Analyzing the Issues
Objective – To overhaul a client's old network infrastructure
We recently took on a new client; they are a part of the healthcare industry and run a private clinic with a very consistent flow of patients and operate both early morning and late evenings. They rely heavily on network resources for accessing patient data and utilizing various software necessary in diagnosing patients.
Their old network infrastructure was in dire need of an overhaul. Their clinic was substantial in size and they only had a single wireless access point. Additionally, because of Covid they were taking patient payments in their parking lot with a remote terminal and the wireless would not reach the parking lot. They had multiple pieces of lab equipment, printers, and appliances that would not operate on a 5g wireless network as their 2.4 wireless was disabled by their prior IT contact. Their network closet did not have any labels on patch panels or switches so the wiring was incredibly chaotic. All their computers and server were communicating to one another in a workgroup rather than a domain. Because of this, passwords were becoming desynchronized regularly causing staff to lose access to network resources and unable to do their job in a fast-paced environment.
“Our solutions resulted in a much higher availability of network resources as well as simplifying processes for the staff”
Designing the Solution
The client hired us to overhaul their network and simplify their processes where possible. The first thing we had to do was gain access to their old network resources and map out the connections. We coordinated with their old IT and were able to document both the infrastructure of the network and the flow of data / access to resources by staff. This data included IP addresses, passwords, database names, and directory locations.
After we had a good idea of how the network was put together, we began working on building out a new network utilizing the same IP scheme as their old network so we could do a live replacement of their old network gear. We created the network in an isolated environment; the network included a firewall, a router, several switches and two business grade wireless access points. After testing to make sure the isolated “new” network was functioning, we did a live replacement of all the network gear during business hours. Because all of our configurations were identical to the previous network the transition went smoothly and all machines were able to connect to the new network and access network resources.
We then setup a domain on the server allowing management of passwords at the network level instead of the device level, this resolved the issue of desyncronized passwords. We setup multiple other network functions to standardize the user experience across machines; these settings included printer configuration, file shares, shortcuts, internet browser settings and folder redirections. Now, instead of their network being asymmetric with credentials, settings, mappings, and resources being split between multiple hosts and devices, it is all controlled centrally at the server allowing easy control and distribution of changes.
Our solutions resulted in a much higher availability of network resources as well as simplifying processes for the staff. Changes that effect all computers can be made at a single point and distributed to each machine. The network is now broadcasting across the 2.4 and a 5Ghz wireless frequencies so the older wireless devices can now be utilized. The wireless signal strength is greatly improved and a strong signal now reaches the furthest corners of the parking lot. The client is much happier than they were before and are much more confident in their control of their own network resources!