Network Design (FBLA)

Category: Collaborative Objective Test & Team Performance (Role Play)
Type: Individual or Team


Two (2) parts: an objective test and interactive role play or presentation. A 60-minute objective test will be administered onsite at the NLC. Team competitors will take one (1) objective test collaboratively.

Objective Test Competencies: Network Installation—Planning and Configuration; Problem Solving/Troubleshooting; Network Administrator Functions; Configuration of Internet Resources—Web service, DMZ, FTP, etc.; Backup and Disaster Recovery; Configuration Network Resources & Services

Case: An analysis of a computing environment situation and recommendation for a network solution that addresses the issues provided.

Skills: The ability to evaluate the needs of an organization and then design and implement network solutions is a valuable skill in today’s connected workplace. This event provides recognition for FBLA members who demonstrate an understanding of and ability to apply these skills.


Event Specific

  • Flip charts provided.
Collaborative Objective Test & Team Performance (Role Play)

Performance Guidelines—Final Round

  • Two (2) 4"x6" note cards will be provided to each competitor and may be used during event preparation and performance. Information may be written on both sides of the note cards. Note cards will be collected following the presentation.
  • No additional reference materials allowed.
  • Turn off all electronic devices.
  • Individuals/teams should introduce themselves, describe the situation, make their recommendations, and summarize their cases.
  • If participating as a team, all team members are expected to actively participate in the performance.
  • All questions raised in the case must be addressed during the presentation.
  • Objective test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Final performances are not open to conference attendees.

Penalty Points Deducted by Judges

  • Five (5) points are deducted if competitors do not follow the dress code.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for not following guidelines.
General Performance/Demonstration

Performance Guidelines

Fifteen (15) competitors/teams—or an equal number from each section in the preliminary round—will advance to the final round. When there are more than five preliminary sections for an event, two competitors/ teams from each section will advance to the final round.

In the case of team events, all team competitors are expected to actively participate in the performance/demonstration.

Competitors cannot be replaced or substituted for prejudged events with the exception of the chapter events—American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project.

All competitors must comply with the FBLA‑PBL dress code.

Prejudged materials and résumés will not be returned.

Technology Guidelines

  • The following will be provided for the final round of technology presentation/demonstration events that allow viewing: screen, power, table, and projector. It is up to final round competitors to decide if they wish to use the provided technology.
  • Competitors utilizing Apple products or other devices that do not have a VGA port or HDMI will need to provide their own adapters.
  • Internet access will be provided for:
    • 3-D Animation
    • Coding & Programming
    • Computer Game & Simulation Programming
    • Digital Video Production
    • E-business
    • Electronic Career Portfolio
    • Mobile Application Development
    • Public Service Announcement
    • Social Media Campaign
    • Website Design
  • Internet access may not be WiFi, so competitors should plan appropriately when selecting laptops/tablets on which to present.

Performance Competencies

  • Demonstrate excellent verbal communication.
  • Display effective decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Express self-confidence and poise.
  • Work well as a team when applicable.
  • Exhibit logic and systematic understanding.
  • Conduct a professional business presentation.
  • Answer questions effectively (when applicable).

Penalty Points Deducted by Judges

  • Five (5) points are deducted if competitors do not follow the dress code.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for presentations over the allotted time.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for not following guidelines.


  • Preliminary performances/demonstrations are not open to conference attendees.
  • Final performances/demonstrations may be open to conference attendees, space permitting (with the exception of interview and prep/case events). Finalists may not view other competitors’ performances/demonstrations in their event.
  • Recording performances/demonstrations is prohibited.
  • All electronic devices must be turned off.
  • All attendees must follow the dress code and wear their name badges.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 1 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit four (4) entries in all events except LifeSmarts, Virtual Business Finance Challenge, and Virtual Business Management Challenge.
  • Each competitor can only compete in one (1) individual/ team event and one (1) chapter event.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.
  • All members of a team must consist of individuals from the same chapter.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, and Partnership with Business Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project).

Additional Materials

Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials

Rating Sheet

Format Guide

Website Resources
Network Installation—Planning and Configuration
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the key functions and subsystems of the network.
2. Define the types of network architecture: work group (e.g., peer to peer) and server based (e.g., domain controlled) and explain how to determine what to use.
3. Identify services delivered by a server, such as application server, communication server, domain/directory server, fax server, file and print server, mail server, and Web server.
4. Gather data to identify customer requirements.
5. Identify and analyze system and network requirements
6. Identify time, technology, and resource constraints
7. Identify physical requirements for system implementation
8. Research product and vendor architecture and equipment specifications/limitations
9. Prepare cost/benefit/risk analysis.
10. Develop testing strategy.
11. Prepare overall plan for integrating new processes, protocols, and equipment.
12. Analyze facilities’ bandwidth requirements and capacity planning (e.g., power cable/wire conduit).
13. Revise processes/structure based on testing and certification.
14. Identify hardware/software selection criteria.
15. Select and install a LAN/WAN technology that meet defined set of requirements.
16. Assess user needs to determine which network operating systems (OS) to use
17. Set up/configure workstation-network connections and test network connectivity using a network analyzer.
18. Set up/configure network components (e.g., interface cards, routers, switches).
19. Plan, configure, and optimize a TCP/IP physical and logical network
20. Install network cabling with proper termination according to appropriate standards.
21. Set up a network-wide printing strategy to meet the needs of users.
22. Identify major considerations faced when installing a network operating system (OS).
23. Install a server operating system.
24. Identify and upgrade desktop and server computer hardware and peripherals.
25. Determine methods for segmenting and balancing the network load including number of servers needed.
26. Describe and give examples of application-specific servers.
27. Identify software licensing requirements and categories.
28. Configure and manage file systems and desktop settings and customize
29. Evaluate the correctness and effectiveness of implementing the network system
30. Design security for computers, accounts, and authentication.
31. Determine threats and analyze risks to network perimeters.
32. Design an audit policy and incident response procedures.
33. Basic network topologies.
34. IEEE/Network standards.
Problem Solving/Troubleshooting
1. Identify and analyze potential hardware compatibility problems
2. Identify and analyze precautions included in programs used on networks (e.g., self-metering, security keys, and required configuration settings).
3. Identify network areas in which application problems could exist (e.g., memory allocation, file lock settings, and resource availability)
4. Perform preventative maintenance on computers and peripherals using available diagnostic tools.
5. Perform software license audits.
6. Coordinate security procedures.
7. Restore LAN operating systems and replace LAN hardware components.
8. Execute testing in accordance with established plans and schedule and interpret test results.
9. Document errors reported/tracked and develop central log strategy.
10. Use the appropriate network utility to troubleshoot various connectivity issues
11. Demonstrate the use of visual indicators and diagnostic utilities to interpret problems.
12. Identify and resolve a network configuration with incorrect protocols, client software misconfiguration, authentication misconfiguration, and insufficient rights/permissions
13. Describe the sequential steps needed to identify and resolve a wiring or infrastructure problem.
14. Identify TCP/IP routing trouble shooting tools and troubleshoot TCP/IP routing.
15. Optimize and troubleshoot DNS.
16. Minimize impact of problems on productivity (e.g., minimize downtime).
17. Demonstrate knowledge of basic troubleshooting steps
18. 8. Evaluate problem-solving outcomes to determine whether the problem was solved as intended and to determine needed follow-up actions.
19. Select most appropriate solution and fix recoverable problems
20. Assess the impact of changes that affect interfaces
21. Identify new or replacement networking components needed.
Network Administrator Functions
1. Determine file organization (e.g., by owners, users, and privileges).
2. Establish naming conventions for the network, files, accounts, and services
3. Determine methods for increasing performance (e.g., segmenting and balancing the network load, resolving channel, and cable bottlenecks).
4. Describe and analyze the role of the network manager and the basic principles of network management.
5. Determine procedures for network optimization and tuning.
6. Determine procedures for managing network assets (e.g., users, groups, and printers).
7. Perform administration functions using network management software.
8. Install and monitor server software applications.
9. Perform system analysis and bandwidth optimization.
10. Perform resource management (e.g., apply standards, address protocols, monitor network activity, perform trend analyses, functional verifications, audits, and monitoring).
11. Respond to system messages.
12. Document actions taken (e.g., backups, virus prevention, and software distribution).
13. Evaluate software activities and execute network diagnostic program for software and hardware.
14. Manage disk resources by planning how resources are shared and by setting up and administering rights (e.g., permissions and quotas).
15. Identify uses and features of e-mail and calendaring and appropriate policies and procedures for implementation.
16. Provide technical support and orientation to network system.
17. Manage and distribute critical software updates that resolve known security vulnerabilities and other stability issues.
Configuration of Internet Resources—Web service, DMZ, FTP, etc.
1. Configure Internet access for a network.
2. Configure IP addresses and name resolution (DHLP, static, etc).
3. Describe and implement IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) services.
4. Explain and implement Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) authentication.
5. Describe the structure and architecture that make up the domain name system (DNS).
6. Plan, manage, and monitor DNS servers to ensure that they are functioning properly and to optimize network performance.
7. Explain the characteristics, uses, and benefits of software firewalls and hardware firewalls.
8. Describe the key features of Web servers
9. Install and configure Web-based services using utilities and HTML-based administration tools.
10. Establish WWW service, FTP service, SNMP service, and NNTP service
11. Illustrate Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and the purpose of remote access protocols, including Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP).
12. Distinguish among the following security methods: DMX(including dual-homed and triple-homed firewalls), VLan, intranet, extranet, PKI.
13. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and operation of wire (e.g., coaxial and fiber optics) and wireless systems.
14. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and operation of fiber optics, analog, and digital circuits.
15. Distinguish between different port numbers.
16. Identify classes of IP addresses.
17. Identify classes of subnets.
18. Identify classes of TCP and UDP
Backup and Disaster Recovery
1. Describe the purpose of a disaster recovery plan for a network.
2. Differentiate between disaster recovery and business continuity.
3. Compare different options of backing up and securing data and restoring a system and perform system backup.
4. Identify common backup devices.
5. Identify the criteria for selecting a backup system.
6. Establish process for archiving files
7. Select and test a disaster recovery plan
8. Identify method for avoiding common computer system disasters (e.g., UPS and RAID)
9. Use the features of a server operating system to prevent a disaster or recover when one occurs.
10. Develop backup process and backup and restore data
11. Implement backup procedures in accordance with a regular schedule.
12. Configure a shadow copy.
13. Identify and maintain battery backup equipment.
14. Install surge suppression protection
15. Implement recovery procedures as needed.
Configuration Network Resources & Services
1. Identify the purpose of network services and protocols.
2. Identify and monitor your network perimeter including rogue devices, VPN servers and wireless access points
3. Determine the impact of modifying, adding, or removing network services for network resources and users.
4. Design remote connectivity.
5. Configure network cards and network settings
6. Describe the functions of remote access protocols and services, such as telnet, SSH, and remote desktop.
7. Describe the functions of remote access protocols and services, such as telnet, SSH, and remote desktop.
8. Identify and investigate emerging networks and technologies.
9. Configure VLAN to map an IP network.
10. Provide accurate tracking and monitoring of VLAN.
11. Implement security controls such as MAC or DAC to ensure user policies are enabled.
12. Identify common routing protocols.


NBEA Standards
  • Communication
  • Information Technology
  • Management
Career Clusters
  • Arts, A/V Technology, & Communication
  • Information Techology


States may submit up to 4 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 1.


The top fifteen (15) scoring individuals/teams advance to the final round.


Test: 1 hour
Prep: 20 min
Equipment Setup: N/A
Performance: 7 min
Warning: 6 min
Time Up: 7 min
Penalty Over Time: N/A
Q & A: N/A