Network Design Step 1: Documenting Gathered Information

As part of the process of gathering information about a customer’s goals, constraints, and requirements for a new or upgraded network, documentation needs to be created. Ultimately, this documentation will be used to confirm that both the designer and the customer agree on the requirements, as well as associated goals and constraints that will impact the project.

The documentation of the gathered information is not subject to any specific format at this point in the process. However, there are certain methods that can be used to structure the information, making it easier for both the network designer and the customer to review in a more organized and simplified manner. Perhaps the most popular method is through the use of decision matrices.

A decision matrix is not nearly as complex as it sounds. In truth, it’s really nothing more than a table that can be used to document information about specific elements of the network design or data gathering process. For example, a decision table might be used to document all required applications for a new network, as shown below. In this example, the matrix simply lists a particular application type, its name, importance information, and comments.

Example Decision Matrix 

Once created, a decision matrix provides a simplified high-level overview of gathered data or design information that makes it easy for the designer and decision makers to easily review project details.

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.