Networking Infrastructure and Protocols

Unit: Computer Networks 
Assignment title: Specialist Dental Services 


This assignment enables you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of computer networks. You are required to produce a substantial document that totals 3000 words. You are advised to start work on the assignment at an early stage during the unit. The assignment is divided into tasks, which relate to the sequence of the module, so you do not need to wait until all the teaching is finished to start them.

Some aspects of this assignment will require you to research real components that are currently available in the marketplace. Furthermore, you will also be asked to make judgements about what is best for a particular scenario. Please note that there is not always one right answer. However, you will need to justify your reasons for any choices you make, in order to gain higher marks.

You are NOT required to design a complete network. You are required to detail the specifics covered by the task list shown below.


Specialist Dental Services (SDS) has branches in major cities across the UK. The company provides a range of general, complex and cosmetic dental care with specialists offering services in Orthodontics, Endodontics (Root Canal) and Periodontics (oral health and gums).

SDS plans to open a new clinic in Manchester and has rented office units within an old building for its premises. As a result, the company needs to complete some internal work within the building so that it is suitable for patients. The clinic will have three ground floor and two first floor surgical consulting rooms, a patients lounge (first floor), a reception and a storage room. The building is of brick construction externally, with some brick and some stud-partition internal walling. The flooring is concrete.

SDS is a high-tech company, and all consulting rooms require networking to a local server. Dental consultants and hygienists view patient information on screens in the consulting rooms. These consist of patient records, including x-ray images, and videos. There is also specialist equipment which can measure the depth of gum ‘pockets’ around teeth – a sign of gum disease. The patient lounge provides open internet access through an open access PC, and also Wi-Fi for patients’ own devices.

The reception has access to an appointment system, which is Windows-based and standardised across the company. It takes electronic payments, sends SMS reminders and emails to patients. The clinic will also be networked to the head office, enabling head office staff to access local server files.

The following outline requirements have been identified (excluding specialist dental equipment that connects to the network):

Overall System Requirements

  1. To provide a network solution (hardware and software) to meet the needs of the company, which ensures timely and secure access to information.
  2. To provide Internet access for patients while in the lounge.
  3. To provide network access to Head office.
  4. To provide VOIP telephony.

Data and information

  1. Patient information stored locally.
  2. Electronic payments.
  3. Corporate web email provided via the company’s ISP.
  4. Patient appointments/ records, including personal contact information. Payment card data is not stored.


  1. New computers to meet performance, security and storage requirements (including backup)
  2. New PC workstations (total 8: 8 x desktop) running Microsoft Windows.
  3. New network printers (2).
  4. Network components as required.
  5. Payment card equipment.


  1. Latest Microsoft Office Suite required.
  2. Dental management software (appointments/ records) as used throughout the company.
  3. Web & email Internet access
  4. Suitable security software

Security requirements

  1. Information security must meet the UK Government’s ‘Cyber Essentials’ programme (
  2. Restrictions are required to be implemented to control access to the confidential patient information.
  3. The system is required to be secure from internal and external threats.
  4. An automated daily backup policy and procedure, for all of the information stored within the business.
  5. A contract will be required for external IT support.
  6. Further discussion will be required to establish downtime that is acceptable. The company have a website, but this is hosted by their ISP and is not part of this requirement.

Task 1 – 30 Marks

Networking Infrastructure and Protocols

The building has an existing Token Ring infrastructure. The Chief Executive Officer of SDS has asked you to provide a report to clarify the following:

  1. It has been suggested that there are three major options for providing the clinic network: (1) Use the existing Token Ring infrastructure; (2) Replace it with Ethernet and structured cabling; or (3) use Wi-Fi. Explain the difference between Ethernet, Token Ring and Wi-Fi and make a recommendation about the technology he should use. You should discuss differences in topology, data rate and the type of cable required. A good answer will relate your recommendation to the business requirements.
  2. Network architecture is frequently described in terms of the OSI 7-layer model. Explain the purpose of each of the 7 layers.
  3. Given the applications that will be used, and making any suitable assumptions, identify and briefly explain the purpose of SEVEN (7) protocols. For each protocol, identify the layer at which they operate.
  4. A hub, a switch, a wireless access point and a router are networking components. Identify the layer at which each component operates. For each component, support your answer with ONE (1) reason.

This task requires around 900 words.

Task 2 – 30 Marks


SDS wants you to provide a clear explanation about network addressing.

  1. Briefly explain why network components need addresses and outline the difference between a network address and a host address.
  2. Explain the difference between a private IPv4 address and a public IPv4 address. You should explain when you would use each address type within SDS’s network.
  3. Explain what is meant by DHCP and outline why you would use it.
  4. Explain the difference between IPv4 and IPv6 and state which type of address will be used in SDS’s network.
  5. Define the term Default Gateway and explain why it is needed.
  6. Define the term Subnet Mask and explain why it is required. You should provide THREE (3) points relating to a subnet mask for full marks.
  7. Explain what is meant by an IP Routing Table and provide ONE (1) example of how a router uses its routing table on the Internet. You do NOT have to explain every field in the routing table. In your example, explain how a packet gets from source to destination.

This task requires around 900 words.

Task 3 – 15 Marks Security

Cyber security is increasingly important.

  1. Explain THREE (3) security concepts. A SDS clinic has suffered a virus infection which meant that no patient records could be viewed. Briefly outline which security concept was violated.
  2. How would you ensure that there was a secure connection between the local and head office networks?
  3. How would you ensure that users of the open access PC or the Wi-Fi cannot access the local server?
  4. Provide a list of FOUR (4) measures that can help keep the network secure. This list should include hardware, software, policies and ways of checking them.
  5. What do you think is the biggest threat for this system? Justify your answer.

This task requires around 450 words.

Task 4 – 15 Marks Diagram and explanation

SDS wants a clear diagram to show how the components of the new system will be connected. You should provide the following:

  1. Draw a logical network diagram (topology) that shows the main components of the network.
  2. Allocate suitable IP addresses and add them in the diagram. You should ensure you include the subnet mask and identify those that need providing by the ISP.
  3. Explain why you have chosen the particular hardware components and why you have connected them together in that way.
  4. Give local prices and specification of suitable hardware/ software you recommend.

This task requires around 450 words.

Task 5 – 10 Marks Remote access

SDS is concerned about the phone system. The company want to reduce costs and think that VOIP is a cheaper form of telephony.

  1. Briefly explain what is meant by VOIP.
  2. Explain how you could incorporate VOIP into the system. You should identify the components you would need and outline the actions you would need to take to get it to work.
  3. How does this impact the network performance?

This task requires around 300 words.

Guidance and submission requirements

Your answers should be word-processed and total 3000 words in length (+/- 10%). You will lose marks if you go under or over this word count.

All references and citations must use the Harvard Style.