Network Design Principles: Cost-benefit

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A design can be evaluated using the cost-benefit principle, and it will be considered good if the benefits outweigh the cost. From a designer perspective, a cost-benefit analysis can assess the financial returns associated with adding a design feature. The designer should also evaluate benefits and costs from the user’s perspective so that design decisions are not made based on financial cost alone. A successful design prioritizes the features that have high benefits and low costs.

Cost-benefit analysis can be used to decide, for example, if the cost of adding redundancy to the network outweigh the potential financial losses from an unexpected failure. From user’s perspective, adding more security constraints to the network should be evaluated against user’s ease of access. Offering high Internet bandwidth may enable remote work and collaboration among users and save money spent on travel; therefore, it can be considered an example of low cost and high benefit feature.

It is important in cost-analysis evaluation to identify the costs and the benefits correctly. Using the latest networking technology in a new design may be considered important by the designer but it adds little value to the users if there is not perceived improvement in performance. Similarly, adding unnecessary redundancy may increase cost and complexity of the network without significant reliability improvement.

Read about other Network Design Principles.