Updating Army Communication Systems Capstone Project

Pages: 20 (5220 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Information Technology

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Project Rationale

The approach to addressing the problem of upgrading the network system hardware is to look at what options are available and to weigh the benefits of selecting one option over another. The Rational Decision-Making Model provides a suitable framework for addressing problems within an organization and can be applied to our situation. The model is explained by Goll and Rasheed (1997) as consisting of five basic steps. The first step is to define the situation and identify what decision needs to be made. The second step focuses on identifying the relevant criteria that will allow for a decision to be made. The criteria should be selected based on the desired outcomes. In other words, what is expected of the options that are available? Will they allow for the desired solution to be effected? The third step involves identifying the various options that are available for solving the problem. The fourth step involves performing a measurement of the options to see which provides the best chance of solving the issue. The fifth step focuses on choosing the best available option based on the measurements obtained in the fourth step. Following this model, a proper approach to addressing the upgrading issues can be implemented.

Among the military, it is standard operating procedure to refresh hardware in the information technology field every three years. This is done to ensure that all systems are routinely integrated with current technology as well as to minimize hardware failure. This can also be done to accommodate for growth. As facilities can be expanded to meet operational needs, network hardware has to be easily accessible, functional, and capable of being built upon. Identifying the right ways to maintain the network is crucial, and selecting the right hardware to help the organization communicate effectively and efficiently are ways to ensure that the military is always operating up to the fullest of capacity.

For this reason, we have chosen a Cisco Catalyst 4510R+E to replace our Nexus 7K switch. With the Catalyst 4510R+E we can obtain high availability with a redundant supervisor engine, up to layer 4 switching that is secure; multiple VLAN support including voice, and we also can scale up to 388 ports. This satisfies all the requirements of the Command’s guidelines and allows room for additional growth, should the facility require expansion in the future. This system also is outside the 3-year mark for end of sale, end of life, and end of support—i.e., system support will be obtainable throughout the ongoing usage of this equipment.

Additionally, the US Army has a warranty contract with Cisco that ensures quick turnaround if there does happen to be a failure. This contract provides the Command with additional incentive to replace the Nexus 7K switch wit h the Cisco Catalyst. We also plan to replace our Cisco 2911 Router with a newer Cisco 4311 Router. This is mainly due to the fact that the Cisco 2911 is out of date and if we suffer any kind of failure, we will not be able to get replacement parts in a timely manner. Timely support and replacement is an imperative and serve as the main criteria for assessing the options available for upgrade. Because of the Cisco account, the use of Cisco equipment can be viewed as the most rational option in this case.

This same approach can be taken for assessing the best options for updating the VLAN system. The cable issue can also be addressed by assessing the environment in which the cables are situated, determining whether cable slack and length is appropriate for the usage, and applying the criteria identified as common industry standards—i.e., the three finger rule, the binding rule, and the bend ratio rule—to ensure that the right cabling techniques are applied.

Overall, this project aims to provide 3 deliverables that can be filed and preserved to help facilitate the process of updating and upgrading the network in the future, as per requirements of the headquarters. Headquarters requirements stipulate that updates and upgrades must be conducted every three years. As no record exists currently regarding the proper process for accomplishing these upgrades and updates, this project aims to provide a set of deliverables that can steer the rational decision-making process in achieving the aims. The deliverables will provide set of signposts, contextual inputs, and measures that will describe what steps were taken to upgrade and update the network during this current year. These deliverables are defined and described in more detail in the section entitled Project Deliverables.

Systems Analysis and Methodology

The current state of the environment in which this project will take place can be described in the following terms: In our small network, headquarters has assigned us with a subnet to support 126 devices. Currently, our phones and computers use about 124 devices. We are also assigned a voice network that can also handle 126 devices. In our current design, we are using zero IP’s in our voice and almost all of our IP’s in our data. By segmenting our VLANs we will drastically reduce the amount of IP’s we will be using for data by fifty percent. This opens up scalability for future growth. Once data and voice packets are separate, call quality will be increased due to VoIP packets not competing with data packets over priority. This will enhance the quality and efficiency of communications for the Central Command.

Additionally, our patch cables in our server room are of various lengths that tend to be too long, loop down, and tangle easily. The research has shown that slack problems with cabling causes a decline in the aesthetic of the facility, can lead to entanglement issues, and can cause later upgrades to go more slowly. To solve the patch cable problem, we plan on using correct patch cable lengths and purchasing more patch cable management devices. Adding to this solution is the process we plan to take of adjusting the patch cable colors to match the appropriate network. This will facilitate better management of the network and allow for quicker routine work to be accomplished, as color coded cables provide for quick associations and identifications to be made.

Finally, replacing the existing router and switch with Cisco equipment will allow the network to meet the requirements of headquarters. Currently, the network uses Nexus 7K switch. With the Catalyst 4510R+E we can obtain high availability with a redundant supervisor engine, up to layer 4 switching that is secure; multiple VLAN support including voice, and we also can scale up to 388 ports. This satisfies all the requirements of the Command’s guidelines and allows room for additional growth, should the facility require expansion in the future. This system also is outside the 3-year mark for end of sale, end of life, and end of support—i.e., system support will be obtainable throughout the ongoing usage of this equipment. These qualities indicate that it would be a good replacement part. Additionally, the US Army also has a warranty contract with Cisco that ensures quick turnaround if there does happen to be a failure. This contract provides the Command with additional incentive to replace the Nexus 7K switch with the Cisco Catalyst. Still, other options may be available and they should be considered during the measurement process of this project.

We also plan to replace our Cisco 2911 Router with a newer Cisco 4311 Router. This is mainly due to the fact that the Cisco 2911 is out of date and if we suffer any kind of equipment failure with the Cisco 2911, we will not be able to get replacement parts in a timely manner. However, other options are also available as well and these will need to be measured by the team to see if they are suitable for accomplishing the ultimate goal of this project.

The process that we will follow to execute the project will be to use the traditional SDLC method in which is situated the rational-decision making model (Drury-Grogan & O’Dwyer, 2013). SDLC includes the following stages: (1) planning, (2) design, (3) building, (4) testing, and (5) deployment. This method aligns with the rational-decision making model, which includes five basic steps as well. The first step is to define the situation and identify needs to be done. The second step requires that the criteria for success be clearly defined. The criteria should be selected based on the desired outcomes. The third step involves looking at the options that are available for solving the problem. The fourth step involves measuring the extent to which the options will solve the issue. The fifth step involves selecting the best available option based on the measurements obtained.

Goals and Objectives

A goal is a long-term outcome that an organization desires to achieve. An objective is a measure of the progress required to achieve the goal. The goal, in other words, is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Updating Army Communication Systems.  (2018, October 8).  Retrieved January 21, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/updating-network-system/7366316

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"Updating Army Communication Systems."  Essaytown.com.  October 8, 2018.  Accessed January 21, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/updating-network-system/7366316.