies. VLAN also plays important role in the IIIT network. Generally, it helps in the logical grouping of physically separated nodes and centralized monitoring of the network. VLAN also provides security for each VLAN. A short discussion on Virtual LAN (VLAN) concept is given and its relevance to the current network in focus. Figure 1 (IIIT Network Design) II. NETWORK TOPOLOGIES Abstract The main goal of this paper is to look and describe the details of the current network in use at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT, in short), Hyderabad. It will discuss in detail the two types of networks present here, the wired LAN and the Wireless LAN. The Wireless LAN adheres to the latest 802.11g standard. There are few network related terms discussed; various devices like routers, hubs, and gateways, and topologies like ring, bus, and star have also been briefed upon. I. INTRODUCTION The IIIT local area network (LAN) can be broadly divided into two sections. They are the wired LAN section and the wireless LAN section. Wired LAN is used in most of the labs and few of the hostel rooms (ground floors of NBH and OBH). The main sections of the whole campus are fitted with wireless LAN devices. The latest wireless technology i.e. the 802.11g standard has been implemented here recently for both usage and research purpose. Besides this, the traditional wired LAN is being used from almost the time of IIITs inception.

Figure 2. (a) Bus Topology (b) Star Topology (c) Ring Topology (d) Tree Topology A Network Topology refers to the way the network is connected or, you could say, how it is laid out from a birds eye kind of view. How different nodes i.e. the computers in a given network are connected to each other and how they communicate are determined by the networks topology. The topologies however can be distinguished into two categories, physical and logical. The physical structure of the network is

referred to as physical topology and the way in which the data passes in the network is the logical topology. The networks logical topology need not be the same as the physical topology. The various types of physical topologies are Bus, Ring, Tree, Mesh, Star and a linear topology. Details about few of them have been given below. A. Bus Topology A Bus Topology is the network topology in which all the clients are connected to a single shared communication line, called a bus. This is shown in Figure 2(a). The clients use Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA/CD) to detect collisions or there is a bus master which controls access to the shared bus resource. A true bus network is passive - The computers on the bus simply listen to the signal; they are not responsible for moving the signal along. Though many topologies may be physically different, they can logically be a bus network. For example, all current wireless networks are logical bus networks. A major advantage this network has is easy to implement and extend and well suited for temporary networks. It is also the cheapest to implement. Its disadvantages include that it is difficult to administer, maintenance is costly, and as clients add up, performance decreases. A single break in the line can destroy the whole network. B. Star Topology In the Star network topology, there is a central device to which all the workstations are directly connected. Workstations are indirectly connected to each other through the central device. This is shown in Figure 2(b). This device could be a hub which is acting as a router. PBXs and the telephone systems are the prime examples.

In a passive star network, the source node must be able to tolerate receiving an echo its own transmission delayed by the two-way transmission time (up and down from the hub) and the delay at the central hub. It can be easily be implemented in large networks. It can be used for temporary networks. Except for the failure of the central hub, no other failures could affect the functionality of the network. It is also easy to add new users. The maintenance cost of these kinds of networks could be costly in the long run. The failure of the central hub will completely down the network. As each of the clients has his own line to the hub, more cable is required. C. Ring Topology A Ring topology consists of a set of stations/clients connected serially by cable in a circular fashion. There are no end computers in this kind of network. The birds eye feel of the ring topology is given in Figure 2(c).The transmission of the data is in clockwise direction. The most popular example of this topology is the Token Ring. Ring networks tend to be inefficient when compared to star networks because data must travel through more points before reaching its destination. For example, if a given ring network has eight computers on it and they are numbered 1 to 8 in the clockwise direction. Then a message from 4 to 1 would take 4 5 6 7 8 1 when it could have taken the shorter path 4 3 2 1. This is an unnecessary delay of communication. New computers have minimal effect on the performance of the network. Each computer in this network acts as a repeater, allowing this network to span larger than any other topology. As data travels in a single direction, high speeds of data transmission are possible.

These are quite expensive and failure of even one of the systems can affect the others. It is quite complex to build. D. Tree Topology A tree topology combines characteristics of linear bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of starconfigured workstations connected to a linear bus backbone cable (See fig. 2(d)). Tree topologies allow for the expansion of an existing network, and enable schools to configure a network to meet their needs. It enables point-to-point wiring for individual segments. Its major advantage is that it is supported by several hardware and software venderors. This more difficult to configure and wire than the other topologies discussed previously. If one of the non-leaf nodes is dysfunctional then the network is disconnected. Even if the backbone line breaks, the whole network is disabled. III. NETWORK DEVICES The end computers make transmissions to each other using the physical network at their disposal. While only one is the source, there could be many destinations. In between this end computers, there are many devices that either route (send it along a path to the destination) or amplify the signal. These devices are called Network Devices. The various network devices are Amplifiers, Repeaters, Hubs, Bridges, L2/L3 Switches, Routers and Gateways. There are many more. Information about the few devices in use at IIIT follows. A. Amplifiers Amplifier is a device that is used in network to amplify, as the name suggests it, the signals it receives. The device suits for the purpose of amplification but it doesnt remove the noises that accompany it. It effectively increases the distance of communication. Except for esoteric applications, It

is used when analog signals are used. Example is an optical amplifier which amplifies the light signal in the optic fiber network. B. Repeaters Repeater is a communications device that amplifies (analog) or regenerates (digital) the data signal in order to extend the transmission distance. Available for both electronic and optical signals, repeaters are used extensively in long distance transmission. They are also used to tie two LANs of the same type together. Repeaters work at layer 1 of the OSI model. It forms a single collision and broadcast domain. C. Hub Hub is a device that, similar to a repeater, connects multiple lines to create a single segment. It can be visualized as a repeater with multiple ports. It works at the physical layer of the OSI model. Every attached to a single hub is in a single collision domain. It provides a star topology in the network. This supports only half duplex Ethernet which is shared among the connected devices. They are costly than switches which offer better functionality. There are a lot of collisions involved. These collisions occur when two computers connected to the hub try to use the service at the same time. D. Bridge Bridge is a network device working at the Datalink layer of the OSI model connecting multiple network segments. Hence it forms a multiple collision domain. It may be a physical device such as a switch or a virtual device using bridging. Traffic from one network is forwarded to another network. There is no routing involved whatsoever. It as its name suggests acts a bridge (a connection) between two separate networks. It improves network throughput. It works using the following bridging algorithms:-

(i) (ii) (iii)

Spanning Tree Algorithm. Transparent Bridging Algorithm. Source Route Bridging. (iv)

E. L2 Switch A Switch is a device that connects different network segments. It is like a bridge only that it has a higher bandwidth. It allows a physical and logical star topology. These switches are replacing hubs and they are sometimes referred to as intelligent hubs. It works at the Datalink layer of the OSI model. As a frame comes into a switch, the switch saves the originating MAC address and the originating port in the switch's MAC address table. The switch then selectively transmits the frame from specific ports based on the frame's destination MAC address and previous entries in the MAC address table. If the MAC address is unknown, the switch broadcasts the frame onto all ports except where it came from. If it is known, it sends it to that particular port which is recorded in its table. Switches, unlike hubs, use micro segmentation to divide collision domains, one per connected segment. These switches hence provide you with point-to-point links and hence the collision domain becomes the line between the two nodes in which no collisions take place. This provides the high bandwidth. There are four types in which it forwards the data it receives. They are:(i) Cut Through. It begins to transmit the packet it completely arrives. (ii) Store and Forward. In this the switch receives the packet completely and then it forwards it. Such switches are used when incoming and outgoing speeds differ. (iii) Fragment Free. The switching device checks the source and destination MAC address of a packet, and sends the packet to the port corresponding to the destination. The packets are sent through

the switch as a continuous flow of data-the transmission and reception rates are always the same. It tries to bring a compromise between the first two methods. Adaptive Switching. It is a user-defined facility to maximize the efficiency of the switch. Adaptive switching starts in the default switch forwarding mode you have selected (cut-through if you selected adaptive mode as the default switching mode). Depending on the number of runts and CRC errors at that port, the mode changes to the "better" of the other two switching modes. As the numbers of runts and CRC errors change, so does the forwarding mode.

Switches generally make traffic monitoring difficult. E. Router A Router is a network device that forwards data packets across a network toward their destinations, through a process known as routing. Routing occurs at the Network layer of the OSI model. Based on internal routing tables, routers read each incoming packet and decide how to forward it. To which interface on the router outgoing packets are sent may be determined by any combination of source and destination address as well as current traffic conditions (load, line costs, bad lines, etc.). They can be used to limit access to the different sections of the internet. They limit the broadcast traffic. F. L3 Switch L3 Switch is a network device that forwards traffic based on upper layer information at very high speeds. Traditionally, routers, which inspect layer 3, were considerably slower than layer 2 switches. In order to increase routing speeds, many "cutthrough" techniques were used, which perform an "inspect the first packet at layer 3 and send the rest at layer 2" type of processing.

As more routing lookup functions were moved from software into the ASIC chips, layer 3 switches could inspect each packet just like a router at high speed without using proprietary cut-through methods. If a layer 3 switch supports packet-bypacket inspection and supports routing protocols, it is called a "routing switch" or "switch router," which simply means "fast router." G. Gateway Gateway is a computer that performs protocol conversion between different types of networks or applications. Gateways function at layer 4 and above in the OSI model. They perform complete conversions from one protocol to another rather than simply support one protocol from within another, such as IP tunneling. Sometimes routers can implement gateway functions. Its however purely a software device. Because a network gateway by definition appears at the edge of a network, related functionality like firewalling tends to be installed on the network gateway. IV. VIRTUAL LAN (VLAN)

software rather than hardware which make them very flexible. VLANs also allow broadcast domains to be defined without using routers. Bridging software is used instead to define which workstations are to be included in the broadcast domain. Routers would only have to be used to communicate between two VLANs. A. Functionality VLANs are functional at the Datalink layer of the OSI model. Since they want to logically distinct networks, they are connected using a router. The router works at the network layer of the OSI model, which requires that network layer segments are identified and coordinated with the VLANs. This is a complicated job, and VLANs tend to break down as networks expand and more routers are encountered. The industry is working towards "virtual routing" solutions, which allows the network manager to view the entire network as a single routed entity. VLANs are implemented in port switching hubs and LAN switches and generally offer proprietary solutions. VLANs reduce the time it takes to implement moves, adds and changes. IIIT has a lot of VLANs implemented. Any new addition is done by adding VLANs. This also adds to the security available in the network. VLANs can be static, dynamic, or port-centric and there are two methods of establishing a VLAN: frame-tagging and frame-filtering. Frame-tagging changes the information that is contained within the layer 2 frame, so that switches may forward the VLAN traffic to their correct VLAN destination and return the frame to its normal format. Framefiltering involves the switch looking for certain criteria in the layer 2 frame and using this matching system to forward the traffic to its correct VLAN and destination. A Layer 2 device can implement VLANs in different ways;

Figure 3 (a VLAN) Virtual LANs (VLANs) can be viewed as a group of devices on different physical LAN segments which can communicate with each other as if they were all on the same physical LAN segment. VLANs tend to have numerous advantages over the normal LAN. For having a VLAN, different kind of topology is needed. These are configured through

Open VLANs have a single MAC address database for all VLANs. Closed VLANs have a separate MAC address database for each VLAN. Mixed Mode VLANs can be configured as open or closed on a VLAN basis.

C. Types of VLANs VLAN membership can be classified by port, MAC address, and protocol type. 1. Layer 1 VLAN: Membership by port. They are separated on the basis of their ports. The main disadvantage of this method is that it does not allow for user mobility. If a user moves to a different location away from the assigned bridge, the network manager must reconfigure the VLAN. 2. Layer 2 VLAN: Membership by MAC address. They are separated based on their MAC address. This solves the problem in the case above when the user moves. But a problem arises when VLAN membership must be done initially. It becomes a cumbersome process. 3. Layer 2 VLAN: Membership by protocol type. They are separated on the basis of their protocols. 4. Layer 3 VLAN: Membership by IP subnet address. Membership of the VLAN here is decided based on their network subnet address. Here users can move their systems without reconfiguring their network addresses. But this has longer delay than having classified on the basis of their MAC address. 5. Higher Layer VLANs. It is possible to have VLANs on the basis of the applications running it. V. IIIT NETWORK DESIGN A L3 switch lies at the top of the network design of the IIIT LAN. It serves as the router and is the backbone of the network. The network has star topology as its physical as well as logical topology. The network is cascaded further to increase the

Closed VLANs are generally considered more secure than Open VLANs. B. Advantages There are number of reasons why VLANs are better than the normal LAN architectures. They are:VLANs reduce the need of broadcast and multicast messages being sent to unnecessary destinations. For example, if there is a multicast message to about 6 of the people in the network of 10 then u can group those 6 in a VLAN and reduce traffic. Routers need to do lot more processing than switches. The delay can be eliminated by using VLANs along with switches. They reduce the effective cost as they eliminate the need of the costly routers. This simplifies the administration system. In LAN, every time a new user turns up it is a big problem for physically put his connection to a particular group. But in VLAN, they just have to put his connection on the right VLAN. There is no necessity for reconfiguring the routers. Formation of Workgroups helps them to separate each section of their community. This is more like multicasting. VLAN's can also be used to control broadcast domains, set up firewalls, restrict access, and inform the network manager of an intrusion. Hence they are quite effective for security purposes.

number of ports. Many L2 switches from labs, hostels etc. are connected to this L3 switch. The IIIT network has two internet connections. One has a bandwidth of 3 Mbps and the other only 64 Kbps. The 3Mbps however is unreliable as it regularly breaks. So this line is provided to the whole of the campus sans the faculty rooms. The 64 Kbps line is provided to the faculty rooms and is a reliable, in the sense it doesnt break, connection. Our access to http is through squid. The internet connection is through an Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) which is connected to a media converter in the server room and is converted into an appropriate signal for twisted pair cable used in the campus. The main switch is in the server room. There are few important servers which are in the server room and come under one single VLAN. They are the faculty mail server (, students mail server ( and the proxy server ( There are two DNS servers i.e. Internal DNS server ( and External DNS server ( The server room IPs range from to All-in-All there are 64 public IPs possessed by IIIT. They range from The network address is, subnet mask is and the gateway is Few of their internal IPs are (internal IP:, (internal IP:, (internal IP: The internal IPs that are in use are which is the local PC IP and the 172.*.*.* which is used for PC IPs. 10.*.*.* are not used in the campus. A division of the internal IPs allocated would see that 172.17.8.* and 172.17.9.* are used for wireless LAN, the rest are used for wired LAN. The newly installed wireless LAN is connected to a special router which in turn is connected to the main L3 switch. The wireless LAN

in the campus comes under a single VLAN. This wireless LAN follows the 802.11g technology. All internet-related packets which come to the main switch are directed to the proxy server which after proper examination forwards the packets to the internet. The packet uniquely had a source IP + source Port and a destination IP + destination Port. A. Labs Each lab in IIIT has a L2 switch which is connected to the main L3 switch. It has a star topology. Each of the PCs in the lab is connected to this L2 switch. Each of the labs is in a single VLAN. Here the classification is based on the subnet address they possess. Here the connections to the main L3 switch are through a twisted pair cable. Few examples of IP configurations, subnet masks and gateways in use in the labs are given below: Lab 1 o Network Address: o Subnet Mask: o IP address range: o Gateway: Lab 2 o Network Address: o Subnet Mask: o IP address range: o Gateway: Other Lab o Network Address: o Subnet Mask: o IP address range: o Gateway: Library o Network Address: o Subnet Mask: o IP address range: 172.16..26.2 o Gateway:

The other labs have almost the same structure. Their network IPs are,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

o IP address range: o Gateway: NBH o Network Address: o Subnet Mask: o IP address range: o Gateway:

B. Hostels Router

Rectangles are Access Points, Rhombuses are PCs Figure 4b (Hostels, Wireless LAN) Figure 4a (Hostels to Main Switch, Wired LAN) The hostels are equipped with both wireless and wired LAN. There is a switch at both NBH and OBH for wired LAN. So they can be seen as two different labs i.e. they are two different VLANs. But for wireless they both have the same router. They are supposed to be in the same VLAN. The advantage of having the entire wireless network under a single VLAN is that if someone is using his/her laptop, he/she can move freely in the entire campus without having the need to reconfigure his/her IP address. The wired LAN has two sections. One connected to NBH and one connected to OBH. There is OFC that runs from the server room to both the buildings to their respective switches. The wired LAN IPs are of the following format: OBH o Network Address: o Subnet Mask: For the wireless LAN, there is a common network address. They are in the following format: Network Address: Subnet Mask: IP address range: Gateway: C. Faculty All the faculty systems come under a single VLAN. There is L2 switch in the server room that has connections from all faculty PCs all over the main building connected using a CAT-5 cable.

Their network configurations are: Network Address: Subnet Mask: IP address range: Gateway:

D. Advantages of the IIIT network Few advantages of the IIIT network are: Hierarchical Network. There is no loop. Switches have been used over hubs mostly to largely increasing the network speed. Use of star topology. o Easy to extend the network for future purposes. o Failure of non-central node wont affect the network. With packet switching o Reduces overhead of establishing connection and increases bandwidth. o Transmission medium is shared thus increasing the bandwidth. The use of CAT-5/5E/6 cables and switches which provide 100/1000 baseband transmission is sufficient do not create any bottle necks in the network. Subnetting has been effectively used to very great detail. They helped in creating separate VLANs as well. Use of fiber cables has increased the performance of the network. D. Disadvantages of the IIIT network Few drawbacks of the IIIT network are: Packet switching is not good as there is a probabilistic chance that the packet is intercepted. Use of star topology can give us the following disadvantages o Limited cable length and stations o Maintenance costs are very high in the long run. o Failure of the main L3 switch will destroy the network. The hierarchical network has an disadvantage here when any of the L2 switch fails the particular section will be separated.

VII. REFERENCES (1) Computer Networks. 4th Edition. Andrew S. Tanenbaum. (2) Lecture Notes. Computer Networks, IIIT. Shatrunjay Rawat. (3) Computer Networks Foundation Task 1.5, IIIT. Mahfooz Khan, Nazeer Hussain and Soujanya Masna. (4) Wikipedia. http://www.wikipedia.org. (5) Lecture Notes. Recent Advances in Networking, Washington University. Raj Jain. (6) An Educators Guide to School Networks. University of South Florida.