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Administration & Professional Networking

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Network Basics: Understanding Protocols

Protocols and standards are what make networks work together. Protocols make it possible for the various components of a network to communicate with each other. Standards also make it possible for network [more…]

Network Basics: Understanding Standards

A standard is an agreed-upon definition of a protocol. Standards are industry-wide protocol definitions that are not tied to a particular manufacturer. With standard protocols, you can mix and match equipment [more…]

Network Basics: The Seven Layers of the OSI Reference Model

OSI sounds like the name of a top-secret government agency you hear about only in Tom Clancy novels. What it really stands for in the networking world is Open Systems Interconnection, as in the Open Systems [more…]

Network Basics: OSI Physical Layer

The bottom layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model is the Physical layer. It addresses the physical characteristics of the network, such as the types of cables used to connect devices, the [more…]

Network Basics: OSI Data Link Layer

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Data Link layer is the lowest layer at which meaning is assigned to the bits that are transmitted over the network. Data link protocols address things like the size [more…]

Network Basics: The OSI Network Layer

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Network layerhandles the task of routing network messages from one computer to another. The two most popular layer 3 protocols are IP [more…]

Network Basics: Switches and Hubs

When you use twisted-pair cable to connect build your computer network, you also must use a separate device called a switch. Years ago, switches were expensive devices — expensive enough that most do-it-yourself [more…]

Network Basics: OSI Application Layer

The highest layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, the Application layer, deals with the techniques that application programs use to communicate with the network. [more…]

Network Basics: Following a Packet through the Layers

In a computer network, a packet of information flows through seven layers as it travels from one computer to another. The data begins its journey when an end-user application sends data to another network [more…]

Network Basics: Ethernet Protocol

The first two layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model deal with the physical structure of the network and the means by which network devices can send information from one device on a network [more…]

Network Basics: Ethernet Configurations

Ethernet has a variety of possible configurations, standard, fast and gigabit. Each version operates at different speeds and use different types of media. All the versions of Ethernet are compatible with [more…]

Network Basics: TCP/IP Protocol Suite

TCP/IP, the protocol on which the Internet is built, is actually not a single protocol but rather an entire suite of related protocols. TCP is even older than Ethernet. It was first conceived in 1969 by [more…]

Network Basics: Ethernet Cable Designations

The names of Ethernet cable standards resemble the audible signals a quarterback might shout at the line of scrimmage. In reality, the cable designations consist of three parts: [more…]

Network Basics: User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a connectionless Transport layer protocol. For some applications, speed and efficiency are more important than reliability. In such cases, a [more…]

Network Basics: Other Network Protocols

While the most popular network protocols are IP and IPX, there are others like NetBIOS, NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, AppleTalk and SNA. These other types are worth knowing about: [more…]

Network Basics: Servers

Server computers are the lifeblood of any network. Servers provide the shared resources that network users crave, such as file storage, databases, e-mail, Web services, and so on. Choosing the equipment [more…]

Network Basics: Network Interface Cards

Every computer on a network, both clients and servers, requires a network interface card (or NIC) in order to access the network. A NIC is usually a separate adapter card that slides into one of the server’s [more…]

Network Basics: Coaxial Cable

A type of cable that was once popular for Ethernet networks is coaxial cable, sometimes called thinnet or BNC cablebecause of the type of connectors used on each end of the cable. Thinnet cable operates [more…]

Network Basics: Twisted-Pair Cable

Nearly all modern networks are constructed using a type of cable called twisted-pair cable, which looks a little like phone cable but is subtly different. The most popular type of cable today is [more…]

Network Basics: Server Computer Components

The hardware components that comprise a typical server computer are similar in type but higher-grade to the components used in less expensive client computers. The following paragraphs describe the typical [more…]

Network Basics: Server Form Factors

The computer networking term form factor refers to the size, shape, and packaging of a hardware device. Server computers typically come in one of three form factors: [more…]

Network Planning: Taking Inventory

The first step to building a network plan is taking a thorough inventory of your current computers. Before you can plan how to get “there,” you have to know where “here” is. Collect the following information [more…]

Network Basics: Hubs and Switches Demystified

Both hubs and switches let you connect multiple computers to a twisted-pair network. Switches are more efficient than hubs, but not just because they're faster. If you really want to know, here’s the actual [more…]

Network Basics: Repeaters

A repeater (sometimes called an extender) is a gizmo that gives your network signals a boost so that the signals can travel farther. It’s kind of like a Gatorade station in a marathon. [more…]

Network Basics: Bridges

A bridge is a device that connects two networks so that they act as if they're one network. Bridges are used to partition one large network into two smaller networks for performance reasons. You can think [more…]


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