Networking Basics: What You Need To Know
As a basic level networking resource in the IT domain, most individuals tend to have a high amount of difficulty to build their technical knowledge regarding the core concepts on which their job tasks revolve. This creates an inherent difficulty for them, which would not have been there had they been well versed with the basics of networking.
However, these basics not just comprise devices and their uses, but rather they revolve around how these devices are used to perform tasks that make the network perform and respond in the most optimum manner possible.
If you too are willing to build this basic level knowledge regarding networking as an entry-level resource in this field, then it’s highly recommended that you go through these basic networking skills:
Managing Switches And Their Topologies
Routers are undoubtedly one of the most important components in a network, but networking professionals often focus entirely on them while losing focus on another equally important aspect of a network i.e. switch management.
Switches, as many would know, are used to interlink resources inside a network and for entry-level resources, learning more about their best management practices is highly recommended.
That’s because, for routers, firms trust more experienced resources, and entry-level professionals are supposed to focus more on switches than them. You might have done a CCNA cyber ops certification, and it would have made you competent enough to work with router topologies, but entry-level resources are seldom trusted with them. So switch commands and management related to top providers of such equipment like Cisco is imperative if you want to be viewed as a resource that knows how to run advanced switching through knowledge of things like layer 3 switches, switch topologies, integration practices, maintenance etc.
Why VLANs Are Being Preferred Over Conventional LANs
While its related to switch management, VLANs still are a major component of a network that need detailed focus and knowledge to understand the execution.
VLANs came into prominence when firms either wanted to prioritize traffic of a certain kind or to make security more effective. The inherent flexibility of VLANs allow them to offer these two solutions to firms on the enterprise level. Physical router interfaces were more problematic as their rigidity limited their functionality. So, starting off with a switch initially, a VLAN can be initiated. VLANs have their own names and IPs and the best part about them is that you can create as many VLANs as you want to power different functionalities, all while using only a single switch.
As an entry-level resource, you might come across VLANs as being used for specific department related access-based security purposes for e.g. the finance department wants a VLAN so that only their devices are able to run through to important and sensitive resources through assigned ports. They are used for other purposes as well, and if you have done the CCNA security certification training, then you might understand how well they align with a network’s security as well.
Concepts of Collision and Broadcast Domains:
For networks, the efficiency of network’s receiving and sending capabilities of packets matters the most and if you really want to play your role in optimizing this issue, then you must verse yourself with collision and broadcast domains.
When frames or data packets from more than one device are sent to the shared network segment, they will collide together (hence the name) and the devices will be required to prompt the action of sending the data again. This was a perennial issue with hubs and that’s exactly why they were shunned and switches gained prominence as they offered much better efficiency.
With these switches and their subsequent interconnectivity, broadcast domains came into place which allowed broadcasts to roam freely within their domains. This allows for much freer connectivity of data packets. If you have a small level system, one broadcast domain usually suffices, but with larger, more complex networks, you can create multiple such domains as per requirements.
Understanding The Importance of The Ping Command
A network is there to connect all devices inside it to resources that these devices are required to access. So if one device fails to accomplish this connectivity and can’t reach a certain point on the network, then what will you do as a networking professional?
This could have happened due to a wide variety of reasons and it’s difficult to pinpoint one without the help of the PING command.
Connections like these fail either due to connectivity or software issues. If the issue is not due to connectivity issues, you will be able to use the PING command to ping the device from the server point and vice versa. Through this, you can then easily move on to the software front and check whether the device, browser, server software or even the device’s internal mechanisms are working properly or not.
For a network technician or even an entry-level professional, this command is not something that you can do without, that’s absolutely certain.
Firewalls and NATs are a major part of the UTM framework of networks that want to protect their internal resources from attacks and unauthorized traffic. NATs also ensure that the internal IP addresses of a system remain hidden from outside view by converting any packet emanating from them on a single, public IP address. In this way, private LANs operating inside the network can remain secure as these routers route packets of all data on their own. For modern networks, this is a part of a larger cybersecurity framework and entry-level network professionals should definitely know how to configure, run and maintain these firewalls and their policies in order to ensure smooth and secure data transfers to the internet as well heightened internal security.
Wrapping Things Up
For network professionals at the entry-level, certifications are the best way to get accustomed to these terminologies and their inherent functionalities. It’s usually recommended that you opt for Cisco ICND1, ICND2, CompTIA Network+ or CCNP security or similar courses from reputed industry certification providers in order to brush up your skills and address learning gaps related to such core level networking issues and variables.