Networking Essentials v1.0 Capstone Project: Implement a
Technical Solution for a Small Business
Part 1: Gather information and determine customer
Part 2: Gather system requirements.
Part 3: Plan the installation.
Part 4: Prepare and present the proposal.
Part 5: Install and configure the network.
Part 6: Test and troubleshoot the configuration.
Part 7: Prepare documentation for sign-off.
Part 8: Provide ongoing support.
Congratulations! You have just successfully
completed the Networking Essentials 1.0 course. While you have learned a great
deal about networks, this capstone project requires a few more skills to
effectively complete it. You are welcome to go ahead and start this project
with your Networking Essentials skills and knowledge. However, we do recommend
that you become familiar with the content in IT Essentials v6.0,
Entrepreneurship, PT Know How, and even some of the CCNA courses such as
Introduction to Networks, and Routing and Switching Essentials.
You have obtained a contract position at a
small advertising company called AnyCompany Corporation. Your contract
responsibilities are to help them update their IT resources. The company
originally started with two partners who produced print flyers for local
businesses. Their list of customers has greatly expanded, and their customers
are demanding more interactive advertising media, including video
presentations. The partners recognize the business potential in this new market
and have hired you to review their existing IT resources and produce a proposal
that allows the company to take advantage of this new market. The partners have
stated that if the proposal meets their requirements, they may hire you
full-time to implement and manage these new resources.
Part 1: Gather information and
determine customer requirements.
You now have an idea of the scope of the
project that you have undertaken, but do not have all of the information required
to proceed. The first step in any IT project is to gather information. What is
really required? What is the budget and the time frame to complete this
project? What restrictions, if any, are there in equipment and resource
selection? What resources are currently in place? The more information that you
gather at the beginning of any project, the better.
A good way to start the information gathering
process is to conduct interviews with the key individuals within the company,
who are usually divided into three main groups: managers, end users, and IT
support. Each group can provide valuable information.
Managers – Managers
can answer questions regarding budget, expectations, and future plans. Any IT
solution must take into account the plans that the company may have for
growth, either in the number of employees or the technology being deployed.
Managers can also provide you with information regarding company policies that
may affect the proposed solution. Policies could include such things as access,
security, and privacy requirements. The following information is normally
gathered from managers:
Requirements and expectations
End users – End users are the people
directly impacted by the solution you design. While managers are also end users,
their requirements may differ drastically from the majority of the employees.
It is important to talk to as many employees from as many departments or work
areas as possible, to determine their requirements. It is also important to
determine the actual, rather than perceived, requirements. From a customer
service perspective, including employees in the initial discussions improves
their buy-in and acceptance of the final solution. The
following information is normally gathered from end users:
Requirements and expectations
Current perceived performance of the equipment
IT department – Most small businesses do not have an IT
department and responsibilities may fall on one or more individuals, depending
on their job role and expertise. Larger businesses may have a separate IT
department. Those individuals who handle the IT can provide you with more
technical information. For example, an end user may complain that an existing
network has become slow, but an IT person can provide the technical information
to determine if performance has been degraded. The following information is
normally gathered from IT:
Network infrastructure (physical and logical
Network performance and issues
Part 2: Gather System
AnyCompany Corporation has provided a written summary containing a floor
plan, and a verbal interview with a company manager. Gather as much information
as possible from these two sources to help you plan a technical solution for
Step 1: Review available
AnyCompany Corporation Information
Because AnyCompany Corporation is a very small business,
it has no IT department. Everyone has taken care of their own resources. If
they could not fix the problem, they would call in an outside service
technician. The machines are connected together through a 10/100Mb switch. The
two partners and the office manager all have older PC tower computers with 2 Gb
of memory, a 250 Gb hard drive, and 7 USB ports. The processors are AMD Athlon
64 x2 dual core processor and a CD/DVD read/write drives.
The systems are all still running the Windows 7 operating
system, and there is a low-capacity, monochrome laser printer attached to each
machine. These machines are not capable of running the software required for
The office will be reorganized, and additional employees
will be hired to handle the new video production work. The company will have
the following employees:
Administrative Manager – Duties include
scheduling work, hiring and managing part-time workers, weekly payroll,
and project tracking. The administrative manager uses spreadsheet and database
software and must be able to use email provided by the ISP.