In this day and age, networks are everywhere.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Internet has also revolutionized not only the computer world, but the lives of millions in a variety of ways even in the “real world”. We tend to take for granted that computers should be connected together. In fact, these days, whenever I have two computers in the same room, I have a difficult time not connecting them together!
Given the ubiquitousness of networking, it's hard to believe that the field is still a relatively young one, especially when it comes to hooking up small computers like PCs. In approaching any discussion of networking, it is very useful to take a step back and look at networking from a high level. What is it, exactly, and why is it now considered so important that it is assumed that most PCs and other devices should be networked?
- Basics - Explains the protocols and how they work together
- Media - Describes the cabling and various media used to send
data between multiple points of a network.
- Architecture - Describes some popular network architectures. A
network architecture refers to the physical layout (topology) of a
network along with the physical transmission media (Type of wire,
wireless, etc) and the data access method (OSI Layer 2). Includes
ethernet, Token Ring, ARCnet, AppleTalk, and FDDI. This main area of
the networking tutorial can and should be skipped by those learning
networking and read later.
- Other Transport Protocols - Describes IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, and
- Functions - Explains some of the functionality of networking
such as routing, firewalls and DNS.
- Further Details - Gives information about some protocols not
covered in the "Basics" section. In the future, it will include more
information about packet fragmentation and re-assembly along with
more details about UDP and especially TCP and TCP connections.
- More Complex functions - Documents multicasting, dynamic
routing, and network management
- Applications - Documents how some of the applications work such
as ping and traceroute. In the future, it will cover telnet, Rlogin,
- Other Concerns - Includes installing drivers, network operating
systems, applications, wide area networks, backing up the network
and troubleshooting the network.
- References - Includes a reference list of terms, RFCs and
The reader may read this networking tutorial in any order, but for beginners,
it would be best to read through from the beginning with the exception of
sections 2 (media), 3 (architecture), and 4 (other). At some point, however, the
reader should be able to break from the basics and read about routing and IP
masquerading. There are no links to various reading material or software
packages inside this networking tutorial, except under the references section.
This is because it is more structured, and makes it easier to keep the
networking tutorial current.
This networking tutorial will first talk about the network basics so the
reader can get a good grasp of networking concepts. This should help the reader
understand how each network protocol is used to perform networking. The reader
will be able to understand why each protocol is needed, how it is used, and what
other protocols it relies upon. This networking tutorial explains the data
encapsulation techniques in preparation for transport along with some of the
network protocols such as IP, TCP, UDP, ICMP, and IGMP. It explains how ARP and
RARP support networking. In functional areas, such as routers, several examples
are given so the user can get a grasp on how networking is done in their
particular situation. This networking tutorial covers routing, IP masquerading,
and firewalls and gives some explanation of how they work, how they are set up,
and how and why they are used. Firewalls and the available packages are
described, but how to set them up is left to other documentation specific to the
operating system and the package. Application protocols such as FTP and Telnet
are also briefly described. Networking terms are also explained and defined.
This networking tutorial explains the setup of networking functions using
Linux Redhat version 6.1 as an operating system (OS) platform. This will apply
to server functions such as routing and IP masquerading. For more documentation
on setting up packages, read documentation on this web site and other locations
specific to the operating system and the package. If you know how to set up
other operating servers such as Windows NT, you can apply the information in
this networking tutorial to help you understand how to configure services on
that OS platform.
This networking tutorial was written because I perceived a need for a basic
networking document to explain how these networking services work and how to set
them up, with examples. It will help a novice to learn networking more quickly
by explaining the big picture concerning how the system works together. I have
seen much good networking documentation, but little that explains the theory
along with practical setup and applications.