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Dealing with a Google Apps deployment can be very challenging, but dealing with a large Google Apps deployment can be even worse, especially in environments like a school.
Among the best practices in networking is included this little thing called "network evaluation", and you will need to thoroughly evaluate your current network before building a new one or building upon it.
In this article, I will explain what you need to do before and during your Google Apps deployment and what these processes mean. Let's begin.
1. Conduct a Network Inventory.
Conducting an inventory of your networking environment means that you need to make note of all of your network locations. These notes include the name of the location, the type of Internet access and the amount of bandwidth available within that network location. Types of Internet access include T1 and DSL.
2. Test your DNS resolution, Then Optimize DNS for Google Apps
DNS stands for "Domain Name System", and is used by pretty much everything on the Internet. A domain name is the name of a website- say, google.com- but domain names are actually linked to IP addresses to allow connection to these sites. DNS servers allow this, and poor DNS configuration can stop people from accessing Google Apps and other sites, since your computer won't be able to find them on the network.
3. Test your ICMP connectivity.
ICMP stands for "Internet Control Message Protocol". This is used ti test connectivity between network devices and locations. Running ICMP tests means checking connections at all network locations to ensure that they can use Google Apps.
4/.Test your WAN bandwidth.
Testing your WAN bandwidth means that you'll be testing the bandwidth from your egress location (the network location where your network as a whole connects to the Internet) and the various network locations connecting to each other and that egress location. The higher the WAN bandwidth, the more parallel operations can be performed on the same network without users suffering slowdown or connectivity issues.
(Optional) If using a proxy, create a test environment.
If you're using a proxy server on your network (through which you expect your users to use Google Apps), you'll need to set up a test environment. Setting up this environment means you'll be able to calculate the amount of outbound connections per user that you'll need to set up on your proxy server- though on that note, it's always good to operate well in excess in these matters in case of high network load.
Other Evaluation Tips When Deploying Google for Education on your Network
When setting up a network, you should also pay close mind to your hardware. If your hotspots aren't doing their jobs and you think it's about time to step up, consider trying out RUCKUS WiFI Hotspots. Here at Coolhead Tech, we use their hotspots to ensure a higher quality of service for our customers in education and business alike.
If you've read this guide and would like to know more about taking the steps necessary to evaluate your network and perform Google Apps deployment, head to this page to access a full guide and contact us if you need more assistance.