In the previous post, we discussed why a network refresh, despite the potential challenges, is well worth the investment from a business perspective. A modern network will be able to deliver a high level of performance, automate routine tasks, and support high-bandwidth, low-latency business applications. The key to navigating a network refresh and taking full advantage of these benefits is doing the necessary research and gathering the right data.

Once you’ve identified your business goals, assessed and inventoried your existing infrastructure, and evaluated vendors and solutions, you can start formulating a network refresh plan that allocates the necessary time, budget and staff to a highly complex project.

Step one is to set a start date and establish a comprehensive timeline. Because there will be some disruption and downtime involved, it’s important to plan around major events, seasonal spikes in demand, and anything else that could be impacted by a network refresh. Extra time for each task and contingency plans should be built into your timeline to account for unexpected but inevitable hiccups that cause delays. Also, every task in your timeline should include a realistic, research-based price tag.

Step two is to evaluate your physical workplace and its ability to house an upgraded network architecture. Does your site offer adequate power to meet the consumption demands of new routers, switches and security appliances? Do you need to upgrade to Cat 6 cabling? Can your cabling support the wireless access points you need?

Step three is to project your performance and bandwidth requirements for the next several years. Will you be purchasing more on-premises equipment, shifting most workloads to the cloud or taking a hybrid approach? Will you be adding users, locations or Internet of Things devices? Do you plan to adopt bandwidth-intensive applications such as data analytics or artificial intelligence?

If the research and planning involved in a network refresh seem overwhelming, don’t be discouraged. Few smaller organizations have the expertise or the time to manage a network refresh internally. Even if you do all your homework and follow your plan precisely, there’s a good chance you’ll run into an obstacle that you’re not sure how to overcome. That’s why you should partner with a solution provider who has a proven track record of success with network refresh projects.

A solution provider understands modern network design and has hands-on experience with new network technology. They know how to secure network data on mobile and cloud applications and Internet of Things devices. They know how to deal with roadblocks that cause delays and drive up costs. They can see through vendor marketing claims to identify solutions that make sense for your organization. At the very least, they can provide a second opinion on your decisions throughout the network refresh process.

SSD’s IT consultants and engineers help small to midsize businesses like yours identify the right approach to a network refresh based on your organization’s short- and long-term business goals. We can show you how to relieve bottlenecks and implement solutions that deliver measurable benefits to your organization. Let us guide you through the research, planning and execution of your network refresh to minimize risk, adhere to your budget and keep your project on schedule.