Network Evaluation Criteria
To establish the criteria for a network evaluation project, you must have current documentation for the network to use as a point of reference. The criteria can be categorized into functional evaluations pertaining to design, optimization, equipment selection and security. Criteria developed by standards bodies is particularly valuable in the evaluation process.
Effective network evaluation criteria starts with accurate documentation. To properly evaluate a network, engineers rely on current state information that provides a blueprint of the existing network. Network documentation includes diagrams, protocol information and lists of equipment in use. This documentation should be controlled to ensure only the most current, authorized copy is used in the evaluation. It is a good idea to store the documentation electronically in a document management system with revision control to ensure accuracy of the information.
Metrics provide key performance indicators that are used as criteria to determine whether and how well information technology is meeting its objectives in supporting business functions. The criteria can target application performance for workers and quality-of-service levels for specific types of applications. When performing a network evaluation, establish metrics that are based on workplace requirements.
The Common Criteria provides an internationally developed and recognized set of standards that can be used to evaluate network equipment against a set of security requirements. The Common Criteria applies evaluation levels for products based on the assessment tests performed. Product evaluations include areas of functionality, structural testing and design.
Performance criteria specifies how the network is expected to perform, both currently and in the future if changes are introduced. The criteria also specifies areas of the network that are candidates for optimization. The process of developing performance criteria involves determining the portion of the network requiring evaluation. Past baselines are used as a point of reference when performance was acceptable. This is followed by evaluating the network at different periods of the day to understand changes in utilization and how this affects network performance.