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Overview of Designing a TCP/IP Network

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Designing your IP deployment includes deciding how you want to implement IP in a new environment, or — for most organizations — examining your existing infrastructure and deciding what to change. Windows Server 2003 TCP/IP, the most widely used networking protocol, can connect different types of systems, provide a framework for client/server applications, and give users access to the Internet. TCP/IP is included in the Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows® Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; Windows® Server 2003, Datacenter Edition; and Windows® Server 2003, Web Edition operating systems.

Before you start the TCP/IP design process, inventory your hardware and software and create or update a map of your network topology. Preparing an inventory and network map can save time and help you focus on the design decisions you want to address. After you review your existing network, you might upgrade several servers to Windows Server 2003 in order to take advantage of end-to-end support for TCP/IP, or you might decide to redesign your entire network to improve its efficiency and prepare for the future of IP networking. Determine which design tasks are relevant to your environment, and then decide what changes you want to make to your network. For more information about creating a hardware and software inventory and a network topology map, see "Planning for Deployment" in Planning, Testing, and Piloting Deployment Projects of this kit.

To start the TCP/IP design process, you must make a number of design decisions about your network infrastructure. For enterprise-wide scalability, you might decide to plan your IP infrastructure based on a hierarchical network design model. You must also choose between hardware and software-based routers, and decide where to use static routing or dynamic routing protocols. You must carefully design a structured model for IP address assignment that fits your current networking environment and that accommodates expected growth. Your model can use either public or private addresses, or you can use a combination of public and private addresses.

In addition, consider security issues for an IP network, including where best to use Internet Protocol security (IPSec) and which options are appropriate for securing your perimeter network. For higher availability and load balancing, you can include redundancy in your network design. Decide whether you need to use technology enhancements such as IP multicast to optimize server workload and network bandwidth. You might start deploying IPv6 on certain network servers or clients, and, if so, decide how you want to implement IPv6/IPv4 coexistence.

After you develop your network design, you can use the remaining chapters in this book as a guide for deploying core features, such as DHCP, DNS, and WINS, as well as optional technologies, such as support for mobile or home users, connecting remote sites, or deploying wireless solutions.

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