Head First Networking (Head First Series)

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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 ...

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Head First Networking

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596521554
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Series: Head First Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 538
  • Sales rank: 966,649
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

Advance Praise for Head First Networking;
Praise for other Head First books;
Authors of Head First Networking;
How to Use this Book: Intro;
Who is this book for?;
We know what you’re thinking;
We know what your brain is thinking;
Metacognition: thinking about thinking;
Here’s what WE did:;
Here’s what YOU can do to bend your brain into submission;
Read Me;
The technical review team;
Safari® Books Online;
Chapter 1: Fixing Physical Networks: Walking on Wires;
1.1 Coconut Airways has a network problem;
1.2 How do we fix the cable?;
1.3 Introducing the CAT-5 cable;
1.4 The CAT-5 cable dissected;
1.5 So what’s with all the colors?;
1.6 Let’s fix the broken CAT-5 cable;
1.7 A closer look at the RJ-45 connector;
1.8 So what are the physical steps?;
1.9 You fixed the CAT-5 cable;
1.10 Coconut Airways has more than one network;
1.11 Introducing the coaxial cable;
1.12 Coaxial networks are bus networks;
1.13 So can we fix the cable?;
1.14 The network’s still not working;
1.15 So what goes on inside a coaxial cable?;
1.16 What about connectors and terminators?;
1.17 Use toner-tracer sets to listen to electrons;
1.18 No sound means no electrons;
1.19 You’ve fixed the coaxial cable;
1.20 Introducing fiber-optic cables;
1.21 The Coconut Airways cable’s over-bent;
1.22 How to fix fiber-optics with a fusion splicer;
1.23 A fiber-optic connector needs fitting too;
1.24 We’re nearly ready to fix the connector;
1.25 There are two types of fiber;
1.26 Which mode fiber should you use?;
1.27 Let’s fit the connector on the fiber-optic;
1.28 Coconut Airways is sky high;
Chapter 2: Planning Network Layouts: Networking in the Dark;
2.1 Ghost Watch needs your help!;
2.2 Every good network needs a good plan;
2.3 So how does the device list help us plan a network?;
2.4 How to plan a network layout;
2.5 Let’s plan the cabling with a floorplan;
2.6 Ready to plot some network cables?;
2.7 So where have we got to?;
2.8 We need to decide on the cable management hardware;
2.9 Uh oh! The cabling is a mess;
2.10 Ghost Watch needs cable management hardware;
2.11 Things that go bump...;
2.12 You’ve really cleaned up that noise and straightened out MOST of the cables!;
2.13 Let’s start by labeling the cables;
2.14 But there are still lots of cables;
2.15 So what’s a patch panel?;
2.16 Behind the scenes of a patch panel;
2.17 The wires go into a punch down block;
2.18 Roll the cameras!;
Chapter 3: Tools and Troubleshooting: Into the Wire;
3.1 Mighty Gumball won the Super Bowl contract;
3.2 A toner and tracer can check for a signal...;
3.3 ... but can’t check for signal quality;
3.4 Introducing the multimeter;
3.5 So what’s resistance?;
3.6 So how well did the multimeter do?;
3.7 An oscilloscope shows voltage changes;
3.8 Voltage is really electrical pressure;
3.9 Where does noise on network cables come from?;
3.10 So how well did the oscilloscope perform for Mighty Gumball?;
3.11 A logical analyzer uses voltage too;
3.12 When is a logical analyzer useful?;
3.13 So which tool is best?;
3.14 The Mighty Gumball bonus went to Jill;
3.15 A LAN analyzer combines the functions of all the other tools;
3.16 A LAN analyzer understands the network traffic in the signal;
3.17 So which tool is best?;
3.18 The Mighty Gumball problems are fixed!;
Chapter 4: Packet Analysis: You’ve Been Framed;
4.1 What’s the secret message?;
4.2 Network cards handle encoding;
4.3 To get the message, reverse the encoding;
4.4 The Ethernet standard tells hardware how to encode the data;
4.5 A quick guide to binary;
4.6 Computers read numbers, humans read letters;
4.7 Hexadecimal to the rescue;
4.8 We can convert to ASCII using hex;
4.9 Back at the spy agency...;
4.10 Protocols define the structure of a message;
4.11 Network frames have lots of layers;
4.12 Your friendly packet field guide;
4.13 So can we decode the secret message?;
4.14 We’ve got all the right packets... but not necessarily in the right order;
4.15 The packet tells you the correct order;
Chapter 5: Network Devices and Traffic: How Smart is Your Network?;
5.1 You’ve decoded the secret message...;
5.2 The packet information tells us where the packet came from;
5.3 So who’s the mole?;
5.4 There’s more to networks than computers;
5.5 Hubs don’t change the MAC address;
5.6 A hub sends signals, and sends them everywhere;
5.7 So what passed the signal to the hub?;
5.8 A switch sends frames, and only sends them where they need to go;
5.9 Switches store MAC addresses in a lookup table to keep the frames flowing smoothly;
5.10 The switch has the information...;
5.11 We can use software to monitor packets;
5.12 Let’s hook Wireshark up to the switch;
5.13 Wireshark gives us traffic information;
5.14 Routers have MAC addresses too;
5.15 We’re closing in!;
5.16 You’ve found the mole!;
Chapter 6: Connecting Networks with Routers: Bringing Things Together;
6.1 Networking Walking on the moon;
6.2 We need to connect two networks together;
6.3 The light’s on, but nobody’s home;
6.4 Let’s see what traffic is on our network!;
6.5 MAC address versus IP address;
6.6 IP addresses give our networks a sense of location, and network nodes a sense of belonging to that location;
6.7 We retrieve IP addresses using the MAC address and the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP);
6.8 So what’s the problem with the Moonbase?;
6.9 How do we get network traffic to move between networks?;
6.10 How the router moves data across networks;
6.11 Back to the Moonbase problem;
6.12 The secret of IP numbers is...;
6.13 Routers connect networks by doing the math...;
6.14 Back at the Moonbase...;
6.15 Are you ready to program the router?;
6.16 You just created this router config file!;
6.17 Let the router tell us what’s wrong...;
Chapter 7: Routing Protocols: It’s a Matter of Protocol;
7.1 Houston, we have a problem...;
7.2 Routing tables tell routers where to send packets;
7.3 Each line represents a different route;
7.4 So how do we enter routes?;
7.5 Routes help routers figure out where to send network traffic;
7.6 So are the moonbases now connected?;
7.7 Back on the moon...;
7.8 So how do we troubleshoot bad routes?;
7.9 The traceroute command is useful too;
7.10 So what’s the problem with the network connection?;
7.11 The network address changes keep on coming...;
7.12 Use RIP to get routes to update themselves;
7.13 So how do we set up RIP?;
7.14 But there’s still a problem...;
7.15 There are too many hops;
7.16 The routing protocol zoo;
7.17 So how do we setup EIGRP?;
7.18 We have lift off!;
Chapter 8: The Domain Name System: Names to Numbers;
8.1 The Head First Health Club needs a website;
8.2 Hello, my domain name is...;
8.3 Let’s go buy a domain name;
8.4 Uh-oh! We’re in trouble;
8.5 Introducing the DNS;
8.6 The DNS relies on name servers;
8.7 How the DNS sees your domain;
8.8 So how does this affect the Health Club?;
8.9 First install a DNS name server...;
8.10 ...then configure the name server;
8.11 The anatomy of a DNS zone file;
8.12 Here’s what the DNS zone file tells us about the Health Club servers;
8.13 The Health Club can’t send emails;
8.14 So what’s the problem?;
8.15 Email servers use RDNS to fight SPAM;
8.16 Check your sources with reverse DNS;
8.17 The dig command can do a reverse DNS lookup;
8.18 Your name server has another important zone file...;
8.19 The emails are working!;
Chapter 9: Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Listen to Your Network’s Troubles;
9.1 Pajama Death are back on tour;
9.2 So where would you start troubleshooting a misfiring network?;
9.3 Start troubleshooting your network problems by checking in with your network devices;
9.4 Troubleshoot network connectivity with the ping command;
9.5 If the ping fails, check the cables;
9.6 Get started with the show interface command;
9.7 The ticket network’s still not fixed;
9.8 SNMP to the rescue!;
9.9 SNMP is a network admininistrator’s communication tool;
9.10 How to configure SNMP on a Cisco device;
9.11 One hour to go...;
9.12 Get devices to send you their problems;
9.13 How to configure syslogd on a Cisco device;
9.14 How do you tell what’s in the logs?;
9.15 Too much information can be just as bad as not enough;
9.16 How do you know which events are important?;
9.17 Pajama Death’s a sell-out!;
Chapter 10: Wireless Networking: Working Without Wires;
10.1 Your new gig at Starbuzz Coffee;
10.2 Wireless access points create networks using radio waves;
10.3 Let’s fit the wireless access point;
10.4 What about the network configuration?;
10.5 So what’s DHCP?;
10.6 First make sure the client has DHCP turned on...;
10.7 Second, make the wireless access point a DHCP server...;
10.8 ...and then specify an acceptable range of IP addresses;
10.9 So has setting up DHCP solved the problem?;
10.10 This time it’s personal;
10.11 We’ve run out of IP addresses;
10.12 NAT works by reallocating IP addresses;
10.13 So how do we configure NAT?;
10.14 So has this fixed the problem?;
10.15 There’s more than one wireless protocol;
10.16 The central Starbuzz server needs to access the cash register;
10.17 Port mapping to the rescue!;
10.18 Let’s set up port mapping on the Starbuzz access point;
10.19 The wireless access point is a success!;
Chapter 11: Network Security: Get Defensive;
11.1 The bad guys are everywhere;
11.2 And it’s not just the NETWORK that gets hurt...;
11.3 The big four in network security;
11.4 Defend your network against MAC address spoofing;
11.5 So how do we defend against MAC address spoofing?;
11.6 Defend your network against ARP poisoning attacks;
11.7 So what can we do about ARP poisoning attacks?;
11.8 It’s all about the access, baby!;
11.9 Set up your router’s Access Control Lists to keep attackers out;
11.10 So how do we configure the Access Control List?;
11.11 Firewalls filter packets between networks;
11.12 Packet-filtering rules!;
11.13 Master the static packet filter;
11.14 Get smart with stateful packet-filters;
11.15 Humans are the weakest link in your security chain;
11.16 So how do social engineers operate?;
11.17 Smash social engineering with a clear and concise security policy;
11.18 You’ve hardened your network;
Chapter 12: Designing Networks: You Gotta Have a Plan!;
12.1 Now you have to plan a network from scratch!;
12.2 You have to know what the needs are before you can plan;
12.3 So you’ve developed your questions, now what?;
12.4 Look at your action plan;
12.5 So you have a physical layout, what’s next?;
12.6 Blueprints show everything in a building’s design;
12.7 You may have to modify your network design based on what you see in the blueprints!;
12.8 So you’ve got your physical network layout, what’s next?;
12.9 Finally, you need an implementation plan;
12.10 Leaving town...;
12.11 It’s been great having you here in Networkville!;
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;
#7 BGP;
#8 VPN;
#9 Intrusion Detection Systems;
#10 Cisco Certification;
Ascii Tables: Looking Things Up;
ASCII tables 0-31;
ASCII code tables 32-63;
ASCII code tables 64-95;
ASCII code tables 96-127;
Installing Bind: Getting a Server to talk DNS;
#1 Installing BIND on Windows (XP, 2000, Vista);
#2 Installing BIND Mac OS X Server;
#3 Installing BIND Mac OS X Client & Linux;

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 13, 2009

    Straight Talk About Networking

    This is the straight talk about networking that I was searching for when I entered my MCSE training in 2003. Not only does it cover the subject fully but also covers the background questions that every network engineer needs to know to resolve the myrad of possibilities that occur in medium size commercial installations and in home networks. This book resolved most of my remaining questions and it made the complex world of networking more elegant and clear than any book available before 2008. If you haven't spent time using WireShark or other network sniffers or if you haven't spent months pinging the remote nodes of a complex network this book will finally make network operations and design very clear to you.

    This book uses the time honored method of introducing elements of networking by telling stories and by working out typical problems in networking. Each aspect of networking is introduced in the order needed to build on previously introduced aspects. This locks each element securely in place and builds a clear and complete whole as the story unfolds. It introduces the issues in a simple way and proceeds to explain the overall progress toward the networking solution.

    Equipment is introduced chronologically as in the history of networking development. Competing hardware and protocols are detailed and suggestions are made to help the novice network engineer make good selections toward the goal of finding the network solution. In this process a number of network tools and processes are discussed to give the reader the best understanding of how everything works together.

    Several people I know, who didn't have any previous network training, dismissed this book out of hand until I described the concerted planning and comprehensive coverage of protocols and data packet management that the book covered. This bridged their reluctance to look into the book and after reading sections of this book they pronounced it to be quite suitable to their needs.

    I found the book to be just the right mixture of technology and training for somone like me who deals in custom small networks and builds network software programs to do active directory and Linux cluster like applications for equipment testing. I hope you will give a closer look to this book and see if it meets your needs or the needs of your company network library.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I first bought the Head First HTML book and found it very instructional and easy to read, so when I was looking for a networking book to help dip my feet I was excited to see Head First published a book.

    This is an okay book if you're looking for the rudiments of networking, but don't expect to read it and be able to set up a network (maybe a home network). I found several errors in both grammar and, more tragically, the exercises/solutions provided. The information touched lightly on the various networking topics with no real explanations how things are done. I understand that this is a book on basics, but they could have delved a little deeper into topics. This book could have benefited from a bit more time on the editors' desk and if it was handed to a networking professional for testing.

    I gave two stars because it's not completely without value, but this seems more like a rough draft than a finished manuscript ready for bookshelves.

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