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1. How many network users, printers, and servers will you support?
When thinking about the number of network users you need to support, be sure to consider the number of users you will be supporting over the next 12 months. Also indicate how many network printers and network servers your network will need to accommodate.

NOTE: For networks that must accommodate more than 20 users, Cisco recommends that you consult with a Cisco value-added reseller or partner.
    Users:
Printers:
 Servers:

2. Does your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provide equipment (modem/router) to connect to the Internet?

Often when ordering a high-speed Internet connection such as DSL, Cable, or T1 your service provider will provide the equipment needed to connect to the Internet (e.g. a DSL router or cable modem). Indicate below whether or not your service provider will provide you with the required modem or router. If you are unsure, request this information from your service provider.

3. Do you require the security that a firewall will provide?"

When a private network connects to the Internet, it opens physical links to more than 50,000 unknown networks and all their unknown users. While this interconnectedness brings exciting opportunities for information sharing, it also brings threats to information not meant for sharing. Network managers face the task of giving their organizations the connectivity they need for corporate and individual communications, while keeping their sensitive information and proprietary data secure. The good news is that with planning, discipline and a modest investment, secure operation over the Internet is possible for businesses of any size.

The primary means of securing a private network against penetration from a public one is a firewall. Simply explained, a firewall is an access control device, performing perimeter security by deciding which packets are allowed or denied, and which must be modified before passing. When implemented as part of a comprehensive network security policy, a firewall can provide effective defense against unauthorized access by external users.

For more information on small business network security and firewalls, view Internet Security for Small Businesses.

4. Will you implement virtual private networks (VPNs)?

A VPN is a private network deployed over public facilities that provides similar levels of privacy, security, quality of service, and manageability to networks built entirely on dedicated, privately owned, or leased facilities. The term originated in the circuit-switched environment of the telephone industry, where it referred to dynamically allocated, "on demand" connections used to replace dedicated, leased line connections in private networks at a substantial cost savings.

Today, the VPN is an increasingly popular means of using public IP networks to simply and cost-effectively extend corporate data networks to remote operations and mobile users. With the right software and access systems, secure communication becomes possible even over the notoriously wide-open Internet. Correctly implemented VPNs are indistinguishable to users from the corporate LAN environment. They can also be simpler to set up, less costly to operate, and easier to administer than leased line networks.

For more information on VPNs, view Secure Business Communications over Public Networks.

5. Do you require a DMZ for web or e-mail servers?

Although it is possible to operate publicly accessible servers (such as Web servers or e-mail servers) within a private network, serious dangers are involved. Even with well-administered firewalls and up-to-date host software, there is always a chance that unwanted visitors or hackers could use an application-level attack to gain unrestricted access to a computer that is running a server program. If that happens when the server computer is inside a private network, the hacker may gain access to important private data or greatly disrupt the operation of critical internal services.

Because of the dangers of running servers inside private networks, many firewall configurations employ demilitarized zone, or "DMZ" networks. A DMZ network is intended to provide a safe, relatively neutral "drop area" for communication between inside and outside systems.

NOTE: You only require a DMZ if you will host your own web servers and/or email servers.

6. Would you like a wired, wireless, or wired+wireless local area network (LAN)?

You may connect computers, printers, and other devices to your network using a traditional wired network (10/10/10000 switched Ethernet), a wireless-only network (802.11b/g/n), or you may implement a combination of wired and wireless networking.

7. Do you require switch uplinks and, if so, what type?

A switch is used to connect individual wired computers and other components on your network. Switch uplinks are high-speed (gigabit ethernet) ports that may be used to connect multiple switches or to provide high-speed access to high-volume servers. You may require switch uplinks if you expect to see substantial growth on your network and will need to scale by adding additional switches. Another reason to deploy a switch with high-speed gigabit uplinks is to provide connectivity to commonly accessed servers.

Switch uplinks may be either copper or fiber. If you expect your network to grow substantially over the next year and are not sure what type of uplinks you require, consult a Cisco Authorized Reseller. If you don't expect to see substantial growth on your network over the next year, select 'None' below.

Note: If you don't expect to see substantial growth on your network over the next year, select 'None' below.

8. How many wireless desktop clients will you support?

Each wireless desktop client (desktop computers that are connected to the network wirelessly) will need a wireless network client adapter. Specify only those desktop clients that do not already have wireless network adapters installed.

9. How many wireless laptop clients will you support?

Each wireless laptop client (laptop computers that are connected to the network wirelessly) will need a wireless network client adapter. Specify only those laptop clients that do not already have wireless network adapters installed.

10. How many square feet must your wireless LAN (WLAN) cover?

Each wireless access point which connects your wireless desktop and wireless laptop computers to the network has a given range. The Cisco Small Business Network Designer will estimate the number of access points you require based upon the square feet that your wireless network must cover.

NOTE: Many factors, such as building materials and architectural layout, may affect the range of your access point(s). This estimate is based upon industry averages.