Cisco Hierarchical Model

Cisco have devised a logical network model, which attempts to help you design and build a scalable and reliable hierarchical network. It divides the specific functions of a network into three distinct layers, helping you avoid common pitfalls when designing or upgrading your network.

However just because there are three layers it does not mean you need to have three distinct layers in your network, it is a concept for a perfect network.

Core Layer

Key Task: Transport large amounts of traffic quickly.

The Core Layer provides data to every user in the network so it should be fault tolerant and fast with low latency.

This means there should be NO access lists, NO VLANs, NO filtering, NO user/workgroup access, at this layer.

Distribution Layer

Key Task: Provide the Access Layer with access to Core Layer, by routing and filtering packets.

You should employ access lists and packet filtering here, including network address translation (NAT), firewalls, VAN routing, broadcast and multicast definitions.

Access Layer

Key Task: Control workgroup access to locally available resources.

You should have your switching and access policies where users can access relevant files here.

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