Structured Network Design Methodology PDIOO

While the roles of a network designer are indeed varied, and different general approaches to network design exist, the entire concept of designing a network is greatly simplified through the use of structured design methodologies. Although it sounds rather fancy, a structured design methodology is really nothing more than a set of distinct steps that help to ensure that all of the necessary tasks in the network design process are completed.

Cisco uses a methodology known as PDIOO as part of designing networks. PDIOO is an acronym that describes some of the major elements in a network design process, namely:

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Operation
  • Optimization

Instead of concentrating on memorizing these elements, you should instead focus on recognizing them as the key elements to any network design project. More than anything, PDIOO represents a theme that comes up again and again over the course of designing not only a network, but also just about any system you can think of.

For the purpose of designing networks, Cisco recommends an 8-step process that constitutes the structured network design methodology mentioned earlier. Each of these 8 steps represents a specific network design task that much be completed as part of a project. The specific steps involved in any network design project include:

  1. Identifying customer requirements
  2. Identifying and analyzing the current network
  3. Designing network topologies and services
  4. Planning the network implementation
  5. Proof of concept (building pilots or prototypes)
  6. Documenting the network design
  7. Implementing and verifying the network design
  8. Monitoring and revising the network design

Each of these elements is looked at in more detail in upcoming articles.

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.