Network Design Step 2: Analyzing Existing Applications and Network Traffic

Aside from auditing a customer’s current network using various network management tools, utilities, and Cisco IOS commands, analyzing existing applications and network traffic also provides accurate sources of information to characterize a network.

As part of most network design projects, the customer will usually provide a list of existing network-related applications, either verbally or through various forms of documentation. In order to ensure that all applications are properly accounted for and their impact on the network understood, a network designer must perform a careful analysis that includes a combination of documentation, prioritization, and traffic analysis. Each of these elements is looked at in more detail below:

  • Documentation. Although a customer will generally provide a network designer with a list of the network-related applications in use on the current network, it is important to investigate whether this list is complete and current. One effective way to summarize information about the current applications in use is through the use of a decision matrix, similar to the one looked at earlier in Table 12-2.
  • Prioritization and features. After the application decision matrix has been developed, it should be provided to the customer in order to determine the priority or level of importance associated with each application. Similarly, any particular features associated with the application should be documented. For example, certain application may have very specific security requirements.
  • Traffic analysis. In order to determine the impact of various applications on the network, and to be sure that the documented list of applications is complete, a network designer should typically conduct network traffic analysis. In a manner similar to auditing a network, various tools and utilities can be used to gather accurate traffic analysis information.

The following article takes a look at some of the network traffic analysis tools, utilities, and IOS commands typically used to gather accurate information about the current network.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.