7 Tips For Upgrading Your Network

Proper planning, communication, and training can help ensure a successful network upgrade.

Upgrading networks can be tricky due to the fact that a network touches every aspect of a business’s overall IT infrastructure and impacts a wide range of users. From the end user to the server admin, and all the way to the application developer, everyone is affected by a network upgrade, for better or worse.

In contrast, when an application server is upgraded, the impact is only on those employees that use the applications on that specific server. While there indeed are applications that all employees use, more often than not, an upgrade only impacts a subset of users. Network upgrades, on the other hand, have the tendency to affect more users than any other segment of IT.

Because the network is the underlying component for all computer functions beyond local applications, network upgrades have the potential to cause more business disruptions compared to other IT upgrades. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that an upgrade plan be put in place that uses best practices. Whether you are upgrading network switches at a remote office, replacing an aging wireless network or implementing the latest network infrastructure technologies in your data center, each upgrade should follow the same tried-and-true best practices.

[Learn best practices and strategies for building and managing an enterprise network in the Networking Track at Interop Las Vegas, May 2-6. Register now!]

On the following pages, we'll highlight several best practices that should be used for any network upgrade project. These best practices are based on the following goals for a successful network upgrade:

  1. Upgrade to a network solution that best meets organizational requirements.

  2. Determine user impact during the upgrade process and after the upgrade is complete

  3. Perform the upgrade with as little business impact as possible.

  4. Ensure the upgrade can be properly supported once in production

(Image: Mathias Rosenthal/iStockphoto)

About the Author(s)

Andrew Froehlich, President, West Gate Networks

President, West Gate Networks

As a highly experienced network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, particularly in the United States and Southeast Asia, Andrew Froehlich has nearly two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Froehlich has participated in the design and maintenance of networks for State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, Chicago-area schools and the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is the founder and president of Loveland, Colo.-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build outs. The author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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