Frustrated with networking books so chock-full of acronyms that your brain goes into sleep mode? Head First Networking's unique, visually rich format provides a task-based approach to computer networking that makes it easy to get your brain engaged. You'll learn the concepts by tying them to on-the-job tasks, blending practice and theory in a way that only Head First can.
With this book, you'll learn skills through a variety of genuine scenarios, from fixing a malfunctioning office network to planning a network for a high-technology haunted house. You'll learn exactly what you need to know, rather than a laundry list of acronyms and diagrams. This book will help you:
Master the functionality, protocols, and packets that make up real-world networking
Learn networking concepts through examples in the field
Tackle tasks such as planning and diagramming networks, running cables, and configuring network devices such as routers and switches
Monitor networks for performance and problems, and learn troubleshooting techniques
Practice what you've learned with nearly one hundred exercises, questions, sample problems, and projects
Head First's popular format is proven to stimulate learning and retention by engaging you with images, puzzles, stories, and more. Whether you're a network professional with a CCNA/CCNP or a student taking your first college networking course, Head First Networking will help you become a network guru.
Chapter 1 Fixing Physical Networks: Walking on Wires
Coconut Airways has a network problem
How do we fix the cable?
Introducing the CAT-5 cable
The CAT-5 cable dissected
So what’s with all the colors?
Let’s fix the broken CAT-5 cable
A closer look at the RJ-45 connector
So what are the physical steps?
You fixed the CAT-5 cable
Coconut Airways has more than one network
Introducing the coaxial cable
Coaxial networks are bus networks
So can we fix the cable?
The network’s still not working
So what goes on inside a coaxial cable?
What about connectors and terminators?
Use toner-tracer sets to listen to electrons
No sound means no electrons
You’ve fixed the coaxial cable
Introducing fiber-optic cables
The Coconut Airways cable’s over-bent
How to fix fiber-optics with a fusion splicer
A fiber-optic connector needs fitting too
We’re nearly ready to fix the connector
There are two types of fiber
Which mode fiber should you use?
Let’s fit the connector on the fiber-optic
Coconut Airways is sky high
Chapter 2 Planning Network Layouts: Networking in the Dark
Ghost Watch needs your help!
Every good network needs a good plan
So how does the device list help us plan a network?
How to plan a network layout
Let’s plan the cabling with a floorplan
Ready to plot some network cables?
So where have we got to?
We need to decide on the cable management hardware
Uh oh! The cabling is a mess
Ghost Watch needs cable management hardware
Things that go bump...
You’ve really cleaned up that noise and straightened out MOST of the cables!
Let’s start by labeling the cables
But there are still lots of cables
So what’s a patch panel?
Behind the scenes of a patch panel
The wires go into a punch down block
Roll the cameras!
Chapter 3 Tools and Troubleshooting: Into the Wire
Mighty Gumball won the Super Bowl contract
A toner and tracer can check for a signal...
... but can’t check for signal quality
Introducing the multimeter
So what’s resistance?
So how well did the multimeter do?
An oscilloscope shows voltage changes
Voltage is really electrical pressure
Where does noise on network cables come from?
So how well did the oscilloscope perform for Mighty Gumball?
A logical analyzer uses voltage too
When is a logical analyzer useful?
So which tool is best?
The Mighty Gumball bonus went to Jill
A LAN analyzer combines the functions of all the other tools
A LAN analyzer understands the network traffic in the signal
So which tool is best?
The Mighty Gumball problems are fixed!
Chapter 4 Packet Analysis: You’ve Been Framed
What’s the secret message?
Network cards handle encoding
To get the message, reverse the encoding
The Ethernet standard tells hardware how to encode the data
A quick guide to binary
Computers read numbers, humans read letters
Hexadecimal to the rescue
We can convert to ASCII using hex
Back at the spy agency...
Protocols define the structure of a message
Network frames have lots of layers
Your friendly packet field guide
So can we decode the secret message?
We’ve got all the right packets... but not necessarily in the right order
The packet tells you the correct order
Chapter 5 Network Devices and Traffic: How Smart is Your Network?
You’ve decoded the secret message...
The packet information tells us where the packet came from
So who’s the mole?
There’s more to networks than computers
Hubs don’t change the MAC address
A hub sends signals, and sends them everywhere
So what passed the signal to the hub?
A switch sends frames, and only sends them where they need to go
Switches store MAC addresses in a lookup table to keep the frames flowing smoothly
The switch has the information...
We can use software to monitor packets
Let’s hook Wireshark up to the switch
Wireshark gives us traffic information
Routers have MAC addresses too
We’re closing in!
You’ve found the mole!
Chapter 6 Connecting Networks with Routers: Bringing Things Together
Networking Walking on the moon
We need to connect two networks together
The light’s on, but nobody’s home
Let’s see what traffic is on our network!
MAC address versus IP address
IP addresses give our networks a sense of location, and network nodes a sense of belonging to that location
We retrieve IP addresses using the MAC address and the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)
So what’s the problem with the Moonbase?
How do we get network traffic to move between networks?
How the router moves data across networks
Back to the Moonbase problem
The secret of IP numbers is...
Routers connect networks by doing the math...
Back at the Moonbase...
Are you ready to program the router?
You just created this router config file!
Let the router tell us what’s wrong...
Chapter 7 Routing Protocols: It’s a Matter of Protocol
Houston, we have a problem...
Routing tables tell routers where to send packets
Each line represents a different route
So how do we enter routes?
Routes help routers figure out where to send network traffic
So are the moonbases now connected?
Back on the moon...
So how do we troubleshoot bad routes?
The traceroute command is useful too
So what’s the problem with the network connection?
The network address changes keep on coming...
Use RIP to get routes to update themselves
So how do we set up RIP?
But there’s still a problem...
There are too many hops
The routing protocol zoo
So how do we setup EIGRP?
We have lift off!
Chapter 8 The Domain Name System: Names to Numbers
The Head First Health Club needs a website
Hello, my domain name is...
Let’s go buy a domain name
Uh-oh! We’re in trouble
Introducing the DNS
The DNS relies on name servers
How the DNS sees your domain
So how does this affect the Health Club?
First install a DNS name server...
...then configure the name server
The anatomy of a DNS zone file
Here’s what the DNS zone file tells us about the Health Club servers
The Health Club can’t send emails
So what’s the problem?
Email servers use RDNS to fight SPAM
Check your sources with reverse DNS
The dig command can do a reverse DNS lookup
Your name server has another important zone file...
The emails are working!
Chapter 9 Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Listen to Your Network’s Troubles
Pajama Death are back on tour
So where would you start troubleshooting a misfiring network?
Start troubleshooting your network problems by checking in with your network devices
Troubleshoot network connectivity with the ping command
If the ping fails, check the cables
Get started with the show interface command
The ticket network’s still not fixed
SNMP to the rescue!
SNMP is a network admininistrator’s communication tool
How to configure SNMP on a Cisco device
One hour to go...
Get devices to send you their problems
How to configure syslogd on a Cisco device
How do you tell what’s in the logs?
Too much information can be just as bad as not enough
How do you know which events are important?
Pajama Death’s a sell-out!
Chapter 10 Wireless Networking: Working Without Wires
Your new gig at Starbuzz Coffee
Wireless access points create networks using radio waves
Let’s fit the wireless access point
What about the network configuration?
So what’s DHCP?
First make sure the client has DHCP turned on...
Second, make the wireless access point a DHCP server...
...and then specify an acceptable range of IP addresses
So has setting up DHCP solved the problem?
This time it’s personal
We’ve run out of IP addresses
NAT works by reallocating IP addresses
So how do we configure NAT?
So has this fixed the problem?
There’s more than one wireless protocol
The central Starbuzz server needs to access the cash register
Port mapping to the rescue!
Let’s set up port mapping on the Starbuzz access point
The wireless access point is a success!
Chapter 11 Network Security: Get Defensive
The bad guys are everywhere
And it’s not just the NETWORK that gets hurt...
The big four in network security
Defend your network against MAC address spoofing
So how do we defend against MAC address spoofing?
Defend your network against ARP poisoning attacks
So what can we do about ARP poisoning attacks?
It’s all about the access, baby!
Set up your router’s Access Control Lists to keep attackers out
So how do we configure the Access Control List?
Firewalls filter packets between networks
Master the static packet filter
Get smart with stateful packet-filters
Humans are the weakest link in your security chain
So how do social engineers operate?
Smash social engineering with a clear and concise security policy
You’ve hardened your network
Chapter 12 Designing Networks: You Gotta Have a Plan!
Now you have to plan a network from scratch!
You have to know what the needs are before you can plan
So you’ve developed your questions, now what?
Look at your action plan
So you have a physical layout, what’s next?
Blueprints show everything in a building’s design
You may have to modify your network design based on what you see in the blueprints!
So you’ve got your physical network layout, what’s next?
Finally, you need an implementation plan
It’s been great having you here in Networkville!
Appendix Leftovers: The Top Ten Things (we didn’t cover)
#1 Network topologies
#2 Installing Wireshark
#3 How to get to the console or terminal
#4 The TCP Stack
#6 Cisco IOS Simulators
#9 Intrusion Detection Systems
#10 Cisco Certification
Appendix Ascii Tables: Looking Things Up
ASCII tables 0-31
ASCII code tables 32-63
ASCII code tables 64-95
ASCII code tables 96-127
Appendix Installing Bind: Getting a Server to talk DNS
Al Anderson is the Director of IT Support Services at Salish Kootenai College. He holds an Associates of Science in Computer Science and is near completing of Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering. He has 10+ years of college teaching experience in Programming, Networking, and Desktop Publishing, and 15+ years experience in creating, editing, and formatting various documents including pamphlets, catalogs, and manuals. Al has produced a 3-8 hour video series for the Virtual Training Company including Ruby on Rails, REALbasic, and Programming Ruby. In addition, he has built many production applications including a Learning ManagementSystem in use by Salish Kootenai College, a Ruby-on-Rails issue-tracking help desk application, and a Mac OS X Cocoa Airport Wireless Utility.
Ryan Benedetti holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Montana and teaches in the Liberal Arts Department at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
For seven years, Ryan served as Department Head for Information Technology and Computer Engineering at SKC. Prior to that, he worked as editor and information systems specialist for a river, stream, and wetland research program in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana.
Ryan's poems have been published in Cut Bank and Andrei Codrescu's Exquisite Corpse. He loves cartooning, playing blues harmonica, making Flash learning toys, and practicing zazen. He spends his best moments with his wife, daughter, and son in the Mission Mountain Valley of Montana.
Head First methodology, you either love it or hate it. I fall into the former category hence my 5 star review. I think those that give poor reviews and complain about the "distracting" captions and conversations should have known what the Head First series is about before buying the book.
I am a Comp Sci major that is 3 years removed from graduation and being "out of the game". Trying to refresh on a few key topics I picked this book up with intentions of studying towards a Network+ and eventually, down the road, a CCNA.
This book does a great job of bringing some key concepts together and presenting them in layman's terms, while also proposing real life problems that a network admin might come across.
The basic flow of the book is to introduce a concept, then see how that concept can be used to troubleshoot your network. This ebbs on the side of hands on action instead of theoretical concepts. Between the various, well thought out, excercises and the Head First metacognitive approach, the concepts of each chapter will, effortlessly, soak into your brain.
This is not a reference book, nor a study guide for a certification [it never claims to be]. In my opinion, this book would best fit as a supplimental/recommended read for a networking course OR an introductory book for someone just starting out in networking.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend