McGraw Hill - Networking a Beginners Guide (November 2009

McGraw Hill - Networking a Beginners Guide (November 2009
A Beginner’s Guide,
Fifth Edition
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For my daughters, Vivian and Maxine,
of whom I am extraordinarily proud.
About the Author
Bruce Hallberg has been involved in information technology (IT) for more than 25 years
and has consulted for Fortune 1000 firms on the implementation of management
information and networking systems. He is the best-selling author of more than
20 books.
About the Technical Editor
Bruno Whittle has administered voice and data networks for almost 10 years. He
was delighted at the opportunity to be part of a rewarding experience of sharing this
knowledge with the many people who are interested in learning more about networking.
Bruno is currently an IT systems consultant, and most recently was the IT Systems
Manager at Genelabs Technologies, Inc. in Redwood City, California. He is immensely
dedicated to continued learning, but he ensures that his wife Reena and his pride and
joys—Sonali, Shane, and Stanley—are always his first priority.
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Part I
Networking Ins and Outs
1 The Business of Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Networking: The Corporate Perspective . . . . .
What Does the Company Need? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
How Will the Network Benefit the Company?
Understanding Networking Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Network Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Network Engineer
Network Architect/Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Other Network-Related Jobs
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Chapter Summary
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
2 Laying the Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bits, Nibbles, and Bytes
Understanding Binary Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Other Important Numbering Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Basic Terminology to Describe Networking Speeds . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
3 Understanding Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Knowing Network Relationship Types
Peer-to-Peer Network Relationships
Client/Server Network Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Comparing Peer-to-Peer and
Client/Server Networks
Learning Network Features
File Sharing
Printer Sharing
Application Services
Remote Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wide Area Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Internet and Intranet
Network Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding the OSI Networking Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Physical Layer
Data-Link Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Network Layer
Transport Layer
Session Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Presentation Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Application Layer
Understanding How Data Travels
Through the OSI Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Learning About Network Hardware Components
Servers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hubs, Routers, and Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cabling and Cable Plants
Workstation Hardware
Chapter Summary
4 Understanding Network Cabling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Cable Topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bus Topology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Star Topology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ring Topology
Comparing Rings to Stars and Buses . .
Demystifying Network Cabling . . . . . . . . .
Overview of Basic Cable Types
Twisted-Pair Cabling:
The King of Network Cables
Coaxial Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Installing and Maintaining Network Cabling
Choosing a Cabling Contractor
Solving Cable Problems . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
5 Home Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Benefits from Home Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Choosing a Home Network Technology
Standard Network Hardware
Phoneline and Powerline Networking Options . . . . . . . .
Wireless Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
6 Understanding Network Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Directing Network Traffic
Repeaters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hubs and Concentrators
Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Gateways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Protecting a Network with Firewalls
Connecting RS-232 Devices with Short-Haul Modems
Chapter Summary
7 Making WAN Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Determining WAN Needs
Analyzing Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Switched or Dedicated? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Private or Public? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Comparing WAN Connection Types
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) . . . . . . . . . .
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
T-1/T-3 (DS1/DS3) Connections
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
Chapter Summary
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
8 Understanding Networking Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding TCP/IP and UDP
TCP and UDP Ports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IP Packets and IP Addressing
IP Subnetting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Subnet Masks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Other Internet Protocols
Domain Name System (DNS)
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)
Telnet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
Voice over IP (VoIP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Comparing Important Proprietary Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . .
Novell’s IPX/SPX
NetBIOS and NetBEUI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
9 Exploring Directory Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What Is a Directory Service?
Forests, Roots, Trees, and Leaves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Department of Redundancy Department
Learning About Specific Directory Services . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Windows NT Domains
Active Directory
LDAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
10 Connections from Afar:
Remote Network Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Determining Remote Access Needs
What Types of Remote Users
Do You Need to Support?
What Types of Remote Access Are Required?
How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?
Learning Remote Access Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Remote Node Versus Remote Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
To Modem or Not to Modem,
That Is the Question …
Virtual Private Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
11 Securing Your Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Internal Security
Account Security
Password Security
File and Directory Permissions
Practices and User Education
Understanding External Threats
Front-Door Threats
Back-Door Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
DoS Threats
Viruses and Other Malicious Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
12 Network Disaster Recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Notes from the Field: The City of Seattle
Disaster Recovery Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Assessing Disaster Recovery Needs
Considering Disaster Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Handling Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Planning Off-Site Storage
Describing Critical Components
Network Backup and Restore Procedures
Assessing Backup Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acquiring Backup Media and Technologies
Choosing Backup Strategies
Chapter Summary
13 Network Servers: Everything You
Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask . . . . . . . . .
What Distinguishes a Server from a Workstation? . . . . . . . .
Server Processors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bus Capabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Disk Subsystems
Server State Monitoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hot-Swap Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Choosing Servers for Windows and NetWare
Defining Server Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Selecting the Server
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Purchasing the System . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Installing Servers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Maintaining and Troubleshooting Servers . .
Chapter Summary
14 Purchasing and Managing Client Computers . . . . . . .
Choosing Desktop Computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Desktop Platforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Reliability and Serviceability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Price and Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Understanding Network Workstation Requirements
Network Workstation Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Network Workstation Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
Part II
Hands-on Knowledge
15 Designing a Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Network Design Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Assessing Network Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Network Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Security and Safety
Growth and Capacity Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Meeting Network Needs
Choosing a Network Type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Structuring the Network
Selecting Servers
Chapter Summary
16 Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008 . . . . .
Understanding Windows Server 2008 Editions
Preparing for Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Checking Hardware Compatibility
Checking the Hardware Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Testing the Server Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Surveying the Server Prior to an In-Place Upgrade . . . .
Making Preinstallation Decisions
Wait! Back Up Before Upgrading!
Installing Windows Server 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Running the Windows Server 2008 Setup Program
Performing the Initial Configuration . . . . . . . . . .
Creating a New Domain
Chapter Summary
17 Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics . . . .
Thinking About Network Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Working with User Accounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Adding a User
Modifying a User Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Deleting or Disabling a User Account
Working with Active Directory Security Groups
Creating Groups
Maintaining Group Membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Working with Shares
Understanding Share Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating Shares
Mapping Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Working with Printers
Understanding Network Printing
Setting Up a Network Printer
Chapter Summary
18 Introducing Exchange Server 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Exchange Server 2010 Features
Installing Exchange Server 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Setting Up Mailboxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating a Mailbox
Testing Your Mailbox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
19 Understanding Other
Windows Server 2008 Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Exploring DHCP
Investigating DNS
Understanding RRAS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Exploring IIS
Understanding Windows Terminal Services
Chapter Summary
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
20 Installing Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Configuring Computer Hardware for Linux
Hardware Compatibility
Server Design
Server Uptime
Dual-Booting Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Installing Fedora Linux
Choosing an Installation Method
Starting the Installation
Initially Configuring Fedora Linux
Logging in to Fedora Linux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And You’re Finished! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If It Just Won’t Work Right
Chapter Summary
21 Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
Managing Fedora Linux with Graphical Tools . . . . . . . . . . .
Managing Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Changing Root’s Password
Configuring Common Network Settings . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mastering Linux Command-Line Basics
Working from the Command Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Environment Variables
Documentation Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
File Listings, Ownerships, and Permissions
File Management and Manipulation
Process Manipulation
Miscellaneous Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary
22 Setting Up a Linux Web Server with Apache . . . . . . .
Overview of Apache Web Server
Activating Apache Web Server Under Fedora
Downloading and Installing Apache Web Server
Administering Apache Web Server
Stopping and Starting Apache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Changing the Apache Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Publishing Web Pages
Chapter Summary
23 Introduction to Virtualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Benefits of Virtualization
Introducing Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V
Using VMware Virtualization Products . . . . . . . .
Downloading and Installing VMware Server
Accessing the VMware
Server Management Console . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating a Virtual Machine for Ubuntu Linux
Running Ubuntu Linux in the Virtual Machine
Installing VMware Tools
Backing Up Virtual Machine Data
Chapter Summary
Appendix Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act . . . . .
Sarbanes-Oxley Act Summary
Title I: Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Title II: Auditor Independence
Title III: Corporate Responsibility
Title IV: Enhanced Financial Disclosures . . . . . . . . . . . .
Titles V, VI, and VII
Titles VIII, IX, X, and XI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
About Internal Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Key Procedures for an IT Internal Control System . . . . . . . .
IT Department Narrative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Disaster Recovery Plan
Access Management
System Maintenance
Change Control
SOX Compliance Testing
Auditing Internal Controls
Deviations from Internal Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sample SOPs
Disaster Recovery Plan
Server Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
System Account Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Change Control
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ane Brownlow was the Sponsoring Editor for this book, which means that she
ran the overall show. I have known Jane for over 10 years now, and I continue
to be delighted to work with her. Also, Jane, thank you for cutting me some
slack on the schedule!
Joya Anthony was the Acquisitions Coordinator for the book. This is a really
tough job, and is essentially the project manager for the book. It involves keeping
all of the parts of the book moving forward, knowing where all the chapters are
at any given time, and occasionally politely reminding authors (ahem) that they
need to get cracking on getting some work done and turned in.
The Technical Editor for this fifth edition was Bruno Whittle. Technical editors read the entire book as its being written, and ensure that it is technically
accurate. When there are steps involved, they repeat them to ensure that you, the
reader, can also successfully duplicate them. I have worked with Bruno for more
than 15 years. He is a remarkable individual and helped improve this book in
important ways.
have run into many people over the years who have gained good—even
impressive—working knowledge of PCs, operating systems, applications,
and common problems and solutions. Many of these people are wizards with
desktop computers. However, quite a few of them have been unable to make the
transition into working with networks; they have had trouble gaining the requisite
knowledge to conceptualize, understand, install, administer, and troubleshoot
networks. In many cases, this inability limits their career growth, because most
companies believe networking experience is fundamental to holding higher-level
information technology (IT) positions. And, in fact, networking experience is very
Certainly, networks can be complicated beasts. To add to the difficulty, most
companies are not willing to let people unskilled with networks experiment
and learn about them using the company’s production network! This leaves the
networking beginner in the difficult position of having to learn about networks
in the following ways:
Reading an endless number of books and articles
Attending classes
Building small experimental networks at home, using cobbled-together
and/or borrowed parts and software
This book is designed for people who understand computers and the rudiments of
computer science, but who want to begin an education about networks and networking.
I assume you understand and are comfortable with the following topics:
How bits and bytes work
The notion of binary, octal, decimal, and hexadecimal notation
How basic PC hardware works, and how to install and replace PC peripheral
Two or three desktop operating systems in detail, such as Windows, Macintosh,
Linux or UNIX, and maybe even DOS (or the Windows command prompt)
Detailed knowledge of a wide variety of application software
The purpose of this book is both to educate and familiarize. The first part of the
book discusses basic networking technology and hardware. Its goal is to help you
understand the fundamental components of networking, so you can build a conceptual
framework into which you can fit knowledge that is more detailed in your chosen area
of expertise. The second part of the book is concerned with familiarizing you with
two important network operating systems: Windows Server 2008 and Fedora Linux.
In the second part, you learn the basics of setting up and administering these network
operating systems.
This book is meant to be a springboard from which you can start pursuing more
detailed knowledge in the areas that interest you. Following are some ideas about areas
that you may wish to continue exploring, depending on your career goals:
Small-to-medium network administrator If you plan on building and
administering networks with 200 or fewer users, you should extend your
knowledge by studying the network operating systems you intend to use,
server hardware, client PC administration, and network management.
You may find more detailed knowledge of network hardware, like routers,
bridges, gateways, switches, and the like to be useful, but these may not be
an important focus for you.
Large network administrator If you plan on working with networks with
more than 200 users, then you need to pursue detailed knowledge about TCP/IP
addressing and routing and network hardware, including routers, bridges,
gateways, switches, and firewalls. Also, in large networks, administrators tend
to specialize in certain areas, so you should consider several areas of particular
specialization, such as e-mail servers like Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange,
or database servers like Oracle or SQL Server.
Internet administrator Many people these days are pursuing specialization in
Internet-based technologies. Depending on the area you want to work in, you
should learn more about web and FTP servers, HTTP and other application-level
Internet protocols, CGI and other web scripting technologies, HTML design, and
SMTP mail connections. You may also want to become an expert in TCP/IP and
all its related protocols, addressing rules, and routing techniques.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
End-user support If your primary job is supporting end users, perhaps with
application or client computer support, you may still benefit from a deeper
understanding of networking. Client computer applications usually interact
with the network, and understanding networks will undoubtedly help you be
more effective.
If you are working toward getting a job in the field of networking, I suggest that you
find job postings on the Internet and carefully study the job requirements. This can be a
useful technique to direct your studies appropriately. When you do this, you will notice
that for their most important jobs, most employers ask for people who are certified by
Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, or other companies.
You should seriously consider pursuing an appropriate certification. While
certifications can never replace experience, they are one way that a person can
demonstrate a needed level of knowledge and expertise in a particular area. This
difference may be key in getting the best possible job offers and in being able to
gain more experience. Often, an appropriate certification can be worth several years’
experience in terms of compensation and job responsibilities, so it is an investment
in yourself that will usually pay for itself over a fairly short period of time.
Part I
Networking Ins
and Outs
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Chapter 1
The Business of
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
his book is a soup-to-nuts beginner’s guide to networking. Before delving into
the bits and bytes of networking, which are covered in the rest of the book, you
should start by understanding the whys and wherefores of networking.
This chapter discusses networking from a business perspective. You’ll learn about
the benefits that networking brings a company and the different types of networking
jobs available. You’ll also discover how networks are supported from the business
perspective, and how you can begin a career in networking. Finally, you’ll learn about the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and how its requirements affect networking professionals.
Understanding Networking: The Corporate Perspective
To be truly effective in the field of networking, you need to start by understanding
networking from the corporate perspective. Why are networks important to
companies? What do they accomplish for the company? How can networking
professionals more clearly meet the needs of the company with the networks that they
build and maintain? It’s important to realize that there are no single correct answers
to these questions. Every company will have different needs and expectations with
regard to their network. What is important is that you learn the relevant questions to
ask about networking for your company and arrive at the best possible answers to
those questions for your particular company. Doing so will ensure that the company’s
network best meets its needs.
What Does the Company Need?
There are many possible reasons that a company might need or benefit from a network.
In order to understand your particular company, you should start by exploring the
following questions. You may need to ask a variety of different people in the company
their perspective on these questions. Some of the managers that you may need to
interview include the chief executive officer or owner, the chief financial officer, and
the heads of the various key departments within the company, such as manufacturing,
sales and marketing, accounting, purchasing and materials, retail operations, and so
forth. The range of managers that you interview will depend on the type of business in
which the company is engaged.
It’s important that you first start by understanding the business itself and the businessoriented perspectives of these different individuals and the people in their departments.
Consider the following questions for each of these key areas of the organization:
What is their function for the company?
How do their objectives tie into the company objectives?
What are the key goals for their function in the coming year? How about in the
coming five years?
What do they see as the chief challenges to overcome in achieving their objectives?
Chapter 1:
The Business of Networking
How might information technology (IT) play a role in supporting their
What sorts of automation do they think might help them accomplish their
How is the work in their area accomplished? For instance, do most of the
employees do mechanical work, like on a production line, or are most of them
so-called “knowledge workers” who generate documents, analyze information,
and so forth?
What are the key inputs for the functional area, in terms of information or
materials, and what are the key outputs for the functional area? What processes
convert the inputs into the outputs?
Your objective in asking these questions, and others that may occur to you, is to get
a good understanding of each functional area: what it does and how it does it, as well
as what it wants to be able to do in the future. With this knowledge, you can then start
to analyze the impact that the network—or improvements to the existing network—
might have in those various areas.
Beginning from a business perspective is absolutely essential. Networks are
not built and improved “just because.” Instead, any particular network or network
upgrade needs to be driven by the needs of the business. Justifications for networks
or improvements to existing networks should clearly show how they are necessary to
the proper functioning of the business, or how they will play an important role in the
company achieving its objectives, consistent with the cost and effort involved.
How Will the Network Benefit the Company?
After getting a good understanding of the company, its objectives, and how it
accomplishes its work, you can then analyze different ideas that you may have for the
network, and how those ideas will benefit some or all parts of the business. In doing so,
you need to consider at least the following areas:
Are there any areas in which the lack of a network, or some failing of the existing
network, is inhibiting the company from realizing its goals or accomplishing its
work? For example, if an existing network is undersized and this causes people
to waste too much time on routine tasks (such as saving or sending files, or
compiling programs), what improvements might address those shortcomings?
Or maybe the network and its servers are unreliable, and so people are frequently
losing their work or are unproductive while problems are addressed.
Are there capabilities that you could add to the network that would provide
benefits to the business? For example, if many people in the company are
constantly sending faxes (for instance, salespeople sending price quotations
to customers), would adding a network-based fax system produce significant
productivity benefits? What about other network-based applications? (Chapter 3
lists some common network features that you may want to review to help in
answering this question.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
What other automation plans exist that will require the support of the
network? For example, say you’re the network administrator in a company.
What new applications or features will be added to the network that you
need to support? Is the company planning on installing some kind of
videoconferencing system, for instance? If so, do you know what changes you
will need to make to the network to support the system?
What needs to be done to the network simply to maintain it? In most companies,
file space requirements grow rapidly, even if the business itself isn’t expanding.
How much additional storage space does the network need to keep going
forward? How many additional servers and other components will be needed to
keep the network working smoothly?
Obviously, a list such as the preceding one can’t be exhaustive. The important
point is that you need to approach the job of networking first from the perspective of
the company and its needs. Within that framework, use your creativity, knowledge,
experience, and business and technical acumen to propose and execute a plan for
the network. The remainder of this book discusses the information you need to start
learning about this important part of any company’s infrastructure.
Understanding Networking Jobs
If you’re planning on entering the field of networking (and this book is designed
as a good start for that), it’s important to have some understanding of the various
networking jobs that you’re likely to encounter and what they typically require. Of
course, actual job requirements will vary widely between companies and for different
established networks. Also, companies may have different entry-level opportunities
through which you can enter a networking career. That said, the following descriptions
are broad overviews of some key jobs.
Network Administrator
Network administrators are responsible for the operations of a network or, in larger
companies, for the operations of key parts of the network. In a smaller company that
has only one network administrator, duties include the following:
Creating, maintaining, and removing user accounts
Ensuring that necessary backups are made on a regular basis
Managing the “keys” to the network, such as the administrative accounts and
their passwords
Managing network security policies
Adding new networking equipment, such as servers, routers, hubs, and
switches, and managing that equipment
Chapter 1:
The Business of Networking
Monitoring the network, its hardware, and its software for potential problems
and for utilization levels for planning network upgrades
Troubleshooting network problems
Network administrators may also be called system administrators, LAN
administrators, and other variations on that theme.
Typically, you should have several years’ experience performing network-related
duties with a similar network for this job. Certifications such as the Microsoft Certified
Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), or one
of the appropriate CompTIA certifications can reduce the amount of experience that
an employer will require. Employers usually consider these certifications important,
because they clearly establish that a candidate meets minimum requirements for the
networking system in question.
TIP The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) offers a number of different
vendor-neutral certifications that can help you enter the field of networking. You can learn more
about them at
Network Engineer
Network engineers are more deeply involved in the bits and bytes of a network. They
are expected to be expert in the network operating systems with which they work,
especially in the network’s key hardware, such as its hubs, routers, switches, and so
forth. Network engineers are also usually the troubleshooters of last resort, who are
brought in to diagnose and fix the most vexing problems that surpass the ability of the
network administrator to resolve.
Aside from often holding a degree in electrical engineering or computer science,
network engineers typically have at least five years’ experience running and troubleshooting complex networks. Also, network engineers typically carry certifications from
networking equipment companies, such as Cisco’s well-regarded certification program.
Learn more about Cisco’s certification programs at
Network Architect/Designer
Network architects (sometimes also called network designers) usually work for
companies that sell and support networks or for organizations with large networks that
are constantly changing and expanding. Essentially, network architects design networks.
They need to combine important qualities to be successful. They must know the business
requirements that the network needs to meet and have a thorough understanding of all
of the networking products available, as well as how those products interact. Network
architects are also important when growing a sophisticated network and helping to
ensure that new additions to the network don’t cause problems elsewhere in the network.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Other Network-Related Jobs
There are a wide variety of other network-related jobs, including some that do not
involve working directly with the network, such as the job of database administrator.
Organizations employ e-mail administrators, webmasters, web designers, network
support technicians, and so on. In fact, a dizzying number of different jobs are available
in the networking field.
If you’ve chosen to enter the field of networking, it would make sense to spend
time browsing job ads for the various networking jobs and to get a sense of what these
different types of jobs require. Once you find one that reflects your interests, you can
then analyze what additional skills, classes, or certifications you may need to enter one
of those jobs. Many opportunities are available. The important thing is to get started
and pursue your objectives.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
You may be wondering what a law that was passed by the U.S. Congress has to do with
the field of networking, and why it’s discussed in this book. The reason is that this law
has an important impact on the networks of all public companies, and so it’s important
for you to understand what all the fuss is about.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (usually referred to as SOX, pronounced “socks”)
was an act sponsored by Senator Sarbanes and Representative Oxley in response to the
many cases of corporate wrongdoing that preceded it, such as Enron, Global Crossing,
Arthur Andersen, Tyco, and others. The act makes sweeping changes to a number
of areas of corporate governance and accounting. One change in particular is likely
to impact most networking professionals, especially those involved in day-to-day
network operations, such as network administrators.
Section 404 of the act places new requirements on public companies to annually
assess their system of internal controls, and on their outside auditors to examine the
company’s internal controls and to attest to the effectiveness of the company’s internal
controls over the company’s use and reporting of financial information. This may
sound like a requirement that pertains only to accounting departments, and in fact, it
mostly does. However, accounting internal controls rely heavily on network system
controls—in particular, those system controls that impact important systems the
company uses for managing and reporting financial information.
Generally, outside auditors classify company systems as being either within the
scope of their audit (“in scope”) or outside the scope of their audit. Systems that are in
scope include the company’s accounting system, payroll system, stock administration
system, materials management system, shipping system, billing system, banking
system, and so forth. The computers and all related hardware and software that
perform those functions, or host, or run the software that performs those functions
are also in scope. Additionally, other network operations that support those systems
may also be in scope, such as the network-wide password settings, backup and restore
procedures, new and terminated user account management, and so forth.
Chapter 1:
The Business of Networking
Accordingly, network administrators for publicly traded companies will need
to work closely with their accounting departments to comply with the SOX 404
requirements on an ongoing basis. Doing so will include activities such as the
Documentation of all user account creation, maintenance, and deactivation
activities, including appropriate sign-offs for new, changed, and terminated
users of in-scope systems
Creation of a change-control system for any system that the company modifies
from time to time, such as an accounting system for which the company uses
custom-developed reports or processing programs
Documentation of the security settings of the network
Documentation of the security settings and user account and password
management of the in-scope systems
Documentation of routine maintenance activities for in-scope systems
Collaboration with the accounting staff and the auditors to prove that all of the
controls that are in place are being followed, without exceptions
Creation and maintenance of systems (even manual procedural systems) to
detect unauthorized changes to any in-scope systems
Obviously, a book about networking cannot fully address all of the factors involved
in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. You should, however, have a general idea of what it
is and what is involved. The accounting professionals charged with this important
requirement will have more detailed information about the exact steps required for
your company.
Chapter Summary
Many people I’ve met who work in some area of information technology, such as
networking, don’t consider the business reasons for the network when they go about
their day-to-day jobs or when they propose improvements to the network. This
certainly isn’t limited to the field of networking; many people who work in any area
of a company sometimes forget that the reason their function exists is to support the
objectives of the company in which they work. The most successful employees of any
company keep firmly in mind why they do what they do, before they consider how
best to do it. Some of the suggestions in this chapter should help you to approach
managing and improving a network successfully, by keeping in mind the benefits
the network brings to the company. Once you know what the company needs, you
can then propose the best solutions to solve problems that arise or make appropriate
improvements to the network.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
This chapter also discussed several broad areas you might consider pursuing in
the field of networking. Demand for trained, capable networking people is extremely
high, salaries are top-notch, and people working in the networking field have jobs that
are—more than most—fun, stimulating, and rewarding in many ways.
Finally, you learned a little about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and how it
impacts networking professionals.
The next chapter starts exploring the technical details of networking by briefly
discussing some basic computer science concepts that you need to understand. If
you already know about different numbering systems and about how data rates are
measured, you can probably skip the next chapter and move on to the networking
topics that follow, although be warned that you need a strong grasp of how binary
numbers work to understand some of the discussion surrounding network protocols
in Chapter 8.
Chapter 2
Laying the Foundation
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
ou don’t need to have a Ph.D. in computer science to be an effective
networking person, but you do need to understand some rudiments of the
subject. This chapter discusses basic computer terminology and knowledge
that you should possess to make the information in the rest of the book more useful
and understandable.
If you’ve been working with computers for a while, and especially if you have
training or experience as a computer programmer, you might not need to read this
chapter in detail. However, it is a good idea to at least skim it, to make sure that you
understand these subjects thoroughly.
Bits, Nibbles, and Bytes
Most people know that computers, at their most fundamental level, work entirely using
only 1s and 0s for numbers. Each of these numbers (whether it is a 0 or 1) is called a
bit, which is short for binary digit. String eight bits together, and you have a byte; string
about 1,000 bits together, and you have a kilobit; or you can string about 1,000 bytes
together for a kilobyte. A rarely used unit is composed of four bits strung together, called
a nibble. Remember this for when you play Jeopardy!
Understanding Binary Numbers
Before you learn about binary numbers, it’s useful to recall a few things about the
numbering system that people use on a daily basis. This is called the decimal numbering
system or, alternatively, the base-10 numbering system. The decimal numbering system is
built using ten different symbols, each of which represents a quantity from zero to nine.
Therefore, ten possible digits can be used: 0 through 9. (The base-10 numbering system
gets its name from the fact that only ten digits are possible in the system.)
An important part of any numbering system is the use of positions in which the
numerical symbols can be placed. Each position confers a different quantity to the
number being represented in that position. Therefore, the number 10 in the decimal
system represents the quantity ten. There is a 1 in the tens position and a 0 in the ones
position. This can also be represented as (1×10) + (0×1). Now consider the number 541.
This number uses the hundreds position as well as the tens and ones positions. It can be
represented as (5×100) + (4×10) + (1×1). In English, you could state this number as five
hundred plus forty plus one.
Every written number has a least-significant digit and a most-significant digit. The
least-significant digit is the one farthest to the right, and the most-significant digit is
the one farthest to the left. For binary numbers, people also talk about the least- and
most-significant bits, but it’s the same idea.
So far, this section has simply reviewed basic number knowledge that you learned
in grade school. What grade school probably didn’t cover is the fact that basing a
numbering system on ten is completely arbitrary; there is no mathematical reason to
favor a base-10 system over any other. You can create numbering systems for any base
Chapter 2:
Laying the Foundation
you like. You can have a base-3 numbering system, a base-11 numbering system, and
so on. Humans have come to favor the base-10 system, probably because we have ten
fingers and thus tend to think in tens. Computers, on the other hand, have only two
digits with which they can work—1 and 0—so they need to use a different numbering
system. The natural numbering system for a computer to use would therefore be the
base-2 numbering system, and, in fact, that’s what they do use. This system is called
the binary numbering system. Computers use only 1s and 0s at their most basic level
because they understand only two states: on and off. In the binary numbering system, a
1 represents on, and a 0 represents off.
Recall that in the decimal numbering system, the position of each number is
important. It is the same in the binary numbering system, except that each position
doesn’t correspond to powers of 10, but instead to powers of 2. Here are the values of
the lowest eight positions used in the binary numbering system:
So, suppose that you encounter the following binary number:
You would follow the same steps that you use to understand a decimal numbering
system number. In this example, the binary number represents 128 + 32 + 8 + 4 + 1, or
173 in the decimal system. You can also write (or calculate) this number as follows:
(128 × 1) + (64 × 0) + (32 × 1) + (16 × 0) + (8 × 1) + (4 × 1) + (2 × 0) + (1 × 1)
So, two main things separate the decimal numbering system from the binary
numbering system:
The binary system uses only 1s and 0s to represent every value.
The value of numerals in the different positions varies.
You might be wondering how you can tell whether you’re reading a binary number
or a decimal number. For instance, if you’re reading a book about computers and you see
the number 10101, how do you know whether it’s supposed to represent ten thousand
one hundred and one or twenty-one? There are several ways that you can tell:
Usually, binary numbers are shown with at least eight positions (a full byte),
even if the leading digits are 0s.
If you’re looking at a bunch of numbers and see only 1s and 0s, it’s a pretty
good bet that they are binary numbers.
Binary numbers don’t use the decimal point to represent fractional values, so
10100.01 should be assumed to be a decimal system number.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Decimal numbers should use commas as you were taught in school. So, the
number 10,100 should be read as ten thousand one hundred, whereas the
number 10100 should be read as the binary number for the quantity twenty.
Sometimes people put the letter b at the end of a binary number, although this
convention isn’t widely followed.
Put all these things together, plus a little common sense, and you’ll usually have no
doubt whether you’re reading a binary or decimal value.
Other Important Numbering Systems
Two other important numbering systems that you encounter in the world of
networking are octal and hexadecimal. Hexadecimal is far more prevalent than octal,
but you should understand both.
The octal number system is also called the base-8 numbering system. In this scheme,
each position in a number can hold only the numerals 0 to 7. The number 010 in the octal
numbering system corresponds to 8 in the decimal numbering system. Octal numbers can
be indicated with a leading zero, a leading percent symbol (%), or a trailing capital letter O.
The hexadecimal numbering system is fairly common in networking, and is often
used to represent network addresses, memory addresses, and the like. The hexadecimal
system (also called the base-16 numbering system) can use 16 different symbols in each
of its positions. Since we have written numerals for only 0 to 9, the hexadecimal system
uses the letters A through F to represent the extra symbols.
How to Quickly Convert Hexadecimal, Decimal, Octal, and Binary Numbers
The Calculator application that comes with all versions of Windows allows you
to convert values quickly between hexadecimal, decimal, octal, and binary. With
the calculator open, place it into Scientific mode (open the View menu and choose
Scientific). This mode reveals a lot of advanced features in the calculator. In the
upper-left area of the calculator, you can now see four option buttons labeled
Hex, Dec, Oct, and Bin. These correspond to the hexadecimal, decimal, octal, and
binary numbering systems. Just choose which system you want to use to enter a
number, and then click any of the other options to convert the number instantly.
For instance, suppose that you click the Bin option button and enter the
number 110100100110111010. If you then click the Dec button, the calculator
reveals that the number you just entered is 215,482 in the decimal system. If you
click the Hex button, you find that the binary number that you entered is 349BA in
the hexadecimal numbering system. And if you click the Oct button, you discover
that the number is 644672 in the octal numbering system. You can also go in the
other direction: Click the Dec button, enter some number, and then click the other
option buttons to see how the number looks in those other numbering systems.
Chapter 2:
Laying the Foundation
Hexadecimal numbers are usually preceded with a leading zero followed by the
letter x, and then the hexadecimal number. The letter x can be either lowercase or
uppercase, so both 0x11AB and 0X11AB are correct. Hexadecimal numbers may also
be shown with a trailing letter h, which can be lowercase or uppercase. Rarely, they
may be preceded with the dollar sign ($), as in $11AB. Often, you can easily recognize
hexadecimal numbers simply by the fact that they include some letters (A to F). For
hexadecimal numbers, A equals 10 in the decimal system, B equals 11, C equals 12, D
equals 13, E equals 14, and F equals 15.
You can determine the decimal value for a hexadecimal value manually using the
same method as shown earlier in this chapter for decimal and binary numbers. The
hexadecimal position values for the first four digits are as follows:
So, the number 0x11AB can be converted to decimal with the formula (1 × 4096) +
(1 × 256) + (10 × 16) + (11 × 1), or 4,523 in decimal.
Basic Terminology to Describe Networking Speeds
The business of networking is almost entirely about moving data from one point to
another. Accordingly, one of the most important things that you need to understand
about any network connection is how much data it can carry. Broadly, this capacity is
called bandwidth, which is measured by the amount of data that a connection can carry
in a given period of time.
The most basic measurement of bandwidth is bits per second, abbreviated as bps.
Bandwidth is how many bits the connection can carry within a second. More commonly
used are various multiples of this measurement, including thousands of bits per second
(Kbps), millions of bits per second (Mbps), or billions of bits per second (Gbps).
TIP Remember that bits per second is not bytes per second. To arrive at the bytes per second
when you know the bits per second (approximately), divide the bps number by 8. In this book, bits
per second units are written with a lowercase letter b and bytes per second units with an uppercase
B. For example, 56 Kbps is 56 thousand bits per second, and 56 KBps is 56 thousand bytes
per second.
A closely related measurement that you will also see bandied about is hertz, which
is the number of cycles being carried per second. Hertz is abbreviated as Hz. Just as
with bps, it is the multiples of hertz that are talked about the most, including thousands
of hertz (KHz, or kilohertz) and millions of mertz (MHz, or megahertz). For example,
a microprocessor running at 100 MHz is running at 100 million cycles per second. The
electricity in the United States runs at 60 Hz; in Europe, the speed is 50 Hz.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Hertz and bits per second are essentially the same and are sometimes intermixed.
For example, thin Ethernet cable is said to run at 10 MHz and also to carry 10 Mbps of
Chapter Summary
This book would double in size if I tried to explain every networking term every
time it was used. To keep it at a reasonable length (and readable), I assume that you
understand the basic concepts presented in this chapter, as well as the information
found in the glossary near the end of the book. Most people leave glossaries unread
until they come across a term they don’t know. In this case, I recommend that you
spend a few minutes reviewing this book’s glossary before you read the following
chapters, to make sure that you are familiar with the terms that are used. Node, host,
broadband, baseband, workstation, client, and server are some examples of terms that the
rest of the book assumes that you understand. The glossary defines these terms and
many others.
In the next chapter, you learn about the basic types of networks, as well as an
important conceptual model of networking that you will frequently encounter when
working with networks: the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. The OSI
model is used in virtually every aspect of networking, and it provides a framework for
how networks operate.
Chapter 3
Understanding Networking
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
here are a lot of aspects to networking, and this tends to make the subject seem
more complex than it really is. This chapter discusses some basic and key
networking concepts. If you’re new to networking, getting a good understanding
of the subjects in this chapter will enable you to build a mental framework into which
you can fit more detailed knowledge as it is presented in the remainder of this book.
In addition, the rest of this book assumes you’re comfortable with all the concepts
presented in this chapter.
Knowing Network Relationship Types
The term network relationships refers to how one computer makes use of another
computer’s resources over the network. Two fundamental types of network relationships
exist: peer-to-peer and client/server. These two types of network relationships define
the logical structure of a network. To understand them better, you might compare them
to different business management philosophies. A peer-to-peer network is much like a
company with a decentralized management philosophy, where decisions are made
locally and resources are managed according to the most immediate needs. A client/server
network is more like a company that uses centralized management, where decisions are
made in a central location by a relatively small group of people. Circumstances exist
where both peer-to-peer and client/server relationships are appropriate, and many
networks incorporate aspects of both types.
Both peer-to-peer and client/server networks require certain network layers.
Both types require a physical network connection between the computers, use of the
same network protocols, and so forth. In these respects, the two types of network
relationships are the same. The difference comes in whether you spread the shared
network resources around to all the computers on the network or use centralized
network servers.
NOTE The mechanics of how a network actually functions are broken down into layers.
The concept of layers and what goes into each layer are described later in this chapter, in the
“Understanding the OSI Networking Model” section.
Peer-to-Peer Network Relationships
In a peer-to-peer network relationship, the computers on the network communicate
with each other as equals. Each computer is responsible for making its own resources
available to other computers on the network. These resources might be files,
directories, application programs, devices (such as printers, modems, or fax cards),
or any combination of these items. Each computer is also responsible for setting up
and maintaining its own security for those resources. Additionally, each computer
Chapter 3:
Understanding Networking
Frank’s computer
Accounting system (shared)
Documents (private)
Bob’s computer
Customer proposals (private)
Marketing software (shared)
Betty’s computer
HR software (private)
Employee reviews (private)
Figure 3-1. A peer-to-peer network with resources spread across computers
is responsible for accessing the network resources it needs from other peer-to-peer
computers, knowing where those resources are located in the network, and handling
the security required to access them. Figure 3-1 illustrates how this works.
NOTE Even in a pure peer-to-peer network, using a dedicated computer for certain frequently
accessed resources is possible. For example, you might host the application and data files for an
accounting system on a single workstation, and not use that computer for typical workstation tasks,
such as word processing, so that all of the computer’s performance is available for the accounting
system. The computer is still working in a peer-to-peer fashion; it’s just used for a single purpose.
Client/Server Network Relationships
In a client/server network relationship, a distinction exists between the computers
that make available network resources (the servers) and the computers that use the
resources (the clients, or workstations). A pure client/server network is one in which
all available network resources—such as files, directories, applications, and shared
devices—are centrally managed and hosted, and then are accessed by the client
computers. None of the client computers share their resources with other client
computers or with the servers. Instead, the client computers are pure consumers of
these shared network resources.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
NOTE Don’t confuse client/server networks with client/server database systems. While the
two mean essentially the same thing (conceptually), a client/server database is one where the
processing of the database application is divided between the database server and the database
clients. The server is responsible for responding to data requests from the clients and supplying
them with the appropriate data, while the clients are responsible for formatting, displaying, and
printing that data for the user. For instance, Windows Server 2008 is a client/server network
operating system, while Oracle’s database or Microsoft’s SQL Server are client/server database
The server computers in a client/server network are responsible for making available
and managing appropriate shared resources, and for administering the security of those
resources. Figure 3-2 shows how resources would be located in such a network.
Comparing Peer-to-Peer and Client/Server Networks
As mentioned earlier, most networks have aspects of both peer-to-peer and client/
server relationships. Before deciding on setting up a network using one or both types of
relationships, you should examine their pros and cons and determine how each meets
the needs of your company. Consider the following advantages and disadvantages of
using each type.
Bob’s computer
Betty’s computer
Frank’s computer
Accounting software (all)
Documents (Frank only)
HR software (Betty only)
Employee reviews (Betty only)
Customer proposals (Bob only)
Marketing software (all)
Figure 3-2. A client/server network keeps resources centralized
Chapter 3:
Understanding Networking
Pros for Peer-to-Peer Networks
Peer-to-peer networks offer a number of advantages, particularly for smaller firms,
as follows:
Use less expensive computer hardware Peer-to-peer networks are the
least hardware-intensive. In a pure peer-to-peer network, the resources are
distributed over many computers, so there is no need for a high-end server
computer. The impact on each workstation is usually (but not always)
relatively minor.
Easy to administer Peer-to-peer networks are, overall, easiest to set up and
administer, provided that there aren’t too many computers within the peer-topeer network. Because each machine performs its own administration—usually
for certain limited resources—the effort of administering the network is widely
distributed among many different people.
No network operating system required Peer-to-peer networks do not require
a network operating system (NOS). You can build a peer-to-peer network using
Windows XP or Vista on all the workstations, or all Macintosh computers for
that matter. These client operating systems include all the features necessary
for peer-to-peer networking. Similarly, you can do this with all UNIX-or
Linux-based computers (although this is much more complicated to set up and
maintain, because UNIX and Linux are very powerful and complex).
More built-in redundancy If you have a small network, with 10 to
20 workstations each storing some important data, and one fails, you still
have most of your shared resources available. A peer-to-peer network design
can offer more redundancy than a client/server network because fewer single
points of failure can affect the entire network and everyone who uses it.
Cons for Peer-to-Peer Networks
There are also various drawbacks to peer-to-peer networks, particularly for larger
networks or for networks that have more complex or sophisticated requirements. The
disadvantages include the following:
Might impact user’s performance If some workstations have frequently
used resources on them, the use of these resources across the network might
adversely affect the person using the hosting workstation.
Not very secure Peer-to-peer networks are not nearly as secure as client/
server networks because you cannot guarantee that all of the users will
appropriately administer their machines. In fact, in a network of any size
(say, more than ten people), you can expect that at least a few people will not
follow good administration practices on their own machines. Moreover, the
most common desktop operating systems used for peer-to-peer networking,
like Windows XP or the Macintosh, are not designed to be secure network
operating systems.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Difficult to back up Reliably backing up all the data scattered over many
workstations is difficult, and it is not wise to delegate this job to the user of
each machine. Experience shows that leaving this vital task up to users means
it will not get done.
Hard to maintain version control In a peer-to-peer network, with files
potentially stored on a number of different machines, it can become extremely
difficult to manage different document versions.
Pros for Client/Server Networks
Client/server networks offer the opportunity for centralized administration, using
equipment suited to managing and offering each resource. Client/server networks are
the type commonly used for networks larger than about ten users, and there are quite
a few good reasons for this, as follows:
Very secure A client/server network’s security comes from several things.
First, because the shared resources are located in a centralized area, they can be
administered at that point. Managing a number of resources is much easier if
those resources are all located on one or two server computers, as opposed to
needing to administer resources across tens or hundreds of computers. Second,
usually the servers are physically in a secure location, such as a lockable server
room. Physical security is an important aspect of network security, and it cannot
be achieved with a peer-to-peer network. Third, the operating systems on which
client/server networks run are designed to be secure. Provided that good security
and administration practices are in place, the servers cannot be easily “hacked.”
Better performance While dedicated server computers are more expensive
than standard computer workstations, they also offer considerably better
performance, and they are optimized to handle the needs of many users
Centralized backup Backing up a company’s critical data is much easier when
it is located on a centralized server. Often, such backup jobs can be run overnight
when the server is not being used and the data is static. Aside from being easier,
centralized backups are also much faster than decentralized backups.
Very reliable While it is true that more built-in redundancy exists with
a peer-to-peer network, a good client/server network can be more reliable
overall. Dedicated servers often have much more built-in redundancy than
standard workstations. They can handle the failure of a disk drive, power
supply, or processor and continue to operate until the failed component can be
replaced. Also, because a dedicated server has only one relatively simple job
to do, its complexity is reduced and its reliability increased. Contrast this with
a peer-to-peer network, where actions on the part of the users can drastically
reduce each workstation’s reliability. For example, needing to restart a PC or
a Macintosh every so often is not uncommon, whereas dedicated servers often
run for months without requiring a restart or crashing.
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Cons for Client/Server Networks
Client/server networks have some drawbacks, particularly for companies that don’t
have their own in-house network administration or that want to minimize the expense
of the network as much as possible. The following are the disadvantages of client/
server networks:
Require professional administration Client/server networks usually need
some level of professional administration, even if they are small. Knowing
the ins and outs of a network operating system is important, and requires
experience and training. You can hire a network administrator, or you can use
a company that provides professional network administration services.
More hardware-intensive In addition to the client computers, you also need
a server computer, usually a pretty “beefy” computer with a lot of memory
and disk space. Plus, you need a network operating system and an appropriate
number of client licenses, which can add at least several thousand dollars
to the cost of the server. For large networks, these requirements add tens of
thousands of dollars.
In a nutshell, choose a peer-to-peer network for smaller networks with fewer than
10 to 15 users, and choose a client/server network for anything larger. Because most
networks are built on a client/server concept, this book generally assumes such
a network.
Learning Network Features
Now that you know the two basic ways computers on a network can interact with each
other, let’s look at the types of tasks you can do with a network. The following sections
discuss common network features and capabilities.
File Sharing
Originally, file sharing was the primary reason to have a network. In fact, small
and midsize companies in the mid-1980s usually installed networks just so they
could perform this function. Often, this was driven by the need to computerize their
accounting systems. Of course, once the networks were in place, sharing other types of
files became easier as well.
File sharing typically involves word processing files, spreadsheets, and other files to
which many people needed regular access. It requires a shared directory or disk drive that
many users can access over the network, along with the underlying programming logic
needed to make sure that more than one person doesn’t make changes to a file at the same
time (called file locking). The reason you don’t want multiple people making changes to a
file at the same time is that they might both be making conflicting changes simultaneously,
without realizing it. Most software programs don’t have the ability to allow multiple
changes to a single file at the same time and to resolve problems that might arise.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
NOTE Most database programs do allow multiple users to access a database simultaneously.
Often, this is done using a technique called row locking, which restricts changes to any given record
to only one user at a time.
Network operating systems that perform file sharing also administer the security
for the shared files. This security can control, with a fine level of detail, who has access
to which files and what kinds of access they have. For example, some users might have
permission to view only certain shared files, while others have permission to edit or
even delete certain shared files.
Printer Sharing
A close runner-up in importance to file sharing is printer sharing. While it is true that
laser printers are currently so inexpensive that you can afford to put one in every
office if you wish, sharing laser printers among the users on the network is still more
economical overall.
Printer sharing enables you to reduce the number of printers you need and also to
offer much higher-quality printers. Newer digital copiers that can handle large print
jobs at more than 80 pages per minute and provide special printing features can cost
more than $20,000. Sharing such printers among many users makes sense.
Printer sharing can be done in several ways. The most common way is to use print
queues on a server. A printer queue holds print jobs until any currently running print
jobs are finished, and then automatically sends the waiting jobs to the printer. Using
a print queue is efficient for the workstations because they can quickly print to
the print queue and don’t need to wait for the printer itself to process any waiting
print jobs.
Another way to share printers on a network is to let each workstation access the
printer directly (most printers can be configured so they are connected to the network
just like a network workstation). In this case, usually each workstation must wait its
turn if many workstations are vying for the printer.
Networked printers that use printer queues have a print server that handles the job
of sending each print job to the printer in turn. The print server function can be filled in
a number of ways:
By a file server that is connected either directly or across the network to the
By a computer connected to the network, with the printer connected to that
computer. The computer runs special print server software to perform this job.
Through the use of a built-in print server on a printer’s network interface
card (NIC), which contains the hardware necessary to act as a print server. For
example, many laser printers offer an option to include a NIC in the printer.
This is far less expensive than dedicating a stand-alone computer to the job.
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Through the use of a dedicated network print server, which is a box about the
size of a deck of cards that connects to the printer’s parallel or USB port (or
even a wireless 802.11 protocol connection) on one end and the network on the
other end. Dedicated print servers also contain the hardware necessary to act
as print servers. This can be a good option when you need to share a printer
that does not contain the necessary networking connections.
Application Services
Just as you can share files on a network, you can often also share applications. For
example, if you have the proper type of software license, you can have a shared copy of
some applications stored on the network server. When a workstation wants to run the
program, it loads the files from the network into its own memory, just as it would from a
local disk drive, and runs the program normally. Keeping applications centralized reduces
the amount of disk space needed on each workstation and makes it easier to administer
the application. (For instance, with some applications, you need to upgrade only the
network copy; with others, you also must perform a brief installation for each client.)
Another application service you can host on the network is a shared installation
point for applications. Instead of needing to load a CD-ROM onto each workstation
to install an application, you can usually copy the contents of the CD-ROM to a folder
on a server, and then have the installation program run from that folder for each
workstation. This makes installing the applications much faster and more convenient.
CAUTION Make sure any applications you host on a network server are licensed appropriately.
Most software licenses do not let you run an application on multiple computers. Even if you need
only one actual copy of the application to set up the files on the server, you still must have a license
for every user. Different applications have different fine print regarding licensing—some require one
license per user, some require one license per computer, some allow your network users to use
a copy at home freely, and so forth. Make sure to carefully read the license agreements for your
business software and adhere to their terms and conditions.
An extremely valuable and important network resource these days is e-mail. Not only
can it be helpful for communications within a company, but it is also a preferred vehicle
to communicate with people outside a company.
E-mail systems are roughly divided into two different types: file-based and client/
server. A file-based e-mail system is one that consists of a set of files kept in a shared
location on a server. The server doesn’t actually do anything beyond providing access
to the files. Connections required from a file-based e-mail system and the outside
(say, to the Internet) are usually accomplished with a stand-alone computer—called
a gateway server—that handles the e-mail interface between the two systems, by using
gateway software that is part of the file-based e-mail system.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
In a client/server e-mail system, an e-mail server contains the messages and
handles all the e-mail interconnections, both within and outside the company. Client/
server e-mail systems, such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes, are more secure
and far more powerful than their file-based counterparts. They often offer additional
features that enable you to use the e-mail system to automate different internal
business processes, such as invoicing and purchasing.
For smaller companies (with fewer that 25 employees), e-mail is just as important,
but an e-mail server or dedicated e-mail system is usually overkill and too costly to
purchase and maintain. These companies can use other strategies that do not require
running their own internal e-mail system (file-based or client/server), such as the
Install a shared connection to the Internet that all of their computers can access,
and then set up e-mail accounts either through their Internet service provider
(ISP) or a free e-mail service, such as Yahoo! Mail or Google’s Gmail.
Run Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008, which includes a limited
version of Exchange Server, along with other server-based applications that are
packaged together to make them more economical for smaller companies.
Use mailboxes from a service provider that runs a high-end e-mail system (and
handes administration and backups). Companies usually pay a monthly fee for
the number of mailboxes used.
Remote Access
Another important service for most networks is remote access to the network’s
resources. Users use this feature to access their files and e-mail when they’re traveling
or working from a remote location, such as a hotel or their home. Remote access
systems come in many different flavors. The following are some of the methods used to
provide remote access:
Set up a simple remote access service (RAS) connection on a Windows server,
which can range from using a single modem to a bank of modems.
Use a dedicated remote access system, which handles many simultaneous
connections and usually includes many computers, each on its own
stand-alone card.
Employ a workstation on the network and have users dial in using a remote
control program like Symantec’s pcAnywhere or Citrix’s GoToMyPC.
Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection to the Internet, through
which users can access resources on the company network in a secure fashion.
Install Windows Terminal Services (on a Windows server) or Citrix
XenDesktop, which allow a single server to host multiple client sessions, each
appearing to the end user as a stand-alone computer.
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To choose the most suitable remote access solution, you’ll need to consider what the
users need to do remotely, the number of users (both in total and at any given time),
and how much you want to spend. See Chapter 10 for more information about remote
Wide Area Networks
You should think of a wide area network (WAN) as a sort of “metanetwork.” A
WAN is simply multiple local area networks (LANs) connected together. This can be
accomplished in many different ways, depending on how often the LANs need to be
connected to one another, how much data capacity (bandwidth) is required, and how
great the distance is between the LANs. Solutions include full-time leased telephone
lines that can carry 56 Kbps of data, dedicated DS1 (T-1) lines carrying 1.544 Mbps,
DS3 lines carrying 44.736 Mbps, and other forms (like private satellites) carrying even
higher bandwidths. You can also create a WAN using VPNs over the Internet. Although
this method usually offers inconsistent bandwidth, it’s often the least expensive.
WANs are created when the users of one LAN need frequent access to the resources
on another LAN. For instance, a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system
might be running at the company’s headquarters, but the warehouse location needs
access to it to use its inventory and shipping functions.
As a general rule, if you can design and build a system that doesn’t require a WAN,
you’re usually better off, because WAN links are often expensive to maintain. However,
the geographic and management structure of a particular company can dictate the use
of a WAN.
Internet and Intranet
The Internet has become vital to the productivity of most businesses, and handling
Internet connectivity on a network is often an important network service. Many
different types of services are available over the Internet, including e-mail, the Web,
and Usenet newsgroups.
A myriad of terms refer to what are essentially wide area networks, all with
variations on the xAN acronym scheme. Some examples include metropolitan
area network (MAN), distance area network (DAN), campus area network (CAN),
and even—I’m not making this up—personal area network (PAN), which was an
IBM demonstration technology where two people shaking hands could exchange
data through electrical signals carried on the surface of their skin. All of these
different names, and others that I haven’t listed here, are a bit silly. I suggest you
just stick with the two core terms: LAN and WAN.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
An Internet connection for a network consists of a telecommunications network
connection to an ISP, using a physical connection such as a leased DSL line, an ISDN
line, or a fractional or full DS1 (T-1) connection. This line comes into the building and
connects to a box called a channel service unit/data service unit (CSU/DSU), which
converts the data from the form carried by the local telephone company to one usable
on the LAN. The CSU/DSU is connected to a router that routes data packets between
the local network and the Internet. (Sometimes both the CSU/DSU and the router are
built into the same device.) Internet security is provided either by filtering the packets
going through the router or, more commonly, by adding a firewall system. A firewall
system runs on a computer (or has a computer built into it, if it’s an appliance device)
and helps you secure your network against various threats.
An intranet, as its name suggests, is an internally focused network that mimics
the Internet itself. For example, a company might deploy an intranet that hosts a web
server, which stores documents such as employee handbooks, purchasing forms, and
other information that the company publishes for internal use. Intranets can also host
other Internet-type services, such as FTP servers or Usenet servers, or these services
can be provided by other tools that offer the same functionality. Intranets usually are
not accessible from outside the LAN (although they can be) and are just a much smaller
version of the Internet that a company maintains for its own use.
Understanding the technologies, services, and features of the Internet is complex.
You can learn much more about some of the hardware that makes the Internet work
in Chapter 6.
Network Security
Any time you share important and confidential information on a network, you need
to carefully consider the security of those resources. Users and management must help
set the level of security required for the network and the different information it stores,
and they need to participate in deciding who has access to which resources.
Network security is provided by a combination of factors, including features of the
network operating system, the physical cabling plant, the network connection to other
networks, the features of the client workstations, the actions of the users, the security
policies of management, and how well the security features are implemented and
administered. All these factors form a chain, and any single weak link in the chain can
cause it to fail. Security failures can have severe consequences, so network security is
usually an extremely important part of any network. For a more detailed discussion
of network security, see Chapter 11.
Understanding the OSI Networking Model
The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model defines all the methods and protocols
needed to connect one computer to any other over a network. It is a conceptual
model, used most often in network design and in engineering network solutions.
Generally, real-world networks conform to the OSI model, although differences exist
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between the theory and actual practice in most networks. Still, the OSI model offers
an excellent way to understand and visualize how computers network to each other,
and it is required knowledge for anyone active in the field of networking. Just about all
employers expect networking professionals to be knowledgeable about the OSI model,
and it comes up on most networking certification tests. This might be a very dry topic,
but it’s important to learn!
The OSI model defines a basic framework for how modern networks operate.
It separates the methods and protocols needed for a network connection into seven
different layers. Each higher layer relies on services provided by a lower layer. If you
were to think about a desktop computer in this way, its hardware would be the lowest
layer, and the operating system drivers—the next-higher layer—would rely on the
lowest layer to do their job. The operating system itself, the next-higher layer, would
rely on both of the lower layers working properly. This continues all the way up to the
point at which an application presents data to you on the computer screen. Figure 3-3
shows the seven layers of the OSI model.
NOTE The OSI model is sometimes called the seven-layer model. It was developed by the
International Standards Organization (ISO) in 1983 and is documented as Standard 7498.
Figure 3-3. The seven layers of the OSI model
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
For a complete network connection, data flows from the top layer on one computer,
down through all the lower layers, across the wire, and back up the seven layers on the
other computer. The following sections discuss each layer, making comparisons to real
networking systems as appropriate.
Physical Layer
The bottom layer, layer 1, is called the physical layer. It defines the properties of the
physical medium used to make a network connection. The physical layer specifications
result in a physical medium—a network cable—that can transmit a stream of bits
between nodes on the physical network. The physical connection can be either pointto-point (between two points) or multipoint (between many points, such as from one
point to many others), and it can consist of either half-duplex (one direction at a time)
or full-duplex (both directions simultaneously) transmissions. Moreover, the bits can
be transmitted either in series or in parallel. (Most networks use a serial stream of bits,
but the OSI model allows for both serial and parallel transmission.) The specification
for the physical layer also defines the cable used, the voltages carried on the cable,
the timing of the electrical signals, the distance that can be run, and so on. A NIC, for
example, is part of the physical layer.
Data-Link Layer
The data-link layer, layer 2, defines standards that assign meaning to the bits carried by
the physical layer. It establishes a reliable protocol through the physical layer so the
network layer (layer 3) can transmit its data. The data-link layer typically includes error
detection and correction to ensure a reliable data stream. The data elements carried by
the data-link layer are called frames. Examples of frame types include X.25 and 802.x
(802.x includes both Ethernet and Token Ring networks).
The data-link layer is usually subdivided into two sublayers, called the logical
link control (LLC) and media access control (MAC) sublayers. If used, the LLC sublayer
performs tasks such as call setup and termination (the OSI model can be applied
to telecommunications networks as well as LANs) and data transfer. The MAC
sublayer handles frame assembly and disassembly, error detection and correction, and
addressing. The two most common MAC protocols are 802.3 Ethernet and 802.5 Token
Ring. Other MAC protocols include 802.12 100Base-VBG, 802.11 Wireless, and 802.7
On most systems, the software drivers for the NIC perform the work done at the
data-link layer.
Network Layer
The network layer, layer 3, is where a lot of action goes on for most networks. The
network layer defines how data packets get from one point to another on a network and
what goes into each packet. The network layer uses different packet protocols, such
as Internet Protocol (IP) and Internet Protocol Exchange (IPX). These packet protocols
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include source and destination routing information. The routing information in each
packet informs the network where to send the packet to reach its destination and tells
the receiving computer from where the packet originated.
The network layer is most important when the network connection passes through
one or more routers, which are hardware devices that examine each packet and, from
their source and destination addresses, send the packets to their proper destination.
Over a complex network, such as the Internet, a packet might go through ten or more
routers before it reaches its destination. On a LAN, a packet might not go through any
routers to get to its destination, or it might go through one or more.
Note that breaking the network layer (also known as the packet layer) into a separate
layer from the physical and data-link layers means the protocols defined in this layer
can be carried over any variations of the lower layers. So, to put this into real-world
terms, an IP packet can be sent over an Ethernet network, a Token Ring network, or
even a serial cable that connects two computers. The same holds true for an IPX packet:
If both computers can handle IPX, and they share the lower-level layers (whatever they
might be) in common, then the network connection can be made.
Transport Layer
The transport layer, layer 4, manages the flow of information from one network node
to another. It ensures that the packets are decoded in the proper sequence and that all
packets are received. It also identifies each computer or node on a network uniquely.
The various networking systems (such as Microsoft’s, or Novell’s) implement the
transport layer differently. In fact, the transport layer is the first layer where differences
between network operating systems occur.
Examples of transport layer protocols include Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
and Sequenced Packet Exchange (SPX), which are used in concert with IP and IPX,
Session Layer
The session layer, layer 5, defines the connection from a user computer to a network
server, or from a peer computer on a network to another peer computer. These virtual
connections are referred to as sessions. They include negotiation between the client and
host (or peer and peer) on matters of flow control, transaction processing, transfer of
user information, and authentication to the network. They are called sessions because
they set up connections that persist for some period of time.
Presentation Layer
The presentation layer, layer 6, takes the data supplied by the lower-level layers and
transforms it so it can be presented to the system (as opposed to presenting the data to
the user, which is handled outside the OSI model). The functions that take place at the
presentation layer can include data compression and decompression, as well as data
encryption and decryption.
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Application Layer
The application layer, layer 7, controls how the operating system and its applications
interact with the network. The applications you use, such as Microsoft Word or
Lotus 1-2-3, are not a part of the application layer, but they certainly benefit from the
work that goes on there. An example of software at the application layer is the network
client software you use, such as the Windows Client for Microsoft Networks, or the
Windows Client for Novell Networks. It also controls how the operating system and
applications interact with those clients.
Understanding How Data Travels Through the OSI Layers
As mentioned earlier in this section, data flows from an application program or the
operating system, and then goes down through the protocols and devices that make
up the seven layers of the OSI model, one by one, until the data arrives at the physical
layer and is transmitted over the network connection. The computer at the receiving
end reverses this process: The data comes in at the physical layer, travels up through
all the layers until it emerges from the application layer, and is made use of by the
operating system and any application programs.
At each stage of the OSI model, the data is “wrapped” with new control information
related to the work done at that particular layer, leaving the previous layers’ information
intact and wrapped within the new control information. This control information is
different for each layer, but it includes headers, trailers, preambles, and postambles.
For example, when data goes into the networking software and components
making up the OSI model, it starts at the application layer and includes an application
header and application data (the actual data being sent). Next, at the presentation layer,
a presentation header is wrapped around the data, and it is passed to the component at
the session layer, where a session header is wrapped around all of the data, and so on,
until it reaches the physical layer. At the receiving computer, this process is reversed,
with each layer unwrapping its appropriate control information, performing whatever
work is indicated by that control information and passing the data on to the next higher
layer. It all sounds rather complex, but it works very well in practice.
Learning About Network Hardware Components
This chapter is really about understanding networks, with a “view from 30,000 feet.”
An overview of the hardware that enables networks to operate completes this
discussion. Understanding the general types of devices you typically encounter in
a network is important, not only for planning a network, but also for troubleshooting
and maintenance.
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A server is any computer that performs network functions for other computers. These
functions fall into several categories, including the following:
File and print servers, which provide file sharing and services to share
network-based printers.
Application servers, which provide specific application services to an application.
An example is a server that runs a database that a distributed application uses.
E-mail servers, which provide e-mail storage and interconnection services to
client computers.
Networking servers, which can provide a host of different network services.
Examples of these services include the automatic assignment of TCP/IP addresses
(DHCP servers), routing of packets from one network to another (routing servers),
encryption/decryption and other security services, and VPN access.
Internet servers, which provide Web, Usenet News (NNTP), and Internet
e-mail services.
Remote access servers, which provide access to a local network for remote users.
As noted earlier, servers typically run some sort of network operating system, such
as Windows Server 2008, Linux, or UNIX. Depending on the operating system chosen,
the functions previously listed might all be performed on one server or distributed to
many servers. Also, not all networks need all the services previously listed.
NOTE Server computers can be nearly any type of computer, but today they are usually high-end
Intel-based PCs. You might also see certain types of servers that use a different platform.
For instance, many dedicated web servers run on UNIX-based computers, such as those from
Sun Microsystems, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and other vendors.
A number of features distinguish a true server-class computer from a more
pedestrian client computer, including the following:
Built-in redundancy with multiple power supplies and fans (for instance) to
keep the server running if something breaks.
Special high-performance designs for disk subsystems, memory, and network
subsystems to optimize the movement of data to and from the server, the
network, and the client computers.
Special monitoring software and hardware that keeps a close watch on the
health of the server, warning of failures before they occur. For example, most
servers have temperature monitors; if the temperature starts getting too high,
a warning is issued so the problem can be resolved before it causes failure of
any of the hardware components in the server.
You can learn more about servers in Chapter 13.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Hubs, Routers, and Switches
Hubs, routers, and switches are the most commonly seen “pure” networking hardware.
(They’re pure in the sense that they exist only for networking and for no other purpose.)
Many people refer to this class of equipment as internetworking devices. These are the
devices to which all the cables of the network are connected. They pass the data along at
the physical, data-link, or network layer of the OSI model.
A hub, sometimes called a concentrator, is a device that connects a number of
network cables coming from client computers to a network. Hubs come in many
different sizes, supporting from as few as 2 computers up to 60 or more computers.
(The most common hub size supports 24 network connections.) All the network
connections on a hub share a single collision domain, which is a fancy way of saying all
the connections to a hub “talk” over a single logical wire and are subject to interference
from other computers connected to the same hub.
A switch is wired very similarly to a hub and actually looks just like a hub. However,
on a switch, all of the network connections are on their own collision domain. The
switch makes each network connection a private one. Often, switches are connected
to one or more backbone switches, which usually run at a much higher speed than the
individual switches. If hubs are used (and they’re becoming rare because switches are
inexpensive), often the hubs will be connected to a single switch that will serve as
a backbone. Figure 3-4 shows a typical switch and hub wiring arrangement.
A router routes data packets from one network to another. The two networks
connect to the router using their own wiring type and connection type. For example,
a router that connects a 10Base-T network to an ISDN telephone line has two
connections: one leading to the 10Base-T network and one leading to the ISDN line
provided by the phone company. Routers also usually have an additional connection
that a terminal can be connected to; this connection is just used to program and
maintain the router.
Hubs, routers, and switches are discussed in more detail—along with other
networking hardware—in Chapter 6.
Cabling and Cable Plants
Many types of network cable exist, but you need to be concerned with only a few of the
more common ones. The most common network cable for LANs is Category 5 (called
Cat-5 for short) twisted-pair cable. This cable carries the network signal to each point
through eight wires (four twisted pairs). Cat-5 cable is used to support 100Base-T and
1000Base-T Ethernet networks.
NOTE The twisting of each pair in the cable jacket reduces the chances of the cable picking up
electrical interference.
You will also occasionally see a lower-grade cable used called Category 3 (Cat-3)
cable. This is similar to Cat-5 cable, but has half as many wires running through it and
Chapter 3:
Understanding Networking
Figure 3-4. Using switches and hubs in concert
uses smaller connectors (although they’re still the modular phone-style connectors).
Cat-3 cable is used for older 10Base-T networks. While existing Cat-3 cable is usually
serviceable, it is rare to see it in use today.
NOTE It is possible to run a Cat-3 network connection over Cat-5 cable. Because of this, many
companies installed the higher-grade cable, even if they didn’t immediately need it, because the
cost of rewiring an entire building is very high.
Cat-5 cable has been improved and is now called Cat-5E cable. Also, an even newer
standard called Cat-6 has been approved. Both Cat-5E and Cat-6 are essentially the same
as Cat-5, but they meet higher-quality specifications to handle faster network speeds.
They are both also backward-compatible with the prior network types. In other words,
you can run a 100Base-T network over Cat-6 cable, even though only Cat-5 is required.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Coaxial cable (called coax) is not currently used for new cable installations, but you
might still come across it in older buildings. Coax cable has a center core of copper
(called the conductor) surrounded by a plastic wrapper, which is wrapped with braided
metal, called the shield, and then finally, an outer plastic coating. For instance, the cable
that you use to connect a television to a cable TV network is a type of coax cable (the
same coax is used for cable modems, by the way). Most coax cable used for networks
is a type called RG-58, which is used for 10Base-2 (Thin Ethernet) networks. Another
is RG-56, used for ARCnet networks. The different types of coax cable refer to the
specifications of the cable, which determine whether a particular network type can
make use of the cable. You cannot mix different types of coax cable in a single network,
and you must use the correct type for the network you are building.
The term cable plant refers to the entire installation of all your network cable. It
includes not only the cable run throughout a building, but also the connectors, wall
plates, patch panels, and so forth. It’s extremely important that a new installation of a
cable plant be performed by a qualified contractor trained to install that type of cable.
Cable may appear simple, but it is actually quite complicated, and its installation is
also complex. Moreover, if problems develop in a cable plant, they can be expensive to
resolve. It’s best to get it right the first time!
Chapter 4 provides more information about network cabling.
Workstation Hardware
Any computer on a network that is used by people is usually referred to as a network
workstation. Sometimes such workstations are also called network clients. Usually, a
network client is an Intel-based PC running some version of Windows, which has a
NIC and network client software installed, allowing the workstation to participate
on the network. Network workstations can also be any other type of computer that
includes the necessary network hardware and software, such as an Apple Macintosh or
some form of UNIX-based computer.
TIP Don’t confuse network workstations (a generic term) with workstation-class computers.
Workstation-class computers are higher-end desktop computers used for computer-aided design,
engineering, and graphics work.
Chapter Summary
This chapter introduced a number of important networking concepts. You learned
about how computers on a network relate to one another, how the different parts of a
network connection are logically broken down in the OSI network model, and how this
model is useful in understanding networks. You also learned about a number of basic
network features and resources.
The following chapters cover these subjects in more detail, starting with the next
chapter, which discusses the often-misunderstood world of network wiring.
Chapter 4
Network Cabling
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
f you were to compare a computer network to the human body, the network cabling
system would be the nerves that make up the physical manifestation of the nervous
system. The network cabling system is what actually carries all the data from one
point to another and determines how the network works. How a network is cabled is of
supreme importance to how the network functions, how fast it functions, how reliable the
network will be as a whole, and how easy it will be to expand and change the network.
With any new network, your first task after assessing the needs for the network is to
determine how the network should be wired; all the other components of the network
are then built on that foundation. This is much like the OSI seven-layer model you
learned about in Chapter 3, in that the network cabling makes up layer 1 (the physical
layer), and all the upper networking layers rely on it.
Many people think that network cabling is relatively simple. After all, what could
be simpler than running a wire between two points? However, as you will see, the
topic of network cabling encompasses more than meets the eye, and it’s an extremely
important area to get right. If you make mistakes selecting or installing network cable,
your network will likely be unreliable and may perform poorly. Because of the labor
costs involved in wiring a network, the best time to address any potential problems in
this area is well before they occur.
Understanding Cable Topologies
The word topology basically means shape, and the term network topology refers to the shape
of a network—how all of the nodes (points) of a network are wired together. Networks
may be wired in several different topologies, and the choice of a topology is often your
most important decision when you plan a network. The topologies have different costs
(both to install and maintain), levels of performance, and levels of reliability.
DEFINE-IT! Network Segment
The term network segment can mean somewhat different things depending on the
topology of the network, but the concept is simplest to understand when thinking
about a bus network, and is essentially the same for any topology. A segment is
a single length of cable to which all the nodes in that segment are connected. In
truth, a segment is not a single continuous length of cable, because it is broken at
each computer connection point with a connector that lets the node connect to the
network cable, but the cable is electrically one single cable.
In any given segment, all the network traffic is “seen” by all the nodes on that
segment. You need to take this into account when planning how many nodes you
will connect to any given segment. If you have 20 computers, all fully using that
segment at the same time, each computer will achieve only approximately onetwentieth of the available maximum bandwidth. This is simplified; you will learn
more about how this works later in this chapter and in following chapters.
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
The main topologies in use today are bus, star, and ring. These topologies are
described in this section.
Bus Topology
A bus topology, more completely called a common bus multipoint topology, is a network
where, basically, a single network cable is used from one end of the network to the
other, with different network devices (called nodes) connected to the cable at different
locations. Figure 4-1 illustrates a simple bus topology network.
Different types of bus networks have different specifications, which include the
following factors:
How many nodes can be in a single segment
How many segments can be used through the use of repeaters
How close nodes can be to each other
The total length of a segment
Which coaxial cable type is required
How the ends of the bus must be terminated
Bus topology networks use coaxial cable, described later in this chapter. Each end
of each segment of the network has a special cable terminator on it, without which
the network will not function. Some bus topology networks, such as Thin Ethernet
(10Base-2) use BNC connectors to tie all the individual pieces of cable together. Each
computer is connected to the network through the use of a BNC T-connector (called that
because it’s shaped like the letter T), which allows the network to continue its bus and
lets the computer connect to it. Figure 4-2 shows several different BNC connectors.
Figure 4-1. A simple bus topology network
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 4-2. BNC connectors used in a coax-based bus topology network
Bus network topologies are by far the least expensive to install because they use
much less cable than the other two topologies and, accordingly, use less material and
need less installation labor.
But bus networks have some big drawbacks. Because all the subcables that make
up the segment and run from node to node must be connected at all times, and because
a failure in any part of the segment will cause the entire segment to fail, bus networks
are prone to trouble. And even more important, that trouble can take a long time to
track down, because you must work your way through all the cable connections until
you find the one causing the problem. Often, the source of the problem isn’t visually
apparent, so you need to use various techniques and equipment to find it (as discussed
in the “Troubleshooting Coaxial Networks” section later in this chapter).
Because of the tendency of bus networks to be unreliable, new network wiring
installations do not use bus topologies, although many older networks still do.
DEFINE-IT! BNC Connectors
Depending on whom you ask, BNC stands for Bayonet Nut Connector, British
Naval Connector, or Bayonet Neill-Concelman (with the latter two words standing
for its inventors, Mr. Paul Neill of Bell Labs and Carl Concelman of Amphenol
Corporation). BNC is a bayonet-style connector that quickly attaches and detaches
with a quarter turn. A variety of different parts—T-connectors, barrel connectors,
elbow connectors, cable ends that splice onto appropriate cable, and so forth—use
BNC connectors, so you can achieve nearly any type of connection needed. The
BNC connector is extremely easy to use and makes a secure connection.
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
By far, the most prevalent bus network used in the past (and in limited existence
today) is one called 10Base-2 Ethernet, or more commonly, Thin Ethernet. This network
type has the following characteristics:
Has a rated maximum speed of 10 Mbps
Uses RG-58/AU or RG-58/CU coaxial cable and BNC connectors
Requires a 50-ohm terminating connector at each end of each segment to function
Can handle a maximum of 30 nodes per segment
Can be run up to a maximum segment length of 185 meters (607 feet)
Can use extended segments through the use of repeaters
Requires each node to be at least 0.5 meter (1.5 feet) of cable distance from any
other node
If repeaters are used, you can connect a maximum of three segments together, and
each segment may have up to 30 nodes (with the repeater counting as a node). You can
also have two additional segments (a total of five) if those extra two segments are used
for distance only and do not have any nodes on them. An entire repeated segment must
never exceed a total of 925 meters (3,035 feet). Remember the 5-4-3 rule: five segments,
four repeaters, three populated segments.
NOTE Repeaters are hardware devices that electrically boost the signal on a cable so it can be
extended further; they do not route any of the data. In fact, a repeater is “ignorant” of any of the
data it carries. Repeaters are inexpensive and reliable. However, remember that extending a cable
with a repeater means that all the network traffic on one side of the repeater is echoed to the cable
on the other side of the repeater, regardless of whether that traffic needs to go on that other cable.
Repeaters are discussed in more detail in Chapter 6.
Star Topology
A star topology is one in which a central unit, called a hub or concentrator, hosts a set of
network cables that radiate out to each node on the network. Technically, the hub is
referred to as a multistation access unit (MAU), but that particular terminology tends
to be used with only Token Ring networks, which use a logical ring topology (see the
following section). Each hub usually hosts about 24 nodes, although hubs range in size
from 2 nodes up to 96 nodes. Regardless of the hub size, you can connect multiple hubs
together to grow the network in any way that makes sense. See Chapter 6 for more on
connecting hubs together in different configurations. Figure 4-3 shows a simple star
topology network.
All the network traffic used on any of the network connections to the hub is echoed
to all the other connected nodes on that particular hub. Because of this, all the bandwidth
of any single node’s connection is shared with all other node’s connections. For example,
if one of the nodes connected to the hub is using half the available bandwidth, all the
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 4-3. A star topology network
other nodes must contend with that use for their own. In other words, if you’re using a
network type with a capacity of 100 Mbps, that’s the total amount of bandwidth available
to all of the nodes connected to the hub.
NOTE Networks that are physically wired in a star topology are logically either a bus or a ring.
This means that, despite what the network looks like, it still “behaves” as either a bus or a ring.
Ethernet networks wired in a star fashion are logically a bus. Token Ring networks wired in a star
fashion are logically a ring.
Star topology networks can use one of several forms of Ethernet. The most common
is 100Base-T Ethernet, which provides 100 Mbps of bandwidth. Quite a few older
networks use 10Base-T Ethernet, which provides 10 Mbps of bandwidth. A newer
standard called Gigabit Ethernet (1000Base-T) offers 1 Gbps of bandwidth. Most
recently, a standard called 10 Gigabit Ethernet (or alternately 10GBase-X), which can
run at 10 Gbps over fiber-optic cable, has been approved.
10Base-T requires a type of twisted-pair cable called Category 3 (Cat-3) cable.
100Base-T requires Category 5 (Cat-5) cable. 10Base-T can also use Cat-5, but 100Base-T
cannot use Cat-3. These days, you should always use the most recent Cat-5 cable—
called Cat-5E—even if it’s intended for only a 10Base-T network. (Cat-5 cable provides
eight wires—four twisted pairs—and so can carry two connections in each cable if
desired.) If cost is not an issue, consider even moving up to Cat-6.
10Base-T networks share the following wiring characteristics:
Require four actual wires (two twisted pairs in a single sheath); can be either
unshielded twisted-pair or shielded twisted-pair
Can be run on either Cat-3 or Cat-5 cable
Are limited to a length of 100 meters (328 feet) for each node connection
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
The various Ethernet standards referred to as, for instance, 10Base-2, 10Base-T,
100Base-T, and so on contain in their name all you need to know about what they do.
The first portion—the number—can be 10, 100, or 1000, and this number indicates
the data rate (in Mbps) that the standard carries. The word Base means the network
is baseband rather than broadband. (A baseband connection carries only one signal at
a given instant; a broadband connection carries multiple signals at any time.) The
terminating letter or number indicates what sort of cable is used: T for twisted pair,
2 for thin coaxial, 5 for thick coaxial, and F or X usually indicating fiber-optic cable.
Here’s a quick reference guide to the different standards commonly seen:
10 Mbps, coaxial (RG-58) cable
10 Mbps, coaxial (RG-8) cable
10 Mbps, twisted-pair (two pairs, Cat-3 or
higher) cable
100 Mbps, twisted-pair (two pairs, Cat-5) cable; a
variant called 100 Base-T4 designates four pairs
100 Mbps, twisted-pair (two pairs, Cat-5) cable
100 Mbps, fiber-optic cable
1 Gbps, twisted-pair (four pairs, Cat-5) cable
10 Gbps, fiber-optic cable
Are not limited in the number of nodes in a single logical segment
Use RJ-45 connectors for all connections (this type of connector is similar to
a modular telephone connector, but the RJ-45 is larger)
100Base-T networks are similar to 10Base-T networks and have these characteristics:
Require four actual wires (two twisted pairs in a single sheath)
Must use Cat-5 cable or better
Are limited to a length of 100 meters (328 feet) for each node connection
Are not limited in the number of nodes in a single logical segment
Use RJ-45 connectors for all connections
1000Base-T networks are notable in that they can run over existing Cat-5 cable, but
at ten times the speed of 100Base-T networks. Running over Cat-5 cable is a significant
advantage for 1000Base-T, because over 75 percent of installed network cabling today
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
is Cat-5, and rewiring an entire building for a new networking standard is an extremely
expensive proposition. 1000Base-T over Cat-5 networks have these characteristics:
Require eight actual wires (four twisted pairs in a single sheath)
Must use Cat-5 cable or better
Are limited to a length of 100 meters (328 feet) for each node connection
Are not limited in the number of nodes in a single logical segment
Use RJ-45 connectors for all connections
Compared to bus networks, star topology networks are more expensive. Much more
actual wire is required, the labor to install that wire is much greater, and an additional
cost exists for the needed hubs. To offset these costs, however, star topologies are far more
reliable than bus topologies. With a star topology, if any single network connection goes
bad (is cut or damaged in some way), only that one connection is affected. While it is true
that hubs echo all the network signals for the connected nodes to all other nodes on the
hub, they also have the capability to partition, or cut off, any misbehaving node connections
automatically—one bad apple won’t spoil the whole bunch. In addition, because each cable
is run directly from the hub to the node, it is extremely easy to troubleshoot; you don’t need
to go traipsing over an entire building trying to find the problem.
Ring Topology
A ring topology is actually not a physical arrangement of a network cable, as you
might guess. Instead, rings are a logical arrangement; the actual cables are wired in a
star, with each node connected on its own cable to the MAU. However, electrically, the
network behaves like a ring, where the network signals travel around the ring to each
node in turn. Figure 4-4 shows a sample ring topology network.
Ring topology LANs are based on Token Ring instead of Ethernet. Some may also
run Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)—a 100 Mbps fiber-optic network—instead
of copper-based cable. Rings are also used for some larger telecommunications
networks like Synchronous Optical Network (SONET), as well as in storage area
networks and some other applications.
DEFINE-IT! Physical Versus Logical
You’ll often hear the terms physical and logical bandied about when discussing
networks. These terms are used for quite a few different things. Physical, used in
the context of networking, means the actual, physical thing—what you can see and
feel. Logical means how something works, despite its appearance. For example, a
Token Ring network is physically wired in a star; each cable radiates out from the
MAU to each node. Logically, though, it’s a ring in which the signals travel from
node to node in a circular fashion. The fact that the signals physically travel from
the node to the MAU and back to the next node is usually unimportant when
thinking about the logical circular arrangement of the Token Ring network.
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
Ring topology, physical representation
Flow of
Ring topology, electrical representation
Figure 4-4. A sample ring topology network
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Comparing Rings to Stars and Buses
To compare rings to stars and buses, you first need to understand the basic concept of
how Ethernet networks work. Ethernet networks manage all the needed signals on the
network using a technique called CSMA/CD, which stands for Carrier Sense Multiple
Access with Collision Detection. CSMA/CD allows each node on a segment to transmit
data whenever it likes. If two nodes try to transmit at the same time, they each detect
this occurrence with their collision detection, and then both nodes wait a random
amount of time (counted in milliseconds) to retry their transmissions.
Considering how data packets flow on a network using CSMA/CD, you might
think that it could quickly become a confusing mess, with data and collision retries
causing more collisions. And you would probably think the potential exists for the
network to reach a saturation point where virtually nothing gets transmitted because
of excessive collisions. You would be right. For 10Base-T networks, this point occurs
somewhere around 3.5 Mbps (about one-third of the 10 Mbps theoretical maximum
that one node could achieve sending a stream of data to one other node). However,
the reality is that excessive collisions don’t pose much of a problem on most networks
these days for three reasons:
Most network traffic is bursty, and network nodes rarely consume all the
bandwidth on a particular network for any significant length of time.
Even on a network where excessive collisions are hampering performance,
breaking the network segment into smaller pieces and reducing the chances of
collisions proportionately is relatively easy.
Currently, most networks use switches instead of hubs. Switches prevent data
from colliding between their ports.
Ultimately, CSMA/CD does the job, and Ethernet is the predominant network
standard in the world because it works so well in practice and is so flexible.
Token Ring networks operate on a different principle than CSMA/CD. Token Ring
networks manage their bandwidth with a technique called token passing. Electrically, a
data entity called a token circulates around the logical network ring. The token has two
states: free and busy. When a node wants to transmit some data, it waits until the token
coming into it is in a free state, and then the node marks the token as busy. Next, after
adding to the token packet the data to be sent and the destination address, the node
sends the packet on to the next node. The next node, finding the token set to its busy
state, examines the destination address and passes the token on unchanged toward
the destination. Once the destination node receives the token, it gets its data, marks
the token as free, and sends it along to the next workstation. If the token somehow
becomes “lost,” then a workstation generates a new, free token automatically after a set
period of time passes.
The beauty of Token Ring networks is that they behave predictably as the
bandwidth needs of the nodes increase. Also, Token Ring networks are never bogged
down by collisions, which are impossible in such a network. However, these benefits
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
of Token Ring networks are offset somewhat by the greater overhead and processing
needs to handle the tokens. Overall, Token Ring networks perform about as fast as
Ethernet networks with similar bandwidth.
IBM invented the Token Ring network technology in the late 1960s, and the
first Token Ring networks started appearing in 1986. While quite a few Token Ring
LANs are installed (running at either 4 Mbps or 16 Mbps), you tend to see them
predominantly in companies that have a strong IBM relationship and, perhaps, also use
an IBM mainframe or minicomputer.
If you’re designing a new LAN, generally your best bet is to use Ethernet in a
star topology. You’ll find network equipment for this choice is readily available and
inexpensive. Many qualified installers are available for 100Base-T or 1000Base-T.
(There is little sense in installing 10Base-T these days; in fact, the equipment is no
longer available.) As noted earlier, for new networks, you should install Cat-5E cable
at a minimum, even if you’re initially going to use 100Base-T, so that you have a ready
upgrade path to the faster standards.
Use Token Ring if some external need is driving this choice, such as connectivity to
an old IBM mainframe that doesn’t support Ethernet.
Demystifying Network Cabling
Network cabling can be incredibly confusing. Not only are there many different types
of network cables—all with their own names and properties—but often you can select
different types of cables for a single type of network. For example, Ethernet networks
can use an astonishing number of cables, ranging from coaxial cable, to unshielded
or shielded twisted-pair cable, to fiber-optic cable. To design or support any given
network, you need to know your cable choices and how to maintain the particular type
of cable you select.
The focus in this section is to demystify cabling systems for you. It covers the
most common types of network cable—the kinds that you’ll find in 99 percent of the
networks in existence and that you’ll use for 99 percent of any new networks. When
appropriate, I will make passing reference to other cable types so that you know what
they are, but you should focus your attention on only a few ubiquitous cable types—
primarily the ones discussed here.
Overview of Basic Cable Types
The most common network cable types are unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) and
coaxial, followed by shielded twisted-pair (STP) and fiber optic. UTP is by far the most
common type in use today.
UTP cable consists of two or more pairs of plastic-insulated conductors inside a
cable sheath (made from either vinyl or Teflon). For each pair, the two conductors are
twisted within the cable, helping the cable resist outside electrical interference. Rigid
standards exist for how this cable is made, including the proper distance between each
twist of the pair. Figure 4-5 shows an example of UTP cable.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Twisted pairs
Figure 4-5. UTP cable
STP is similar to UTP, but STP has a braided metal shield surrounding the twisted
pairs to further reduce the chance of interference from electrical sources outside
the cable.
Coaxial cable consists of a central copper conductor wrapped in a plastic insulation
material, which is surrounded by a braided wire shield and, finally, wrapped in a
plastic cable sheath. (The coaxial cable used for televisions is similar in design.) Two
main types are used for networks: Thin Ethernet (10Base-2), which uses RG-58/AU or
RG-58/CU cable, and Thick Ethernet (10Base-5), which uses—you guessed it—a much
thicker coaxial cable called RG-8. Figure 4-6 shows an example of coaxial cable.
Fiber-optic cable uses a glass strand and carries the data signals as light instead of
electricity. It used to be that fiber-optic cable was required for higher-speed networks,
but this is changing, and often UTP or STP can be used instead. This is good news, as
fiber-optic cable is extremely expensive to purchase, install, and maintain. However,
fiber-optic cable can do one thing that copper cables cannot: span extremely long
distances. Fiber-optic cable can easily reach two miles at 100 Mbps. For this reason,
fiber-optic cable is often used to connect together buildings in a campus-like setting.
But other than when you need to span very long distances, you should avoid fiberoptic cable.
Twisted-Pair Cabling: The King of Network Cables
For a number of years, virtually all new networks have been built using some form of
twisted-pair cabling. Usually, Cat-5 grade twisted-pair cable is used, although you may
see some old networks in which Cat-3–grade cable is installed. UTP is used instead of
STP in almost all cases, because it’s less expensive, easier to install and maintain, and
Braided metal shield
Figure 4-6. Coaxial cable
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
not much affected by electrical interference (even without the shield). Both Ethernet
and Token Ring networks use twisted-pair cabling. Note that different Ethernet types
require different cables, and some higher-speed standards require STP.
When a new twisted-pair network is installed, a number of wiring components
form the complete run from the workstation to the hub. As shown in Figure 4-7, the
cabling starts at the hub, where a patch cable (usually 6 to 10 feet long, or 2 to 3 meters)
connects a port on the hub to a patch panel, using RJ-45 connectors on each end. On the
other side of the patch panel, the twisted-pair cable is hard-wired to the patch panel
connection, and then runs continuously to a wall jack (in an office, for instance) to
which it is also hard-wired. The wall jack contains an RJ-45 connector on its other side,
to which another patch cable connects, and then connects to the computer’s network
interface card (NIC). The distance from the connector on the hub to the connector on
the computer’s NIC cannot exceed 100 meters (328 feet) of cable length.
Anywhere twisted-pair cabling isn’t hard-wired, it uses RJ-45 modular connectors.
These are just like the modular connectors you see on telephones, but they are larger
and can accommodate up to eight wires. 10Base-T and 100Base-T use four of those wires
(two pairs: one for transmit and one for receive). 1000Base-T uses eight of those wires.
Figure 4-7. A typical twisted-pair network wiring arrangement
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 4-8. An RJ-45 connector
The eight wires in the RJ-45 connector are numbered from one to eight. If you were to
hold the connector in your left hand, with the pins in the connector facing up and pointed
forward, pin 1 of the connector is the one farthest away from you (see Figure 4-8).
Table 4-1 shows both the colors of standard Cat-5 cable that should be wired to each
pin and the 10/100Base-T assignments.
DCE and DTE Wiring
Most communications and network devices, including those designed to use RJ-45
connectors, are either data communications equipment (DCE) or data terminal equipment
(DTE). If you have DTE on one end, you need DCE on the other end. In a way, they’re
just like screws and nuts. Two screws don’t go directly together, and neither do two
nuts. The same principle applies here: DCE devices can’t talk directly to other DCE
devices, nor can DTE devices talk directly to DTE devices.
The RJ-45 jack on a hub or switch is DCE, while the RJ-45 jack on a computer’s
NIC is DTE. Note that you cannot communicate between DCE and DCE devices or
between DTE and DTE devices using a standard twisted-pair/RJ-45 cable that has been
Pin Number
Wire Base Color
Wire Stripe Color
10/100Base-T Use
Transmit negative
Transmit positive
Receive negative
Not used
Not used
Receive positive
Not used
Not used
Table 4-1. 10/100Base-T Wire Assignments for RJ-45 Connectors
Chapter 4:
Cable End 1
Understanding Network Cabling
Cable End 2
Wire Base Color Wire Stripe Color
Wire Base Color
Wire Stripe Color
Table 4-2. Twisted-Pair/RJ-45 Crossover Cable Wiring
wired as described in Table 4-1. For instance, you cannot use a standard twisted-pair
patch cable to connect directly from a network server to a workstation, or between two
workstations, because those are all DTE devices. Instead, you must purchase or prepare
a crossover cable for this connection. For 10/100Base-T networks, Table 4-2 shows the
wiring needed for a crossover cable.
TIP You can easily purchase all the tools and parts needed to make twisted-pair/RJ-45 cables,
and you should do so if you manage a network of any appreciable size (more than 50 workstations).
Knowing how to use these tools and parts to make patch cables or to replace a failed cable is
invaluable. This way, you can quickly make cables of any length you need. However, even though
you should be able to do this, and it can get you out of a jam quickly, you’re better off purchasing
premade twisted-pair/RJ-45 cables to use with your network. Professionally made cables are more
reliable and should give you fewer problems than the ones that you make yourself. Make your own
cables when you’re in a pinch.
What’s All This About Cable Categories?
Twisted-pair network cables are rated in terms of their capability to carry network
traffic. These ratings are defined by the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) and the
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and are referred to as Levels 1 and
2 and Categories 3, 4, 5, and 6. The different category levels are simply called Cat-3
through Cat-6. Table 4-3 shows the rated performance for each of these levels.
To achieve a particular performance rating in practice, you not only need cable
certified to that performance level, but you must observe other requirements, including
using connectors and patch cables that also meet that level of performance. For
example, for a Cat-5 installation, you must have Cat-5 cable, connectors, patch panels,
and patch cables. The entire circuit, from where the client computer connects to the hub
connection at the other end, needs to be tested and certified to the performance level
you need to achieve.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Level or Category
Rated Performance
Level 1
Not performance rated
Level 2
1 Mbps
Category 3
10 Mbps
Category 4
16 Mbps
Category 5
100 Mbps to 1 Gbps
Category 6
>1 Gbps
Table 4-3. Twisted-Pair Performance Designations
Coaxial Cable
Many older networks (those built prior to circa 1992) still have coaxial cable installed.
Most of this coaxial cable is the thin variety, which is RG-58, and is used with Thin
Ethernet. A few may also use the thicker RG-8 cable for Thick Ethernet, but this is rare.
Thin Ethernet cabling is wired in a bus arrangement, where each network segment
starts with a terminator that connects to the end of the cable, runs to each node in turn,
and ends with another terminator on the other end. The terminators contain special
50-ohm resistors, and the network cable will not work unless both are installed.
All the connectors in a Thin Ethernet system are BNC connectors, a quick-release
bayonet-style connector, both reliable and easy to use. BNC connectors come in a
variety of different styles to enable you to make just about any network connection you
need along the bus. T-connectors have two female BNC connectors on each side of the
crossbar of the T and a male BNC connector at the end of the shaft of the T. The two
female connectors are used for the RG-58 cable coming into and out of a node, while the
male connector attaches to a female BNC connector on the node’s Ethernet card. Barrel
connectors have two female connectors that are used to connect two Thin Ethernet wires
together. Barrel connectors are also available in different shapes, including an elbow bend
and a U-shaped bend, but usually the simple straight barrel connector is used. Figure 4-2,
earlier in the chapter, shows the various parts of a Thin Ethernet BNC cable system.
Coaxial cable has a central conductor, which can be either a solid, single copper wire
or a stranded set of wires. A white plastic material surrounds the central conductor,
which is surrounded by a metal foil and then a braided wire shield. The shield is finally
wrapped in a plastic cable sheath.
CAUTION Cable types must not be mixed in any coaxial network. If the network uses, say,
RG-58A/U, then that is what you must always use—not any other coaxial cable. Not mixing
RG-58A/U and RG-58/U is also a good idea because they have ever-so-slightly different signaling
characteristics. (A/U cable uses a stranded center conductor, while /U—sometimes called C/U—
uses a solid center conductor.)
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
Plenum Versus Nonplenum Cable
In a building, the area between the ceiling of the rooms and the roof of the
building is called the plenum space. Most buildings use ducts (big, flexible hoses)
to provide conditioned air to the rooms in the building, and they use the open
plenum space for air returned from the rooms. Typically, the air returned from the
rooms is partially reused by the air conditioning units to save energy because it’s
already cooled or heated as appropriate. Occasionally, a building uses ducts for
the return air, but the standard for office space is simply to use the plenum space.
Why is this discussion of office building air handling important in a chapter
about cables? Because to run network cable through the ceiling of a building that
uses the plenum for return air, you must either install the cable inside special
piping, called conduit piping (which is extremely expensive), or use plenum-grade
cable. The difference between nonplenum cable and plenum cable is that the
plastics used in plenum cable do not give off toxic fumes in case of a fire. Because
most office buildings reuse the air in the plenum space, the last thing you would
want to happen is to have the cables redistributing toxic fumes if a fire broke
out somewhere in the building’s roof or plenum space. A fire in a very small
area could cause the fumes from the burning cable to be distributed to a very
large area of the building because of how these ventilation systems work—most
definitely a Bad Thing.
Make sure to check with your cabling contractor for details about the
municipality in which you are installing network cable, but virtually all local
codes in the United States require either conduit or plenum-grade cable for
buildings with plenum air returns. It’s important for the cable installer to be able
to handle any required wall penetrations that cross one-hour, fire-rated corridors
or building fire zones. Those wall penetrations must be properly sealed to
maintain the building’s fire ratings.
Learning to make coaxial cables with BNC connectors is fairly easy, but you need
two special tools to make the job easy. First, you need a wire stripper that will cut the
various parts of the cable to the right length. Many good strippers can do this for you
automatically; check with your cable supplier to order one. You also need a crimper
that both can crimp the central BNC pin onto the central conductor of the cable and
crimp the metal sleeve that holds the entire connector onto the wire. Again, you can
buy special crimpers that can easily do both jobs. The best crimpers use a ratcheting
mechanism to make it easier to exert the proper amount of force for a solid, reliable
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Installing and Maintaining Network Cabling
Not only is the selection of a type of network cabling important, but the cabling must
be installed correctly. A cable plant installation should include all of the following:
Proper cable and connectors for the type of network, including documentation
of the components selected and used. (This is so that people adding to the
network in the future can make sure to match these selections.)
Complete labeling of all parts of the network, which should include the wall
plates, cables, patch panel ports, patch cables, and hub port assignments. This
is important for troubleshooting.
An as-built drawing of the building showing all the cabling routes and locations.
A certification report showing that all the installed cables operate properly
using a special network cable test device.
CAUTION For bus-type networks, users should be made aware that they should not touch
the coaxial cable for any reason whatsoever. The coaxial cable will cause all other nodes in the
segment to fail if the cable is separated. Make sure that facilities personnel also know this.
Making sure that a new cable plant installation is properly installed and well
documented will save you time over the long run. The network will be more reliable
and much easier to maintain and repair.
Choosing a Cabling Contractor
When building a new network, choosing a cabling contractor is extremely important.
A contractor who does high-quality, well-documented work is desirable and,
unfortunately, hard to find. Make sure that the contractor you choose has a lot of
experience installing networks like the one you’re installing. In addition, assess the
following issues as part of your selection:
How will the contractor document the cable plant? What are the contractor’s
standards, and do you think those documentation standards meet your needs?
(Remember that no such thing exists as too much documentation for cable plants.)
Will the contractor provide a set of as-built drawings showing how the cables
were installed in the building?
How does the contractor install the cable to avoid electrical interference sources
in the ceiling and walls?
Does the contractor recommend a wiring solution that combines
telecommunication wiring with data wiring? Generally, keeping these two
cable plants separate is best. They have different requirements and respond
differently to various building conditions. What works fine for telephones may
not work for network cable, and vice versa.
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
Has the contractor done any local installations that you can visit and view?
Does the contractor also provide speedy postinstallation support for new
wiring drops? This is important, as many wiring contractors who specialize
in new construction wiring are not good about returning to do the occasional
single drop for new node locations. Ask for references regarding this important
What equipment does the contractor use to certify the cable plant? What
certification documentation will the contractor provide upon completion?
Does the contractor also provide postinstallation troubleshooting services?
Make sure to spend time finding the best local cable contractors available to you
and compare them carefully. You may want to contact other companies like yours, or
computer user group members in your area to seek recommendations and learn about
their experiences with contractors. Try not to rely on only the references provided by
the contractor; even firms that do sloppy work can usually put together a few good
TIP For a large cabling job, make sure to negotiate an appropriate payment schedule. You should
aim for something along the lines of 30 percent on inception; 50 percent on completion; and
20 percent on delivery of as-built drawings, certification reports, and any other final deliverables.
Make sure to keep no less than 15 percent for these final deliverables to ensure that the cable
contractor provides them expediently. Contractors are notorious for dragging their feet on things like
this after the wiring itself is done, so you need to make sure you have a way to motivate them to get
everything done.
Solving Cable Problems
Cable problems can be extremely hard to diagnose and repair. Many cable problems are
intermittent or result in reduced network bandwidth for the affected nodes. Tracking
down the source of the problem can be difficult. At times, you may not even be aware
that there is a problem with the cables!
Problems with network cabling typically exhibit themselves in the following ways:
Abnormally slow network performance, particularly if one node is much
slower than other, similar nodes (for star networks) or if all nodes on one
segment have slower network performance than nodes on other segments (for
bus networks)
Sporadic disconnections from the network
Complete loss of network connectivity, which can also be an intermittent
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Troubleshooting Star Networks
Star networks are the easiest to troubleshoot. Because each node is on its own network
cable leading to the hub, you can often quickly isolate the problem to several lengths
of cable.
If you’re having trouble with a node on a star topology network, first determine if
something is wrong with the computer or the cabling. Move the computer to a different
location in the building and see if the same problems occur. If they do, then it’s a sure
bet the problem is in the computer, such as a failing NIC.
If the computer has normal network performance in a different location, try
replacing the patch cable leading from the node to the wall. These cables can often
become slightly damaged as furniture or computers are moved around.
Next, in the wiring closet, you can try connecting the patch panel from the node’s
location to a different port on the hub using a different patch cable. While wiring closet
patch panels are less likely to fail, because they aren’t moved around much, they can
still have poor connections or wiring that can become problematic over time.
Finally, if you have eliminated all other factors, consider replacing the cable
leading from the wiring closet to the node’s location. At this point, having a qualified
network cabling contractor to assist you can be extremely helpful. The contractor has
equipment to test the cable in the wall and to determine if it’s bad before pulling a
replacement cable through the building. For troubleshooting help, you should expect
to pay around $150 for a contractor to come out and test a length of cable. If the
contractor must pull a new cable all the way to the location, you’ll also need to pay for
labor and materials for that work.
Troubleshooting Coaxial Networks
Coaxial networks can be difficult to troubleshoot because many nodes share a single
segment of the network. Usually, a problem in one part of the segment affects all nodes
on the segment similarly.
By far, the most common problem on coaxial networks is loss of network
connectivity for all the nodes in a segment. Someone disconnecting the network cable
so it is not a continuous run invariably causes this loss. Find out who is moving to
another office, rearranging an office, painting an office, or performing other work of
this type is in the building. The chances are excellent the problem is there. If this fails,
then the troubleshooting job becomes much more difficult.
To track down cable breaks that aren’t obvious, you can try using a coaxial cable
scanner. These are hand-held instruments that can be attached to a coaxial network
cable to detect how far along the cable shorts or breaks are occurring. Keep attaching
the cable scanner to the network cable in different locations until you can track down
the problem.
Another approach is to test with an extra terminator for the network. Disconnect
the cable in a particular location and attach the terminator. See if the computers on
the new, smaller segment can log in to a server. (A server must be available in the
same segment; otherwise, you can use the PING command, if you’re using the TCP/IP
Chapter 4:
Understanding Network Cabling
protocol on your computers, and try to ping another workstation in the complete
segment.) If they can log in, then you know the problem is further on along the cable.
Move to a new location, attach the extra terminator, and try again. Eventually, you
will find two nearby locations where the terminator will allow the network to work
in one spot but not in the next spot. You should find the cable problem somewhere
between those two node locations. This approach requires patience, but it works
fine in a pinch.
More troublesome still on coaxial networks is a problem that is causing poor
network performance, but not causing any nodes to actually disconnect from the
network. Such problems are often intermittent and not easy to find with a cable
scanner. When you have this type of problem, your best approach is to come up with
a test that can quickly tell you how fast the nodes are communicating with the network.
For example, you can time how long it takes to copy a particular file from the server.
Next, use a terminator to close off a large part of the segment and perform the test
again. Keep moving the terminator and retrying the test until you discover which part
of the cable slows down network performance on the segment. Then either replace all
those portions or narrow your search further. This type of problem is usually caused
by a poor connection in one of the male cable-end BNC connectors, although a flaky
T-connector or barrel connector can also be the culprit. It’s usually fastest—providing
you narrow the problem to a small enough area—to simply replace all the cable and
connectors in that location.
Having a second person help you troubleshoot coaxial cable problems makes the
job much easier. One person remains in a fixed location at one end of the segment
with a test computer, and the other person moves from location to location with a
terminator. While the mobile troubleshooter maps out parts of the segment with the
terminator, the stationary person can quickly test to see if any individual parts of
the segment prove to be a source of the problem (communicating via a cell phone or
portable radio).
TIP Before going to the trouble of pulling a new section of cable through the wall or replacing
various cables and connectors, try simply running an extra cable from one location to another, such
as out the door of one room, down the hallway, and into the room of another. Then test to see if this
“mapping out” of the suspect portion of the segment fixes the problem. If it does, go ahead and have
a new cable run in the walls. If the problem is still there, you need to look further before replacing
cable and connectors.
As a general rule, troubleshooting cable problems requires a careful, step-by-step
approach and patience. For coaxial cable systems, troubleshooting is made more
difficult because a lot of network users are breathing down your neck while you’re
trying to concentrate and find the problem. You’re lucky if you can find a coaxial
network problem and solve it within an hour. Some problems may take several hours
(or more) to resolve.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about network cable systems. It covered the major
topologies in which networks are wired, how CSMA/CD and token passing work,
what types of cables are commonly used, and how they should be installed. You also
learned some tips about selecting cabling contractors and troubleshooting network
cable problems.
The next chapter expands on this discussion by focusing on creating small office
or home office networks. As part of that discussion, you will also learn about wireless
Chapter 5
Home Networking
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
lthough this book focuses on business networking, small office and home
office (SOHO) networking is growing in importance, and no introduction
to networking would be complete without at least of brief discussion of this
topic. This chapter provides an overview of how multiple computers in a home can be
networked together.
Benefits from Home Networking
Many of the benefits that businesses receive from having a network also apply to
homes that have multiple computers, as follows:
Printer sharing Printers can be shared. For example, some homes may have
both color inkjet and black-and-white laser printers. By sharing these printers
through a home network, each person can use the most appropriate printer for
any particular print job.
Connection sharing A high-speed Internet connection can be shared. Most
localities now have various high-speed Internet connections available in them,
including DSL and cable networks. Both types can be configured to support
multiple computers in a home. However, in order to take advantage of such
connections, the computers must already be networked within the home.
File sharing Files can be shared, and available disk space on different
computers can be used more effectively. What if a particular computer starts to
run out of storage space? With a home network, all the computers in the home
can use the available space on all of the other computers. This way, you don’t
need to spend money on a replacement computer or additional hard disk drive.
Files can easily be moved from one computer to another, and then simply
accessed over the network from any of the networked computers.
Easier backups Backup devices can be shared. With a home network, critical
files from all of the computers can be backed up over the network to a common
tape drive, or a CD or DVD burner. Alternatively, critical files from each system
can be copied onto one of the other systems as a form of backup (provided the
computers have enough free space for the backup files).
Easier access to resources If you install a wireless home network, you will
be able to more conveniently access the Internet and other home network
resources from a notebook computer in any room of the house, or even from
immediately outside the house.
I’m sure you can see how these benefits would be helpful for homes with more than
one computer. So, what is the best way to select and install a home network?
Chapter 5:
Home Networking
Choosing a Home Network Technology
Due to the growth in interest in home networking, many manufacturers offer special
home networking hardware and software. Additionally, in many cases, a home
network can take advantage of traditional networking hardware and software. This
section provides an overview of the various home networking options.
Standard Network Hardware
In the past, it wasn’t viable for home networks to use networking equipment designed
for businesses, because business network equipment was too expensive and was
designed to support only larger networks. A 24-port Ethernet hub would definitely be
overkill for a home with two or three computers!
These days, business network equipment is available in all shapes and sizes, and
low-end solutions designed for business use will often work quite nicely in most
homes. Small Ethernet hubs or switches that can economically support two to four
computers are readily available for around $50 to $75.
If you consider all the components that you would need for a small network, you’ll
find that you really don’t require all that much:
Central hub or switch You can install this hub in a convenient location, such
as where the home’s telephone wiring is located, or in a garage, closet, attic,
or basement. You will need an available power outlet for the hub in whatever
location you select.
Network interface card Each computer needs a network interface card
(NIC) that supports the type of network that you are installing. Most modern
computers come with built-in 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet cards. If your
computer doesn’t have one of these cards, it’s usually easy and inexpensive
to purchase and install a standard NIC. The cost for a good Ethernet NIC is
around $50 to $100. Also, there are good Ethernet interfaces that can connect to
a computer’s USB port, and these are similarly inexpensive and work well.
Cabling You will need to be able to cable the network. This could be the
hardest part of network setup, depending on the actual location of the
computers and the ease with which you can run network cable to each location.
If you aren’t comfortable running the cable yourself, a good electrician or
telephone wiring technician should be able to do the job for you. The cost of
professional wiring is about $100 to $150 per network cable run, and this price
should include all connectors, cable, and extras (such as wall plates and jacks).
Operating system The operating system on most home computers—usually
Windows XP or Vista, but possibly Windows 9X or Windows Me—is perfectly
capable of handling all of the networking duties that you’ll need for a home
network. If you configure the operating systems for a peer-to-peer network,
you’ll be able to share printers and files through the system’s built-in
networking software. No additional software is needed.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
All of these components are available separately, just as you would purchase them
for a business. You can also purchase home networking kits, which include all of the
components that you need, along with instructions for setting up the home network.
TIP Look for recent reviews of products for home networking and use those reviews to help
you decide which product meets your needs. Many computer magazines have up-to-date product
reviews, including reviews of home-oriented products. Check your local library or the magazine rack
at your local bookstore.
Phoneline and Powerline Networking Options
A point made in the preceding section bears repeating: The hardest part of installing
a home network is the wiring. Most people aren’t qualified to install network cabling,
nor do they want to start making holes in their walls and trying to figure out how to
route cabling through their house (or under their house). Many companies have come
out with alternative network options that eliminate the need for installing network
cabling, including phoneline and powerline networks.
Phoneline Networks
It’s possible to use a home’s existing telephone wiring to provide a network connection
between computers in a home. This option becomes attractive if there are telephone
connections near each computer. Intel, 3Com, D-Link, and other companies offer
phoneline network kits for the home.
A resource available on the Internet for phoneline networking is http://www
Powerline Networks
Some companies offer hardware that lets you network computers through a home’s
existing power wiring. The network equipment transmits its information through the
power wiring, and all that’s needed is to plug a special adapter into an available outlet
near each computer.
Be aware that powerline networks are subject to electrical noise from various types
of equipment in the home. (One reviewer, in fact, had his powerline network crash
every time his refrigerator’s compressor came on.) However, if this approach makes
sense in your home, give it a try. Just be sure to save your receipts and ensure you can
return the equipment if it doesn’t work in your home.
You can learn more about powerline networking at
Wireless Networking
By far, the most popular home networking option is to use wireless connections. Quite
a number of companies—including NETGEAR, D-Link, and Linksys—offer wireless
home networking equipment.
Chapter 5:
Home Networking
When using the latest technology, wireless networks run at a pretty fast clip. They
start at 11 Mbps (more than adequate for home use), and many variants go up to
54 Mbps. However, different factors in your home may limit the wireless network’s
speed or functionality. For example, an appliance may be the source of electrical
interference, or something in the walls might limit the signal strength between rooms
or floors. Make sure that you can return or exchange the equipment if it doesn’t work
properly in your home.
Wireless Standards
Three basic wireless standards are in wide use: 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g. It’s
counterintuitive, but in this particular case, 802.11a is a more advanced and faster
standard than 802.11b. 802.11g is essentially an upgrade to 802.11b and uses the same
frequencies to transmit data.
The 802.11g standard is presently leading the market, and many good and relatively
inexpensive solutions use this standard. You can even purchase units that combine
an 802.11g wireless access point (WAP), which is sort of like a wireless hub, with a
router intended to share a home’s high-bandwidth Internet connection among multiple
computers. The nice thing about such combination units is that you don’t need to pay
more for Internet service for multiple computers, since the router makes it appear as if
only one computer were on the connection.
NOTE A new wireless Ethernet standard called 802.11n is starting to emerge. It promises higher
speeds and potentially better range than the existing standards. This is still a draft standard,
expected to be finalized around the end of 2009. Products that use the draft standard are currently
available, but if there are changes to the draft 802.11n standard in its final release, these products
may not work properly with devices based on the final version.
Wireless Network Caveats
Before you install a wireless network, you should be aware of the following:
The predominant standards operate at different data speeds. 802.11b operates
at 11 Mbps; 802.11g and 802.11a both operate at up to 54 Mbps.
The particulars of the home and other installed equipment may interfere
with a wireless network. This is most pronounced with 802.11b and 802.11g,
which operate at 2.4 GHz—the same frequency as many portable telephones
and also near the frequency where microwave ovens operate. For example,
when I set up an 802.11b network at my home several years ago, I kept getting
dropped connections, and I couldn’t use my portable phone anywhere near the
wireless network connections because it caused audible interference. 802.11a
operates at 5 GHz, which may be less subject to interference in a home that has
interference in the 802.11b/g frequency.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
A wireless network potentially exposes you to security risks. People with
wirelenss network cards installed in their notebook computers can cruise
around looking for free connections. More likely is that your neighbors may
be able to “hitch a free ride” on your Internet connection through your home
network if you don’t secure it when you install it (this is more common than
you might think).
This area is continuing to evolve very rapidly, and a solution purchased today
may not be compatible with equivalent hardware available in a couple of years.
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned a little about the rapidly changing field of home
networking. In many cases, you can build a home network using inexpensive, off-theshelf parts designed for small business networks. The main problem with this approach
is cabling the house, although if all of the computers are in one room, this won’t be
too difficult. For more complicated setups, or to have more flexibility, consider using
alternative networking technologies.
NOTE For more on setting up a home network, see Home Networking Survival Guide by David
Strom (McGraw-Hill/Professional, 2001).
Generally, most people should first investigate using wireless home networking
equipment. This equipment works well in many homes, is inexpensive, and is well
supported for this purpose. In certain cases, it may be appropriate to use standard
wired networking equipment or even phoneline or powerline networking equipment.
As always, assess your needs carefully and make sure that you can exchange or return
any home network equipment if it doesn’t work properly in your home.
Chapter 6
Network Hardware
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
f network wiring constitutes the nervous system of a network, then the devices
discussed in this chapter represent the various organs. These network devices—
repeaters, routers, hubs, and such—are responsible for moving data from one
network cable to another. Each device has different properties and uses. A good network
design uses the correct device for each of the various jobs the network must fulfill.
In this chapter, you learn about essential networking hardware, including the
Hubs and concentrators
Short-haul modems for short interbuilding connections
It is essential that you understand these basic components that go into building a
network, as well as the job each performs.
Directing Network Traffic
The critical test of any network design is its capability to direct network traffic from
one node to another node. You must connect the network’s various devices in a
configuration that enables the network to pass signals among the devices as efficiently
as possible, taking into account the type of network and the different connectivity
requirements for the network. The following are the basic connection devices:
Repeaters These extend the distance that network traffic can travel over a
particular type of network media.
Hubs (concentrators) These devices are used to connect nodes to one
another when you use a star topology, such as 100Base-T.
Bridges These are basically intelligent repeaters that direct traffic from one
segment to another only when the traffic is destined for the other segment.
Switches These form fast point-to-point connections for all the devices
connected to them. Connections from one port on a switch to another port are
made on an as-needed basis and are not broadcast to ports that aren’t involved
in the traffic. By limiting the connections made, switches help eliminate traffic
collisions caused by noncommunicating segments.
These can intelligently route network traffic in a variety of important
Chapter 6:
Understanding Network Hardware
Putting together all the necessary pieces in the proper way is the art of network
design. Chapter 15 discusses important aspects of assembling these devices so they work
together optimally, but first you need to know what they are and what they can do. The
following sections discuss these essential network devices.
A repeater is a device that extends the distance of a particular network run. It takes a
weak network signal in on one side, boosts the signal, and then sends it out its other
side. You most often see repeaters on Thin Ethernet networks, but they are available for
virtually any network connection. For instance, if you need to run a 100Base-T Cat-5
cable longer than 100 meters (328 feet), a repeater enables you to double that distance.
Repeaters operate at the physical layer of the OSI networking model. They do
not have the intelligence to understand the signals they are transmitting. Repeaters
merely amplify the signal coming in either side and repeat it through their other side.
(Remember that they also amplify any noise on the cable!) Repeaters are used to connect
only the same type of media, such as 10Base-2 Thin Ethernet to 10Base-2 Thin Ethernet,
or Token Ring twisted-pair to Token Ring twisted-pair. In practice, repeaters are usually
used with 10Base-2 networks (Thin Ethernet), which are discussed in Chapter 4.
Repeaters do have a small amount of intelligence that can be useful. They can
separate one of their connections from the other when there is a problem. For example,
consider two segments of Thin Ethernet that are connected using a repeater. If one of
those segments is broken, the repeater allows the good segment to continue working
within itself. Users on the good segment will be unable to connect to resources on
the broken segment, but they can still use the good segment without trouble. (But
remember that this capability does you little good if your servers are on the broken
segment and your workstations are on the good segment!) Figure 6–1 shows a network
extension using repeaters.
Figure 6-1. Using repeaters to extend network length (10Base-2 Thin Ethernet shown)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Hubs and Concentrators
Intelligent LAN concentrators—usually just called concentrators or, even more simply,
hubs—are used to connect network nodes to network backbones. Nodes are connected
to hubs in a physical star fashion (cables fan out from the hub to each node), whether
they are used for a star topology or a ring topology network (these topologies are
discussed in Chapter 4). A simple network might consist of just a hub or two; smaller
networks usually don’t require a network backbone.
Hubs are available for virtually any network media type, with the higher-end units
using replaceable modules to support multiple media types. For example, you can
purchase a high-end hub chassis that can house both Ethernet and Token Ring modules.
You can purchase hubs in a variety of sizes, ranging from those that support only
2 workstations to those that support more than 100 workstations. Many network
designers use stackable hubs, which usually support 24 node connections each. These
hubs are often used in concert with switches, which are discussed in the next section.
Hubs have two important properties:
Hubs echo all data from each port to all the other ports on the hub. Although
hubs are wired in a star fashion, they actually perform electrically (logically)
more like a bus topology segment in this respect. Because of this echoing, no
filtering or logic occurs to prevent collisions between packets being transmitted
by any of the connected nodes.
Hubs can automatically partition (in this context, cut off) a problematic node
from the other nodes—in effect, shutting down that node. Such partitioning
occurs if a cable short is detected, if the hub port is receiving excessive packets
that are flooding the network, or if some other serious problem is detected
for a given port on the hub. Automatic partitioning keeps one malfunctioning
connection from causing problems for all of the other connections.
Hubs are becoming much more sophisticated. They often have a number of
advanced built-in features, including the following:
Built-in management, where the hub can be centrally managed over the
network, using SNMP or other network management protocols and software.
Autosensing of different connection speeds. For example, Ethernet hubs that
can automatically detect and run each node at either 10 Mbps (10Base-T) or
100 Mbps (100Base-T) are common.
High-speed uplinks that connect the hub to a backbone. These usually operate
at ten times the basic speed of the hub. (For example, for a 100 Mbps hub, the
uplink ports might run at 1 Gbps.)
Built-in bridging and routing functions, which make it unnecessary to use
separate devices to perform bridging and routing.
Built-in switching, where nodes on the hub can be switched instead of shared.
Chapter 6:
Understanding Network Hardware
When ordering a hub, it’s important to know how many nodes you want to
connect, how much bandwidth each requires, and what type of network backbone is
being used. Backbones can be anything from shared 10 Mbps Thin Ethernet, to 100
Mbps 100Base-TX, to higher-speed backbones. Your choice of a backbone technology
depends on the total amount of bandwidth that you need and the various other
network design criteria that you must meet.
Each hub is a separate collision domain, or an area of the network in which collisions
can occur. Connecting all hubs together in some fashion generally results in a larger
collision domain, encompassing all the hubs. The exception to this rule is a configuration
where all the separate hubs are connected to a switch (see the next section), which keeps
each hub in its own collision domain. Figure 6–2 shows an example of a network
using hubs.
Switches, as their name implies, can switch connections from one port to another, and
they can do so rapidly. They are connection-oriented and dynamically switch among
their various ports to create these connections. Think of a train yard, with many trains
coming in on some tracks and leaving on other tracks. The yard manager orders the
Figure 6-2. A typical hub arrangement
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
track “switches” to take place so the trains can get to their destination. A network
switch is much like the yard manager, except that the switch directs packets rather than
trains and uses Ethernet cabling rather than train tracks to transport its cargo.
NOTE Switches are a lot like bridges, except that they have many ports and otherwise look like
hubs. You might think of a switch as a bridge with multiple ports.
Because switches form one-to-one connections between any two ports, all the ports
coming into a switch are not part of a single collision domain. In this sense, the switch
acts as a sort of super bridge (bridges are discussed in the next section).
Switches are often used to connect a number of hubs to a much faster backbone. For
example, suppose that you have 10 hubs, each with 24 workstation nodes connected. If
you simply connect all the hubs together on a common backbone, all 240 workstations
would share a single collision domain, which could hurt performance quite a bit.
Instead, a much better approach is to install a 12-port switch and connect each hub to
one of the ports on the switch. For instance, it is common to use 100Base-T Ethernet
for workstation connections, but 1000Base-T (or some other faster network connection)
for the backbone. This allows all the traffic being generated by each of the 10 hubs to
continue to run at about a 100 Mbps connection speed to the servers, even though all
the hubs are sharing the backbone. Figure 6–3 illustrates this approach.
NOTE Switches often are used simply to connect two given ports (such as traffic from port 5 to
port 21, for instance), but they are also intelligent enough to echo certain types of broadcast packets
to all ports simultaneously.
Figure 6-3. A network built using hubs and switches
Chapter 6:
Understanding Network Hardware
Is It Better to Use Fewer Large Switches or More Small Switches?
Larger switches that can host hundreds of connections within a single chassis are
generally more powerful than their smaller 24-port siblings, and they tend to
have more built-in redundancy, such as redundant power supplies in the unit and
so forth. However, sometimes it’s easier and less expensive to build a network
using smaller 24-port switches. You can simply purchase an extra 24-port unit as
a hot-swap backup (a backup unit that can be quickly swapped in to take the place
of a failed unit) that you can manually implement at a moment’s notice. The only
real disadvantage to this approach is that the redundancy is not automatic. If one
24-port switch fails, you’ll need to move its connections to the backup switch. In
contrast, a larger unit can switch to redundant features automatically. As always,
consider such trade-offs carefully for your particular company and its needs.
Switches have become inexpensive and are blazingly fast. For local area network
(LAN) connections, switches make more sense than hubs, partly because of their cost
and their relative simplicity. In fact, purchasing bridges has become difficult, as switches
now dominate the market.
Additionally, most new networks eschew hubs in favor of a 100 percent–switched
approach. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to purchase hubs any longer, because
manufacturers typically offer only switches. (You may still be able to purchase very
small hubs, with four to eight ports, but even in these small applications, switches are
preferable and not much more expensive.)
It’s important that you understand the difference between hubs and switches, because
you may still encounter hubs installed in existing networks. For new networks, you will
use switches exclusively. Doing so dramatically reduces the opportunity for network
packet collisions, which are more likely in a hub arrangement.
Bridges are, in a nutshell, more intelligent versions of repeaters. Bridges can connect
two network segments together, but they have the intelligence to pass traffic from one
segment to another only when that traffic is destined for the other segment. Bridges are used
to segment networks into smaller pieces. Some bridges can span different networking
systems and media, such as from coaxial Thin Ethernet to twisted-pair Token Ring.
As you might recall, repeaters operate at the physical layer (layer 1) of the OSI
networking model. Bridges operate one layer higher, at the data-link layer (layer 2).
Bridges examine the media access control (MAC) address of each packet they encounter
to determine whether they should forward the packet to the other network. Bridges
contain address information about all the parts of your network, through either a static
routing table that you program or a dynamic, learning-tree system that discovers all the
devices and addresses on the network automatically.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
NOTE Because they operate below the network layer at which protocols such as TCP/IP and IPX/
SPX are defined, bridges don’t care about the network protocols they’re carrying. They care only
about the information required to operate at the data-link layer. This means that whether or not data
is carried over the bridge depends on its MAC address.
You should use bridges only on smaller networks, or in cases where you would
otherwise use a repeater, but would benefit from keeping traffic on one segment from
being transmitted on the other segment unnecessarily. Often, routers or switches
offer solutions that perform better and create fewer problems, so examine these other
options before choosing a bridge.
Just as bridges are basically more intelligent repeaters, routers are more intelligent
bridges. Routers operate at the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI model, and they are
far more intelligent than bridges in sending incoming packets off to their destination.
Because routers operate at the network layer, a connection across a router requires only
that the higher layers use the same protocols. The router can translate from any of the
protocols at layers 1 through 3 to any other protocols at layers 1 through 3 (provided
the router has been configured and designed to do so). Routers can connect both similar
and dissimilar networks. They are often used for wide area network (WAN) links.
Routers actually become a node on a network, and they have their own network
address. Other nodes send packets to the router, which then examines the contents of
the packets and forwards them appropriately. For this reason, routers often have fast
microprocessors—usually of the reduced instruction set computer (RISC) type—and
memory built into them to perform this job. Routers can also determine the shortest
route to a destination and use it. They can perform other tricks to maximize network
bandwidth and dynamically adjust to changing problems or traffic patterns on a
NOTE To learn about the networks to which they’re connected, and what they should do to route
various types of packets properly, routers use a process called discovery. During the discovery
process, the router carefully “listens” to traffic on its ports and also sends out advertisement packets
letting other devices know of the router’s presence.
Routers form the backbone of the Internet. When you use the TRACERT command
to trace the route from a node to a destination, most of the addresses that appear for the
hops are actually different routers, each one forwarding the packet to the next until it
reaches its destination.
NOTE Routers can route only protocols that are routable. AppleTalk, NetBIOS, and NetBEUI are
examples of protocols that are not routable, while TCP/IP and IPX/SPX are routable.
Chapter 6:
Understanding Network Hardware
Figure 6-4. A network using routers
Routers must be programmed to function correctly. They need to have the addresses
assigned to each of their ports, and various network protocol settings must be configured.
Routers are usually programmed in one of two ways:
Most routers include an RS-232C port. You can connect a terminal or PC with
terminal emulation software to this port and program the router in text mode.
Most routers have network-based software that enables you to program the
router, often using graphical tools or a simple web interface.
The method you use depends on the router and your security needs. (You might
want to disable network-based router programming so that unauthorized users cannot
change the router’s configuration.) Figure 6–4 shows an example of a network that uses
Gateways are application-specific interfaces that link all seven layers of the OSI model
when they are dissimilar at any or all levels. For instance, if you need to connect a
network that uses one of the OSI networking models to one using IBM’s Systems
Network Architecture (SNA) model, use a gateway. Gateways can also translate from
Ethernet to Token Ring, although simpler solutions than gateways exist if you need
such a translation. Because gateways must translate so much, they tend to be slower
than other solutions, particularly under heavy loads.
The primary use for gateways today is for handling e-mail. POP3 and SMTP are
two examples of protocols that are handled by gateways. Most e-mail systems that can
connect to disparate systems either use a computer set up as a gateway for that chore
or let the e-mail server handle the gateway chores itself.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Protecting a Network with Firewalls
Firewalls are hardware devices that enforce your network security policies. Firewalls
often are installed with routers. For instance, firewalls are sometimes installed with
routers to create internetwork connections. In most routers designed for small office/
home office use, a firewall is part of the router itself. Equipment for larger networks
still keeps these duties in separate pieces of equipment, however.
A firewall is a hardware device (which can be a computer set up for the task that
runs firewall software or a dedicated firewall device that contains a computer within
it) that sits between two networks and enforces network security policies. Generally,
firewalls sit between a company LAN and the Internet, but they can also be used
between LANs or WANs.
There are basically two different types of firewalls:
A network-based firewall operates at the network level (layer 3) and usually
implements a technique called packet filtering, where packets between networks
are compared against a set of rules programmed into the firewall before the
packets are allowed to cross the boundary between the two networks. Packetfiltering rules can allow or deny packets based on source or destination address,
or based on TCP/IP port.
An application-based firewall usually acts in a proxy role between the two
networks, such that no network traffic passes directly between the two
networks. Instead, the firewall (usually called a proxy firewall) acts as a proxy
for the users of one network to interact with services on the other network.
This proxy interaction is usually done using a technique called network
address translation (NAT), where the network addresses on the internal
network are not directly exposed to the external network. In the applicationbased model, the proxy firewall takes care of translating the addresses so that
the connections can take place.
NOTE Firewalls do not provide a network security panacea. The best firewall in the world won’t
protect your network from other security threats, such as some discussed in Chapter 11. However,
they are an important part of network security, particularly for LANs connected to the Internet.
Firewalls come in all shapes and sizes, and range in cost from as little as a few
hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. In fact, these days, you can even find small
personal firewalls for home use that cost less than $200 for hardware-based devices, or
around $40 for firewall software that can be installed on a home computer.
Different firewall devices have various features, and might encompass both
network-based and application-based techniques to protect the network. Firewalls also
usually serve as an audit point for the traffic between the two networks, using logging
and reporting tools to help the administrator detect and deal with inappropriate
network traffic.
Firewalls are discussed in the context of network security in Chapter 11.
Chapter 6:
Understanding Network Hardware
Connecting RS-232 Devices with Short-Haul Modems
While some might not consider a short-haul modem to be a true network device, it is a
device that your network might require to provide point-to-point connectivity between
a workstation or terminal and another device. Short-haul modems (sometimes called
line drivers) enable you to connect two distant RS-232C devices to one another.
Standard RS-232C cables are limited in distance to 15 to 30 meters (50 to 100 feet).
Short-haul modems allow the same connection to run as far as 5 miles using simple
telephone-grade twisted-pair cabling.
Short-haul modems can often be perfect solutions when a computer needs terminal
access to a remote device. For example, a user might need to access a terminal on a PBX
telephone system, which uses an RS-232C port. You have two options to provide this
remote access:
Install regular modems on each end and use a telephone connection to connect
from the workstation to the PBX.
Use two short-haul modems and run a twisted-pair cable between the two
Depending on how frequently access is needed and how distant the device is, either
approach can be good. Generally, short-haul modems are preferred when the two
devices often or always need to be connected, and running a twisted-pair wire between
the locations is not prohibitively expensive or difficult. Short-haul modems are fairly
inexpensive, at about $100 each.
In most short-haul modem systems, two pairs of wire connect each short-haul
modem, although one-pair variants exist. With the two-pair variety, one pair is used to
transmit data and the other to receive data. Most short-haul modems are full duplex,
allowing transmission to take place in both directions simultaneously.
To hook up two devices using short-haul modems, you use a standard RS-232C
cable to connect each device to its short-haul modem. Then you wire the twisted-pair
wire to the short-haul modem, using the instructions that come with the modem.
Finally, most short-haul modems require external power, so you need to plug them into
a power outlet. Figure 6-5 shows an example of a short-haul modem connection.
TIP If you frequently do RS-232C interfacing, you should invest in a device called a breakout
box. This is a small device that has two RS-232C connectors on each end. In the box, each of
the RS-232C pin signals is represented with a light-emitting diode (LED). Special patch posts and
switches in the breakout box enable you to reconfigure the RS-232C connection on the fly. Breakout
boxes can be invaluable for achieving RS-232C communications between two devices that aren’t
communicating. They can show what is actually happening with the signals and enable you to try
different cable configurations dynamically. Once you use the breakout box to figure out how to make
the devices communicate, a permanent cable can then be made to those specifications.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Twisted-pair cable
Figure 6-5. Short-haul modem connection
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about the key pieces of hardware that make up most
networks. It is important for you to be familiar with the capabilities of all these
types of network hardware, which should form the basis of any network design or
performance-tuning efforts. Be aware that you need to know about other types of
network hardware as well. Additional important network hardware is discussed in
later chapters. In particular, you should also know about remote access hardware,
hardware that supports WAN links, and certain network functions that are carried out
on different types of network servers.
Chapter 7 discusses the different technologies used to connect networks to other
networks, usually over large distances. WAN connections are used to connect to the
Internet and also to form part-time or full-time connections between LANs, such as
from one company location to another.
Chapter 7
Making WAN Connections
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
any companies have multiple locations that need to share network
resources. For example, maybe the company’s accounting system runs at the
headquarters building where the accounting and MIS staff are located, but
the warehouse across town still needs access to the accounting system for inventory
picking tickets, data entry, and other order fulfillment and inventory tasks. Or, perhaps
the company uses a groupware system such as Lotus Notes that requires regular
updates of information and messages from one site to another. In the real world, the
situation can become even more complex. Some companies have offices all around the
globe, and each office has different requirements both to access and update data in
other locations.
All of these are situations in which a wide area network (WAN) can be useful. Certainly,
in a pinch, multiple offices can exchange data by using Federal Express and identical
tape machines, CD-R discs, external USB hard disks, or other media. Sure, it’s possible
to simply send the data back and forth like this (assuming the application supports
exchanging data in this fashion), but such an arrangement has some drawbacks—the
biggest one being that it is pretty slow.
There are many ways to connect local area networks (LANs) in one location to
LANs in another location, and making such connections is the subject of this chapter.
But before looking into the different WAN technologies, you should assess your
networking requirements. Because of the cost and the time required to implement and
maintain a WAN, you usually do not want to install one unless it’s the only way to
meet your needs.
Determining WAN Needs
WAN links are almost always fairly expensive to maintain. Bandwidth needs increase
over time; and these upgrades are costly. Also, WAN links are generally much more
prone to trouble than LANs, because many additional possible points of failure exist.
For these reasons, it’s important to assess the need for a WAN carefully, and then study
the different options available, their costs, and the trade-offs involved.
Costs can vary wildly between different technologies, speeds, and other factors
(including your location), so you need to rely heavily on cost and availability data
from local providers for your own WAN analysis. Plus, prices and availability change
almost every week, so make sure to get current data from your local providers before
committing to a particular WAN technology.
TIP Often, the need for a WAN can be satisfied using a technology called virtual private networks
(VPNs). A VPN is a private network created through a public network, typically the Internet. A VPN
is called “private” because all of the packets between two points are encrypted, so even though the
packets are transmitted over a public network, their information remains secure. And because VPNs use
the Internet, they’re usually much cheaper than dedicated WAN links, and they often can make use of
existing Internet connections for two (or more) locations. VPNs are discussed in detail in Chapter 10.
Chapter 7:
Making WAN Connections
Analyzing Requirements
A company’s first WAN is usually driven by a particular application, such as an
accounting system. Then once the WAN is operational, the company begins to use the
WAN for other applications.
If you fail to take into account all the uses that the company might have for
the WAN, you could find that you’ve invested a lot of money in a solution that
doesn’t meet all of your needs. Here are some questions to help you determine the
requirements for your company’s WAN:
What are the locations that will participate in the WAN and what kind of WAN
services are available to them? A sales office in Tahiti, for instance, is unlikely
to be able to purchase the latest xDSL line.
How much data needs to be transferred from each site to each other site, and in
what time frame?
How quickly does the data need to be transferred?
Does the data transfer need to be synchronous or can it be asynchronous? For
example, a warehouse clerk who is entering records directly into an accounting
system located at another site requires a synchronous (real-time) connection,
while a restaurant that needs to upload sales data to its headquarters at some
time each night needs only an asynchronous connection.
When do the data transfers need to be accomplished? Do they need to occur 24
hours a day, 7 days a week? Or do they need to occur once every 30 minutes, or
follow some other schedule?
What are the budget constraints, and what are the costs of the different
available alternatives?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can determine whether you
need a switched or dedicated link, and if it should be public or private. These issues are
discussed in the following sections.
Switched or Dedicated?
A switched WAN link is one that is not active all the time. For instance, a dial-up
modem connection or an ISDN connection from one location to another is a switched
connection. These are connections that are formed only when you need them, and you
usually pay for the time the connection is open, rather than the amount of data you’re
able to transmit over the connection. Figure 7-1 is an example of a switched WAN link.
Switched links can be either connection-based or packet-based. A connection-based
switched link forms a connection as needed and makes a fixed amount of bandwidth
available over that link. A packet-based switched link sends data packets into a network
cloud in which they can follow a number of paths to their destination, and then emerge
from the cloud. Packet-switched networks can be more reliable because the data can
take many different paths, but you are not guaranteed that each packet will arrive in
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Switched dial-up
Figure 7-1. A switched WAN link
a certain amount of time. A connection-based switched link just gives you one “pipe”
from your source to your destination, but you can control what goes into the pipe and
how long it will take to get to its destination.
A dedicated WAN link is one that is always up and running. Examples of dedicated
WAN connections are DS1 (T-1) lines, xDSL lines, and leased telephone lines. You use a
dedicated connection when you need the connection to be up all the time or when the
overall economics show that such a connection is cheaper than a switched link. Figure 7-2
illustrates a dedicated WAN link.
Figure 7-2. A dedicated WAN link
Chapter 7:
Making WAN Connections
Private or Public?
A private network is one that is exclusive to a particular company. No other company’s
data is sent over the private network. The advantages are that the data is secure, you
can control how the network is used, and you can predict how much bandwidth you
have available. A public network (or external network), such as the Internet, is a network
through which many companies’ data passes. Public networks are less secure than
private networks, but the advantages are that public networks are less expensive to use
and you don’t need to maintain the external network yourself.
Use a public network under the following conditions:
You don’t care if data occasionally takes longer to reach its destination or if the
delay between sites is relatively unpredictable.
You want the lowest cost network connection possible.
The data does not need to be secure or you have the ability to make it secure
over the public network. (Technologies such as virtual private networks or
some types of data encryption can provide such security.)
Use a private network under these conditions:
Data security is of utmost concern.
You have a large, experienced staff to set up and maintain the public network.
Cost is unimportant relative to the benefits that the network brings.
You need full, reliable control over the network’s bandwidth use.
Comparing WAN Connection Types
Now that you understand some basics of WAN links, the remainder of this chapter
provides an overview of the available WAN technologies, ranging from telephone
connections to very high-speed, high-bandwidth connections.
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)
Plain old telephone service (POTS) is the telephone service everyone knows. While
it does not technically qualify as a WAN connection (at least as most people think
of WANs), POTS can still serve to link two or more sites together for certain lowbandwidth needs. Although it is among the slowest methods of establishing a network
connection, POTS is ubiquitous and easily used throughout the world.
POTS is carried over one set of twisted-pair wires (in other words, just two wires).
In some cases, two sets of twisted-pair wires are used, but only the two main wires
carry the telephone signal and ring signals. The other two wires are used for other
features, such as backlighting a keypad on a phone or providing a message-waiting
light with some PBX systems. POTS connections currently use RJ-11 telephone jacks,
which simply snap into place.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
The maximum theoretical speed of basic analog POTS is 33.6 Kbps. Many factors
can decrease this speed; chief among them is line quality. Telephone lines with static
typically do not connect at the top speed of 33.6 Kbps, and they might lose their
connections unexpectedly, lose data being transmitted, or pause for excessive periods
of time as bursts of static inhibit the ability to transfer data.
When you are using POTS to establish a network connection, having matched
modems at both ends is optimal. Matched modems from the same manufacturer
more easily negotiate the highest possible data transmission rates and often can
support “step-down” modes, which automatically use a slower speed when line noise
unexpectedly becomes a problem.
POTS transmits analog signals, not digital ones. The data sent between systems is
converted from digital data to analog data using a modem. The word modem is actually
an acronym based on the device’s function—modulator/demodulator. At each end of
the connection, the sending system’s modem modulates the digital data into an analog
signal and sends the signal over the telephone line as a series of audible sounds. At the
receiving end, the modem demodulates the audible analog signal back into digital data
for use with the computer.
With much higher speed Internet connections being ubiquitous these days, POTS is
not often used for transmitting data, except in extremely rare cases. However, given its
heavy past use, and the remote chance that you might run into a system using a POTS
connection for some type of data transmission, you should be familiar with it.
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. It is a high-speed digital
communications network based on existing telephone services. Although it has existed
for more than ten years, because of extensive upgrades required at telephone company
central offices (COs), it has not become widely available until recently. Even now, it
is usually available only in larger metropolitan areas. ISDN has not been as widely
adopted as was once hoped. It has been eclipsed by xDSL and other connection types.
ISDN comes in two basic forms: the Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and the Primary
Rate Interface (PRI). The ISDN-BRI connection is made up of three channels. Two
channels are called bearer channels and carry data at speeds of 64 Kbps per channel.
Bearer channels can also carry voice calls—that is, spoken telephone calls. (Each
bearer channel can carry one voice call at a time.) The third channel, called a data
channel, carries call setup information and other overhead communications necessary
to manage the two bearer channels. The data channel carries 16 Kbps of data. Bearer
channels are abbreviated as B-channels; the data channel is abbreviated as a D-channel.
Thus, an ISDN-BRI connection is often called a 2B+D connection, which reflects the
number and the type of channels it contains.
An ISDN-PRI connection is made up of 24 B-channels and one D-channel. A PRI
connection can carry a total of 1.544 Mbps—the same amount as a T-1 line.
Chapter 7:
Making WAN Connections
NOTE Different flavors of PRI configurations are available in different parts of the world. The
configuration named 24B+D is common, and you might also see variations such as 22 B-channels with
a 64 Kbps D-channel, 24 56 Kbps B-channels, or even 30 standard B-channels (totaling 1.92 Mbps).
ISDN connections are usually formed as needed—they are switched. For a WAN
link, you use on-demand ISDN routers at each end, which can “dial up” the other
router when data is pending. Because ISDN has extremely fast call setup times, ISDN
connections are formed much more quickly than POTS connections—usually in less
than a second.
NOTE Although many systems can also use the Internet for videoconferencing, most firms
rely on ISDN as the mainstay connection type for these types of calls. If you are setting up a
videoconferencing system, you should plan on installing at least two BRI connections (three is
better) and purchase a videoconferencing system that supports at least 256 Kbps of bandwidth.
Videoconferencing calls over a single BRI (128 Kbps) are fairly poor quality, two BRIs (256 Kbps)
are much better, and three BRI (384 Kbps) connections are very good. Note also that both ends of a
call need to support the same speed and number of BRIs.
ISDN pricing changes occur regularly. ISDN prices also vary considerably in
different parts of the country. Getting full pricing information from your own regional
Bell operating company (RBOC) before choosing ISDN is important. Then, using your
projected usage data, you should be able to calculate the cost to use ISDN. Generally,
the installation of an ISDN-BRI line, assuming no wiring changes are necessary, costs
about $150. Some RBOCs might waive the installation charge if you sign an agreement
to keep the ISDN line for one to two years.
Monthly ISDN usage charges and long-distance ISDN call charges are similar to
POTS charges. But remember that connecting with two B-channels is equivalent to
making two separate calls, and whatever charge exists for a single call will double
when you use both B-channels.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
The digital subscriber line (DSL) connection type has become widely available. A
number of different flavors of DSL exist. Each of these types begins with a different
initial or combination of initials, which is why DSL is often called xDSL. The available
flavors include the following:
ADSL Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) allows for up to 8 Mbps of data to be
received and up to 1 Mbps of data to be sent. However, many RBOCs offer
only up to 1.5 Mbps to be received (which is called the downstream direction)
and 256 Kbps to be sent (called the upstream direction), and distance from the
RBOC’s local CO (the place where the RBOC equipment is located) might
affect the speeds available at any particular location. At further distances,
connections might be available only at much slower speeds (although in all
cases, ADSL is still faster than POTS connections using a modem).
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
HDSL High-speed DSL (HDSL) allows from 768 Kbps to 2.048 Mbps
connections between two sites. HDSL is symmetric, meaning that the available
upstream bandwidth and downstream bandwidth are the same.
RADSL Rate-adaptive DSL (RADSL) allows for 600 Kbps to 12 Mbps of
data to be received and 128 Kbps to 1 Mbps of data to be sent. RADSL is
SDSL Symmetric DSL (SDSL) allows bidirectional rates varying from 160 Kbps
to 2.048 Mbps.
VDSL Very-high-speed DSL (VDSL) allows up to approximately 52 Mbps of
bandwidth. VDSL can be either symmetric or asymmetric.
IDSL ISDN-based DSL (IDSL) speed is about the same as ISDN. IDSL is used
for data almost exclusively, because it’s an always-on connection to a single
destination (as discussed earlier, ISDN can be used to place calls to other ISDN
A lot of interest surrounds xDSL, particularly ADSL. The cost per megabyte of data
transmitted is far less than POTS and is even considerably less expensive than ISDN.
Presently, xDSL is available in most cities in the United States.
In this section, you learn about how xDSL works and about when you might be
able to implement its high-bandwidth capabilities. This discussion focuses on ADSL
because it is the most prevalent and the least expensive. For WAN links, however, you
should consider SDSL if your WAN data needs are similar in both the downstream and
upstream directions.
How xDSL Works
The twisted-pair copper wire that carries POTS is capable of carrying signals with up
to a 1 MHz spread of frequencies. However, POTS uses only 8 KHz of that potential
frequency bandwidth. The RBOC’s CO switch contains a card that interfaces with the
analog signal that the twisted-pair wire sends to the phone company’s digital network.
This interface card allows only 4 KHz of signaling frequencies in each direction,
even though the wire itself is capable of carrying a far broader frequency range. This
limitation exists for standard telephone service because 4 KHz provides reasonable
clarity for voice communications, and much of the telephone system is designed
around those types of circuits.
xDSL works by opening up that 1 MHz maximum capability through the use of
new xDSL interface cards, which the RBOCs install in their CO switch in place of the
cards used for voice lines. The distance from the computer equipment to the CO switch
limits the data rate, however. Most xDSL implementations function optimally at up to
3,600 meters (12,000 feet, or about 2 miles). In particular, the 8 Mbps downstream and
1 Mbps upstream data rates of ADSL are possible only within the 3600-meter distance
to the CO. Longer distances are possible, but not at that full possible data rate. For
instance, running an ADSL connection at 5,500 meters (18,000 feet)—the distance at
which 95 percent of telephone locations exist in relation to their CO switch—degrades
Chapter 7:
Making WAN Connections
the performance to about 1.5 Mbps (at best) in the downstream direction. Only an
estimated 50 percent of U.S. locations are within 3,600 meters of an RBOC CO switch.
The good news is that some newer implementations of xDSL might be able
to overcome the distance limitation. Also, there are extender devices (essentially
repeaters) that the RBOCs can install to let them offer DSL connections to more remote
rural areas.
As mentioned, ADSL can support up to 8 Mbps of receive data (also called downstream
data) and up to 1 Mbps of send data (also called upstream data). In addition to the data
channel, ADSL carves out an 8 KHz channel for POTS, which can coexist with the
ADSL data channels.
Specific implementations of ADSL vary in their data rates. Some of the slower
implementations function at only 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256 Kbps upstream. In
some cases, this speed might even decrease to 384 Kbps downstream and 64 Kbps
T-1/T-3 (DS1/DS3) Connections
More than 40 years ago, Bell Laboratories developed a hierarchy of systems that can
carry digital voice signals. At the lowest level in this hierarchy is a DS0 connection
(DS stands for Digital Signal), which carries 64 Kbps of bandwidth. A DS1 connection
aggregates 24 DS0 channels and can carry up to 1.544 Mbps when all channels are in
use. The next-common level is called a DS3, which carries 672 DS0 channels, for an
aggregate total of 44.736 Mbps.
The DS1 connection is commonly called a T-1 connection, which actually refers to the
system of repeaters that can carry the DS1 traffic over a four-wire twisted-pair connection.
Why Asymmetric DSL?
Many data access needs are asymmetrical. In other words, at any given time, a
system often needs to receive more data than it needs to send, or vice versa. Most
remote access connections, particularly Internet connections, are asymmetrical.
The emphasis is on being able to receive data rapidly, rather than on sending data
Because of this, ADSL is the most popular among the xDSL implementations,
simply because it offers more benefits within the same amount of total frequency
bandwidth. Many applications will work far better with the data rate being faster
downstream than upstream.
Some xDSL implementations are symmetric, such as SDSL and HDSL. These
connection types are more suited to uses where the exchange of data is roughly equal
in both directions, such as two remote LANs that are connected to one another.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Surprisingly, DS1 requires only two twisted-pairs, not fiber-optic cable or anything
exotic. (For details on how much data can be carried over simple telephone wire, see the
preceding section on DSL.)
DS1 connections are commonly used as digital connections between a company’s
PBX and a point of presence (POP) for a long-distance telephone carrier. They are also
commonly used to connect LANs to the Internet. A DS1 connection can handle up to 24
voice calls or as many as 24 data connections simultaneously. Or, using a multiplexer
and a DS1, you can form one big 1.544 Mbps connection.
A popular technology called fractional T-1 also exists, where a full DS1 is installed,
but only the number of channels you pay for are turned on and available for use.
Fractional T-1 is great because you can buy just the bandwidth you need, and
increasing the bandwidth (up to the maximum for a DS1) is just a phone call (and some
more money!) away.
NOTE DS0, DS1, and DS3 WAN connections use frame-relay signaling technology on the
RBOC’s side of the connection. Understanding the ins and outs of frame relay isn’t especially
important, although you should be aware that when you install a DSx connection to the Internet for
your LAN, you are really using frame-relay services.
At your end of a DS1 connection are two key pieces of equipment: a CSU/DSU that
converts the DS1 signals into network signals, and a router that directs data between
the DS1 and the LAN.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
Asynchronous Transfer Mode, commonly called just ATM, is a very high-speed
technology for transmitting data between locations. ATM is a multiplexed, cell-based
networking technology that collects data into entities called cells and then transmits the
cells over the ATM network connection.
ATM networks can carry both voice and data. ATM is very fast, with speeds
ranging from 155 Mbps to 622 Mbps, and in some cases can go as high as 10 Gbps.
Usually, ATM is used only by relatively large companies that need ATM’s speed
for their WAN links, or by companies that need to send enormous amounts of data
through a network connection, such as a lot of video data.
X.25 connections have been available for a long time, but they are not typically used for
WAN connections because of the overhead involved. Also, the trade-off between price
and bandwidth is not competitive with other solutions. Some older networks might
still have X.25 connections in place, however, and they were commonly used in Europe.
X.25 is a packet-switched WAN connection, in which data travels through an X.25
cloud, which works similarly to the Internet but uses a private/public X.25 network.
X.25 connections are typically relatively slow (56 Kbps), but might be faster.
Chapter 7:
Making WAN Connections
The U.S. military originally developed and designed X.25 to make military voice
traffic available even after a nuclear strike. As you might guess from this design
objective, X.25 is an extremely reliable, secure protocol for transmitting data. All frames
(similar to packets) sent over X.25 networks are completely verified from one end of the
connection to the other.
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about concepts and technologies relating to WANs,
including different types of links and different types of connections, as well as how
to specify a particular type of WAN technology for a given application. While the
number of choices may make this area confusing, it becomes easier when you break the
problem down into smaller chunks. Basically, make sure you do a careful and thorough
job of identifying your WAN needs, and then work with various WAN providers in
your area to analyze how their solutions may meet your needs.
The next chapter moves into network protocols, like TCP/IP and IPX/SPX. You
learn how these network protocols work, how their packets are constructed, and
various characteristics of each type of network protocol. You also learn about some of
the other common protocols, particularly those associated with TCP/IP, such as SMTP,
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Chapter 8
Networking Protocols
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
network protocol is a set of rules that data communications over a network
follow to complete various network transactions. For example, TCP/IP defines
a set of rules used to send data from one node on a network to another
node. SMTP is a set of rules and standards used to transfer e-mail and attachments
from one node to another. DHCP is a set of rules and standards used to allocate IP
addresses dynamically for a network, so they do not need to be set manually for each
Many protocols are used in networking. In fact, in a sense, almost every activity on
a network follows a protocol of one sort or another. Some protocols function at a low
level in the OSI network model, others operate at a high level, and some operate in
In this chapter, you learn about the essential networking protocols used to transmit
and receive data across a network.
Understanding TCP/IP and UDP
As its name suggests, TCP/IP is actually two protocols used in concert with one
another. The Internet Protocol (IP) defines how network data is addressed from a
source to a destination and in what sequence the data should be reassembled at the
other end. IP operates at the network layer in the OSI model. The Transmission Control
Protocol (TCP) operates one layer higher than IP, at the transport layer. TCP manages
connections between computers. TCP messages are carried (encapsulated) in IP
The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) serves the same role as TCP but offers fewer
features. Both TCP and UDP packets are carried within IP packets, but the only
reliability feature that UDP supports is the resending of any packets not received at the
destination. (UDP is called a connectionless protocol.) The chief advantage to UDP is
that it is much faster for trivial network communications, such as sending a web page
DEFINE-IT! Datagrams, Frames, and Packets
A packet is any collection of data sent over a network, and the term is usually
used generically to refer to units of data sent at any layer of the OSI model. For
instance, people talk about IP packets, even though technically the correct term
is IP datagrams. In this book, packet is used generically. The persnickety definition
of packet applies only to messages sent at the top layer of the OSI model, the
application layer.
Network layer units of data, such as those carried by IP, are called datagrams.
Units of data carried at the data-link layer (layer 1) are called frames.
All of these terms to refer to a collection of data that is transmitted as a
single unit.
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
to a client computer. Because UDP doesn’t offer many error-checking or error-handling
features, it should be used only when it isn’t that important if data occasionally gets
mangled between points and needs to be resent, or when an application program
provides its own extensive error-checking and error-handling functions.
TCP and UDP Ports
Both TCP and UDP support the concept of ports, or application-specific addresses, to
which packets are directed on any given receiving machine. For example, most web
servers run on a server machine and receive requests through port 80. When a machine
receives any packets that are intended for the web server (such as a request to serve up
a web page), the requesting machine directs those packets to that port number. When
you request a web page from a web server, your computer sends the request to the
web server computer and specifies that its request should go to port 80, which is where
HTTP requests are directed.
Hundreds of different ports have standardized uses. Defining your own ports on
a server for specific applications is easy. A text file called SERVICES defines the ports
on a computer. An example of a portion of a Windows SERVICES file follows. (Only
selected entries are shown due to space constraints; the following is not a complete
SERVICES file, but it illustrates what the file contains.)
# Copyright (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
# This file contains port numbers for well-known
# services as defined by
# RFC 1700 (Assigned Numbers).
# Format:
# <service name>port number></protocol> [aliases ...][# <comments>]
9/tcp sink null
9/udp sink null
users #Active users
ttytst source
#Character generator
ttytst source
#Character generator
#FTP, data
#FTP. control
mail #SMTP
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
#Trivial File Transfer
www www-http
#World Wide Web
krb5 #Kerberos
krb5 #Kerberos
#Remote Telnet Service
postoffice #POP-V2
#POP v3nntp
#Network Time Protocol
#SNMP trap
#Network PostScript
#Relay Chat Prot
#IPX over IP
#Lightweight DAP
route routed
#Windows Name Service
As you can see, most of the Internet services that you might be familiar with
actually work through the use of TCP and/or UDP ports, such as HTTP for the Web,
SMTP for e-mail, NNTP for Usenet, and so forth. The use of ports ensures that network
communications intended for a particular purpose are not confused with others that
might also be arriving at the same machine.
Ports allow the receiving machine to direct arriving data appropriately. An example
is a server that hosts web pages and also receives and processes e-mail. Packets arriving
at port 80 will be sent to the web-serving software, while those that arrive at port 25
will go to the e-mail software. Other services on the machine, such as Telnet and FTP,
can also function concurrently through this mechanism.
IP Packets and IP Addressing
IP packets include addresses that uniquely define every computer connected to the
Internet (see Figure 8-1). These addresses are used to route packets from a sending node
to a receiving node. Because all the routers on the Internet know the network addresses
to which they are connected, they can accurately forward packets destined for a remote
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
Version (4 bits)
Header length (4 bits)
Type of service (8 bits)
Total length (16 bits)
Identification (16 bits)
Flags (4 bits)
Fragment offset (12 bits)
Time (8 bits)
Protocol (8 bits)
Header checksum (16 bits)
Source IP address (32 bits)
Destination IP address (32 bits)
Options (26 bits)
Padding (6 bits)
Data (variable number of bytes)
Figure 8-1. A schematic showing the layout of an IP packet
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
In addition to carrying its data, each IP packet contains a number of fields, which
are organized in the following order:
Version This field indicates the version of the IP protocol being used.
Header length This field indicates the length of the header information before
the data begins in the packet.
Type of service This field is used for different purposes by different vendors.
It can be used for features such as requesting high-priority routing, requesting
highest possible reliability, and so forth.
Total length This field indicates the total length of the packet.
Identification, flags, and fragment offset These three fields are used
to reassemble an IP packet that was disassembled at some point during
transmission. They include all the information necessary for the correct
reassembly of the packet at the receiving end.
Time to live This field (called “Time” in Figure 8-1) defines how many
network hops the packet can traverse before it is declared dead and the routers
stop forwarding it to other routers. This number is set when the packet is sent,
and each router that handles the packet decrements the value by one. When the
number reaches zero, the packet is dead and is no longer transmitted. If there
is a routing configuration error on the path to the destination that causes the
packet to go into an endless loop between routers, this is the feature that will
stop it after a period of time.
Protocol This field indicates whether the IP packet is contained within a TCP
or a UDP packet.
Header checksum The header checksum is used to help ensure that none of
the packet’s header data (the fields discussed in this list) is damaged.
Source IP address This field contains the address of the sending computer. It
is needed in case a packet must be retransmitted, to tell the receiving node (or,
in some cases, a router) from which node to request a retransmission.
Destination IP address This field contains the address of the receiving node.
Options and padding These final two fields of the header of the IP packet are
used to request any required specific routing instructions or to specify the time
that the packet was sent.
The final field of an IP packet is the actual data being sent.
IP addresses are 32 bits long, allowing for a theoretical maximum number of
addresses of 232, or about 4.3 billion addresses. To make them easier to work with and
to help route them more efficiently, they are broken up into four octets, which are each
1 byte long. Thus, in decimal notation, IP addresses are expressed as,
where each xxx represents a base-10 number from 0 to 255. The numbers 0, 127, and
255 are usually reserved for special purposes, so they are typically unavailable for
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
Help! We’re Almost Out of Addresses!
The current implementation of IP, called IP version 4 (IPv4), is approaching the
point where running out of addresses is becoming a real possibility. In 1994, a
proposal was issued to address this limitation. Called IP Next Generation (IPng,
now IP version 6, or IPv6), the new version of IP takes care of the addressing
limitation by bumping up the address length from 32 bits to 128 bits. This
allows 3.4 × 1038 (34 followed by 37 zeros, or around 340 trillion, trillion, trillion)
unique addresses, which should leave plenty of room for all anticipated Internet
addresses, even allowing for refrigerators, toasters, and cars to have their own IP
assignment to nodes. The remaining 253 unique addresses are available for assignment
in each octet.
Addresses on the Internet are guaranteed to be unique through the use of an
address registration service, presently administered by the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Actual registrations of domain names and
addresses are handled through one of many registrars, which include companies such
as InterNIC, Network Solutions, and many others. ICANN is the overall authority.
ICANN assigns three major classes of addresses, called Class A, B, and C, as follows:
For a Class A address, ICANN assigns the owner a number in the first octet.
The owner is then free to use all possible valid combinations in the remaining
three octets. For example, a Class A address might be Class A
addresses enable the owner to address up to around 16.5 million unique nodes.
Class B addresses define the first two octets, leaving the remaining two open
for the address’s owner to use. For instance, would be a valid
Class B address assignment. Class B addresses enable the holder to have about
65,000 unique nodes.
Class C follows this progression, defining the first three octets and leaving only
the last octet available for the Class C owner to assign. The owner can assign
up to 255 unique addresses.
An Internet service provider (ISP) might own either a Class A or a Class B address,
and then can handle a number of Class C addresses within its own address structure.
Changing ISPs, even for a company that has a valid Class C address, means changing
the company’s address from a Class C address available through the first ISP to a Class C
address available from the new ISP.
As mentioned earlier, the addresses 0, 127, and 255 are reserved. Usually, address
0—as in—refers to the network itself, and the router that connects the
network to other networks handles this address. The address 127 is a special loopback
address that can be used for certain kinds of testing. The address 255 refers to all
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
computers on the network, so a broadcast message to address would go
to all addresses within
IP addresses are made up of two main components. The first, or leftmost, is the
network ID, also called the netid. The other is the host ID, usually referred to as hostid.
The netid identifies the network, while the hostid identifies each node on that network.
(In IP parlance, every node is called a host, regardless of whether it’s a server, client
computer, printer, or whatever.) For a Class C address, for instance, the netid is set in
the first three octets, and the hostids use the fourth octet. For a Class B address, the first
two octets are the netid, and the final two octets are hostids. These address parts are
important for subnetting, as described next.
IP Subnetting
Suppose that a company has three networks in three different buildings, all connected
by a 64 Kbps ISDN link. Each network has about 25 nodes. Each building has its own
set of servers and printers for the workers in that building. The ISDN link between the
networks is for the occasional need to transmit information between buildings, such
as e-mail messages or accounting transactions. How should the company assign IP
addresses in this situation?
The company could request a single Class C set of addresses, and then assign those
addresses across the three networks in some fashion. This seems like a simple solution,
but it’s actually a poor idea for a couple of reasons. Typically, a lot of network traffic
is sent to each hostid within a single netid. The slow ISDN link between the buildings
would become a tremendous bottleneck in this situation, and the entire network would
function very poorly.
Another idea is to use separate Class C addresses (netids) for each building. This is
a relatively simple solution, and it would work just fine, except that the ISP might not
be able to assign three separate Class C addresses. Also, it would be terribly wasteful
of the available pool of IP addresses. In this situation, each building would be wasting
more than 200 addresses for no good reason.
What if there were a way to divide a Class C address so that each building could have
its own virtual netid? Such a solution is what subnetting is all about. Subnetting allows
you to subdivide a hostid range (usually that of a Class C address, but such subnetting
can also be done with Class A or B addresses) across two or more networks. Subnetting is
done through the use of subnet masks, which are discussed in the next section.
NOTE To understand subnetting, you first need to understand the binary representation of IP
addresses. For a quick overview of how binary numbers work, see Chapter 2.
Subnet Masks
If you look at a computer’s IP configuration, you’ll see that the computer always has
both an IP address (such as and a subnet mask (such as
The subnet mask defines which part of the computer’s IP address is the netid and
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
which part is the hostid. To see this clearly, you need to represent the addresses in
binary form:
Computer IP
Computer IP
Subnet mask
Subnet mask
Address (Dec):
Address (Bin):
The netid of an address, defined by the subnet mask, is whatever portion of the
address has a binary 1 set in the corresponding subnet mask. In the preceding example,
the netid is the full first three octets (the first 24 bits), and the hostid is the last octet (the
last 8 bits). Now you can see why 255 (decimal) is used so frequently in subnet masks:
255 corresponds to having all bits set to 1 in an 8-bit number.
NOTE Subnet masks should always use contiguous 1s, starting from the left and working to
the right. The hostid portion should contain all contiguous 0s, working backward from the right to
the left. While it is theoretically possible to build subnet masks that have interspersed 1s and 0s,
it is never done in practice because it would quickly become too complicated to manage properly
and because there’s no real reason to do so. Also, the portion of the hostid that is subnet-masked
cannot consist of all 0s or all 1s. While certain implementations of IP do allow all 0s, such a
configuration is not part of the accepted standard IP rules, and thus using such a hostid is risky
because some devices on the network might not understand it.
Let’s now return to the example of the company with three buildings. What if
the company could divide a single Class C address so that each building could use
its own portion, and the routers connecting the buildings would understand which
transmissions should be forwarded to the other buildings and which ones should not
be? Such a configuration is where subnet masks are useful.
A subnet mask allows you to “borrow” some bits from your hostids and then use
those bits to create new netids. For the example, you would need to borrow three bits
from the Class C address (the fourth octet) and use that address to create four separate
netids. Examine how this configuration would work in binary format:
Subnet mask (Bin):
Bldg. 1 IP addresses:
Bldg. 2 IP addresses:
Bldg. 3 IP addresses:
Subnet mask (Dec):
Bldg. 1 IP addresses:
Bldg. 2 IP addresses:
Bldg. 3 IP addresses:
129 – 158
97 – 126
161 – 190
Using this configuration, the company can create up to 6 netids, and each building
can be provided with 30 available hostid addresses. By using subnetting to designate
each separate netid, the company can program the routers to send packets between
networks only when the packets are supposed to be routed.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Binary Mask
Decimal Equivalent
Number of Subnets
Number of Hostids per Subnet
Table 8-1. Most Common Subnet Masks
Because subnet masks are usually created using contiguous bits for the mask itself,
only nine subnet masks are commonly used, as shown in Table 8-1.
In Table 8-1, some configurations are marked as N/A, for not applicable. These
subnet masks would result in no available addresses, because of the rule that the
subnet portion of the netid cannot be all 0s or all 1s. For example, consider the subnet
mask of 224, which uses three hostid bits for the subnetid. In theory, this configuration
should result in eight subnets. However, the subnets represented by 000 and 111 are not
valid. Likewise, 128 is not a valid subnet mask because that one bit would always be
either a 1 or a 0.
TIP If you need to implement subnets, you should initially work through the project with an
experienced network engineer, who can help you avoid pitfalls (which were not explicitly described
in the preceding section). You might also want to learn more about TCP/IP through resources
devoted to detailed coverage of the concepts introduced here.
Understanding Other Internet Protocols
Quite a few other protocols used on the Internet either rely on or make use of TCP/IP.
In this section, you learn about these different protocols.
Domain Name System (DNS)
If you had only IP address numbers to address computers over the Internet, trying
to keep track of them and using their correct addresses might make you a little crazy.
To go to the web site for Google, for example, you would need to remember to type
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
the address To solve this problem, a system called the Domain
Name System (DNS) was developed.
DNS enables people to register domain names with ICANN and then use them to
access a particular node over the Internet. Therefore, DNS is the service that allows you
to open a web browser and type to connect to a particular
computer over the Internet. In this case, is the full domain name.
NOTE Domain names are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. However, ICANN gives
preference to a holder of a valid registered trademark if a conflict develops. ICANN, upon being
presented with valid trademark information and notice of the domain name that infringes on that
trademark, goes through a process to assess the truth of the claim and, if necessary, takes a
domain name away from its present holder and transfers the name to its rightful owner.
Domains are organized in a tree arrangement, like a directory tree on a disk drive.
The top level defines different domain types, called top-level domain names (TLDs).
The most common is the .com domain type, usually used with for-profit commercial
entities. The following are other common domain types:
.edu for educational institutions
.gov for governmental entities
.mil for military entities
.net for Internet-related entities
.org for nonprofit entities
.xx for different countries, such as .it for Italy and .de for Germany (Deutschland)
NOTE In recent years, a number of other TLDs have been added to the system, such as .biz,
.info, and .name. You can find a complete list of the TLDs at
Within a domain name, entities are free to add other names before the beginning of
the domain name, and these usually refer to a particular host or server, or sometimes
to a particular type of service for that domain. For example, if you had the domain, you would be free to create additional names, such as
As a matter of standards, the first portion of a domain name preceding the actual
domain name indicates what type of service is being connected. For instance, www would be used for a World Wide Web server for the domain
and would be used for an FTP server. The standards for service types
within the domain name are usually followed, but not always. The owners of domain
names are free to invent their own service types that meet their particular needs. For
example, some domain name holders refer to their e-mail servers as;
others might prefer to use
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Domain names are resolved to IP addresses through the use of domain name servers
(DNS servers), which are servers that accept the typed domain name, perform a
database query, and then return the actual address that should be used for that domain
name. Generally, each ISP maintains its own DNS servers (and many companies and
organizations maintain their own DNS servers as well). Any changes are propagated
throughout all the Internet’s DNS servers within about an hour.
NOTE Changes to DNS entries used to take up to several days to propagate throughout the
Internet, but updates to the system now allow changes to propagate much more quickly—often
within minutes of the change being posted.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
In the early days of TCP/IP-based networks, administrators defined each node’s
address in a text file or dialog box. From then on, the address was fixed unless someone
changed it. The problem was that administrators occasionally would mistakenly put
conflicting addresses into other nodes on the network, causing a network’s version of
pandemonium. To resolve this problem and to make it easier to assign TCP/IP addresses,
a service called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) was invented.
DHCP services run on a DHCP server, where they control a range of IP addresses
called a scope. When nodes connect to the network, they contact the DHCP server to get
an assigned address that they can use. Addresses from a DHCP server are said to be
leased to the client that uses them, meaning they remain assigned to a particular node
for a set period of time before they expire and become available for another node to
use. Often, lease periods are for just a few days, but network administrators can set any
time period they want.
You should not use DHCP for nodes that provide network services, particularly
for servers that provide services over the Internet. This is because changing a
TCP/IP address would make reliably connecting to those computers impossible.
Instead, use DHCP to support client workstations that do not need to host services
for other nodes.
You might think a host is a server, and in some networking contexts, you would
be right. However, in the jargon of Internet names and addresses, every computer
that has an IP address is called a host, thus the name, Dynamic Host Configuration
Protocol. Remembering that every computer is called a host is particularly
important in the UNIX and Linux worlds, where the term is much more common
than in the Windows or Macintosh worlds.
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
The World Wide Web is made up of documents that use a formatting language called
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). These documents are composed of text to be
displayed, graphic images, formatting commands, and hyperlinks to other documents
located somewhere on the Web. HTML documents are displayed most often using web
browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
A protocol called Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) controls the transactions
between a web client and a web server. HTTP is an application-layer protocol. The
HTTP protocol transparently makes use of DNS and other Internet protocols to form
connections between the web client and the web server, so the user is aware of only the
web site’s domain name and the name of the document itself.
HTTP is fundamentally an insecure protocol. Text-based information is sent “in the
clear” between the client and the server. To address the need for secure web networking,
alternatives are available, such as HTTP Secure (HTTPS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Requests from a web client to a web server are connection-oriented, but they are
not persistent. Once the client receives the contents of an HTML page, the connection
is no longer active. Clicking a hyperlink in the HTML document reactivates the link,
either to the original server (if that is where the hyperlink points) or to another server
somewhere else.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
The acronym FTP stands for two things: File Transfer Protocol and File Transfer Program
(which makes use of the File Transfer Protocol). It’s sort of like, “it’s a dessert topping and
a floor polish,” (from the Saturday Night Live TV show). Because FTP (the program) makes
use of FTP (the protocol), it can become confusing to know which is being discussed. This
section discusses the protocol. (When I’m referring to the program, I’ll say so.)
FTP is an application-layer protocol used to send and receive files between an
FTP client and an FTP server. Usually, this is done with the FTP program or another
program that can also use the protocol (many are available). FTP transfers can be either
text-based or binary-based, and they can handle files of any size.
When you connect to an FTP server to transfer a file, you log in to the FTP server using
a valid username and password. However, some sites are set up to allow anonymous
FTP, where you enter the username anonymous and then enter your e-mail address as the
password. For example, Microsoft maintains an FTP site you can use to download updates
to its products, located at, which allows anonymous FTP.
To use the FTP program, on most platforms you type the command ftp followed
by the address to which you want to connect. So, to use the Microsoft example, you
would type, press ENTER, and then log in. Then you can use all of the
FTP commands—PUT, GET, MGET, and so forth. Most FTP program implementations
have online help to assist you with the various commands. Type ? or HELP to access
this feature.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
TIP Recent versions of Windows also support FTP connections using Internet Explorer. Just open
Internet Explorer and instead of entering an http:// address in the address bar, type an address
preceded by ftp://. For example, to connect to Microsoft’s FTP server, you would use the address This trick also works in most other current web browsers, such as Mozilla
Firefox. Note that for FTP sites that require a login, the browser must support logging in. In Internet
Explorer, a Logon As option is available on the File menu after you browse to an FTP site.
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)
Usenet (NetNews) is a set of discussion groups devoted to an extremely wide variety of
topics. There are well over 100,000 such such groups in existence. Usenet conversations
are posted to Usenet servers, which then echo their messages to all other Usenet servers
around the world. A posted message can travel to all the Usenet servers in a matter of
hours, and then be available to users accessing any particular Usenet server.
Usenet discussion groups are loosely organized into the branches of a tree. The
following are some of the main branches:
Alt, for discussions about alternative lifestyles and other miscellaneous topics
Comp, for computer-oriented discussions
Gov, for government-oriented discussions
Rec, devoted to recreational topics
Sci, for science-based discussions
Usenet groups can either be public, which are echoed to other Usenet servers, or
private, which are usually hosted by a particular organization and require the user to
enter appropriate login credentials before reading and posting messages.
The NNTP protocol is what makes Usenet possible. It allows for a connection between
a Usenet reader (also called a news reader) and a Usenet server. It also provides for message
formatting, so messages can be text-based or can also contain binary attachments. Binary
attachments in Usenet postings are usually encoded using Multipurpose Internet Message
Encoding (MIME), which is also used for most e-mail attachments. Some older systems
use different methods to encode attachments, including one method called UUEncode/
UUDecode and, on the Macintosh, a method called BinHex.
Telnet defines a protocol that allows a remote terminal session to be established with an
Internet host, so remote users have access similar to using a terminal connected directly
to the host computer. Using Telnet, users can control the remote host, performing tasks
such as managing files, running applications, or even (with appropriate permissions)
administering the remote system. Telnet is a session-layer protocol in the OSI model.
For Telnet to work, Telnet software must be running on both the server and client
computer. You run the program Telnet on a client computer and run the program Telnetd
on the server computer to allow the connection. Telnet is specific to the TCP protocol
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
and typically runs on port 23 (although it can run on any port that has been enabled
on the server system). Once users connect using Telnet, they must log in to the remote
system using the same credentials they would use if they were working from a directly
connected terminal.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
E-mail had a somewhat rocky start on the Internet, with early e-mail programs sharing
few standards with other e-mail programs, particularly in the handling of attached
binary data. The good news is that the situation is now resolved, and all current e-mail
software supports all the widely accepted standards.
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is used to send and receive e-mail
messages from one e-mail server to another. The SMTP protocol defines a dialog
between a sending system and a receiving system.
An SMTP dialog starts when a sending system connects to port 25 of a receiving
system. After the connection is established, the sending system sends a HELO command,
followed by its address. The receiving system acknowledges the HELO command
along with its own address. The dialog then continues, with the sending system issuing
a command indicating that the system wants to send a message and identifying the
recipient for whom the message is intended. If the receiving system knows of the
recipient, it acknowledges the request, and then the sending system transmits the body
of the message along with any attachments. Finally, the connection between the two
systems is terminated once the receiving system acknowledges that it has received the
entire message. Figure 8-2 illustrates this process.
250 OK
Mail from address
250 OK
RCPT TO: e-mail address
250 OK
354 Start
Data for message
250 OK
221 Terminating
Figure 8-2.
Part of an SMTP dialog between systems
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
TIP Details on SMTP can be found in RFC 821 (
Voice over IP (VoIP)
An important emerging set of IP protocols concerns the transmission of voice and
facsimile information over IP-based networks, called Voice over IP, or VoIP for short
(pronounced “voyp”). VoIP is a protocol that allows analog voice data—for telephone
calls—to be digitized and then encapsulated into IP packets and transmitted over a
network. VoIP can be used to carry voice telephone calls over any IP network, such as
a company’s local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN), or the Internet.
Sending voice data over IP networks has some very attractive possible payoffs. One
is more efficient use of available connections.
Consider a large company with two main offices. At any given time, hundreds of
voice conversations might be occurring between those two offices. Each traditional
voice connection consumes one DS0 line, capable of carrying up to 56 Kbps of data
if the line were used digitally. Each conversation does not use all of the available
bandwidth on the line. Part of this is because most conversations have a lot of silent
spaces—time between words or sentences, time where one party stops speaking and
the other starts, and so forth. Plus, most conversations, were they encoded digitally,
could be significantly compressed. Add all of this up, and each voice conversation
is likely to use only one-third to one-half of the available bandwidth on a single
DS0 circuit.
If you were able to carry all of these voice conversations digitally, much less bandwidth
would be required. Instead of 100 DS0 lines for 100 conversations, for example, the same
conversations might use up only 25 to 33 DS0 lines if they were digitally packaged. Many
companies can save a significant amount of money by using VoIP.
Another advantage of VoIP is that the connections are packet-oriented. When the
user places a call, a single connection is formed between the caller and the receiver. This
connection is static for the duration of the call. If the conversation were digitized and
sent over a packet-oriented network, however, many possible paths would be available
for each packet, and much more redundancy would be automatically available. For
instance, if some portion of the network between the two points went down, the
packets could still arrive at their destination through an alternate route, just as data
packets do over the Internet. Also, available circuits would be used more efficiently,
allowing more calls to be routed within a particular geographic area.
VoIP also has some disadvantages that you need to consider:
No guaranteed delivery VoIP does not guarantee delivery of IP packets over
the Internet. For a digital transmission of data, this is no big deal; if a packet
isn’t confirmed as being received, it is simply retransmitted. For a real-time
voice conversation, the loss of packets directly inhibits the conversation, and
you can’t go back in time to retransmit missing packets.
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
Out-of-sequence packets Not only can IP packets simply fail to arrive at
their destination on occasion, but sometimes they arrive out of sequence due to
other Internet traffic and other reasons. This is fine for transmitting things such
as files, because the packets can be reassembled on the other end in the proper
sequence once they are all received. For a real-time application such as voice,
however, having packets arrive out of sequence results in a hopelessly jumbled,
and thus useless, transmission.
QoS not widely implemented Real-time uses of the Internet, such as VoIP
or multimedia streaming and time-sensitive transmissions, should be given
priority over transmissions that are not particularly time-sensitive, such as
the transmission of an e-mail message. Fortunately, IP has a quality of service
(QoS) field that enables the user to prioritize traffic for such reasons. However,
QoS is not widely implemented in all parts of the Internet.
VoIP is a hot, emerging technology that is virtually certain to become an important
part of the Internet and most companies’ networks. However, there is still much work
to be done toward actually implementing this technology widely and solving the
problems outlined in this section. In other words, if you’re learning about networking,
you should be aware of VoIP—what it is and what it does—although the technology is
still relatively early on the adoption curve.
NOTE There are a number of companies offering VoIP services for residential customers, including
AT&T, Vonage, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable. These companies provide packages that allow
virtually unlimited calling over an existing high-bandwidth Internet connection for as little as $30
additional per month. They often package the necessary VoIP hardware with a subscription agreement.
Comparing Important Proprietary Protocols
While Microsoft-based, Novell-based, and Apple-based networks can work with
TCP/IP and all the previously discussed protocols, each type of network got its start
supporting proprietary protocols unique to the company, and each of these protocols
can still be found in current networks. All these companies have embraced TCP/IP and
support it fully, both for servers and for network clients.
Microsoft and Novell networks (as of Windows NT 4 and Novell NetWare 5) can
be easily deployed using only TCP/IP. In theory, you could do the same thing with
an Apple-based network, but you would lose a good deal of the Macintosh’s network
functionality if you did so. Because of this, an Apple-based network should support
both AppleTalk (Apple’s proprietary protocol) and TCP/IP.
Novell networks originally used the Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced
Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX) protocols. These are not the same as TCP/IP, but they are
comparable. IPX is analogous to IP, and SPX is analogous to TCP.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Microsoft networks were originally based on an IBM-developed protocol called
Network Basic Input/Output System (NetBIOS). NetBIOS is a relatively high-level
protocol that, in essence, extends the functionality of DOS to a network. Microsoft also
used IBM’s NetBIOS Extended User Interface (NetBEUI), an enhancement to NetBIOS.
Apple Macintosh computer networks originally supported only AppleTalk. The
protocol was designed expressly for the purpose of sharing Apple LaserWriter printers
within small workgroups using a low-bandwidth (230 Kbps originally) network media
called LocalTalk. Over time, Apple extended AppleTalk somewhat to enable file sharing
and other network functions. However, AppleTalk is still an extremely inefficient
network protocol that, even over Ethernet (called EtherTalk in Apple’s implementation),
works slowly.
Novell’s IPX/SPX
Novell’s IPX protocol was originally a derivative of the Xerox Network Systems (XNS)
architecture and closely resembles it. While IPX can be used on any of the popular
network media (Ethernet, Token Ring, and so forth), it was originally designed for
Ethernet networks and works best with that media. In fact, the IPX protocol depends
on Ethernet MAC addresses for part of its own addresses. IPX addresses are dynamic
and are automatically negotiated with the server at login, rather than being statically
set, as is the case with TCP/IP without DHCP services.
An IPX network address is composed of both a 32-bit network address and a 48-bit
node address. In addition, another 16 bits are used for a connection ID, which allows
up to 65,000 unique connections between a client and a server. The address design of
IPX theoretically allows for about 281 trillion nodes on each of 16 million networks.
IPX was originally designed only for LANs, but it has been enhanced to support
WAN connections. While typically considered a “chatty” protocol that requires a
lot of send/acknowledgment transactions, IPX has been enhanced with burst-mode
capabilities, which increase the size of packets destined for a WAN and decrease the
number of back-and-forth communications required. IPX can be routed, but only if the
network includes an IPX-capable router.
IBM originally developed NetBIOS and NetBEUI to support small networks. Microsoft
adopted the protocols as part of LAN Manager, a network operating system built on
top of early versions of the OS/2 operating system.
Neither protocol is routable, so each is suitable only for small LANs that do not rely
on routers between different LAN segments. However, NetBIOS can be encapsulated
within TCP/IP packets on Windows networks using a service called NetBIOS over
TCP/IP (abbreviated as NBT).
Microsoft LANs (prior to Windows 2000) rely on a NetBIOS service called NetBIOS
Names to identify each workstation uniquely. In a simple NetBIOS implementation,
names are registered with all workstations through a broadcast message. If no computer
has already registered a particular name, the name registration succeeds. In a more
Chapter 8:
Understanding Networking Protocols
complex Windows–based network that also uses TCP/IP, however, the NetBIOS names
resolve to TCP/IP addresses through the use of Windows Internet Name Service
(WINS). The names can also be resolved using static name definition entries contained
in a file called LMHOSTS (for LAN Manager HOSTS).
Because some networking applications still use NetBIOS Names, either WINS or
LMHOSTS allows such applications to continue to function in a TCP/IP-only network.
As far as the application is concerned, it is still working with NetBIOS, while TCP/IP
performs the actual work in the background.
AppleTalk has been extended into AppleTalk Phase 2, which now allows routing of
AppleTalk packets (assuming an AppleTalk Phase 2-capable router). The Phase 2
variant can run over Ethernet, Token Ring, or Apple’s LocalTalk media. Under Ethernet,
AppleTalk uses a variant of the 802.2 frame type called Ethernet Subnetwork Access
Point (SNAP).
AppleTalk has an important history for Apple Macintosh networking, but Apple
now fully supports and recommends TCP/IP for its computers.
Chapter Summary
This chapter is built on the knowledge you gained in earlier chapters, delving into
various important protocols involved in virtually all networks, including the Internet.
You learned primarily about the TCP/IP protocol, which has essentially displaced
older protocols such as IPX/SPX and NetBIOS/NetBEUI (although these older
protocols are still used). You also learned about some specific application-layer Internet
protocols, such as SMTP, DHCP, and HTTP. These are all vital protocols to understand
for any networking professional.
It would be nice if the protocols discussed in this chapter were all you had to contend
with, but, unfortunately, many more protocols exist. Some are specific to certain functions,
such as remote access to a network, and are discussed in appropriate chapters within
this book. Others are still being developed and are not a factor now, but may be in the
near future. You will certainly want to stay up-to-date with emerging protocols that may
become important to networking.
The next chapter is about directory services, which make complex networks easier
to use and administer.
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Chapter 9
Exploring Directory
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
n the early days of local area networks (LANs), finding server resources was simple.
Most organizations started with just a file server and a print server or two, so
knowing which files, printers, and other services were in which locations on the
LAN was easy.
These days, the situation is considerably more complex. Even relatively small
organizations might have multiple servers, all performing different jobs—storing
different sets of files and providing different Internet or intranet services, such as e-mail
servers, web hosting, database servers, network services, and so forth.
Directory services work to bring organization to this far-flung network clutter. In
this chapter, you learn about what directory services do and how they work. You also
learn about the directory services in use today and those slated for use in the near
future. With directory services becoming more and more central to the administration
of networks, learning this information becomes an increasingly important part of
designing, deploying, and managing networks.
What Is a Directory Service?
In most networks, you optimize the function of different services by hosting them on
different computers. Doing so makes sense. Putting all your services on one computer
is a bit like placing all your eggs in one basket—if you drop the basket, you’ll break
all your eggs. Moreover, you can achieve optimal performance, more reliability, and
higher security by segregating network services in various ways.
Most networks have quite a few services that need to be provided, and often these
services run on different servers. Even a relatively simple network now offers the
following services:
File storage and sharing
Printer sharing
E-mail services
Web hosting, both for the Internet and an intranet
Database server services
Specific application servers
Internet connectivity
Dial-in and dial-out services
Fax services
Domain Name System (DNS) service, Windows Internet Naming Service
(WINS), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services
Centralized virus-detection services
Backup and restore services
Chapter 9:
Exploring Directory Services
This is only a short list. Larger organizations have multiple servers sharing in each
of these functions—with different services available through different means in each
building or location—and might have additional services beyond those listed here.
All this complexity can quickly make a network chaotic to manage. If each one of
the individual servers required separate administration (with, for instance, separate
lists of users, passwords, groups, printers, network configurations, and so on), the job
would become virtually impossible in no time.
Directory services were invented to bring organization to networks. Basically,
directory services work just like a phone book. Instead of using a name to look up
an address and phone number in a phone book, you query the directory service for
a service name (such as the name of a network folder or a printer), and the directory
service tells you where the service is located. You can also query directory services
by property. For instance, if you query the directory service for all items that are
“printers,” it can return a complete list, no matter where the printers are located in the
organization. Even better, directory services enable you to browse all the resources on a
network easily, in one unified list organized in a tree structure.
One important advantage of directory services is that they eliminate the need to
manage duplicates of anything on the network because the directory is automatically
shared among all of the servers. For example, you don’t need to maintain separate user
lists on each server. Instead, you manage a single set of user accounts that exists in the
directory service and then assign them various permissions to particular resources on
any of the servers. Other resources work the same way and become centrally managed
in the directory service. Not only does this mean that you have only one collection of
objects to manage, but also that users have a much simpler network experience. From
the users’ perspective, they have only one network account with one password, and
they don’t need to worry about where resources are located or keep track of multiple
passwords for different network services or servers.
NOTE In this chapter, the term network resource refers to any discrete resource on a network,
such as a user account, security group definition, e-mail distribution list, storage volume, folder, or
file. The term directory refers to the directory that a directory service uses, rather than a directory on
a hard disk.
To provide redundancy, directory services usually run on multiple servers in an
organization, with each of the servers having a complete copy of the entire directory
service database. Because a directory service becomes central to the functioning of a
network, this approach lets the network as a whole continue to operate if any single
server with directory services on it crashes. Servers that do not actually host a copy
of the directory still make use of it by communicating with the directory servers. For
instance, if a user tries to open a file hosted on a server that doesn’t actually host the
directory service, the server will automatically query the directory service on another
server to authenticate the user’s access request. To the user, this happens behind
the scenes.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
You should know about five important directory services: Novell eDirectory,
Microsoft’s Windows NT domains, Microsoft’s Active Directory, X.500 Directory Access
Protocol, and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. These are described later in this
Forests, Roots, Trees, and Leaves
One thing common to all directory services is a tree-based organization (with the
tree usually depicted upside-down with the root at the top), somewhat similar to the
organization of directories on a hard disk. A forest is a collection of trees managed
collectively. At the top of each directory tree is the root entry, which contains other
entries. These other entries can be containers or leaves. A container object is one that
contains other objects, which can also include more containers and leaves. A leaf object
represents an actual resource on the network, such as a workstation, printer, shared
directory, file, or user account. Leaf objects cannot contain other objects. Figure 9-1
shows a typical directory tree.
Anyco, Inc.
T. Wilson
Organization (O)
Otherco, Ltd.
Country (C)
Organizational Unit (OU)
F. Thomas
Common name (CN)
Accounting printer
Figure 9-1. A typical directory tree
Accounting folder
Chapter 9:
Exploring Directory Services
All the objects in a directory tree have attributes (sometimes called properties), which
vary depending on the type of object to which the attribute is attached. For example,
a printer leaf object might contain attributes that describe the printer, who can administer
the printer, what the printer’s name is on the network, and so forth. A user account
leaf object might contain attributes that include the full name of the user account, its
password, and resources that the user can access. The details of what attributes attach
to what leaf or container objects vary among all the directory services, although they
generally use similar attributes.
Department of Redundancy Department
Keeping directory services running is essential for any network that relies on them.
Because they contain all details about accounts, resources, and security, the absence of
directory services means the network won’t work—at all! Since the directory services
become so important to a network, you must protect them with some degree of
redundancy. As mentioned earlier, keeping duplicate copies of the directory on multiple
servers provides the necessary redundancy. This is done using one of two approaches:
In the primary/backup model, a single primary database contains the primary
(or “real”) directory on one server, while other servers hold one or more backup
copies. If the primary copy stops working for some reason, the backups can
continue to provide directory services to the network without the user even
knowing that the primary copy isn’t available. Windows NT domains use a
primary/backup approach.
In the multimaster model, multiple directory servers exist, but they are all peers
to one another. If one goes down, the other peers continue to operate normally.
The advantage of the multimaster model is that each directory server can fully
participate in doing the work of the directory service. Active Directory (in
Windows 2000 Server and later) uses the multimaster approach.
Directory servers—whether they use the primary/backup or multimaster
approach—must keep in sync with changes on the network. The separate databases
are kept synchronized through a process called replication, in which changes to any of
the individual directory databases are transparently updated to all the other directory
service databases.
A potential problem exists with any replication process, though: If two changes are
made to the same leaf object on two different directory servers and the changes
are different, what does the system do when the changes “collide” during replication?
The various directory services handle this problem in slightly different ways. In the
case of Novell eDirectory, the timestamps of the changes drive which of two conflicting
changes will win. (Because of this, servers running eDirectory must carefully keep
their time synchronized; this synchronization is also handled during replication.)
Microsoft’s Active Directory doesn’t use timestamps, but instead uses sequence
numbers in a clever scheme that avoids the potential problems of a timestamp approach.
(Even though eDirectory servers synchronize their time, their time can still become out
of sync between synchronizations.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Some directory services also allow a concept called partitioning, in which different
directory servers keep different parts of the entire directory tree. In this case, a
controlling directory server usually manages the entire tree (called the global catalog in
Active Directory), and then other directory servers can manage smaller pieces of the
total tree. Partitioning is important for networks with multiple LANs connected by a
wide area network (WAN). In such cases, you want to host a partition that relates to
a particular LAN locally, yet still allow access to the entire tree for resources accessed
over the WAN. Each LAN hosts its own partition, but can still access the total tree when
needed. You arrange the partitions (and set the scheduled replication times) to make the
best use of the WAN’s performance, which usually is slower than that of a LAN.
Learning About Specific Directory Services
Quite a few different directory services are available. Choosing one usually goes
hand in hand with choosing a main network operating system, although this isn’t
always the case. Both eDirectory and Active Directory can handle non-Novell and
non-Microsoft servers, respectively. Consequently, even a network that currently uses
mostly Windows servers might still rely on eDirectory for directory services through
the use of Novell’s eDirectory for Windows product. Using a single directory service
with different network operating systems often happens because an organization starts
out favoring a particular network operating system and then later finds itself forced to
support additional ones, but the organization still wants to maintain a coherent, single
directory service to manage the network operating systems.
The following are the main directory services:
Novell eDirectory (previously called Novell Directory Services, or NDS) is the
network directory service that has been available for the longest time. eDirectory
runs on NetWare 4.x and later servers, and is also available for other server
operating systems (such as Solaris, Linux, and Windows), enabling you to use
eDirectory as a single directory service for managing a multivendor network.
Windows NT domains (introduced with Windows NT 4) are not actually complete
directory services, but they provide some of the features and advantages of
directory services.
Microsoft’s Active Directory debuted with the Windows 2000 Server line of
products. This is a true directory service, and it brings the full features of a
directory service to a network predominantly built using Windows servers.
X.500 Directory Access Protocol (DAP) is an international standard directory
service that is full of features. However, X.500 provides so many features that its
overhead makes deploying and managing it prohibitive. Consequently, X.500 is
in an interesting position: it is an important standard, yet, paradoxically, it is not
actually used.
Chapter 9:
Exploring Directory Services
The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) was developed by a consortium
of vendors as a subset of X.500 to offer an alternative with less complexity
than X.500. LDAP is in wide use for e-mail directories and is suitable for other
directory service tasks. The most recent versions of eDirectory and Active
Directory are compatible with LDAP.
These are the predominant directory services that you will encounter, although
others exist. For instance, a number of companies offer different software that provides
LDAP-compliant directory services on different platforms.
Novell eDirectory has been available since 1993, introduced as NDS as part of
NetWare 4.x. This product was a real boon and was rapidly implemented in Novell
networks, particularly in larger organizations that had many NetWare servers and
desperately needed its capabilities. eDirectory is a reliable, robust directory service
that has continued to evolve since its introduction. Version 8.8 is now available, and it
incorporates the latest directory service features.
eDirectory uses a primary/backup approach to directory servers and also allows
partitioning of the tree. In addition to running on Novell network operating systems,
eDirectory is also available for Windows, Solaris, AIX, and Linux systems. The
product’s compatibility with such a variety of systems makes it a good choice for
managing all these platforms under a single directory structure.
You manage the eDirectory tree from a client computer logged in to the network
with administrative privileges. You can use a graphical tool designed to manage the
tree, such as Novell Identity Manager, or other tools that mimic the look and feel of the
operating system on which they run and that are also available from Novell.
The eDirectory tree contains a number of different object types. The standard directory
service types—countries, organizations, and organizational units—are included. The
system also has objects to represent NetWare security groups, NetWare servers, and
NetWare server volumes. eDirectory can manage more than a billion objects in a tree.
Windows NT Domains
The Windows NT domain model breaks an organization into chunks called domains, all
of which are part of an organization. The domains are usually organized geographically,
which helps minimize domain-to-domain communication requirements across WAN
links, although you’re free to organize domains as you wish. Each domain is controlled
by a primary domain controller (PDC), which might have one or more backup domain
controllers (BDCs) to kick in if the PDC fails.
All changes within the domain are made to the PDC, which then replicates those
changes to any BDCs. BDCs are read-only, except for valid updates received from the
PDC. In case of a PDC failure, BDCs automatically continue authenticating users. To
make administrative changes to a domain that suffers PDC failure, any of the BDCs can
be promoted to PDC. Once the PDC is ready to come back online, the promoted BDC can
be demoted back to BDC status.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Windows NT domains can be organized into one of four domain models.
Single domain In this model, only one domain contains all network resources.
Master domain The master model usually puts users at the top-level domain
and then places network resources, such as shared folders or printers, in
lower-level domains (called resource domains). In this model, the resource
domains trust the master domain.
Multiple master domain This is a slight variation on the master domain
model, in which users might exist in multiple master domains, all of which
trust one another, and in which resources are located in resource domains, all
of which trust all the master domains.
Complete trust This variation of the single-domain model spreads users and
resources across all domains, which all trust each other.
You choose an appropriate domain model depending on the physical layout of
the network, the number of users to be served, and other factors. (If you’re planning a
domain model, you should review the white papers on Microsoft’s web site for details
on planning large domains, because the process can be complex.)
Explicit trust relationships must be maintained between domains using the master
or multiple master domain model and must be managed on each domain separately.
Maintaining these relationships is one of the biggest difficulties in the Windows NT
domain structure approach, at least for larger organizations. If you have 100 domains,
you must manage the 99 possible trust relationships for each domain, for a total of 9,900
trust relationships. For smaller numbers of domains (for example, less than 10 domains),
management of the trust relationships is less of a problem, although it can still cause
Active Directory
Windows NT domains work relatively well for smaller networks, but they can
become difficult to manage for larger networks. Moreover, the system is not nearly
as comprehensive as, for example, eDirectory. Microsoft recognized this problem
and developed a directory service called Active Directory, which is a comprehensive
directory service that runs on Windows 2000 Server and later. Active Directory is fully
compatible with LDAP (versions 2 and 3) and also with the Domain Name System
(DNS) used on the Internet.
Active Directory uses a peer approach to domain controllers; all domain controllers
are full participants at all times. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, this arrangement
is called multimaster because there are many “master” domain controllers but no
backup controllers.
Active Directory is built on a structure that allows “trees of trees,” which is called a
forest. Each tree is its own domain and has its own domain controllers. Within a domain,
separate organizational units are allowed to make administration easier and more logical.
Chapter 9:
Exploring Directory Services
Trees are then aggregated into a larger forest structure. According to Microsoft, Active
Directory can handle millions of objects through this approach.
Active Directory does not require the management of trust relationships, except when
connected to Windows NT 4.x servers that are not using Active Directory. Otherwise, all
domains within a tree have automatic trust relationships.
The X.500 standard was developed jointly by the International Telecommunications
Union (ITU) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). The standard defines a
directory service that can be used for the entire Internet. Because of its broad applicability,
the X.500 specification is too complex for most organizations to implement. Also, because
of its design, it is intended to publish specific organizational directory entries across the
Internet, which is something most companies would not want to do. Just the same, the
X.500 standard is extremely important, and most directory services mimic or incorporate
parts of it in some fashion.
The X.500 directory tree starts with a root, just like the other directory trees, and then
breaks down into country (C), organization (O), organizational unit (OU), and common
name (CN) fields. To specify an X.500 address fully, you provide five fields, as in the
CN=user name, OU=department, OU=division, O=organization, C=country
For example, you might configure the fields as follows:
CN=Bruce Hallberg, OU=Networking Books, OU=Computer Books, O=McGraw-Hill,
To address the complexity problems involved with full X.500 DAP, a consortium of
companies came up with a subset of X.500, called LDAP. LDAP’s advocates claim that
it provides 90 percent of the power of X.500, but at only 10 percent of the processing
cost. LDAP runs over TCP/IP and uses a client/server model. Its organization is much
the same as that of X.500, but with fewer fields and fewer functions.
LDAP is covered predominantly by RFC 1777 (for version 2) and RFC 2251 (for
version 3). (Some other RFCs also describe aspects of LDAP.) The LDAP standard
describes not only the layout and fields within an LDAP directory, but also the methods
to be used when a person logs in to a server that uses LDAP, or queries or updates the
LDAP directory information on an LDAP server. (Because directory services might fulfill
many simultaneous authentications, run simultaneous queries, and accept simultaneous
updates, it is important that these methods be clearly defined to avoid collisions and other
potentially corrupting uses of the directory by client applications and administrative
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
NOTE Many of the standards on the Internet are controlled by documents called Request for
Comments (RFCs). These are documents that describe a proposed standard and are submitted to
the Internet Engineering Task Force group. You can read more about this group, as well as peruse
any of the networking RFCs you see mentioned in this book (or elsewhere) from the group’s home
page at
An LDAP tree starts with a root, which then contains entries. Each entry can have
one or more attributes. Each of these attributes has both a type and values associated
with it. One example is the CN ("common name"), which contains at least two
attributes: FirstName and Surname. All attributes in LDAP use the text string data
type. Entries are organized into a tree and managed geographically and then within
each organization.
The following four basic models describe the LDAP protocol:
Information model This model defines the structure of the data stored in
the directory. It describes a number of aspects of the directory, including the
schema, classes, attributes, attribute syntax, and entries. The directory’s schema
is the template for the directory and its entries. Classes are categories to which
all entries are attached. Attributes are items of data that describe the classes, such
as CN and OU. The syntax for the attributes specifies exactly how attributes are
named and stored, and what sort of data they are allowed to contain (such as
numbers, string text, dates and times, and so forth). Finally, entries are distinct
pieces of data; like objects, that can be either a container or a leaf.
NOTE Microsoft uses nomenclature to describe LDAP that differs from the terms defined in
the RFCs. Most notably, Microsoft calls an entry an object, and calls an attribute a property. These
names refer to the same things, and you should be aware of this when reading the RFCs or other
documents about LDAP and comparing the information to that found in documents from Microsoft.
Naming model This model describes how to reference and organize the data.
It defines the names that serve as primary keys for entries in the directory:
distinguished names (DNs), which are full names of entries, as well as relative
distinguished names (RDNs), which are components of DNs. Each component
of the DN—such as the CD, OU, or O entries—is an RDN. The following is an
example of an LDAP DN:
CN=Bruce Hallberg, OU=Networking Books, OU=Computer Books,
O=McGraw-Hill, C=USA.
Functional model This model describes how to work with the data. It
defines how LDAP accomplishes three types of operations: authentication,
interrogation, and updates. Authentication is the process by which users
prove their identity to the directory. Interrogation is the process by which
the information in the directory is queried. Updates are operations that post
changes to the directory.
Chapter 9:
Exploring Directory Services
Security model This model defines how to keep the data in the directory
secure. For most implementations of LDAP, a security protocol called Simple
Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) is used. RFC 2222 describes SASL.
One nice feature of LDAP is that an organization can build a global directory
structure using a feature called referral, where LDAP directory queries that are managed
by a different LDAP server are transparently routed to that server. Because each LDAP
server knows its parent LDAP server and its child servers, any user anywhere in the
network can access the entire LDAP tree. In fact, the users won’t even know they are
accessing different servers in different locales.
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about both the importance of directory services and the
factors driving that importance. You also learned how directory services work, what
they accomplish, and those common features found in almost all directory services.
Finally, the most important directory services were each reviewed, including Novell’s
eDirectory, Microsoft’s domain service, and Active Directory service.
The next chapter continues the discussions about essential network technologies
and services by teaching you about remote access services, in which far-flung users can
access LANs from anywhere in the world. Implementing a good remote access system
that everyone is happy with is one of the most difficult things to do—especially for large
organizations with many different needs—so a variety of approaches are discussed.
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Chapter 10
Connections from Afar:
Remote Network Access
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
n the preceding chapters, you learned about networking systems together through
a local area network (LAN) and through a wide area network (WAN), and about
the technologies that go into both types of networks. You also need to know about
another important type of network connection: remote access to a network. With
today’s travel-happy corporate cultures, and with companies needing to support such
things as working from home and small remote offices, remote access has become more
important than ever. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult parts of a network
to get right, as you will see in this chapter.
One of the big problems with remote access is that it can seem as though all the
remote users have different requirements, the various solutions address different needs,
and none of those solutions takes care of all the needs. Finding solid solutions that meet
those needs is usually nontrivial and requires a fair amount of time and effort. This
chapter describes how you might analyze your company’s needs and then discusses
the remote access technologies that can provide a solution (or solutions) for your
Determining Remote Access Needs
Every company has a different mix of remote users, and their specific needs may vary
from company to company. Moreover, even when needs are identical, the solutions you
employ might change based on other criteria. For instance, you might handle access to
an accounting system from a remote location differently, depending on whether it’s a
client/server or a monolithic application.
Understanding Application Implications for Remote Access
Client/server applications consist of processes (programs) that run on both the
server side and the client side, and work in concert. For example, a database
server performs queries for the client, and then transmits to the client only the
results of that query. The client’s job is just to display the results and maybe
format them for printing.
A monolithic application, on the other hand, performs all of its work on one
computer, typically the client computer. The server for a monolithic application
serves up only the files needed for the application to run and the data files that
the application manipulates.
Generally, client/server applications require much less bandwidth to work
at acceptable speeds than monolithic applications. A slow network connection
might be adequate for a client/server application, such as an accounting system,
whereas that connection would be totally inadequate for that same application
designed to be monolithic.
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Connections from Afar: Remote Network Access
What Types of Remote Users Do You Need to Support?
Users who require remote access generally fall into one of the following four categories:
Broad traveler
Narrow traveler
Remote office user
Remote office group
Each category of remote user has different needs, and different technologies and
remote access solutions are often required to satisfy these needs completely. Your first
step in finding a remote access solution is to determine which categories of remote
users you must support. So, let’s look at each of these remote access user categories.
The broad traveler is the most common type of remote access user. This is someone
who normally is based in an office that has LAN access, but also travels on business.
Travel takes this person to virtually any place in the world, so the traveler must
contend with different telephone systems, long-distance carriers, and other geographic
challenges (see Figure 10-1). Often, this type of user mostly needs e-mail access, with
occasional access to stored or e-mailed files. The user might normally use a desktop
computer on the LAN but have a laptop computer for traveling, might use a single
laptop both on the LAN and when traveling, might check out laptop computers from
a shared pool when travel needs arise, or might even rent a laptop computer for an
occasional travel need. These different approaches further complicate providing
services to the broad traveler.
The narrow traveler is someone who travels to relatively few locations, such as from
corporate headquarters to the company’s manufacturing plants or distribution centers.
Figure 10-1. A typical remote access session
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Since you can predict the sites from which the user might need to access data, local
support may be available to help. For instance, you might have a way for the user to
log in to the distribution center’s LAN and access e-mail and files at the headquarters
location through an existing WAN link, as shown in Figure 10-2. This type of user
needs e-mail, file access, and possibly access to a centralized application, such as an
accounting system.
The remote office user is in a single location and needs access to the corporate LAN
for e-mail and possibly for application access (see Figure 10-3). This person usually does
not need file access, except to send files through the e-mail system, because this person
maintains local file storage. This user is in a single location, so you can pursue certain
high-speed links that are not feasible for the travelers. A person telecommuting from
home would fall into the category of remote office user.
Sometimes a small group (two to five people) stationed in a remote location needs
certain services from the corporate LAN. These services are not cost-effective for this
group to have locally, yet these users have a small local LAN for printer and file sharing,
as illustrated in Figure 10-4. These users fall into the remote office group category, which
needs a combination of services. Partly they are like any user of a remote LAN, and
partly they are like a remote office user. They usually require a mixture of both types of
solutions for proper support.
Figure 10-2. A WAN used by a “narrow traveler”
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Connections from Afar: Remote Network Access
Figure 10-3. A remote office user’s network setup
Figure 10-4.
Supporting a small remote office that requires LAN access
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
You generally need different strategies to support these various types of users. Of
course, if you’re working in a small company, you likely won’t have to support all
these categories right off the bat.
What Types of Remote Access Are Required?
Before implementing any remote access system, you must define clearly the types of
remote access required by the users in the company. The following are some examples
of remote access needs:
Easy remote access to e-mail and to files stored in e-mail
Remote access to stored private or shared files on the LAN
Remote access to a centralized application, such as an accounting system or
a sales order system
Remote access to groupware programs or custom applications
Internet access
Intranet/extranet access, including any hosted web-based applications on those
Remote access to any of the previous features from a fixed location, such as a
remote sales office
Remote access to any of the previous features from anywhere in the world
To understand your specific remote access support needs, interview all the potential
users (or at least a representative subset) and find out how to categorize them, as
described in the previous section. Chances are that you must support remote access
through more than one mechanism. How you categorize the users and their needs will
suggest which mechanisms make sense.
When you interview the users, carefully probe all possible needs. For example, if
you ask them if they need remote access to the files stored in their LAN directories and
they reply, “not really,” that’s not an adequate answer. You need to pin them down by
asking questions such as, “Will you ever need remote access to files? What if you had
only e-mail access? Could your assistant e-mail you any needed files?”
Once you have come up with different remote access needs in your company, try to
survey the users in writing to inquire about their specific needs. Not only should you
get less ambiguous answers, but you also get important documentation to justify the
expenses and effort in acquiring and setting up the remote access systems needed.
How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?
When examining remote access needs, you need to estimate bandwidth requirements and
tolerances for the different users. This is important for planning and also for appropriately
setting user expectations. For example, if salespeople want minute-to-minute access
to a sales-tracking system and also frequently want to download 10MB file packages to
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use for quotations, you must explain the limitations of modem speeds and telephone or
cellular wireless connections to reduce these users’ expectations. Or you can find different
solutions that are consistent with the amount of bandwidth you can offer.
You can estimate a particular application program’s bandwidth requirements by
actually measuring the amount of bandwidth that application uses. On the LAN, you
can monitor the amount of data being sent to a particular node that uses the application
in the way it would be used remotely. You can measure the data in a number of ways.
For a Windows PC, you can run System Monitor or Performance Monitor on the client
and look at the network traffic that the PC is consuming (see Figure 10-5). You can
also measure the volume of data from the server. For a Windows server, you can use
Performance Monitor to measure bytes transmitted to and from the client. For a Novell
server, you can use the console Monitor application and watch the amount of data
being sent and received by the client’s server connection.
If the bandwidth requirements of an application are simply too great to handle over
the type of remote connection that you have available (such as a 33.6 Kbps modem
connection), you need to explore other alternatives. These include using a remote
control solution (discussed later in this chapter) or using the application in a different
way. For example, you might load the application onto the remote computer rather
than use it across the LAN. Also, perhaps the user does not need the data to be updated
so frequently, and you can set up a procedure whereby the user receives weekly data
updates on a CD-R disc or an overnight download.
Figure 10-5. Using Windows System Monitor to look at the bandwidth that an application
is using
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
The ways that you can satisfy remote access needs are virtually limitless. However,
the key is to assess those needs carefully and to work creatively, given your available or
proposed remote access technology.
Learning Remote Access Technologies
A variety of different ways exist to accomplish remote access connections for users.
Sometimes these different technologies are appropriate for some users but not for
others. Sometimes the choices you have are restricted by how the remote user needs to
access the data. For example, a remote user at a single location can fairly easily set up a
high-speed link to the corporate LAN, while a traveling remote user might be limited
to using modems and dial-up telephone connections in some places in the world.
The following sections discuss different techniques and technologies, along with the
pros and cons of each. The ones you implement depend on the needs you’ve identified,
your budget, and the existing infrastructure of your network.
Remote Node Versus Remote Control
Remote users can connect to a network in two basic ways: remote node and remote
control. A remote node connection is one in which the remote computer becomes a node
on the network. Data flows between the remote node and the network much as it would
for a LAN-connected user, albeit usually at much slower rates. When you connect to
an Internet service provider (ISP) to access the Internet, you are using a remote node
A remote control connection is one in which a remote user takes control of another
computer directly connected to the LAN, with only the screen, keyboard, and mouse
information being transmitted through the connection. Because the remote control
computer is directly connected to the LAN, its network performance is just as fast
as that of any other LAN workstation. The information actually transmitted—the
screen information, keyboard data, and mouse data—usually doesn’t require much
bandwidth. (One exception to this rule is a highly graphical application, such as a
computer-aided drafting drawing program.) Remote control connections also have
ways to transfer files back and forth from the remote computer to the controlled
computer, so files can still be downloaded from the LAN to the remote computer and
vice versa.
Remote control is accomplished using special applications designed for this purpose.
You run the remote control software on both the LAN-connected computer and the
remote computer. The connection is established over a dial-up line or through the
Two types of remote control applications are available. The first runs on a single
computer and supports a single remote computer at a time. pcAnywhere and GoToMyPC
are examples of this type. Another type allows multiple sessions to run on a single
computer, so you can allow more than one user making use of a single computer
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connected to the LAN. Windows NT Terminal Server, Windows Terminal Services,
and Citrix XenServer are examples of this type. The multiuser solutions use the LAN
computer’s multitasking capabilities to construct multiple virtual PCs, windows, and
desktops, sort of like a mainframe with multiple terminal sessions.
Any of the remote connection technologies can work with both remote node and
remote control. You can connect to a remote control system through modems connected
directly to the remote control computer, through ISDN lines, over the Internet, or even
over a LAN or WAN link.
How do you know whether to choose remote node or remote control connections?
Consider these points:
When a remote user needs only LAN file access and e-mail access, a remote
node connection can meet these needs and is often simpler to set up and
maintain on both sides of the connection.
If a remote user needs to run an application that is LAN-connected, choose
remote control. A few applications might be able to run reasonably well over
a remote node connection, provided the application itself is already installed
on the remote computer and the application must access only relatively small
amounts of data through the remote link. For example, accessing e-mail through
Microsoft Outlook works fine over a remote node connection, provided the
remote users already have Outlook installed on their local computer.
Many applications are now web-enabled, so a remote user can use a web
browser to access and use such applications. These types of applications run
equally well—more or less—over a remote node or remote control connection.
For example, Microsoft Exchange Server supports a number of connection
types, including web access to mailboxes and calendars, through a feature
called Outlook Web Access. Many client/server accounting systems are also
starting to implement web access.
If you need to maintain an application directly for the users, remote control
might be the way to go, because it leaves the application on the LAN-connected
machine, where you can easily access it to make configuration changes or
perform other maintenance. The remote user runs only the remote control
software and instantly benefits from any work you do on the LAN-connected
machine. This capability can provide a real advantage if your network’s users
are not comfortable doing their own maintenance or troubleshooting on the
software. With such a connection, you can more easily handle any problems
that arise, without needing to travel to some remote location or requiring users
to ship their computers to you for repair or maintenance.
Remote control is the best bet when the remote users need to access applications that
don’t work well over lower-bandwidth connections. And because most applications don’t
run well over slower connections, remote users will usually find that a LAN-connected
application works better with remote control than with remote node.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Whether you choose remote node or remote control, you then must determine
how the users will connect to the LAN. A variety of different ways exist to make this
connection, as discussed in the following sections.
To Modem or Not To Modem, That Is the Question …
Remote users can connect to your network in two ways: through devices connected to
the network in some fashion, or by connecting to an ISP and then accessing the network
over the LAN’s Internet connection. For example, users can use a modem to dial in to a
modem connected to the LAN that you maintain. Alternatively, users can use a modem
to connect to a modem managed by an ISP and then make use of the LAN’s connection
to the Internet to get into the LAN.
For small networks, it can often be easiest to simply add a modem or two to a
computer set up to accept remote connections, and then let the users use those modems
to connect. You can set up the modems on individual PCs that run remote control
software, on PCs that run remote node software (such as Windows Routing and
Remote Access Service), or on special LAN-connected interfaces built for the purpose
of providing remote node connections.
You can also build your own “modem farms” with tens or hundreds of modems,
using special hardware that supports such uses. However, it can be a real hassle to
manage your own modems—not only do you need to manage the modems themselves,
but also the remote node software and hardware, the telephone lines used, and all the
problems that can occur at any time.
If a LAN already has a high-speed link to the Internet, such as through a fractional
or full T-1, it can be easier to let the remote users dial in to a local ISP and then connect
to the LAN through the Internet. Such a setup has many advantages:
No need to support modems directly You don’t need to worry about
managing the modems. If users can’t connect, they can call the ISP for
connection help. Larger ISPs have round-the-clock support staff in place to
provide such help, which beats getting woken up at 2:00 A.M. because a user in
Europe can’t connect.
No long-distance tolls The ISP connection is usually a local call, saving
money on long-distance charges that may be incurred when dialing the LAN
Minimal impact on LAN performance Using the LAN’s Internet connection
usually doesn’t affect the LAN users who also use that connection, for two
reasons. First, many remote users connect to the LAN outside normal working
hours when the Internet connection probably isn’t being used much. Second,
because the remote user is often connected to the ISP through a slower
connection, the total impact to your high-speed Internet link is minimal, even
during working hours.
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High-speed connections Your users can take advantage of whatever highspeed Internet links are available to them, and you don’t need to worry about
implementing matching technology on the LAN side. A user can use an xDSL
line, a cable modem, or an ISDN line, and then connect to an ISP that supports
that high-speed connection. On the LAN side, the high-speed connection (for
example, a T-1) remains the same.
Better global access Users traveling internationally will have better luck
making connections to a local ISP than over an international telephone
connection. Using a modem internationally is problematic at best—connection
speeds are slow, the quality of the line is usually not good, and delays added
by satellite connections (most international telephone traffic goes through a
satellite) cause additional problems. And, of course, the cost can be prohibitive.
NOTE I once spent hundreds of dollars just checking e-mail from Singapore to the United States
several times in one week. Singapore telephone rates are much higher than U.S. rates; originating
calls from Singapore at the time cost $2 to $3 per minute (although even the standard U.S. rate of
$0.75 per minute to Singapore would have been expensive). A far better solution would have been
to dial in to a Singapore-located ISP modem (most large ISPs have a presence in several countries)
and use the Internet to get to the U.S.-based LAN. Such a solution would have been cheaper, more
reliable, and faster. (Unfortunately, at the time, those types of connections weren’t possible.)
Modem connections are fairly slow, usually running at only up to 33.6 Kbps.
However, modems are still the lowest common denominator for remote access, because
standard plain old telephone service (POTS) connections are available virtually
everywhere. Modems work reasonably well, all things considered.
NOTE Modems available these days are typically rated at up to 56 Kbps. There is an important
caveat in this rating, however: It requires that the other end of the connection have a digital
connection. Moreover, the 56 Kbps rating is a maximum available in the downstream direction;
upstream never exceeds 33.6 Kbps, even when connected to an ISP that uses 56 Kbps-capable
digital connections on its end. You can’t achieve 56 Kbps over standard telephone lines, even if
you have matched 56 Kbps modems at both ends; the maximum you will get is 33.6 Kbps in both
directions over standard telephone lines with standard modems on each end.
In a nutshell, users who travel to different locations need to rely on modem
connections. Currently, no type of standard high-bandwidth connection is ubiquitous
enough to find in all locations. But the situation keeps improving; for example, most
hotel rooms have high-speed Internet access ports.
For remote users who are at a single location, higher-speed connections become
feasible. Home users in many areas can get high-speed DSL and cable modem
connections to the Internet. And using a virtual private network, as discussed in
the next section, they can benefit from these higher speeds when connecting to the
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
corporate LAN. Even for users who don’t have DSL or cable modems available in their
area, ISDN is usually an option from the local telephone company. (ISDN and DSL
technology are discussed in more detail in Chapter 7.)
Remote users using DSL or cable modems are “hard-wired” to a particular ISP for
their connection, so they need to use a virtual private networking approach to connecting
to the LAN. ISDN users, on the other hand, have the choice of either connecting to an
ISDN-capable ISP or to ISDN “modems” hosted on the LAN. Through a process called
bonding, ISDN users can achieve speeds up to 128 Kbps, although this consumes two
B-channels. (and doubles the call charges!) Still, such speeds are better than the 33.6 Kbps
that you can otherwise achieve through a modem.
Virtual Private Networks
A virtual private network (VPN) is a network link formed through the Internet between
the remote user connected to an ISP and the company LAN. A VPN connection is
carried over a shared or public network—which is almost always the Internet. VPNs
use sophisticated packet encryption and other technologies, so the link from the user
to the LAN is secure, even though it may be carried over a public network. VPN
connections cost much less than dedicated connections, such as the WAN technologies
discussed in Chapter 7, because they take advantage of the cost efficiencies of the
Internet without compromising security.
VPN solutions range from simple ones that can be implemented on a Windows
server essentially for free—using the Remote Access Service (RAS) included with
Windows NT Server or the equivalent Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS)
in Windows 2000 Server or later—to stand-alone specialized VPN routers that can
support hundreds of users. Figure 10-6 shows how a VPN connection works.
VPN connections are used in two important ways:
To form WAN connections using VPN technology between two networks that
might be thousands of miles apart but which each have some way of accessing
the Internet
To form remote access connections that enable remote users to access the LAN
through the Internet
The emphasis in this chapter is on remote access, but it’s important to know that
VPNs support WAN connections in much the same way as they support a remote
access connection. The main difference for a WAN VPN connection is that it connects
two networks together, rather than a user and a network, and relies on different
hardware (typically) than a remote access connection uses. A WAN VPN connection
takes advantage of the existing Internet connection for both LANs and might run
virtually 24 hours a day. A remote access connection, on the other hand, is usually
formed when needed and uses less expensive hardware on the remote side, such as a
dialup modem or perhaps a higher-speed Internet connection, such as xDSL, ISDN, or
cable modem.
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Connections from Afar: Remote Network Access
Figure 10-6. A typical VPN connection
TIP In some circumstances, a VPN might even be an appropriate way to segregate users in a
single location from other users, by using the company’s intranet to host the VPN tunnel. Such a
scheme might be appropriate, for example, if one group of users accesses data that is so sensitive
that it must be separated from the rest of the company in some fashion. In such cases, the sensitive
network can be separated from the corporate LAN, except for a firewall that allows VPN connections
from the sensitive LAN to the corporate LAN, but not vice versa. This configuration would still allow
users on the sensitive LAN to access general corporate network services.
A VPN connection has several requirements:
Both sides of the VPN connection must be connected to the Internet, usually
using the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). (Other public or private networks can
also carry VPNs, but this discussion will stick with the Internet because it’s the
most frequently used network for this purpose.)
Both sides must have a networking protocol in common. This protocol is usually
TCP/IP, but can also be IPX, NetBEUI, or AppleTalk.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Both sides must establish a tunnel through their existing PPP connections,
through which their data packets will pass. The tunnel is formed using a
tunneling protocol.
Both sides must agree on an encryption technique to use with the data
traversing the tunnel. A variety of different encryption techniques are available.
So, both sides of a VPN connection must be running compatible VPN software
using compatible protocols. For a remote access VPN solution, the software you install
depends on the VPN itself. Dedicated VPN solutions also sell client software that you can
distribute to your users. Usually, this software carries a per-copy charge, typically around
$25 to 50 per remote computer supported. (Some VPNs include unlimited client licenses,
but the VPN is licensed to accept only a certain number of connections at a time.)
If you are using a Windows server and RRAS service on the server, and some
version of Windows 95 or later on the remote computer, you can take advantage of the
VPN software included for free with those network operating systems. However, this
software must still be set up on each client computer.
VPN Protocols
The three most popular tunneling protocols used for VPNs are Point-to-Point Tunneling
Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), and Internet Protocol Security
(IPSec). PPTP is a Microsoft-designed protocol that can handle IP, IPX, NetBEUI, and
AppleTalk packets. PPTP is included with Windows, starting with Windows 95, and
is also supported by Windows RRAS (a free upgrade to RAS) and by later versions of
Windows servers. For a Windows-oriented network, PPTP is the way to go.
L2TP is a newer protocol that is an Internet Engineering Task Force standard. It will
probably become the most widely supported tunneling protocol because it operates at
layer 2 of the OSI model, and thus can handle all layer 3 protocols, such as IP, IPX, and
IPSec, while probably the most secure tunneling protocol, seems to be most popular
for LAN-to-LAN VPNs and for UNIX-oriented VPNs, due to its reliance on IP. IPSec is
a layer 3 protocol and is limited to handling only IP traffic.
TIP While IPSec works only with IP packets, an L2TP VPN can also carry the resulting IPSec
packets, because they can be handled like the other major layer 3 packets, such as IP, IPX, and
AppleTalk packets.
Types of VPNs
Four major types of VPNs are in use today. One type uses a router with added VPN
capabilities. VPN routers not only can handle normal routing duties, but they can
also be configured to form VPNs over the Internet to other similar routers, located on
remote networks. This method is used to create VPN WAN links over the Internet,
usually between multiple company locations.
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Connections from Afar: Remote Network Access
Another major type of VPN is one built into a firewall device. Most popular firewalls,
such as Check Point’s Firewall-1 or WatchGuard’s Firebox, serve not only as firewall
devices, but also as VPN hosts. Firewall VPNs can be used both to support remote
users and also to provide WAN VPN links. The benefit of using a firewall-based VPN
is that you can administer your network’s security—including both standard firewall
security and VPN security—entirely within the firewall. For example, you could
configure the firewall to allow connections to the network only when they are made as
part of a valid VPN connection.
The third major type of VPN includes those offered as part of a network operating
system. The best example of this type is Windows RRAS, and Novell’s BorderManager
software. These VPNs are most often used to support remote access, and they are
generally the least expensive to purchase and install.
The fourth major type is the SSL VPN, a relatively new category. This is actually
my overall favorite for remote access support. An SSL VPN takes advantage of the
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption technology built into most web browsers to offer
VPN services through the web browser. SSL is the same technology used to encrypt
information in web pages that use the http:// prefix, such as for shopping or online
banking web sites.
SSL VPNs bring a number of attractive benefits to supporting remote access:
No client software needs to be installed on the remote computer, except for
usually an ActiveX or Java add-in that installs into the browser automatically.
There is essentially no configuration or management required on the remote
system. This is an important point, because most VPN client software is very
difficult to support.
Provided the users know the web address of the SSL VPN server and have the
correct information to authenticate (log in) to the system, they can log in from
almost any Internet-connected computer in the world and access a wide range
of network services through simple web pages.
Because many common functions, such as file management, can be performed
using web pages, SSL VPNs work much better over lower-bandwidth
connections than other VPN alternatives. HTML was designed to be stingy in
its use of network bandwidth, so many tasks that are slow over a traditional
VPN connection are much faster with an SSL VPN.
Most SSL VPNs, in addition to their web-based access features, also allow
the user to start a remote node connection on demand, and this remote node
connection runs using automatically installing and configuring browser
SSL VPNs are typically offered as an appliance—a rack-mountable piece of
equipment that contains all of the hardware and software needed to run the VPN.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
This gives rise to the only real drawback to SSL VPNs: They are still fairly expensive
for smaller companies, with the smallest configurations starting at $8,000 to $10,000 to
support up to 100 simultaneous users. Still, even if you need to support only 20 to 30
remote users, you may find this to be a small price to pay to reduce the administrative
burden of a traditional VPN, which is often considerable.
At the time of this writing, there are a number of SSL VPN vendors. The pioneer
in this space is the NetScreen product family from Juniper Networks (which acquired
a product originally launched by a company called Neoteris, which pioneered SSL
VPNs). Another leader is the FirePass line of products from F5 Networks. AEP
Networks, SonicWALL, and Nokia are some other firms that offer SSL VPNs. Since this
product area is evolving rapidly, you should conduct a careful search for products that
meet your needs.
To give you an idea of how an SSL VPN looks to a remote access user, some screens
of a demo version of F5 Network’s FirePass 4000 are shown in this section. Figure 10-7
Figure 10-7. An SSL VPN login screen
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shows a typical login screen after browsing to the SSL VPN’s URL. (If you deploy an
SSL VPN, this screen would be customized with your own company’s logo and other
SSL VPNs can authenticate users using a variety of different techniques, including
the following:
Through user names and passwords defined in the SSL VPN for each user.
Through integration with an existing authentication system, such as Windows
Active Directory. Choosing this option lets remote users use their normal
network user name and password, and the SSL VPN then integrates with the
preexisting authentication system on the network.
Through the integration of a two-factor authentication system. Two-factor
authentication systems usually include a small device for each user that
displays a number that changes every minute or so. Users log in by typing
the number on the device at the time they are logging on, plus an additional
number that is known only to them (sort of like an ATM PIN). Two-factor
authentication systems are extremely secure, because the devices use a
randomized sequence of numbers known only to a secure server installed in
the network.
Once users log in to an SSL VPN, they are shown a home page that displays all of
the connection options available to them, such as the example shown in Figure 10-8.
The choices available to a remote user may include the following:
Access to a remote node connection through the SSL VPN
Access to other web servers on the company’s network, such as a corporate
intranet site, which are not normally accessible through the Internet
Access to e-mail, either through an application like Web Outlook or through a
web-enabled e-mail client provided by the SSL VPN
The ability to perform web-based file management through the SSL VPN; files
that are managed might be hosted on Windows- or UNIX-based servers
Access to shared corporate applications that have been set up to work through
the SSL VPN, such as an accounting system
Access to Windows Terminal Services or Citrix sessions via the SSL VPN
Access to mainframe terminal sessions
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 10-8. A sample user’s home page on the SSL VPN
While many of these choices are important for companies, the mainstay of remote
access is letting remote users access e-mail and files stored on the network. SSL VPNs
provide web-based access to many different types of e-mail servers. They also include the
ability to manage files and directories through a web interface, such as the one shown in
Figure 10-9. In this example, the user can select files in the left pane and can then choose
to download, add to a download cart, view within the web browser, rename, or even
delete files. The user can also manage folders and upload new files. All file access follows
network permissions granted to the user that is logged in to the SSL VPN.
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Connections from Afar: Remote Network Access
Figure 10-9. A folder containing several files that can be managed
Chapter Summary
Most network administrators would agree that supporting remote access is one of the
trickiest parts of managing any network. Many factors come together to make this so.
You can support remote connections in a number of ways. Most remote connection
speeds have lower bandwidth than remote users would like. Many remote users are
often important people in the company, and various problems are introduced with any
connection made over a distance. Still, remote access is an important network service, and
its benefits to the company justify most levels of effort to make it reliable and work right.
Use the information you learned in this chapter to assess your own company’s
remote access requirements, to learn what your users actually need, and to start
searching among different possible solutions for the ones that make the most sense for
your situation. You should also consider whether you need to support more than one type
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
of solution. For example, most networks support both modems hosted by the company
and other types of connections that come in through a VPN link. Or you may support an
existing remote access solution for a time while you deploy some sort of VPN solution,
and you may decide to run both systems for some time to deal with your specific needs.
The next chapter talks about technologies and techniques that can keep a network’s
information safe and from falling into the wrong hands. Network security, when done
right, shouldn’t require much of your time to maintain. You need to spend enough time
and effort when you set up a network to ensure the network’s security is strong from
the beginning.
Chapter 11
Securing Your Network
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
ost networking tasks are relatively straightforward. Do you want a new
file and print server? You install it and set it up, and it either works or it
doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, you proceed to troubleshoot it, fix any issues,
and ultimately complete the task. Network security, on the other hand, is a horse of
a different color. You can never really finish the project of securing a network, and
you can never be certain that a network is completely secure. How much money you
invest in securing a network, how much time you devote to the job, and how much
fancy security hardware and software you install doesn’t matter—no network is ever
completely secure. Having said that, network security is one of the most important jobs
facing any network administrator. Good network security helps prevent the following:
Company secrets, such as proprietary designs or processes, falling into the
wrong hands (both internally and externally)
Personal information about employees falling into the wrong hands
Loss of important information and software
Loss of use of the network itself or any part of the network
Corruption or inappropriate modification of important data
These are just some of the more important losses that network security can prevent.
If you spend any time thinking about all the information that is stored on and that
flows through networks with which you work (and you should spend time thinking
about this), you’ll probably come up with additional dangers to avoid.
This chapter provides an overview of the subject of network security. Its aim is to
familiarize you with important network security ideas and concepts, as well as various
technologies involved in network security. If you are responsible for a network’s
security, you should pursue more detailed information, and you should also seriously
consider hiring a specialist on this subject to help you secure your network. Even if
you don’t have primary responsibility to keep your network secure, the security of
the network is everyone’s job. If you’re an IT professional, security is an even more
important part of your job.
Understanding Internal Security
Internal security is the process of securing your network from internal threats, which
are generally much more common than external threats. Examples of internal threats
include the following:
Internal users inappropriately accessing information such as payroll records,
accounting records, or business development information.
Internal users accessing other users’ files to which they should not have access.
Internal users impersonating other users and causing mischief, such as sending
e-mail under another person’s name.
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Internal users accessing systems to carry out criminal activities, such as
embezzling funds.
Internal users compromising the security of the network, such as by
accidentally (or deliberately) introducing viruses to the network. (Viruses are
discussed in their own section later in this chapter.)
Internal users “sniffing” packets on the network to discover user accounts and
To deal with threats such as these, you need to manage the network’s security
diligently. You should assume that, in the population of internal users, at least some
exist who have the requisite sophistication to explore security holes in the network
and that at least a few of those might, at some point, try to do so.
NOTE One of the more unpleasant parts of managing security is that you need to expect the
worst of people, and then you must take steps to prevent those actions you expect. In other words,
a certain amount of paranoia is required. It’s not a pleasant mindset, but it is required to do a good
job in the security arena. Remember, too, that you’re likely to get better results if you hire an outside
firm to help manage the network’s security. Not only should the outside firm have a higher skill level
in this area, but its workers will be used to thinking as security people, and they will have invaluable
experience gained from solving security problems at other companies. Perhaps even more
important, using an external firm doesn’t put employees in the position of being in an adversarial
relationship with other employees.
Account Security
Account security refers to the process of managing the user accounts enabled on the
network. A number of tasks are required to manage user accounts properly, and the
accounts should be periodically audited (preferably by a different person than the one
who manages them daily) to ensure that no holes exist. Following are a number of
general steps you should take to manage general account security:
Most network operating systems start up with a user account called Guest.
You should remove this account immediately, because it is the frequent target
of crackers (a hacker is a person who likes to explore and understand systems,
while a cracker is a person who breaks into systems with malicious intent). You
should also avoid creating accounts that are obviously for testing purposes,
such as Test, Generic, and so forth.
Most network operating systems start up with a default name for the
administrative account. Under Windows server operating systems, the account
is called Administrator; under NetWare, it is called either Supervisor or Admin
(depending on which version you are using). You should immediately rename
this account to avoid directed attacks against the account. (Under NetWare 3.x,
you cannot rename the Supervisor account.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
TIP As a safety measure, also create a new account to be a backup of your administrative
account. Call it whatever you like (although less obvious names are better), give the account
security equivalence to the administrative account, and safely store the password. If something
happens that locks you out of the real administrative account, you can use the backup account to
regain access and correct the problem.
You should know the steps required to remove access to network resources
quickly from any user account and be sure to explore all network resources
that might contain their own security systems. For example, accounts will be
managed on the network operating system (and possibly on each server) and
also in specific applications, such as database servers or accounting systems.
Make sure that you find out how the system handles removed or deactivated
accounts. If you delete a user account in order to remove access, some systems
don’t actually deny access to that user until they log out from the system.
Work closely with the human resources (HR) department. Make sure that the
HR staff is comfortable working with you on handling security issues related to
employee departures, and develop a checklist to use for standard employment
changes that affect IT. The HR department might not be able to give you
much—if any—advance notice, but it needs to understand that you need to
know about any terminations immediately, so you can take proper steps. Along
the same lines, you should develop a set of procedures on how you handle
accumulated e-mail, files, and other user access—both for friendly departures
and terminations. Your relationship with the appropriate people in the HR
department is crucial in being able to handle security well, so make sure that
you establish and maintain mutual trust.
Consider setting up a program whereby new users on the network have their
assigned permissions reviewed and signed off by their supervisor. This way,
you won’t mistakenly give people access to things they shouldn’t have.
For publicly traded companies, the advent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
(discussed in Chapter 1) means you will likely need to set up a system to
document how users of the network are added, modified, and removed from
the system. This type of system usually involves a set of request forms initiated
by the appropriate department (HR, accounting, and so on), signed by the
individual’s supervisor and any other parties that need to authorize access to
certain systems, and then documents the IT staff’s actions. These forms are
then filed and will be examined by the company’s auditors.
Password Security
Another important aspect of account security is account password security. Most
network operating systems enable you to set policies related to password security.
These policies control how often the system forces users to change their passwords,
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Securing Your Network
how long their passwords must be, the complexity of the password (alphanumeric,
capital letters, or symbols), whether users can reuse previously used passwords, and
so forth. At a minimum, consider these suggestions for password policies:
Require users (through network password policy settings) to change
their main network password every 90 to 180 days. (Actually, 30 days
is a common recommendation, but this might be too frequent in most
Set the reuse policy so that passwords cannot be reused for at least a year.
Require passwords that are at least eight characters long. For case-insensitive
passwords that do not allow special characters, this yields potentially 368
possible permutations, or almost 3 trillion possibilities. And if the network
operating system uses case-sensitive passwords, the possibilities are much
larger: 628 (218 trillion). For systems that allow special characters to be part of
the password (characters like a space, comma, period, asterisk, and so forth),
the number of possible combinations is even higher still.
NOTE Even 2 billion possible combinations for passwords is a lot. If crackers were able to try one
password a second, they would need to spend 63 years to try that many permutations. Or, with an
optimized program that can try 5 million possibilities a second, it would take about a year to crack
an eight-character mixed-case password using brute force.
Encourage users to create passwords that are not words in any language or, if
they are words, that they have numbers and other nonalphanumeric characters
inserted somewhere in the word, so a “dictionary attack” won’t easily work.
(Many password-cracking programs rely on dictionaries of common words
and names to reduce dramatically the number of possibilities they need to try.)
Also, for networks that support mixed-case passwords, encourage users to use
mixed-case characters.
Make sure that you turn on any policies that monitor for and deal with
people entering in wrong passwords. Often called intruder detection, this type
of policy watches for incorrect password attempts. If too many attempts
occur within a set period of time, the system can lock out the user account,
preventing further attempts. I usually set this type of feature to lock an
account any time five incorrect passwords are entered within an hour, and
then lock the account until it’s reset by the administrator. This way, if users
enter a large number of incorrect passwords, they will need to talk with the
administrator to reopen the account. Usually, this occurs when users forgot
their passwords, but someone else may be trying to guess passwords, so it
deserves to be examined.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Novell NetWare and Windows servers enable you to establish limits on when
and where a user can log in to the network. You can establish times of day that
a user is allowed to log in, and you can also restrict a user account to particular
network computers. Doing so for all users on the network is usually overkill,
but you might want to consider restricting the administrative account to
several different workstations so someone at a different workstation (or coming
in through a WAN connection) cannot log in to the account, even if that person
somehow knows the password.
There’s an interesting catch-22 concerning network security policies: If you make
them too strict, you can actually reduce the security of your network. For example,
suppose that you set the network to require 12-character passwords, to force a password
change once a week, and to disallow the reuse of passwords. Most users will be unable
to remember from week to week what password they’re using, and they will naturally
resort to writing down their password somewhere in their office. Of course, a written
password is much less secure than a remembered password. The trick with network
security is to strike a balance between security and usability.
Are There Alternatives to Passwords?
There are a number of emerging alternatives to passwords that should make
networks more secure, and also make network security easier on the users. The first
alternative is something called two-factor identification. This is a system whereby the
user carries around a small electronic device called a fob, which is about the size of
a USB key. The fob displays a constantly changing set of numbers that are specific
to that particular fob. The user remembers just a four-digit PIN. When users log
in to the system, they enter in whatever number is currently displayed on the fob,
plus their PIN. Because the network side of the system has a matching inventory
of fobs and their sequence of numbers, and also has the user’s PIN, the user can be
very securely identified. If a fob is lost, it can be easily deactivated in the system
and a new one issued. Two-factor identification is often used for remote access
Another emerging alternative to passwords is the use of biometric data, such as
fingerprint readers. Some notebook computers now come with integrated fingerprint
readers that can quickly scan users’ fingerprints and log them in to a system. Other
companies sell similar stand-alone devices. However, the vendors specifically state
that they are not intended for corporate use. So, although such devices are not yet
suitable for corporate use, security is rapidly moving in this direction. I believe the
day is not far off when computers will routinely come equipped with fingerprint
readers, and users will only have to touch their thumb to the reader to securely
identify themselves to their systems.
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Securing Your Network
File and Directory Permissions
Another type of internal security that you need to maintain for information on your
network involves the users’ access to files and directories. These settings are actually a bit
tougher to manage than user accounts, because you usually have at least 20 directories
and several hundred files for every user on the network. The sheer volume of directories
and files makes managing these settings a more difficult job. The solution is to establish
regular procedures, follow them, and then periodically spot-audit parts of the directory
tree, particularly areas that contain sensitive files. Also, structure the overall network
directories so that you can, for the most part, simply assign permissions at the top levels.
These permissions will “flow down” to subdirectories automatically, which makes it
much easier to review who has access to which directories.
Network operating systems allow considerable flexibility in setting permissions on
files and directories. Using the built-in permissions, you can enable users for different
roles in any given directory. These roles control what the user can and cannot do within
that directory. Examples of generic directory roles include the following:
Create only This type of role enables users to add a new file to a directory,
but restricts them from seeing, editing, or deleting existing files, including
any they’ve created. This type of role is suitable for allowing users to add new
information to a directory to which they shouldn’t otherwise have access. The
directory becomes almost like a mailbox on a street corner: You can only put
new things in it. Of course, at least one other user will have full access to the
directory to retrieve and work with the files.
Read only This role enables users to see the files in a directory and even to pull
up the files for viewing on their computer. However, the users cannot edit or
change the stored files in any way. This type of role is suitable for allowing users
to view information that they should not change. (Users with read privileges can
copy a file from a read-only directory to another directory and then do whatever
they like with the copy they made. They simply cannot change the copy stored in
the read-only directory itself.)
Change This role lets users do whatever they like with the files in a directory,
except give other users access to the directory.
Full control Usually reserved for the “owner” of a directory, this role enables
the owners to do whatever they like with the files in a directory and to grant
other users access to the directory.
These roles are created in different ways on different network operating systems.
Chapter 17 provides more details on how Windows server operating systems handle
directory permissions.
Just as you can set permissions for directories, you can also set security for specific
files. File permissions work similarly to directory permissions. For specific files, you
can control a user’s ability to read, change, or delete a file. File permissions usually
override directory permissions. For example, if users had change access to a directory,
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
but you set their permission to access a particular file in that directory to read-only,
they would have only read-only access to that file.
TIP For a network of any size, I recommend avoiding the use of file-specific network permissions,
except in very rare cases. It can quickly become an unmanageable mess to remember to which
files each user has special permissions and to which files a new hire needs to be given specific
Practices and User Education
The most insecure part of any network is the people using it. You need to establish
good security practices and habits to help protect the network.
It’s not enough to design and implement a great security scheme if you do not
manage it well on a daily basis. To establish good practices, you need to document
security-related procedures, and then set up some sort of process to make sure that the
employees follow the procedures regularly. In fact, you’re far better off having a simple
security design that is followed to the letter than having an excellent but complicated
security design that is poorly followed. For this reason, keep the overall network security
design as simple as possible, while remaining consistent with the needs of the company.
You also need to make sure—to the maximum extent possible—that the users
are following prudent procedures. You can easily enforce some procedures through
settings on the network operating system, but you must handle others through
education. The following are some tips to make this easier:
Spell out for users what is expected of them in terms of security. Provide
a document that describes the security of the network and what they need
to do to preserve it. Examples of guidelines for the users include choosing
secure passwords, not giving their passwords to anyone else, not leaving their
computers unattended for long periods of time while they are logged in to the
network, not installing software from outside the company, and so forth.
When new employees join the company and are oriented on using the network,
make sure that you discuss security issues with them.
Depending on the culture of the company, consider having users sign a form
acknowledging their understanding of important security procedures that the
company expects them to follow.
Periodically audit users’ security actions. If the users have full-control access to
directories, examine how they’ve assigned permissions to other users.
Make sure that you review the security logs of the network operating system
you use. Investigate and follow up on any problems reported.
TIP It’s a good idea to document any security-related issues you investigate. While most are
benign, occasionally you might find one in which the user had inappropriate intent. In such cases,
your documentation of what you find and what actions you take might become important.
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While it’s important to plan for the worst when designing and administering
network security, you also need to realize that most of the time, security issues arise
from ignorance or other innocent causes, rather from malicious intent.
Understanding External Threats
External security is the process of securing the network from external threats. Before
the Internet, this process wasn’t difficult. Most networks had only external modems
for users to dial in to the network, and it was easy to keep those access points secure.
However, now that nearly all networks are connected to the Internet, external security
becomes much more important and also much more difficult.
At the beginning of this chapter, I said that no network is ever totally secure. This
is especially true when dealing with external security for a network connected to the
Internet. Almost daily, crackers discover new techniques that they can use to breach the
security of a network through an Internet connection. Even if you were to find a book
that discussed all the threats to a specific type of network, the book would be out of
date soon after it was printed.
Three basic types of external security threats exist:
Front-door threats These threats arise when a person from outside the
company somehow finds, guesses, or cracks a user password and then logs on to
the network. The perpetrator could be someone who had an association with the
company at some point or could be someone totally unrelated to the company.
Back-door threats These are threats where software or hardware bugs in
the network’s operating system and hardware enable outsiders to crack the
network’s security. After accomplishing this, the outsiders often find a way to log
in to the administrative account and then can do anything they like. Back-door
threats can also be deliberately programmed into software you run.
Denial of service (DoS) DoS attacks deny service to the network. Examples
include committing specific actions that are known to crash different types of
servers or flooding the company’s Internet connection with useless traffic (such
as a flood of ping requests).
NOTE Another type of external threat exists: computer viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and other
malicious software from outside the company. These threats are covered in their own section later in
the chapter.
Fortunately, you can do a number of things to implement strong external security
measures. They probably won’t keep out a determined and extremely skilled cracker,
but they can make it difficult enough that most crackers will give up and go elsewhere.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
DEFINE-IT! Important Network Security Devices
Here are some important security devices you should be familiar with:
A firewall is s system that enforces a security policy between two networks,
such as between a local area network (LAN) and the Internet. Firewalls can
use many different techniques to enforce security policies.
A proxy server acts as a proxy (an anonymous intermediary), usually for
users of a network. For example, it might stand in as a proxy for browsing
web pages, so that the user’s computer isn’t connected to the remote
system except through the proxy server. In the process of providing proxy
access to web pages, a proxy server might also speed web access by caching
web pages that are accessed so that other users can benefit from having
them more quickly available from the local proxy server, and might also
provide some firewall protection for the LAN.
Usually built into a router or a firewall, a packet filter enables you to set
criteria for allowed and disallowed packets, source and destination
IP addresses, and IP ports.
Front-Door Threats
Front-door threats, in which someone from outside the company is able to gain access
to a user account, are probably the most likely threats that you need to protect against.
These threats can take many forms. Chief among them is the disgruntled or terminated
employee who once had access to the network. Another example is someone guessing
or finding out a password to a valid account on the network or somehow getting a
valid password from the owner of the password.
Insiders, whether current or ex-employees, are potentially the most dangerous
overall. Such people have many advantages that some random cracker won’t have.
They know the important user names on the network already, so they know what
accounts to go after. They might know other users’ passwords from when they were
associated with the company. They also know the structure of the network, what the
server names are, and other information that makes cracking the network’s security
Protecting against a front-door threat revolves around strong internal security
protection because, in this case, internal and external security are closely linked. This
is the type of threat where all the policies and practices discussed in the section on
internal security can help to prevent problems.
An additional effective way to protect against front-door threats is to keep network
resources that should be accessed from the LAN separate from resources that should
be accessed from outside the LAN, whenever possible. For example, if you never need
Chapter 11:
Securing Your Network
to provide external users access to the company’s accounting server, you can make it
nearly impossible to access that system from outside the LAN.
You can separate network resources through a number of measures. You can set
up the firewall router to decline any access through the router to that server’s IP or
IPX address. If the server doesn’t require IP, you can remove that protocol. You can
set up the server to disallow access outside normal working hours. Depending on the
network operating system running on the server, you can restrict access to Ethernet MAC
addresses for machines on the LAN that should be able to access the server. You can also
set the server to allow each user only one login to the server at a time. The specific steps
that you can take depend on the server in question and its network operating system, but
the principle holds true: Segregate internal resources from external resources whenever
Here are some other steps you might take to stymie front-door threats:
Control which users can access the LAN from outside the LAN. For example,
you might be running VPN software for your traveling or home-based users to
access the LAN remotely through the Internet. You should enable this access
only for users who need it and not for everyone.
Consider setting up remote access accounts for remote users who are separate
from their normal accounts, and make these accounts more restrictive than
their normal LAN accounts. This might not be practicable in all cases, but it’s
a strategy that can help, particularly for users who normally have broad LAN
security clearances.
For modems that users dial in to from a fixed location, such as from their
homes, set up their accounts to use dial-back. Dial-back is a feature whereby
you securely enter the phone number of the system from which users are
calling (such as their home phone numbers). When the users want to connect,
they dial the system, request access, and then the remote access system
terminates the connection and dials the preprogrammed phone number to
make the real connection. Their computer answers the call and then proceeds
to connect them normally. Someone trying to access the system from another
phone number won’t be able to get in if you have dial-back enabled.
If employees with broad access leave the company, review user accounts
where they might have known the password. Consider forcing an immediate
password change to such accounts once the employees are gone.
NOTE An important aspect of both internal and external security is physical security. Make sure
that the room in which your servers are located is physically locked and secure.
People trying to access the network who have not been associated with the company
at some point often try a technique euphemistically called social engineering, which is
where they use nontechnological methods to learn user accounts and passwords inside
the company. These techniques are most dangerous in larger companies, where not all
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
the employees know each other. An example of a social engineering technique is calling
an employee and posing as a network administrator who is trying to track down a
problem and who needs the employee’s password temporarily. Another example is to
sort through a company’s trash looking for records that might help the culprit crack a
password. Make sure to instruct your company’s employees carefully to never give out
their password to anyone over the telephone and also that IT people usually never need
to ask anyone’s password.
Back-Door Threats
Back-door threats are often directed at problems in the network operating system itself
or at some other point in the network infrastructure, such as its routers. The fact is
that all network operating systems and most network components have security
holes. The best thing you can do to prevent these problems is to stay current with
your software and any security-related patches that are released. You should also
periodically review new information about security holes discovered in the software
you use.
TIP Don’t rely on the vendor’s web site for the best information about software security holes.
A good web site to use to stay current on security holes is the one maintained by the Computer
Emergency Response Team (CERT), located at Aside from finding advisories on
security holes, you can also discover much valuable security information on the site.
Web servers are a frequent target for crackers. Consider the following tips to help
protect against threats to web servers:
You’re better off if you can host the company’s web site on an external server,
such as an Internet service provider’s (ISP’s) system, rather than on your own
network. Not only is an ISP better able to provide the server service 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week, but it also probably has better security. Also, you don’t
need to worry about allowing web server access to your LAN from outside the
company, which can sometimes leave open other holes.
Make sure that you implement a strong firewall router for your network.
Firewall routers are discussed in more detail in Chapter 6. You should also
have someone knowledgeable about the specific firewall and web server you
implement test your configuration or help with the configuration. Remember
that firewalls also need to have their software kept current.
Make absolutely certain that you’ve carefully reviewed the security settings
appropriate for your web server and have implemented all of them, and that
you audit these settings occasionally.
Chapter 11:
Securing Your Network
Consider placing a web server designed for people outside the company
outside your firewall (in other words, between the firewall and the router that
connects you to the Internet—this area is called a demilitarized zone). This way,
even if crackers are able to break into the web server, they won’t have an easy
time getting to the rest of your network.
Safely guard your e-mail traffic. E-mail is one of the most commonly used
means to get viruses or Trojan horse programs into a company. Make sure you
run virus-scanning software suitable for your e-mail server, and that the virus
signatures are updated at least daily.
DoS Threats
DoS attacks are those that deny service to a network resource to legitimate users.
These are often targeted at e-mail servers and web servers, but they can affect an
entire network. DoS attacks usually take one of two forms: they either deny service by
flooding the network with useless traffic or they take advantage of bugs in network
software that can be used to crash servers. DoS attacks against an e-mail server usually
flood the server with mail until the e-mail server either denies service to legitimate
users or crashes under the load placed on it.
Here are few ways to help prevent DoS attacks:
Make sure to keep your various network software current.
Use settings on your firewall to disallow Internet Control Message Protocol
(ICMP) traffic service (which handles ping requests) into the network.
Deny access to servers from outside the LAN that do not need to be accessed
from outside the LAN. For example, the company’s accounting system server
probably does not need to be accessed from outside the LAN. In such a case,
you would configure the firewall or packet-filtering router to deny all outside
traffic to or from that server’s IP address.
DEFINE-IT! Demilitarized Zone
When you place computers between your firewall (on the other side of the
firewall from your network) and your connection to an external network, such
as the Internet, the area between those two devices is called the demilitarized zone,
or DMZ for short. Usually, an organization will place its public web server in the
DMZ, and that computer will not have any sort of confidential information on
it. This way, if the security of that computer is broken, the attacker hasn’t gained
entry to the network itself.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Viruses and Other Malicious Software
Unfortunately, an increasing array of malicious software is circulating around the world.
Many different types of this software exist, including the following:
Viruses A computer virus is a program that spreads by infecting other files
with a copy of itself. Files that can be infected by viruses include program files
(COM, EXE, and DLL) and document files for applications that support macro
languages sophisticated enough to allow virus behavior. (Microsoft Word and
Excel are common targets of macro-based viruses.) Sometimes even data files
like JPEG image files can be infected by sophisticated viruses.
Worms A worm is a program that propagates by sending copies of itself to
other computers, which run the worm and then send copies to other computers.
Recently, worms have spread through e-mail systems like wildfire. One way
they spread is by attaching to e-mail along with a message that entices the
recipients to open the attachment. The attachment contains the worm, which
then sends out copies of itself to other people defined in the user’s e-mail
address book, without the user knowing that this is happening. Those recipients
then have the same thing happen to them. A worm like this can spread rapidly
through the Internet in a matter of hours.
Trojan horses A Trojan horse is a program that purports to do something
interesting or useful and then performs malicious actions in the background
while the user is interacting with the main program.
Logic bombs Logic bombs are malicious pieces of programming code inserted
into an otherwise normal program. They are often included by the program’s
original author or by someone else who participated in developing the source
code. Logic bombs can be timed to execute at a certain time, erasing key files or
performing other actions.
There are an enormous number of known viruses, with more being written and
discovered daily. These viruses are a major threat to any network, and an important
aspect of your network administration is protecting against them.
To protect a network from virus attacks, you need to implement some sort of
antivirus software. Antivirus software runs on computers on the network and
“watches” for known viruses or virus-like activity. The antivirus software then either
removes the virus, leaving the original file intact, quarantines the file so it can be
checked by an administrator, or locks access to the file in some other fashion.
Antivirus software can be run on most network computers, such as file servers,
print servers, e-mail servers, desktop computers, and even computerized firewalls.
Antivirus software is available from a number of different vendors, with three of the
most notable being Symantec (Norton AntiVirus), Trend Micro (PC-cillin), and Network
Associates (McAfee VirusScan).
Your best bet is to make sure you run antivirus software on all your servers and set
up the software so that it is frequently updated (every few days, or better yet, daily).
Chapter 11:
Securing Your Network
(You can set up most server-based antivirus software to update its list of known viruses
securely over an Internet connection automatically.) Also, because e-mail is the chief
mechanism of transmission for computer viruses these days, make especially sure
that you run antivirus software on your e-mail server. I recommend updating virus
signatures on an e-mail server hourly, if possible. This is because new e-mail–borne
viruses can spread throughout the world very rapidly—in a matter of hours. By having
your antivirus software on your e-mail server update itself hourly, you’re a little more
likely to get a necessary update before the virus hits your network.
TIP Consider using antivirus software from different companies for differents parts of your
network. For example, you might use one company’s antivirus software for your e-mail server and
some other company’s software for your other computers. While rare, I have seen cases where one
company’s offerings do not detect certain viruses, while a different company’s offering does. On a
network that I manage, we run one company’s antivirus software on all the desktop computers and
a different company’s antivirus software on the e-mail server. I’ve seen cases where one of those
systems permits a virus that the other one catches.
You should also run antivirus software on your workstations, but you shouldn’t
rely on this software as your primary means of prevention. Consider desktop antivirus
software as a supplement to your server-based software.
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about common security threats and read advice that can
help you formulate and implement good security practices. You should seriously
consider retaining an outside security consultant to help you set up your security plans
and to review and audit them on a regular basis.
Even in an entire book devoted to the subject of network security, you can’t
learn all you need to know to make a network as secure as possible. New threats are
discovered constantly, and the changing software landscape makes such information
quickly obsolete. If you’re responsible for network security, you should know it’s a job
that never sleeps, and you can never know enough about it. You need to spend time
learning more of the ins and outs of network security, particularly for the operating
systems that you use on your network. The following books can help further your
network security education:
Network Security: A Beginner’s Guide, Second Edition, by Eric Maiwald
(McGraw-Hill/Professional, 2003)
Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets and Solutions, Sixth Edition, by Stuart
McClure, Joel Scambray, and George Kurtz (McGraw-Hill/Professional, 2009)
Windows 2000 Security Handbook, by Tom Sheldon and Phil Cox (McGraw-Hill/
Professional, 2001)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
You also might want to read Internet Firewalls and Network Security, Second Edition,
by Chris Hare and Karanjit Sayan (New Riders Publishing, 1996). This is an older book,
but has an excellent explanation of true “security” (that is, Department of Defense
levels). The book also describes how to develop network security policies in a company
and explains packet filtering and firewall technology.
Finally, The Happy Hacker: A Guide to (Mostly) Harmless Computer Hacking, Fourth
Edition, by Carolyn P. Meinel (American Eagle Publishing, 2002), is an excellent
introduction to hacking. The book applies a “how-to” approach and teaches both novices
and moderately experienced network security persons what to look for on a daily basis.
Chapter 12
Network Disaster
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
etwork servers contain vital resources for a company, in the form of information,
knowledge, and invested work product of the company’s employees. If they
were suddenly and permanently deprived of these resources, most companies
would not be able to continue their business uninterrupted and would face losing
millions of dollars, both in the form of lost data and the effects of that loss. Therefore,
establishing a network disaster recovery plan and formulating and implementing the
network’s backup strategy are the two most important jobs in network management.
In this chapter, you learn about the issues that you should address in a disaster
recovery plan, and also about network backup strategies and systems. Before getting
into these topics, however, you should read about the City of Seattle’s disaster recovery
Notes from the Field: The City of Seattle
The technical editor of the first through third editions of this book, Tony Ryan, had a
personal experience with network disaster recovery. Tony worked in the IT department
for the City of Seattle. On February 28, 2001, Seattle experienced an earthquake that
caused the city’s disaster recovery plans to be tested. What follows is Tony’s discussion
about Seattle’s disaster recovery operations and how it handled the problems that
occurred in the wake of the earthquake. This is an excellent example of why you need
a disaster recovery plan that encompasses all possible events that could occur during a
Notes on the Seattle 2001 Earthquake and Its Disaster Recovery
By Tony Ryan
Seattle has seen some very unusual and attention-grabbing events over the past
few years. Notable among them were the World Trade Organization (WTO)
conference of 1999 and the violent demonstrations that accompanied it, which
were broadcast worldwide on television and the Internet. Also, riots broke out
during Mardi Gras celebrations in 2000. However, nothing compared to the
potential and realized damage wrought by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that
struck Wednesday, February 28, 2001.
The EOC Situation
The City of Seattle has an Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, which is
activated during any event or crisis that has a potential impact on public safety,
or that might otherwise affect any number of services provided by the city to its
citizens. Sometimes that EOC can be activated ahead of time; for example, for
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
the Y2K event and the anniversary of the WTO demonstrations. Looking at the
preparation made for those events and comparing it to what happens during
unplanned events such as the earthquake helps to illustrate some important
principles about IT disaster recovery and disaster preparedness.
Never Assume
During the preparation for Y2K, members of my staff were asked to augment
the staff normally assigned to support the EOC’s desktop and laptop PCs, and
printers. The staff members who normally support the EOC are from a different IT
organization than ours, and as can be expected, their way of doing things differed
from ours for a number of valid reasons. However, once my staff members had
a chance to look at the EOC’s environment, they were able to share some new
perspectives and methods that were welcomed and adopted by EOC support
staff, and all involved had a new idea of what would be expected to be the
“standard” way of configuring EOC PCs. Examples ranged from hard-coding
certain models of PC network interface cards (NICs) to run better on the switches
in their wiring closet to developing and implementing a base image for all the
laptops to be deployed in the building. The Y2K event, as a result, was lauded
as an example of ideal cooperation between IT groups and excellent preparation
overall. It was a very calm Saturday morning!
Change Management?
Between events, however, there was a great deal of time and opportunity for
things to change. The facility might have been used for other business purposes;
equipment such as laptops might have been loaned out, or customers could
have come in and used the equipment; and other IT groups besides ours might
have assisted the staff and performed alterations to the configurations that went
undocumented or were not communicated to all involved.
The Results
Whatever it was that might have happened remains unknown. What we did
discover following the earthquake was that when customers who normally use
the EOC in emergency situations went to use the equipment, in some cases the
machines did not work as expected. Software could not be loaded on this PC; that
laptop would not connect to the network anymore; some PCs were not the same
or had been swapped for less-powerful processors. Things had changed, and the
result was that some of the emergency work IT professionals such as web support
technicians, had to perform took more time than we had anticipated. Ironically, the
Web played a crucial role in our overall communications “strategy.” The impact
of that equipment not immediately working was not yet evident; however, the
following events illustrate how they might have been.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
A few minutes after the earthquake struck, several of the downtown buildings
in which Seattle employees worked were evacuated due to fear of structural
damage. No one was injured, and amazingly only two keyboards were broken
throughout all the buildings in which we provide support. But imagine a couple
thousand very frightened and concerned people streaming onto the sidewalks and
streets, flooding cellular telephone networks in frantic attempts to contact loved
ones, and looking for any possible focus for communication—especially managers
such as myself and other supervisory staff, all possessing varying levels of training
in disaster preparedness.
Luckily, the mayor’s office had sent representatives to the gathering sites
indicated for staff to walk to in such events, and informed everyone in the
core buildings that were directly affected that they were to go home. With that
announcement, the CTO announced to all to “check the Web” for information,
meaning the city’s internal web site. But what if the EOC PC had been swapped
out (let’s say) for a Pentium 133 with 64MB RAM and that PC could not run
Microsoft’s FrontPage 2000? If that web site had to be updated with news
and official information on a routine basis, the results could have been at best
inconvenient and confusing.
Contingency and Costs
Because we are a publicly funded entity, we are very careful about how we
spend our customers’ money, as it is subject to great scrutiny (and rightfully so).
Customers often do not have the funds to afford both modern PC equipment
to run the latest version of Windows and a spare PC to sit in the closet, “just in
case.” After the earthquake, a couple of buildings were temporarily unavailable
for occupancy until inspectors had a chance to examine the damage to see if the
buildings were safe for employees. One of those buildings actually houses a lot
of our IT staff, and as a result, not only were we trying to find “spare PCs” for
our customers to use (while they looked for office space), but as IT support staff,
we found ourselves doing the same thing. The direct impact was that we found
it difficult in a few cases to support our customers as quickly as our service-level
agreements (SLAs) required, especially since we could not immediately reenter
our building to gather our PCs or other necessary equipment.
Lesson Learned: Keep Spares … At Least a Few
So it seems that you either pay up front or pay later. It makes sense to keep
a percentage of PCs available for these rainy-day events; 10 to 15 percent of
replaceable inventory should work. Consider that businesses of any kind are
obligated in such situations to perform a kind of “triage” as to which of their
business functions are most critical and which can be postponed—until their
entire stock of equipment can be reconnected or replaced—and 10 to 15 percent is
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
Have a Plan for Communications and How You Will Communicate
Following the CTO’s announcement, some asked, “What about those who don’t
have web access at home?” As IT staff, we asked, “What if the web servers
themselves had all been destroyed?” (In fact, ceiling debris in the room in which
they were housed fell very close to them, but the servers were not damaged
and the service was never down.) Still others asked, “What about those who
missed the message and don’t know to check the Web? These questions, as well
as “What to do in the event of …?” could be addressed with a clear, ever-ready
communications plan. Ironically, such plans had been developed down to the
last detail for other events, but in the case of a real “emergent” event, we as a
department had not identified a plan to follow. A priority for our department now
is to reexamine that situation and develop a plan, using communications plans
developed for the Y2K event and the like as models.
Another point: As previously mentioned, our staff is not responsible for
supporting the EOC on a routine basis. We are more than happy to be directed
to assist in that support, and as evidenced, have done so on a few occasions.
Almost immediately following the earthquake, I received a page indicating that
I was to dispatch technicians to the EOC to support the city officials who report
there during emergencies. While our team was under no agreement with the EOC
to provide support even “on demand,” I immediately asked two of my senior
technicians, who had worked at the EOC in the past, to respond. They reported
for duty there and supported the facility until the assigned staff arrived. There
was never a doubt that we would pitch in whenever asked, but I made it a point
to ask our divisional director if developing some clearer expectations, or even an
SLA, between our staff and the EOC would be appropriate, and he agreed. I did
find out that those in the EOC are granted power by legislation to use “all” city
resources in the event of an emergency, but a clear agreement could also permit
me to identify a rotating on-call staff person who could be proactive and call the
EOC in such instances.
I must point out that none of these preparations can substitute for dedicated,
intelligent people. The shining example is one of my technicians who supports
programmers responsible for the city’s payroll application. He had the presence of
mind to come early to work the day after the quake, and he somehow persuaded
the construction crew and inspectors to permit him access to the building. He
walked up 13 flights of stairs, picked up a PC and peripherals, carried it back down
the stairs and to another building, and configured it to work on the segment in
the new building. This made it possible for the programmer to run the operations
necessary for the city’s payroll run that weekend, and employees received their
checks on time, as expected. You cannot ask for more than that.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Disaster Recovery Plans
A disaster recovery plan is a document that explores how a network recovers from a disaster
that either imperils its data or stops its functioning. A company’s external financial
auditors often require annual disaster recovery plans, because of the data’s importance
to the business and the effect that such a network failure would have on a company.
Moreover, disaster recovery plans are also important because they force the manager of
the network to think through all possible disaster scenarios. By taking these scenarios into
account, the manager can make more effective plans to protect the network’s data from
loss and to restore full operations of the business as quickly as possible. As mentioned at
the beginning of this chapter, planning for disaster recovery and managing the company’s
backup systems are a network manager’s two most important jobs.
Most companies do not have extremely long disaster recovery plans. For a single
network of up to several hundred nodes and 15 or so servers, such a plan usually
consists of about 10 to 20 pages or fewer, although its length varies depending on the
complexity of the company’s network operations. Fortune 500 companies, for instance,
may have disaster recovery plans that are several hundred pages long, when all sites
are considered in aggregate.
One strategy to keep disaster recovery plans concise and to maximize their
usefulness is to focus on problems that, while remote, are at least somewhat likely to
occur. Alternatively, you can focus on disaster results—what happens—rather than
trying to cover disaster causes—why it happened. Focusing your plan on disaster
results means contemplating problems such as loss of a single server, loss of the entire
server room, loss of all of the customer service workstation computers, and so forth,
without worrying about the possible disasters that might cause those results.
The following sections discuss the minimum key issues that a disaster recovery
plan should address. Depending on your own company, your plan may need to
address additional issues.
Assessing Disaster Recovery Needs
Before drafting the actual plan, you should first assess the needs that the plan must
meet. These needs will vary depending on who requires input into the disaster
recovery planning process and what issues these people want the plan to address.
Consider these types of needs:
Formally planning for contingencies and ensuring that all possible disasters
have been considered, and defining countermeasures in the plan
Assuring the company’s external accounting auditors that the company has
considered and developed plans to handle disasters
Informing the company’s top management about the risks that exist for the
network and its data in different situations, and how much time you expect to
need to resolve any problems that occur
Soliciting input from top management of the company as to recovery priorities
and acceptable minimum requirements to reestablish services
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
Formally planning with the key areas of your company’s business (for example,
manufacturing, customer service, and sales) considerations surrounding different
types of computer-related disasters or serious problems
Assuring customers of the firm that the firm’s data operations are safe from
Identifying these needs will not only give you a clear vision of what the plan must
address, but also which other people from the different parts of the company should be
involved in the planning process.
Considering Disaster Scenarios
You should start your planning process by considering different possible disaster
scenarios. For example, consider the following disasters:
A fire in your server room—or somewhere else in the building—destroys
computers and tapes.
Flooding destroys computers and backup batteries low enough to the server
room floor to be affected. Remember that floods may be caused by something
within the building itself, such as a bad water leak in a nearby room or a fire
that activates the fire sprinklers.
An electrical problem of some kind causes power to fail.
Some problem causes total loss of connectivity to the outside world. For
example, a critical wide area network (WAN) or Internet link may go down.
A structural building failure of some kind affects the network or its servers.
Any of the preceding problems affects computers elsewhere in the building
that are critical to the company’s operations. For example, such an event may
happen in the manufacturing areas, in the customer service center, or in the
telephone system closet or room.
While none of these events is very likely, it is still important to consider them all.
The whole point of disaster recovery planning is to prevent or minimize serious losses,
and the process is much less useful if you consider only those disasters that you think
are the most likely.
After considering disasters such as those mentioned, you should next consider serious
failures that could also affect the operations of the network. Here are some examples:
The motherboard in your main server fails, and the vendor cannot get a
replacement to you for three or more days.
Disks in one of your servers fail in such a way that data is lost. If you are
running some kind of redundant array of independent disks (RAID) scheme
(discussed in Chapter 13), plan for failures that are worse than the RAID system
can protect. For example, if you use RAID 1 mirrored drives, plan for both sides
of the mirror to fail in the same time frame. If you are using RAID 5, plan for
any two drives failing at the same time.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Your tape backup drive fails and cannot be repaired for one to two weeks.
While this doesn’t cause a loss of data in and of itself, it certainly increases
your exposure to such an event.
You should plan how you would respond to these and any other possible failures.
If the motherboard in your main server fails, you may want to move its drives to a
compatible computer temporarily. To address disk failure, you should design a plan
under which you can rebuild the disk array and restore data from your backups as
rapidly as possible. Regarding your tape backup drive, you will likely want to find out
how quickly you can acquire an equivalent drive or whether the maker of the tape drive
can provide reconditioned replacement drives quickly in exchange for your failed drive.
For all of these failures, you will also want to consider the cost of keeping spare
parts, or even entire backup servers, available so that you can restore operations as
rapidly as possible. You should consider and investigate all of the following types of
possible responses:
Should you carry a maintenance contract? If so, make sure you thoroughly
understand its guarantees and procedures.
Should you stock certain types of parts on hand so that they are readily
available in case of failure?
Are other computers available that might work as a short-term replacement for
a key server? What about noncomputer components that are important, such
as routers, hubs, and switches?
If you need to take temporary measures, are the affected employees trained to
do their jobs with the replacement, or with no system at all, if necessary? For
example, if a restaurant’s electronic systems are down, can the restaurant (and
the food servers, kitchen staff, cashiers, and so on) still operate the business
manually until the system is repaired?
Should you maintain a cold or hot recovery site? A “cold” recovery site is
a facility maintained by your company and near the protected data center.
The cold site has all of the power, air conditioning, and other facility features
needed to host your site should the data center experience some disaster. A
“hot” site is the same as a cold site, except that it also has all of the necessary
computer equipment and software to duplicate the processing of the data
center. Hot sites usually synchronize their data on a real-time basis with the
main processing center, so that they can literally take over the work of the main
site in seconds. Companies with very sensitive, mission-critical data operations
often maintain cold or hot recovery sites.
The process of considering possible problems, such as disasters or failures of key
pieces of equipment, and then making plans for handling them is certainly the meat of
disaster recovery planning. However, your written plan should also discuss or address
other issues, which are covered in the following sections.
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
Handling Communications
An important part of any disaster recovery plan concerns how you will handle
communications. Without effective communications, your attempts at handling the
disaster will be hampered, and other people will not be able to do their jobs as well as
they might otherwise.
Start by listing all of the different parties who may need to be notified of a problem,
its progress toward resolution, and its final resolution. Your list might look something
like this:
The board of directors
The chief executive officer or president
The vice presidents of all areas
The vice president or head of an affected area
Your supervisor
Employees affected by the problem
For each of these parties—and any others you may identify—you next need to
consider what level of problem requires their notification. The board of directors,
for example, might not need to know about a disaster unless it is likely that it will
have a material effect on the company’s performance. Your supervisor, on the other
hand, probably wants to be notified about every problem, and certainly any affected
employees need to be notified.
Once you have listed the parties to notify and what they need to be informed
about, you should then decide how you will inform them. If you’re the primary
person resolving the disaster, it’s best to delegate notification to someone else who
is less directly involved so that you can focus on resolving the problem as quickly as
possible. For example, the job of communicating with the appropriate people should
be delegated to your supervisor or to an employee who works in your department and
is free to handle this job. Whoever has this job should be clear on the communication
procedures and should have access to the necessary contact information—such as home
phone numbers, pager numbers, cell phone numbers, and so forth—for situations that
require notification after working hours. You may also want to consider setting up a
telephone tree for rapid notification. Finally, for your environment and for different
types of disasters, you may need to specify the order in which people are notified,
which may not match their order in the company’s organization chart.
The written disaster recovery plan should include all of the preceding information.
Planning Off-Site Storage
Off-site storage is an important way of protecting some of your backup tapes in the
event that a physical disaster, such as a fire, destroys all of your on-site copies. Because
off-site storage is such an important aspect of disaster protection, it should be discussed
in your disaster recovery plan.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
NOTE If you do not yet have an off-site storage procedure, you should seriously consider
adopting one. While fireproof file cabinets can protect tape media from small fires, they are not
necessarily invulnerable to very large or hot fires. Plus, tapes are more sensitive to smoke and heat
than the papers that a fireproof file cabinet is designed to protect.
Companies that provide off-site storage of files often also offer standardized tapestorage practices. These usually work on a rotation basis, where a storage company
employee comes to your office periodically—usually weekly—and drops off one set
of tapes and picks up the next set of tapes. The companies typically use stainless steel
boxes to hold the tapes, and the network administrator is responsible for keeping the
boxes locked and safeguarding the keys. You need to decide which tapes you should
keep on-site and which ones to send off-site. One rule of thumb is always to keep the
two most recent complete backups on-site (so that they’re available to restore deleted
files for users) and send the older tapes off-site. This way, you keep on hand the tapes
that you need on a regular basis, and you minimize your exposure to a disaster. After
all, if a disaster destroys your server room and all of the tapes in it, you probably won’t
be too worried about losing just a week’s worth of data.
NOTE The amount of data that you can accept exposing to a disaster will vary widely depending on
the nature of your company’s business and the nature of the data. Some operations are so sensitive
that the loss of even a few minutes’ worth of data would be catastrophic. For example, a banking
firm simply cannot lose any transactions. Businesses that need to protect supersensitive data
sometimes enlist a third-party vendor to provide off-site online data storage. Such a vendor replicates
a business’s data onto the vendor’s servers over a high-speed connection, such as a T-1 or T-3.
These vendors usually also offer failover services, where their computers can pick up the jobs of your
computers should your computers fail. Alternatively, if a business runs multiple sites, it might set up
software and procedures that enable it to accomplish the same services using its own sites.
Describing Critical Components
Your plan should describe the computer equipment and software that will be required
to resume operations if the entire building is lost. This list should roughly estimate the
cost of the equipment and how it can be procured rapidly. By preparing such a list,
you can reduce the time required to resume operations in a temporary facility. Also, if
your company purchases insurance against business interruptions, you will need these
estimates for that insurance policy.
Network Backup and Restore Procedures
A network disaster recovery plan is worthless without some way of recovering the data
stored on the server. This is where network backup and restore procedures come in.
If you’re a network administrator, or aspire to become one, you should already know
about the importance of good backups of the system and of important data. If you don’t
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
know this, then it’s probably the most important lesson that you can take away from this
book. Making regular backups is a requirement when using computers—period.
You don’t need to work with computers for very long before you observe firsthand
the importance of good backups. Computers can and do fail, and they sometimes fail in
ways that render the data stored on them unrecoverable. Also, some turn of events may
cause certain important files to be deleted or corrupted. In cases such as these, jobs are
saved or lost based on the quality of the backups in place and the ability to restore that
important data.
Assessing Backup Needs
Before designing network backup procedures, you must understand the company’s
backup and restoration needs. Questions such as the following may help in assessing
the needs that you must meet:
How dynamic is the data stored on the servers? How often does it change, and
in what ways does it change?
How much data needs to be backed up, and at what rate is the amount of data
How much time is available to make the backup? Make sure that you avoid
situations where you need to back up terabytes of data using a system that can
handle only megabytes per hour.
If a partial or complete restoration from a backup is required, how quickly
must it take place? As a rule of thumb, restoring data takes about twice as long
as backing it up, although in some cases the times may be approximately equal.
In other words, if it takes your backup system 10 hours overnight to back up
the entire network, it will take 10 to 20 hours to restore that data—and this
estimate doesn’t include the time required to resolve whatever problem made
it necessary to restore data in the first place.
How coherent does the backed up data need to be? In other words, does a
collection of data files need to be handled as a single unit? For example,
a directory containing a bunch of word processing files isn’t terribly coherent;
you can restore one, many, or all of them without much concern about how
those restorations will affect other files. On the other hand, a collection of
database files for a high-end database is often useless unless you can restore
all of the files in the set, from exactly the same point in time. (High-end
databases—such as Oracle’s—that require this kind of backup will have their
own detailed instructions for how backups must be made.)
What is the required trade-off between cost and recoverability? You can design
backup systems that operate minute to minute so that if something fails, the
systems will not lose any data, and management can place a high degree of
confidence in this fact. (A bank, for instance, requires this kind of high-end
backup system.) However, such backup systems cost a lot of money and
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
require a lot of administration. Most companies would gladly trade that sort of
extreme cost for some lower degree of recoverability, such as nightly backups
of the system. What does your company need and what is it willing to pay for?
How many levels of redundancy does the company need in its backups? Most
backups are made onto tapes and support servers that use RAID arrays, so the
tapes are actually the second level of protection. In some cases, multiple tapes
may be required, each with a separate copy of the backup. Or another way to
proceed for maximum redundancy is to copy backups to an off-site storage
company over some sort of network connection.
When making your assessment, it is important to involve the senior management
of your company in the process. At a minimum, you should present your findings and
seek management’s agreement or input.
Acquiring Backup Media and Technologies
Once you have some idea of your backup needs, you can then proceed to acquire the
necessary hardware and software to create and manage your backups.
If you need to purchase new backup hardware for a system, you can choose from
a number of proven, good systems, depending on your actual needs. When choosing
a backup technology, consider the following factors:
Reliability of the hardware and the media
Cost of the hardware and the media
Storage capacity
Likely frequency of restorations
The importance of fitting the entire backup onto a single piece of media
Table 12-1 reviews different types of backup technologies, their approximate costs,
and the relative pros and cons of each. Note that the prices of drives, media, and costs
per megabyte in Table 12-1 are approximations.
If your company can afford digital linear tape (DLT) or Linear Tape-Open (LTO)
systems and can make use of their capacities, you should definitely look into purchasing
this technology. DLT and LTO tapes are rock solid, can be used a rated million times,
and are said to have a shelf life of 30 years. Moreover, the drives are fast for both
backups and restorations. Finally, robotic autochangers are available for DLT and LTO
drives, which means that there is plenty of head room if you outgrow the size of your
drive. Also, the robotic systems are relatively inexpensive and range from small systems
that can hold five tapes up to large libraries that can hold tens or hundreds of tapes.
Some newer backup technologies, such as Super DLT S4 (600GB per tape) and
LTO-4 (800GB per tape), promise to up DLT’s ante. For larger networks, these emerging
technologies may make sense. Both DLT and LTO are reliable tape formats with a lot of
support from various computer equipment vendors.
Chapter 12:
Cost of Drive
Cost of Media
RW drives
Network Disaster Recovery
Media Capacity
Pros and Cons
+ Random access
−Small capacity
−Slow speed
−CD-R media is not
+ Random access
+ Large capacity
−Slow speed
Digital linear $1,000
tape (DLT V4) ($3/GB)
+ Very reliable
+ Very fast
+ High per-tape
+ Extremely low media
Super DLT
(SDLT 600)
+ Very reliable
+ Very fast
+ High per-tape
+ Extremely low media
Linear TapeOpen (LTO-2
to LTO-4)
+ Very reliable
+ Very fast
+ High per-tape
+ Extremely low media
Table 12-1. Types of Backup Technologies
Choosing Backup Strategies
After acquiring all the necessary information, you can plan a backup rotation strategy,
which addresses how backup media is rotated. Backup rotations are designed to
accomplish the following goals:
Rebuild the system with the most recent data possible, in case of a catastrophic
Restore files from older tapes that may have been accidentally erased or
damaged without anyone noticing the potential loss of data immediately
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Protect against backup media failure
Protect the data from an environmental failure, such as a fire, that destroys the
original system and data
Most network operating systems maintain special bits for each file on the system.
One of these is called the archive bit, which indicates the backup status of the file. When
a user modifies a file, its archive bit is set to on, indicating that the file should be backed
up. When the backup is accomplished, the archive bit is cleared. Using this archive bit
and your backup software, you can make the following types of backups:
A full backup, where all selected directories and files are backed up, regardless
of their archive bit state. Full backups clear the archive bit on all of the backed-up
files when they are finished.
An incremental backup, where only files with their archive bit set are backed
up. This backs up all files changed since the last full or incremental backup.
Incremental backups clear the archive bit of the backed-up files; those files will
not be backed up during the next incremental backup unless they are modified
again and their archive bits are reset to the on state. Incremental backups
generally minimize the amount of time needed to perform each daily backup,
but they take longer to restore and pose a greater risk of media failure.
A differential backup, which is similar to the incremental backup in that it backs up
only files with their archive bits set. The key difference in a differential backup
is that the archive bits are left turned on. Subsequent differential backups will
back up those same files again, plus any new ones that have been modified.
Differential backups take longer to make, but reduce the time required to restore
and reduce the risk of media failure.
In a perfect world, it would be nice always to perform full backups. If the system
were to fail, then you would need only the most recent backup tape to restore the
system fully. However, for a number of reasons, performing a full backup may not
always be feasible. For one thing, perhaps there is inadequate time to perform a full
backup each day. Another reason is to extend the life of your media and tape drive by
reducing the amount of work that they do. You need to weigh these concerns against
the increased time it takes to restore from a combination of full and incremental or
differential backups, and the increased possibility of being unable to restore backups
properly using a combination approach. (For example, if a full restoration required
a full backup from the previous week, plus four incremental backups since then,
you’re counting on having all five tapes be perfectly good, and you’re somewhat more
exposed to a bad tape.)
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
One common way to mix these types of backups is to perform a full backup of the
system once a week and perform only incremental or differential backups each day of
the week. Examine the following examples:
Full backup Friday nights and incremental backups on Monday–Thursday
If the system fails Monday morning before any data is entered, you need to
restore only the full backup from the previous Friday night. If the system fails
on Thursday morning, you need to restore four tapes sequentially in order
to retrieve all of the data: the full backup from the previous Friday, then the
incremental tapes from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Moreover, to
guarantee the integrity of the data, you must be able to restore all of those tapes,
and in their proper sequence. Otherwise, you run the risk of ending up with
mismatched data files. In this scenario, you have four media-based points of
failure, which might entail more risk than you care to take.
Full backup Friday night and differential backups Monday–Thursday In
this scenario, if the system fails Monday morning, you just restore the tape
from the previous Friday night. However, if the system fails on Thursday
morning, you need to restore only two tapes: the last full backup from Friday
night, plus the differential backup from Wednesday night. Because differential
backups back up all changed files since the last full backup, you never need to
restore more than two tapes, thereby reducing the number of possible points of
media failure.
To determine the best backup scheme for your system, you need to balance the nature
of the data and the amount of risk you’re willing to take against the cost of each backup,
the capacity of the tapes, and the amount of time it takes to make each regular backup.
The most common backup rotation scheme is called grandfather-father-son (GFS). A
common way to implement this scheme is to use at least eight tapes. You label four of
the tapes as “Monday” through “Thursday,” and four others “Friday 1,” “Friday 2,”
“Friday 3,” and “Friday 4.” Every Monday through Thursday, you use one of those
labeled tapes, replacing the data stored the previous week. Each Friday tape corresponds
to which Friday in the month you are on: for the first Friday, you use Friday 1, and so
forth. Finally, on the last day of each month, you prepare a month-end tape, which you
do not reuse, but instead keep off-site in case an environmental failure destroys the
system and all locally stored tapes.
There are three main variations of the GFS scheme. In the first, you simply make
a full backup of the system each time you perform a backup. This variation offers the
greatest amount of media redundancy and the minimum amount of restoration time.
In the second, you perform a full backup on each of the Friday tapes and the monthly
tape, but perform only incremental backups during the week. In the third, you do
much the same thing, but use differential backups instead of incremental backups.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
TIP If your data is extremely critical and not easily reconstructed, you can often perform full
backups every night and also squeeze in a quick incremental backup midday. This way, you can’t
lose more than a half day’s worth of data.
You can also choose rotation schemes that are simpler than GFS. For instance, you
may use just two or three tapes and then rotate them in sequence, overwriting the old
data each time you do so. This lets you restore any of the previous three days’ data. The
shortcoming of this scheme is that you may need to go back further in time to restore
data that was erased or damaged without anyone immediately noticing. You can
combat this problem by using several tapes that you rotate weekly or monthly.
One factor to keep in mind when considering different tape rotation schemes is
the granularity of your backups. Generally, granularity refers to the flexibility that
you retain to recover data from earlier tapes. In the standard GFS scheme, where full
backups are made all the time, you could restore a file from any given day for a week’s
time, for any given end of the week (Friday) for a month’s time, or for any given month
for a year’s time. You could not, however, restore a file that was created three months
ago in the middle of the month and erased (or damaged) before the month was over,
because a clean copy wouldn’t exist on any of the backup tapes.
The best advice for choosing a rotation scheme for important data is that unless
there are reasons to do otherwise (as already discussed), use the GFS scheme with full
backups. This maximizes the safety of your data, maximizes your restoration flexibility,
and minimizes the risk of media failure. If other factors force you to choose a different
scheme, use the discussions in this chapter to arrive at the best compromise for your
Granularity and Data Corruption: A Tricky Balance
One reason to consider granularity carefully is the possibility of data becoming
corrupted and the situation not being noticed. For instance, I once worked with
a database file that had been corrupted several weeks earlier, but had continued
to function and seemed normal. After problems started to develop, however,
the database vendor’s technical support staff discovered that a portion of the
database that wasn’t regularly used had become lost and wasn’t repairable. The
problem was caused by a bad sector on the database’s hard disk. The only way
that the support people could recover the database and ensure that it was clean
was to restore backups, going further and further back in time, until they found
a copy of the database that didn’t have the damage. They then reentered the
data that had been added since the nondamaged copy was made. Because of the
increasing time span between backups as the support people dug further and
further back in time, the amount of data that we needed to reenter grew rapidly.
Chapter 12:
Network Disaster Recovery
Chapter Summary
You can be the most proficient person at networking in the world, but if you don’t create
and carefully manage an appropriate disaster recovery program for your company, you’re
not doing your job. The importance of this area cannot be overstated. In addition to this
chapter, you should also study material covering specific backup and restore instructions
for your network operating systems and databases, as well as the documentation for your
backup hardware device and the backup software you select.
The next chapter discusses key information that you should know about selecting,
installing, and managing servers. Servers are the heart of any network, and selecting
reliable, productive servers not only will eliminate potential trouble spots for your
network, but can also help you avoid needing to actually use the disaster recovery
plans and strategies that you have put in place.
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Chapter 13
Network Servers:
Everything You
Wanted to Know but
Were Afraid to Ask
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
any different types of servers exist: file and print servers, application servers,
web servers, communications servers, and more. What all servers have
in common, though, is that multiple people rely on them and they are
usually integral to some sort of network service. Because servers are used by tens or
hundreds (or thousands!) of people, the computers you use for servers need to be a
cut—or two—above just any old workstation. Servers need to be much more reliable
and serviceable than workstations. Plus, they need to perform in different ways from
This chapter covers network server hardware. You learn about what distinguishes
a server from a workstation, about different server hardware configurations, and about
preparing a server for use in your network.
What Distinguishes a Server from a Workstation?
With high-performance desktop computers selling for $1,500 to $3,000, it can be hard
to see how a computer with the same processor can cost in excess of $7,000 just because
it’s designed as a “server.” Server computers truly are different from workstations,
however, and they incorporate a number of features not found in desktop computers.
These features are important to a server’s job, which is to serve up data or services to a
large number of users as reliably as possible.
Server Processors
Much of the performance of a server derives from its central processing unit, or CPU.
While servers are also sensitive to the performance of other components (more so than
a desktop computer), the processor is still important in determining how fast the server
can operate.
Servers can run using one processor or many processors. How many processors you
choose for a server depends on various factors. The first is the network operating system
(NOS) you use. You need to carefully research how many processors are supported on
your proposed NOS if you wish to use multiprocessing.
If you plan to use one of the Windows family of servers, you can use multiple
processors, depending on which version and edition you plan to run. Windows 2000
Server can handle up to 4 processors, while Windows 2000 Advanced Server can
handle up to 8 processors, and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server can handle up to
32 processors. For Windows Server 2003, both the Standard and Web editions support
up to 2 processors, Enterprise edition supports up to 8, and Datacenter edition supports
up to 32 (and up to 128 processors for the 64-bit variant). For Windows Server 2008,
both the Standard and Web editions support up to 4 processors, while the Enterprise
edition supports 8 processors, and the Datacenter edition supports 32 processors (up to
64 processors for the 64-bit variant).
Chapter 13:
Network Servers: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
NOTE These days, some processors have multiple processor cores on the same chip. The values
given for the number of allowed Windows server processors are for the number of processor chips
(in other words, the sockets on the motherboard).
If you plan to use UNIX, then it depends—some versions of UNIX support multiple
processors; others do not.
Another factor to consider is the job that the server does and whether the server’s
tasks are presently bottlenecked by the processor. File and print servers may not need
multiple processors. While they benefit from fast processors, the advantage is not as great
as you might think. It’s far more important for a file and a print server to have a lot of
random access memory (RAM) and a fast disk subsystem. Database servers, on the other
hand, are processor-hungry and definitely benefit from as many processors as possible
running at the fastest possible speed. (It’s also important for the database server software
to be configured in such a way that it can make optimal use of multiple processors.) Web
servers tend to be modest in their processor requirements—they rely on fast buses, fast
network connections, a lot of RAM, fast disks, and that’s about it. A fast processor (or
multiple processors) is nice on most web servers, but it also might be overkill.
Managing multiple processors requires a lot of overhead work on the part of the
operating system. Because of this, having twice as many processors in a computer
doesn’t double its processing capability; instead, doubling the processors might improve
the computer’s speed by only about 50 percent. Depending on your operating system,
there is also a point of diminishing returns, past which additional processors won’t give
you much additional performance. Part of this has to do with how the operating system
handles multiple processors. Another part has to do with the number of threads doing
work in the operating system. (Threads cannot be shared between processors, so if only
two main threads are doing all the work on the system, more than two processors won’t
improve your performance by any meaningful amount.)
DEFINE-IT! What’s a Thread?
Operating systems that multitask often do so using a mechanism called a thread.
In fact, all modern operating systems use threads, including Windows (from
Windows 95 on up), NetWare, and some versions of UNIX. In operating systems
that make use of threads, each running program runs as a process, which has its
own memory resources and is kept separate from other processes in the computer.
However, the process is divided into different units of work, called threads. These
threads have access to all the resources of the process in which they run and are the
actual “agents of work” within the process. For example, a word processor such
as Microsoft Word might have a thread that accepts typed input from the user and
displays it on the screen, another that handles any printing chores, and others that
constantly check spelling and grammar in the background as the user works. In
this example, the application Word is a single process with multiple threads. In a
multithreaded operating system, every process always has at least one thread.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
To determine the number of processors you should use for any given task, you
should consult with the maker of both the NOS you plan to use and makers of the
primary applications you plan to run on the server. You might also want to discuss
these issues with other companies that are performing similar work with the proposed
server application. For instance, for a database server for an accounting system that
supports hundreds of users, you should talk to people at other sites that use the same
software and have roughly the same number of users, to learn about their experiences
and suggestions. It’s vital to double-check your proposed server configurations in this
way, because different uses of a server might require far more—or far fewer—hardware
resources than you might estimate. If you can find another company doing about the
same thing and with approximately the same load, you can drastically improve your
confidence in a proposed server hardware configuration’s ability to meet your needs.
The Intel Pentium Family
Intel’s Pentium family has a variety of different processors, ranging from the basic
Pentium all the way up to the Pentium Xeon processor. Current server-class computers
are shipping with Intel Core Duo or Pentium Xeon processors. The Xeon series of
processors are optimized for server-type duties and are more amenable to running in
a multiprocessor system.
Pentium Xeon processors are currently available in speeds ranging up to 2.66 GHz
with up to 6 cores on a single chip. The design of the Xeon processor allows for 8 to
32 processors in a Pentium Xeon system. For certain applications, having such a large
number of processors can be an advantage. The Xeon processor family is packaged in
a Single Edge Contact Cartridge, which is much larger than the packaging used for the
Pentium non-Xeon processors. The Xeon processors also generate quite a bit more heat
than their non-Xeon brethren, mostly due to the much larger cache memory and other
features that boost Xeon processor performance in a server. (It’s a good thing that most
servers can monitor their in-case heat levels; sometimes these chips can heat up to more
than 170° Fahrenheit.)
The next big jump in server processors from Intel is coming from its new Itanium
processor family, previously known as the IA-64 architecture. The Itanium family
is based on a 64-bit architecture that uses something Intel calls Explicitly Parallel
Instruction Computing (EPIC). Itanium 2 processors are currently available in speeds
ranging from 1.0 to 1.66 GHz. This architecture relies heavily on compiler techniques
to arrange the byte-level code so that it can execute as efficiently as possible in parallel
(meaning multiple processor instructions execute at the same time).
NOTE You cannot generally compare the clock speed of processors from one processor family
with the clock speeds of processors from another family to get an idea of their relative performance.
Processors in different families and from different manufacturers work in very different ways from
one another. What takes one processor family four to six instruction cycles to perform might take
another processor family only one instruction cycle. Instead, use clock speeds to get an idea of the
relative speed difference only among processors within a single processor family.
Chapter 13:
Network Servers: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
Intel Clones
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) makes the Opteron line of processors, which
competes primarily with Pentium III and Pentium 4 processors, and essentially
emulates the functioning of the Intel family of processors. In the past couple of years,
AMD has been successful in actually producing processors that emulate Intel’s, and in
many cases, they outperform them.
The problem with clone chips such as AMD’s is that, despite claims to the contrary,
they won’t ever be 100 percent compatible with Intel’s processors. Because software
vendors usually certify their software against only Intel processors, such vendors are
likely to be slow to respond to any problems that crop up with the clones. Because of
this issue, clone chips are not typically used in server-class machines, where reliability
and serviceability are of paramount importance.
TIP Before choosing any server hardware, ensure that the maker of the NOS you plan to use
certifies the entire system, including the processor. It is also wise to make sure that the maker of
any applications you plan to run on the server certifies the hardware you are choosing. (Most server
application makers insist only that the hardware be certified for the operating system, but it’s wise to
Originally, Motorola, IBM, and Apple teamed up to design and use the PowerPC
processor, a RISC-based processor that is actually manufactured by Motorola but based
largely on IBM’s design. The PowerPC was used in Apple Macintosh (Macs now use
Intel processors) computers and some UNIX-based servers from IBM and Motorola.
Bus Capabilities
For most servers, the name of the game is moving data—usually, a lot of data. File and
print servers might need to serve up hundreds of files simultaneously to hundreds of
users, and to coordinate and handle the data needs of all those users. Database servers
might manage databases that are many gigabytes or terabytes in size, and they must
be able to retrieve large chunks of data from their databases and provide it to users
within milliseconds. Application servers might perform both processor-intensive and
disk-intensive operations while providing application services to users.
Just as networks often have fast backbone segments connecting many slower segments
together, a computer relies on its bus to do the same sort of work. A bus is the data transfer
“backbone” of a computer system, to which the processor, memory, and all installed
devices connect.
At any given time, a server might be moving megabytes of data from its disks to
the network cards, to the processor, to the system’s memory, and back to the disks as it
performs its tasks. All these components are connected together by the system’s bus, so
optimizing that portion of the computer as much as possible makes sense. The bus might
handle about five times more data than any single component in the system, and it needs
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
to do so quickly. While it’s true that a modern PCI bus can handle 33 MHz at 32 bits, this
just isn’t enough in a high-end server. Many servers must handle multiple NICs (each
running at speeds up to 100 Mbps or even 1 Gbps) and multiple disk controllers running
at speeds up to 40 Mbps. If those devices are busy at the same time, even a PCI bus will
quickly get saturated.
Thus, server manufacturers need to get around bus speed limitations. The
manufacturers use several schemes to do so. One way is by using multiple buses in a
single system. For example, some of HP’s Netserver servers use three PCI buses that
can all run at full speed simultaneously. Just by using a little planning in placing certain
peripherals on the different buses, you can greatly increase the system’s overall speed.
Another important part of any server is its installed memory. Servers cache data from
the network and from the server’s disks to achieve the best possible performance, and
they rely heavily on their RAM to do this. For example, most NOSs cache the entire
directory of files they store for quick access. They also keep requested files in the cache
for an extended period of time, in case the data from the file is needed again. They
also buffer writes to the system’s disk through write caches in RAM and perform the
actual disk writes asynchronously, so the disks are not as much of a bottleneck as they
otherwise would be.
For most servers, 1GB of RAM should be considered a bare minimum. For heavyduty database servers supporting hundreds of users, you almost certainly will want
multiple gigabytes of RAM to achieve the best possible performance.
TIP How much RAM do you really need for your server? This is hard to say because a lot
depends on how the server is used. The good news is that both the Windows family of servers and
Novell NetWare provide statistics showing how the memory in the system is used. You can use this
information to help determine when more memory would be beneficial. For the Windows family of
server operating systems, use Performance Monitor to see how memory and the system swap file
are being used. For Novell NetWare, use the cache statistics in the console’s MONITOR program.
Also, most high-end databases (like Oracle's) will provide memory use information to help you
determine the amount of RAM that will help the database to perform best.
RAM comes in three varieties: nonparity, parity, and error checking and correcting
(ECC). Parity RAM uses an extra bit for every byte to store a checksum of the byte’s
contents. If the checksum doesn’t match when the memory is read, the system stops and
reports a memory error. Nonparity memory eliminates the parity bit and therefore can’t
detect any memory errors. Inexpensive desktop computers sometimes use nonparity
RAM as a cost-cutting technique, although you should avoid its use whenever possible,
even on desktop computers.
Parity-based memory has two problems. First, the system can only detect memory
errors; it can’t correct them. Second, because only one bit is used to store the parity, it is
possible to “fool” the parity mechanism with a more severe error. For instance, if two bits
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were to simultaneously changed polarities, the parity system wouldn’t detect the problem.
ECC memory is designed to address these problems. Systems using ECC memory can
detect up to two bits of errors and can automatically correct one bit of error. Most current
servers use ECC memory because of the added protection that it offers.
Disk Subsystems
The third crucial performance subsystem for a server is its disk drives. Hard disk drives
are usually the slowest components of any system, and because most of the server’s
work involves the hard disks, they are the components most likely to bottleneck the
system. Also, the data stored on a server is usually critically important to the company,
so it’s important to have the most reliable disk configuration you can afford.
Disk Interfaces: SCSI Versus SATA
Two types of disk interfaces are in widespread use today: Serial Advanced Technology
Attachment (SATA) and Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI). For a workstation
using Windows XP, SATA performs on par with a SCSI-based disk system. For a server
running Windows, Linux, or Novell NetWare, however, SCSI offers clear performance
advantages. SCSI systems perform much better when they have simultaneous access
to more than one hard disk and when they are used on an operating system—such as
the Windows server family or UNIX/Linux—that can take proper advantage of SCSI’s
NOTE SCSI is pronounced “scuzzy.” For a while, Macintosh users tried to adopt the pronunciation
“sexy,” but it never took hold. (SCSI first saw widespread use on the Macintosh, at least in the
personal computing world.)
Many varieties of SCSI-based disk systems are available, as follows:
SCSI-1 The basic SCSI specification can transfer data to and from the disks
at approximately 5 MBps using an 8-bit transfer width. Advances in SCSI
technology have made SCSI-1 obsolete, and it is not used on current systems.
(This is good because most SCSI-1 implementations weren’t compatible with
one another.)
SCSI-2 This is the basic SCSI interface in use today. It extends the SCSI
specification and adds many features to SCSI, and it also allows for much faster
SCSI connections. In addition, SCSI-2 greatly improved the SCSI compatibility
between different SCSI device manufacturers.
Fast SCSI With Fast SCSI, the basic SCSI-2 specification is enhanced to
increase the SCSI bus speed from 5 MHz to 10 MHz and the throughput from
5 MBps to 10 MBps. Fast SCSI is also called Fast Narrow SCSI.
Wide SCSI Also based on SCSI-2, Wide SCSI increases the SCSI-2 data path
from 8 bits to either 16 or 32 bits. Using 16 bits, Wide SCSI can handle up to
20 MBps.
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Ultra SCSI Also called SCSI-3, this specification increases the SCSI bus speed
even higher—to 20 MHz. Using a narrow, 8-bit bus, Ultra SCSI can handle
20 MBps. It can also run with a 16-bit bus, increasing the speed further to 40 MBps.
Ultra2 SCSI Yet another enhancement of the SCSI standard, Ultra2 SCSI
doubles (yet again) the performance of Ultra SCSI. Ultra2 SCSI subsystems
can scale up to 80 MBps using a 16-bit bus.
Ultra160 SCSI By now you should know the story: Ultra160 SCSI again
doubles the performance available from Ultra2 SCSI. Ultra160 SCSI (previously
called Ultra3 SCSI) is named for its throughput of 160 MBps.
Ultra320 SCSI
Ultra640 SCSI Another doubling of the SCSI interface speed, Ultra640 SCSI
was promulgated as a new standard in early 2003.
Ultra320 SCSI can move data at a rate of 320 MBps.
NOTE A storage connection technology, called Fibre Channel, can use either fiber-optic or copper
cable, is a much more flexible connection scheme than SCSI, and promises throughput many times
faster than even that of Ultra640 SCSI. Based loosely on a network paradigm, Fibre Channel is initially
expensive to implement, but large data centers will benefit greatly from its advances over SCSI.
As you can see from the preceding list, a dizzying array of SCSI choices is available
on the market today. Because of all the different standards, it’s a good idea to make
sure you purchase matched components when building a SCSI disk subsystem or
when purchasing one as part of a server. Make sure the controller card you plan to use
is compatible with the drives you will use, that the card uses the appropriate cables,
and that it is compatible with both the server computer and the NOS you will use.
The good news is that once you get a SCSI disk subsystem up and running, it will run
reliably and with excellent performance.
Disk Topologies: It’s a RAID!
The acronym RAID stands for redundant array of independent disks. RAID is a technique
of using many disks to do the work of one disk, and it offers many advantages compared
to using fewer, larger disks.
The basic idea behind RAID is to spread a server’s data across many disks,
seamlessly. For example, a single file might have portions of itself spread across four
or five disks. The RAID system manages all those parts so you never know they’re
actually spread across all the disks. You open the file, the RAID system accesses all the
appropriate disks and “reassembles” the file, and provides the entire file to you.
The immediate benefit you get is that the multiple disks perform much more
quickly than a single disk. This is because all the disks can independently work on
finding their own data and sending it to the controller to be assembled. A single disk
drive would be limited by a single disk head and would take much longer to gather
the same amount of data. Amazingly, the performance of a RAID system increases as
you add more disks, because of the benefit of having all those disk heads independently
working toward retrieving the needed data.
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If you think about a simple RAID array with data spread across many disks, you’ll
probably notice that, while it improves performance, it also increases the chance of a
disk failure. Using five disks to do the work of one means that five times more chances
exist for a disk failure. Because the data is spread among all the disks, if one fails, you
might as well throw away all the data on all the remaining disks because it’s useless if a
big chunk is missing. Fortunately, different RAID schemes address this problem.
There are many different ways to use multiple disks together in some sort of RAID
scheme and, accordingly, a number of RAID levels are defined, each of which describes
a different technique, as follows:
RAID 0 This scheme is a configuration whereby data is spread (striped) across
multiple disks, although with no redundancy. Losing one drive in a RAID 0
array results in the loss of data on all the disks. RAID 0 is appropriate only for
improving performance and should be used only with nonessential data. RAID
0 arrays can stripe data across two or more disks, as shown in Figure 13-1.
RAID 1 This type of array doesn’t stripe data across multiple disks. Instead,
it defines a standard whereby data is mirrored between disks. Two disks are
used instead of one, and the data is kept synchronized between the two disks.
If one of the disks fails, the remaining disk continues working just fine, until
the failed drive can be replaced. RAID 1 is often simply referred to as mirroring.
An enhancement to RAID 1 is called duplexing; the data is still duplicated
between two disks, but each disk has its own disk controller, adding another
level of redundancy (because you can lose either a disk or a controller and
still keep operating). Duplexing can also improve performance somewhat,
compared to straight mirroring. Some RAID 1 implementations are also
intelligent enough to read data from either disk in such a way that whichever
disk has its drive head closest to the data performs the read request, while the
other one sits idle. However, all writes must occur simultaneously for both
disks. Figure 13-2 shows a typical RAID 1 array layout.
Disk 1
Disk 2
Figure 13-1. A RAID 0 array stripes data across multiple disks
Disk 3
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Disk 1
Disk 2
Figure 13-2. A RAID 1 array mirrors data between two disks
TIP You can combine RAID levels 0 and 1 to achieve the performance benefit of RAID 0 with
the high level of redundancy of RAID 1. Imagine a series of RAID 1 arrays with two disks each.
Combine each of these RAID 1 arrays so that data is striped across them, and you have what
is called a RAID 10 array (with 10 referring to a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0). This is
sometimes also called RAID 0 + 1 or RAID 1 + 0.
RAID 2 You probably won’t see RAID 2 implemented in the real world.
RAID 2 is a technical specification that stripes data across multiple disks and
then uses a Hamming Code ECC that is written to a set of ECC disks. The ratio
of ECC disks to data disks is quite high with RAID 2: There are three ECC disks
for every four data disks. RAID 2 isn’t used because of its inefficiencies.
RAID 3 This is where RAID starts to get interesting. RAID 3 implementations
used to be fairly common, although these days you see RAID 5 used much
more often than RAID 3. RAID 3 stripes data across multiple data disks and
then uses an exclusive OR (XOR) bit-wise operation against all the stored
data on each data disk to come up with ECC data, which is written to a
single ECC drive. So, for example, you can have four data drives and one
ECC drive to back them up. Figure 13-3 shows a RAID 3 array. The XOR
data has an interesting mathematical property. If you remove one of the data
drives, you can take the remaining data, plus the data on the ECC drive, and
reconstruct what is missing from the failed drive. RAID disk controllers do this
automatically if a drive fails, although the drives operate at a slower rate than
normal because of the overhead of having to reconstruct the data on the fly. A
more useful technique is to replace the failed drive and then use the ECC data
to rebuild the lost data.
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Last disk contains
ECC data for
drives 1–4
Data striped on these drives
Disk 1
Disk 2
Disk 3
Disk 4
Disk 5
Figure 13-3. A RAID-3 array stripes data across multiple disks, with an ECC disk to protect
the data
NOTE If more than one drive is lost from a RAID 3 or a RAID 5 array, all the array’s data will be
lost. Still, these arrays provide good protection at relatively low incremental cost.
RAID 4 This is another of the RAID standards that isn’t used very much in
the real world. RAID 4 is similar to RAID 3, except data is striped between the
different data drives in much larger blocks than with RAID 3. RAID 4 still uses
a single ECC disk for all the data drives.
RAID 5 RAID 5, depicted in Figure 13-4, is the current standard for RAID
systems. (RAID 1 also remains a current standard, but it has different
applications.) Recall how RAID 3 worked, with data striped to a set of data
disks, and the ECC code written to a single ECC disk. RAID 5 improves on this
scheme by interleaving the data and ECC information across all the disks. The
big advantage of this approach over RAID 3 is that it doesn’t rely on a single
ECC drive for all write operations, which becomes a bottleneck on RAID 3
systems. Because all the drives share the ECC work, performance with RAID 5
is slightly better than with RAID 3. There is a small drawback to this, though,
that most commentators miss. In RAID 3, if you lost a data drive, the system
slowed down (usually dramatically) as the data was reconstructed on the fly.
If you lost the ECC drive, however, the system would still run just as fast as if
no drive were lost. With RAID 5, if you lose a drive, you’re always losing part
of your ECC drive (because its job is spread among all the disks), so you get a
slowdown no matter what.
RAID 6 RAID 6 works the same as RAID 5, but stores parity data on two
interleaving drives rather than the one of RAID 5. Also called dual data
guarding, RAID 6 keeps your data safe while you are recovering from a single
drive failure. (In RAID 5, if a drive failed while you were recovering from
another drive's failure, you would lose the array’s data.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Data and ECC distributed
to all drives
Disk 1
Disk 2
Disk 3
Disk 4
Disk 5
Figure 13-4. A RAID 5 array stripes data across multiple disks, and alternately uses all disks
for ECC data
Which level of RAID should you use on your network server? Most network
administrators favor RAID 5 because it requires only 20 to 25 percent of the total
disk capacity for the redundancy function, yet it performs well and offers a measure
of safety. However, RAID 3 and RAID 5 arrays do occasionally fail to recover data
properly (although they very rarely lose data). For this reason, you usually should opt
for either RAID 1 or a RAID 10 array for network servers that store vital data.
In general, the different RAID configurations offer different levels of reliability. Ranked
from best to worst purely in terms of the system’s likelihood of losing data would be
RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 6, RAID 5, and RAID 3. There are always trade-offs, though.
A system with 20 disks using just RAID 1 would be unwieldy to manage, because you
would have 10 logical drives to manage and use efficiently. However, if you configured
those same 20 disks as two RAID 5 arrays, you would be able to manage more efficiently
the two logical disks that would result.
You must make your own decision based on the importance of the data, the
required levels of performance, the capabilities of the server, and the budget available
to you. One thing you should never do, though, is trust that any RAID level replaces
regular, tested, reliable tape backups of network data!
Server State Monitoring
An important feature of most servers is the capability to monitor its own internal
components and to notify you if any problems develop or appear to be developing.
Higher-end servers can typically monitor the following:
Proper fan operation
System voltage
Memory errors, even if corrected by ECC memory
Disk errors, even if corrected automatically
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In-case temperature
Operating system hangs
Computer case opening
Any of these errors might indicate a current or impending problem with the server. For
example, a 1-bit memory error that is corrected by the system’s ECC memory might not
cause a problem for the server because it was corrected, but it might indicate that a RAM
chip or bank of RAM is starting to experience trouble. Similarly, climbing temperatures in
a case might not cause an immediate problem, but may indicate that a fan isn’t operating
properly, has a blocked intake, or is facing another problem, and ultimately temperatures
higher than those allowed for in the server design will cause a failure.
Server state monitoring solutions can alert you to problems either via e-mail or
through a pager. Some even operate if power is lost to the server or the server room
(this is called “lights-out” capability). Many high-end servers also offer “prefailure”
warranties that state that the manufacturer will replace any components reporting even
minor errors, so you can replace them before serious trouble actually strikes. For those
servers you depend on to be the most reliable possible, such monitoring and warranty
features can be a real lifesaver.
Hot-Swap Components
Most modern servers include hot-swap components that you can replace while the
system continues to operate. Usually, hot-swap components are limited to disks, power
supplies, and fans, all of which are running in a redundant configuration. For example,
a system might have two power supplies; if one fails, the system still operates normally
and you can replace the failed power supply without needing to turn off the server.
Similarly, most RAID disk configurations enable you to replace a failed drive without
shutting down the server, provided the disks are installed in a hot-swap configuration.
TIP Many RAID disk systems enable you to install a standby disk, and the system itself uses that
standby disk to replace any failed drive automatically. Of course, you would then replace the actual
failed disk as soon as possible, and the replacement becomes the standby disk for the disk array.
Choosing Servers for Windows and NetWare
In this section, you learn about the basics of defining server needs, selecting a server,
and purchasing a server.
Defining Server Needs
Before looking at different server models, you need to understand clearly the needs
that the server has to meet. Otherwise, you risk either under- or over-purchasing
hardware, both of which can cause problems and might lead you to spend more than
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
you needed to spend. Under-purchasing leads to additional, unplanned purchases,
which might include adding more disks or more memory, or even needing to replace
the server much too soon. Over-purchasing means you spent more for a server than
necessary, which might lead your company to deny your request for a particular server.
Instead, you need to find the “sweet spot” for specifying just the right server for your
needs; then you can defend your required configuration and its cost. You can’t do any
of this unless you have clearly defined your needs.
To specify the needs for a server clearly, you must be able to answer all the following
What is the useful life of the server? How long do you expect to use the server?
Will you replace it in two, three, or four years? (Most servers are used for
around three years before being replaced.) Everyone should agree on this time
frame, because if you plan to replace the server in two years, you can get by
with a smaller server than if you need one to last three or four years. If you
specified a server capable of meeting two years’ needs, however, you don’t
want to get to the end of two years and then find out that your company won’t
approve a replacement.
What job will the server perform? Will it be a file and print server, a web server,
a database server, or some other kind of server?
How many users will the server support and what are the needs of those users?
For example, with a file and print server, you must estimate the storage and
bandwidth requirements needed to satisfy all the planned users’ requests. For
a database server, you must know how quickly the server needs to respond to
various database operations.
How reliable must the server be? What are the consequences (costs and impacts)
if the server crashes for one or more hours, or for a day or two?
Will you use clustering for the server? Clustering is a technique whereby
multiple servers share the same essential job. If one fails, everything keeps
working, albeit at a slower rate. Once the failed server is repaired, it can then
be added back to the cluster.
How safe must the data on the server be from loss? This is different from the
preceding question because you might have cases in which a server must never
lose data, even if it isn’t a big deal if the server goes down for a few hours. In
such a situation, you would use a RAID 1 or RAID 10 configuration, but you
might not care too much about, say, redundant power supplies. You might also
explore some kind of hierarchical storage scheme, where data is automatically
copied to tape or optical disk in real time, or where you make several live
incremental backups of files each day.
If the server fails, what are your backup plans? Do you plan to keep a hot-spare
server (one that’s ready to be swapped in at a moment’s notice for a failed
server) available or do you plan simply to rely on the server manufacturer’s
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service capabilities? Also, sometimes if a server fails, other existing servers
might temporarily meet some of its needs. For example, in a Windows network,
if a domain controller fails, you can have other domain controllers to provide
this necessary functionality for the network as a whole. Or you might have
redundant printer queues defined on another server, ready to be made available
if the primary print server fails.
How do you plan to back up the server? Do you plan to have a tape drive on
the server itself, or do you plan to back it up over the network to some other
server’s backup device? Do you plan to make backups while the server is being
used, or overnight when it’s not being used? These are important questions
to answer, because if you host the backup device on the server, you also need
to have backup software on the server. If you plan to back up a server while
it’s being used, you need a fast backup system connected to a fast server bus
to minimize the impact to the users during the day. If you plan to back up a
server over a network connection, you need a network connection fast enough
to handle the amount of data on the server. Think carefully about your backup
plans when specifying a server.
How could the demands placed on the server change over time? Is the company
aggressively hiring more employees, so that the server might need to support
twice as many users a year from now and four times as many users two years
from now? Make sure you understand the company’s overall plans and factor
them into your assessment of server needs. Also, even in companies where
the number of users is relatively static, the amount of storage required by each
user will still grow rapidly. A rule of thumb is to estimate that current storage
requirements double every 18 months, everything else being equal. If you have
historical data for how much storage users consume, this data can help you
estimate your system’s requirements even more accurately. (And don’t forget
to anticipate any new network services that could more rapidly increase your
storage needs!)
Does the new server need to work with any existing hardware? If you need to
reuse a network backup device, for instance, you should make sure that the
new server can properly support it (and vice versa).
How much physical room do you have available to house the server? Are you
compelled by space requirements to go with the smallest server possible?
Once you answer these questions and any others that might crop up, you’re ready
to start looking at different servers that can meet the needs you defined.
Selecting the Server
Aside from choosing the types of equipment you need for a server, you must remember
three basic prerequisites that all your server purchases should meet: compatibility,
compatibility, and compatibility. If your NOS starts displaying error messages on
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
a particular server, you’ll need fast responses to these types of problems. If you built a
server yourself by buying a motherboard, a disk controller, a video card, and so forth,
you’re not going to get effective support, either for the hardware or for any compatibility
problems that crop up with the software. For both Novell and Microsoft NOSs, make
sure that each part of the server—as well as the entire system collectively—is certified by
Novell or Microsoft for its respective NOS.
For Microsoft operating systems, go to the following URL to look at Microsoft’s
Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) and make certain that the hardware you like is
When selecting servers, you often select a manufacturer first and then select the
actual model you need. This is because, everything being equal, you’re slightly better off
if all your servers are from the same maker. Managing servers from one manufacturer is
much easier than managing servers from many manufacturers. You can do a better job
of stocking spare parts that might fit into all of your servers, and you can build a better
relationship with the manufacturer or a particular dealer, which might hold additional
benefits. For example, Dell lets companies certify their in-house technicians on Dell
hardware (including servers), and then allows them order parts more directly, bypassing
the first level of support (the first support people’s job being mainly to intercept the easy
questions that beginners ask), and also provides other benefits.
Be conservative in selecting servers and server brands. You should stick with the
top names in the industry for many reasons, including these:
They have much more established service organizations and practices
They are likely to offer higher-quality support
Because so many other networks are based on their equipment, their technical
support databases probably already contain any problems you may encounter,
and they probably have fixes available
The NOS vendor is also more likely to have data on any problems concerning
one of the top servers
They have much better in-house engineering, and their servers are likely to
perform better and to be more reliable
These are just the biggest reasons. You might remember a time when the mantra in
management information systems (MIS) departments was, “Nobody ever got fired for
buying IBM.” A similar type of mindset makes sense when buying servers, not only
because the purchase is more defensible, but because buying from major manufacturers
actually makes better business sense, for the reasons cited in the preceding list.
Remember these general differences when you select a server for either NetWare
or Windows networks: First, while any server is RAM-hungry, Windows servers work
better with more RAM than an equivalent NetWare server. If everything else is equal,
plan on giving a Windows server 50 to 100 percent more RAM than a NetWare server.
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Also, database servers are RAM-hungry for databases of any appreciable size (10GB
or larger), so plan on using at least 2GB of RAM. (4GB to 8GB of RAM isn’t out of the
question for the best possible performance).
Windows servers can operate with up to 8 or 32 processors. A Windows server
will work very well with two or four processors. Also, remember that with a single
processor, NetWare servers tend to perform better than Windows servers. Depending on
the actual application, a NetWare server can outperform a Windows server by 15 to
30 percent, even if you’ve already added more RAM to the Windows server configuration.
Both Windows and NetWare server systems can implement certain RAID levels
themselves. For the best performance, however, you should select a disk controller that
can take this burden off the NOS. High-throughput disk controllers also often have a
significant amount of RAM on them for caching disk data, and they usually have their
own processor to help handle their chores. Moreover, I recommend you use a SCSI-based
disk subsystems on a server. A workstation running Windows performs equally well
with either SATA or SCSI, but a server can take advantage of SCSI’s features to improve
performance significantly over SATA disk interfaces. SCSI drives also have a tendency to
be more reliable than SATA drives.
Choosing your actual disk configuration is relatively straightforward. You start
by determining your current and planned space requirements, and then you consider
your performance and reliability needs to choose a particular RAID level that makes
sense. (See the “Disk Topologies: It’s a RAID!” section earlier in this chapter for more
information.) Once you know these requirements, you can choose the amount of disk
space you need and ensure that the server you want can handle your current and
planned disk space needs.
Remember this tip: You’re better off knowing what your disk requirements will be
over time and planning to purchase additional disk space as the need arises. This is
because the capacity of disk drives increases at a rapid rate, while prices fall at a rapid
rate. Buying a 1TB drive a year from now, for example, will be less expensive than
purchasing the same drive today. Just make sure that the server you select can handle all
the drives that you plan to purchase, and then install those drives as needed to save your
company money. For NetWare servers, also remember that the optimal amount of RAM
depends on the amount of disk space in the server, so you want to plan on purchasing
more RAM when you add any significant amount of disk space. But, happily, the
same rule of thumb for disks holds true for RAM: Prices tend to spiral downward, and
tomorrow’s RAM will almost certainly be much less expensive than today’s RAM.
If you plan to purchase a server for Windows Server, you might also want to consider
selecting a system that accepts additional processors. This way, if you find the system is
becoming bottlenecked at the processor level, you can install more processors to reduce
or remove that bottleneck.
Purchasing the System
Once you decide on the server you want, purchasing it is relatively straightforward. Shop
around and get the best price on the system you want. Make sure that the suppliers you
approach offer the level of support you need, both for presales selection assistance and
for postsales support.
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TIP Remember that it’s not really “cricket” to rely on the expertise of a particular supplier to help
you select a server and answer any presales questions you have, and then to purchase the server
from some mail-order supplier with a slightly lower price. Try to be fair in your dealings. You should
not abuse vendors with higher support capabilities in this fashion; if you do so, they might not be
around to help you with after-sales issues that arise, or to help you with future purchases. This is
not to say that you should pay a lot more for a piece of hardware from such vendors—just take into
account the vendor’s level of service when you evaluate different price quotes, and remember that
price isn’t everything.
Depending on your company’s financial practices, you might want to consider
leasing a server. Doing so brings you several benefits. First, leasing conserves your
company’s cash. Instead of shelling out $20,000 all at once, you can pay for the use
of the server over time. Also, the annual impact of a lease is much lower than with a
purchase, and leasing might make it easier to fit a particular server within your budget.
Leases also have a hidden benefit: They force you to consider whether to replace a
server at the end of the lease term (usually three years). They also usually make it easy
to return the server to the leasing company and then lease a new server with which you
can move forward. In the end, you pay about as much for leasing as buying (all things
considered), and leases can help discipline a company to keep its computer equipment
relatively current. The only drawback to leasing is that you must have enough time
to replace the server at the end of the lease, when you might prefer to do it several
months before or after the lease is up. Still, in some companies, the benefits of leasing
far outweigh the disadvantages. Discuss leasing with your financial department before
ordering a server.
Installing Servers
The actual practice of setting up a server is mostly specific to the server itself and the
NOS that you plan to use. In subsequent chapters, this book describes basic installations
of Windows and Linux.
When you set up a new server, remember to plan on extensively testing its hardware
prior to implementing it. While most servers are reliable right out of the box, the fact is
that if some part of the server is going to fail, it almost always fails shortly after being set
up and used. I prefer to test servers for at least a week, even before installing the NOS
onto the server. Most servers come with diagnostic software that you can configure to
operate continuously—testing the system’s processor, video subsystem, disk surfaces,
and RAM—and log any errors that crop up. Right after pulling a server from its box
and installing any components that you need to install, plan on putting the server into a
diagnostic loop using its diagnostic software and letting it run those tests for as long as
possible. In no case should you test the server for less than several days (try to shoot for
a week of testing).
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Network Servers: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
TIP It’s important to start testing a server immediately after it arrives. Most vendors have different
replacement versus repair policies depending on how long you’ve had a piece of hardware.
For instance, many vendors will simply replace a server with an entirely new one if a failure is
discovered in the first 30 days, but after that, they’ll go through the normal repair process. If an error
does appear during testing, you’ll probably be more confident with a new server than going through
a repair process. (Plus, the repair process will take more of your time for troubleshooting and such.)
After finishing the testing, you can install the NOS. During this phase, pay careful
attention to any peculiarities of the server and to any error messages reported by the
NOS or the server during the installation process.
You must resolve these errors fully prior to going live with the server. In particular,
watch out for any intermittent messages, such as a message that there was a parity
error in the system’s RAM or an unexpected lockup of the server during installation.
Even if those problems don’t recur, consult with the maker of the server. (Be sure you
carefully write down any messages or other things that you notice if this happens.)
Servers have a tendency to fail at the most inopportune times, so make sure that you
have complete confidence in the server before making it available to users. It might
make sense also to let the server run its production software configuration for several
days as an added test before putting it into use.
In particular, make sure to have all potential NetWare Loadable Modules (NLMs),
Windows services and processes, or UNIX/Linux daemons running together as part
of the testing. When you combine third-party software for these platforms, there
are numerous opportunities for bugs or incompatibilities that the vendors did not
anticipate (despite a NOS vendor’s stamp of approval).
Most server manufacturers have made it easy to install their server and to install
the NOS onto the server. Companies such as HP and Dell even ship their servers with
special CD-ROMs that mostly automate the process of installing various NOSs onto the
server and also install any needed support files that the NOS needs to work optimally
with the server hardware. Prior to installing a NOS onto a server, make sure to read
the server’s documentation carefully and to take advantage of any automated tools
provided by the server manufacturer.
TIP The top-tier server makers (IBM, HP, and Dell, for example) maintain e-mail notification
systems that let you know about any new patches they release or any serious problems they have
with a particular model. These e-mail services are extremely useful, so you should plan on signing
up for them immediately on receipt of any new server.
Here’s something else to think about: Sometimes servers are built and then sit
around in inventory for several months before being sold. Consequently, the server
might not come with the most current software. Before installing the server, check the
maker’s web site for any updates that aren’t in your package and consider whether to
install those updates during your implementation process.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Maintaining and Troubleshooting Servers
To do the best job of maintaining and troubleshooting servers, you need to take steps
to do two things: decrease the chance of failure and improve your chance of rapidly
resolving any failures that do occur. Problems are inevitable, but you can greatly decrease
your odds of having them, and you can also greatly improve your chances of resolving
them quickly by taking steps before you actually have any problems.
To decrease the chance of failure, make sure to follow all the advice previously
given: use reliable, tested servers and components. You should also take these additional
Whenever possible, try to reduce the number of jobs that a server must do.
Although building a single server that will be a file and print server, a database
server, an e-mail server, and a web server is certainly possible, you’re much
better off (from an overall reliability standpoint) segregating these duties onto
smaller, separate servers.
Set up a practice of frequently viewing the server’s error logs. If the server NOS
supports notification of errors (such as to a pager), consider implementing
this feature. Many failures start with error messages that might precede the
actual failure by a few hours, so getting an early heads-up might help you keep
the server running or at least enable you to resolve the problem at the best
possible time.
If a server supports management software that monitors the server’s condition,
make sure to install the software.
Most RAID arrays that support hot-swap of failed drives also require that the
NOS have special software installed to support this feature fully. Make sure
that you install this software before any failures occur.
NOS software is among the most bug-free available, but it’s still true that there
is no such thing as completely bug-free software. Over time, any NOS will
eventually fail. While many servers run for up to a year without requiring
a restart, you’re better off establishing a practice of periodically shutting
down the server and bringing it back up again. This practice eliminates small
transient errors that might be accumulating and could eventually lead to a
server crash, such as memory leaks in the NOS. The best frequency for such
restarts is monthly.
CAUTION Make sure that you do a backup before shutting down the server and restarting it. The
greatest chance of hardware failure occurs when the system is powered back up again.
It’s a good idea to make three good backups and test restorations prior to putting
a server into use. It might seem redundant, but you never know when you might need
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Network Servers: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
to restore your data, and it’s important to know that your backup and restoration
practices will function properly.
You can also do some general things to improve your ability to resolve any server
failures rapidly. The most important is to maintain for each server an extensive binder
(or file box), which I call a “rebuild kit.” This binder should contain the following:
All purchase data for the server, including your purchase order and a copy of
the supplier’s invoice.
A printout of the server’s configuration. Most servers’ setup programs can
generate a detailed list with all components and their versions. HP’s Insight
Manager is great for this.
All software needed to rebuild the server completely from scratch. This includes
the setup software for the server, the NOS software, device driver disks, and
any patch disks you need or have applied. Remember to add to the box any new
drivers or patches that you get during the life of the server so that they will be
Contact information for service on the server, including any extended warranty
contract numbers or other information that you need to get service.
Notepaper, for documenting all changes to the server’s configuration and any
error messages that appear. Write all the information clearly, noting the date,
the time, and any other details that you (or someone else) might need to fix the
server if it fails.
A printout or document noting anything special about the server or how you
configured the disk drives, including NOS settings. You need these settings if
you have to rebuild from scratch. Knowing these settings might enable you to
recover the data on the server’s disks so that you don’t need to restore the data
from backup tape.
CAUTION You need a strong backup plan for any server, with appropriate tape rotations and
regular tests of your ability to restore data from the tapes you make. The goal is to never need to
use these tapes, but they give you an absolutely critical safety net if the server’s disks crash and
lose their stored data.
Even if you’re the best computer troubleshooter in the world, you should plan on
working with the service department of your server’s manufacturer to troubleshoot
any problems. Doing so can save you because the people in this department have
extensive databases available to them of the problems others have experienced.
They also are familiar with the steps needed to help prevent data loss as you work
to troubleshoot the problem. Troubleshooting a server on your own, no matter how
experienced and knowledgeable you are, is usually a mistake.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Chapter Summary
When building a network, the one component you should pay the most attention to is
the server. While other parts of the network, like the wiring, network architecture, or
workstations, are also significant, the server is the most likely component to experience
trouble over time. The server is the single component you must spend the most time
managing. Because of this, take extra care when selecting, implementing, and maintaining
your servers. If you take care of your servers, your servers will take care of you.
The following chapter concerns network workstation computers and discusses the
different requirements desktop computers have, how you should buy and manage
them, and how to support them.
Chapter 14
Purchasing and Managing
Client Computers
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
esktop computers are really where the “rubber meets the road” when it comes
to networks. These machines are the users’ primary interface to the network
and the resource on which users most rely to get their jobs done. In fact, the
network is designed to support the desktop computers’ work, rather than the other
way around. Maintaining desktop computers is also the task on which you often
spend the most time in managing a network, so their purchase, implementation, and
management are important. You can have the best network in the world, but if your
desktop computers aren’t up to the task, the network’s users won’t be productive.
This chapter focuses on the management of desktop computers. Chances are that
if you’re reading this book, you already know about the bits and bytes that make up
desktop computers and desktop operating systems. You’re probably already a wizard
with Windows or the Macintosh, and you’re comfortable installing new computer
hardware and repairing problems on desktop computers. If you don’t know about
these things yet, you can find many good books that cover the technologies in desktop
computers in detail. In this chapter, the major concern is how desktop computers
integrate with the network and how you can get the most out of them when you’re
managing or setting up a network.
Choosing Desktop Computers
Choosing desktop computers involves many considerations. Making good choices here
will pay big dividends over time. When purchasing new desktop computers, you have
the opportunity to select machines to reduce your support burden, improve end-user
productivity, and—overall—conserve your company’s cash. The following sections
explore the different factors that go into selecting desktop computers.
Desktop Platforms
You need to know which desktop computer platform you will use. Generally,
companies tend to gravitate toward either PC- or Macintosh-based desktop computers.
(These days, it is increasingly rare to find companies that depend much on Macintoshes
as a staple of their desktop computer diet.) In a few rare cases, companies might
alternatively gravitate toward Linux- or UNIX-based desktop computers, but you’ll
usually choose between PCs and Macintoshes.
Advantages and disadvantages exist for each platform. Regardless of the specific
pros and cons, you’re much better off if you can keep the company standardized on
a single desktop computer platform. Companies that have purchased their desktop
computers in accordance with individual user preferences (users are free to choose a
PC, a Macintosh, or something else) end up with real support headaches, which arise
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Purchasing and Managing Client Computers
from many different sources. Supporting two desktop platforms is more than twice as
difficult as supporting one platform. Why? Consider the following:
You need to maintain expertise in two platforms, as well as expertise in their
applications and platform-specific peculiarities. In a small company, you need
more people to keep the requisite levels of expertise on both platforms than
you would need if you had to support only one platform.
You need to stock more spare parts and expansion hardware. Generally,
components that work in a PC won’t work in a Macintosh, and vice versa.
You need to license and inventory more software titles (on average, twice
as many).
Problems that would never occur with one platform or another occur when
you must support both, even in the network itself. Supporting two platforms
is more complex than supporting one, so the servers must run additional
software, must allow for the different ways that each platform works, and
so forth. All this increases the complexity of the network, and increased
complexity means less reliability for everyone.
Interplatform incompatibilities cause problems for users who must work
together. Even if they use the same application (such as Microsoft Word) on
both PCs and Macintoshes, platform differences still exist. For example, Adobe
fonts with the same name may look and paginate differently on Macs and
PCs. Users might painstakingly format a document in Word, Excel, InDesign,
or another application available on both platforms, only to find that the other
platform doesn’t present their work in exactly the same way. When users who
frequently interact with one another have their files formatted for a variety of
platforms, the incompatibilities become a real problem.
In some cases, you might be unable to find software titles with matching
versions available for both platforms. This usually means users who are using
a particular application won’t be able to interact with users who are using the
other platform’s functionally equivalent application. For example, Microsoft
Access is available only for Windows.
You will be limited in the programs you can develop for widespread use.
For example, try developing a Microsoft Access-based application and
then having Macintosh users use it. They can’t, because Microsoft Access
doesn’t exist on the Macintosh, and there’s no way to use the same database
application on both platforms in such cases. You can probably exchange data,
but not the program written in Access. The same situation exists for virtually
all programming languages: They are almost universally platform-specific,
despite the efforts of their makers to make them platform-neutral. Examples of
this kind of problem are much more common than not. (One exception to this
rule is a more advanced SQL-based application that makes use of something
like an Oracle database server.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
These examples should convince you that you’re better off running the wrong
desktop platform than running two desktop platforms. If you’re in a company where
two desktop platforms are in use, you should work toward implementing a standard
platform. This process is difficult and time-consuming, but is important both for
increasing overall company productivity and keeping IT costs at a reasonable level.
NOTE If you move into PC management, you will probably be called on to perform cost analyses
to determine which platform to choose or to justify why you chose the one you did. These exercises
include costs of new hardware and software, dealing with legacy applications or systems to which
the platform must connect, and maintaining and supporting the platform, as well as predicting the
viability of the platform in one, two, five, and ten years. Remember that the chief technical officer
(CTO) or chief information officer (CIO) usually reports to the chief financial officer (CFO), since IT
has historically been considered a cost center rather than a profit center.
After deciding whether or not to standardize on a single platform, your next
decision is which one to choose. Most often, a company has a history with a particular
platform, so sticking with that platform is usually the easiest solution, unless a good
reason exists for a change.
If you’re lucky enough to be setting up a company network for the first time, then
you get to help choose a platform. This choice should always be driven by what the
users need to accomplish, which applications they need to run, and the platform that
best supports those applications. You need to consider the full range of applications
that the company is likely to need, but the users’ needs should be the primary driver.
For most companies, this means you’ll strongly lean toward PCs as the standard.
However, for some companies, Macs are still a good idea. Generally, Macs make sense
in companies that have a strong artistic or graphic bent to their makeup, such as a web
design firm, a graphic design house, and so forth.
NOTE As you have probably already noticed, many people want to make a platform decision
based on the platform they like the best. Many people happily call themselves “PC fanatics” or “Mac
fanatics.” For some of these people, the issue rises almost to the same level of importance to them
as a religion. Such fervent brand loyalty should never influence you in making a smart business
decision. However, the presence of such strong opinions also means that you must tread carefully
when discussing platform issues with the system’s users!
If no need exists that strongly suggests a particular platform, then, for many
reasons, you should lean toward PCs. They are the most price competitive, are in the
widest use, attract the largest assortment of software and hardware developers, and
have much more infrastructure to support them. Also, for certain important business
application software categories, good solutions are available on the PC platform but
not on the Mac platform.
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Purchasing and Managing Client Computers
NOTE This book aims to be platform-neutral, but the fact is that more than 90 percent of
networked desktop computers are PCs. While this book is just as applicable to Macs as PCs, the
remainder of this chapter assumes a PC environment.
Reliability and Serviceability
The most important features to look for in any desktop computer are its reliability
and serviceability. Studies have shown that the actual price of a desktop computer is a
small percentage of its lifetime cost, which includes software costs, training costs, and
support costs.
When assessing reliability, you need to look at the whole picture. Reliability comes
from several sources:
The computer uses tested, high-quality components.
Those components are engineered to work well together. You can make a cake
with the best ingredients available, but if your recipe isn’t good, you still get a
bad cake. Computers are no different. Even the best components don’t always
work well together. Top-tier manufacturers test all the components that go into
their systems and ensure that they’re compatible with one another.
A reliable combination of software is used on the unit, and whenever possible,
the software has been certified on the computer.
Serviceability is closely related to reliability. Serviceability simply means that working
on or repairing a particular computer is relatively fast and easy. Features that enhance
serviceability include cases that are easy to open (requiring no tools), quickly replaceable
internal components (such as hard disks, memory, or video cards that require simple or
no tools), and Basic Input Output System (BIOS) that is easy to update.
Serviceability is also strongly influenced by the services available from the
computer’s maker:
Does the computer manufacturer stay current in offering updates to its
Does its web site offer a lookup that lets you determine the configuration of a
computer based on its serial or service ID numbers?
Is technical information about its systems readily available, or does the vendor
tend to gloss over any discovered problems?
How quickly can you get replacement parts?
Does the manufacturer include on-site service for a period of time that reduces
your support burden?
What is the warranty on any given computer?
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Is the vendor sufficiently successful and stable that you can expect the company
to be around for the entire useful life of the unit?
What other value-added services are offered if problems occur?
Other factors that strongly influence serviceability are often overlooked. How many
computers does the maker sell, and is the specific model that you are buying widely
used? These factors are important because a widely used computer is more likely to be
supported when new software or hardware comes out. Companies that make software
and hardware know they must ensure that their products work properly with popular
computer brands and models.
Suppose that you use computers from a small, local company (or, even worse,
build the computers yourself), and some software package or operating system that
comes out in a year or two fails to work properly on your machines. The maker of
the software or hardware might say something like, “Well, we haven’t tested on that
computer, so we don’t know why our product isn’t working right.” While the maker
might act in good faith to resolve the issue, the problem might take much longer to fix
on a widely used system, and it might never be resolved. On the other hand, if you’re
using a top-tier computer, such as one from Compaq, Dell, or HP (or other top-tier
brands), the vendor of the new product probably knows how to resolve any problems
that arise and has already done so before the product was shipped.
TIP If your company runs an application that is vital to its business but that is not widely used,
it sometimes pays to find out which computers the application maker uses. If you know that the
application maker has built the application using a particular make, you can reduce your risk of
having trouble with that application by considering using the same brand in your organization.
Author’s Note
I once joined a company that had been purchasing “no-name” clones for its
desktop computers. In my first week, I set up five brand-new units right out of
their boxes, only to find that three of them were dead on arrival (DOA). That same
week, the company’s CFO, who was working on an important financing activity,
had his computer crash repeatedly (losing unsaved work each time), until I finally
swapped his entire computer for one of the new ones that actually worked. Was
the money saved on those computers (about $400 per unit) worth it? What was the
cost to the company for all these mishaps? The answer is simple: far more than the
company saved. I immediately changed the company’s brand to a more reliable
one (the CFO was sympathetic!) and got rid of the existing machines as quickly as
possible. The lesson is that you shouldn’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish when
you purchase computers.
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Purchasing and Managing Client Computers
You can also improve serviceability if you standardize on a particular manufacturer
because then you can focus your resources on supporting that line of computers.
The people who support the desktop computers in the company will find it easier
to stay up-to-date with the peculiarities of that manufacturer and will become more
comfortable working with those computers. Also, your company’s support staff will
be able to solve a problem once and then apply the solution to many computers, rather
than having to troubleshoot many different types of problems on many different types
of computers. Finally, there might be service-quality benefits when you establish a
strong, ongoing relationship with a computer manufacturer.
NOTE If you support many computers, make sure that they are as consistent as possible. Not
only do you want to ensure (as much as possible) that they are the same model and the same
configuration, you also want to make sure the manufacturer uses the same components for all
computers of a particular model. Some manufacturers are not careful about this; they will slip in
different motherboards or network interface cards (NICs) without any notice. For someone buying
a single computer, this isn’t a problem. When you need to support 500 or 5,000 computers that are
all supposed to be exactly the same but aren’t, it becomes a huge problem, because then you also
must keep track of different drivers and configuration information. Also, if you install and maintain
computers through the use of disk images (such as those made by Norton Ghost), you will need to
maintain different images for all of the different submodels of the computer.
Price and Performance
Once the preceding priorities are satisfied, you can then strike the appropriate balance
between performance and price. You need to take into account the useful life that you
plan for new computers and make certain to purchase systems that will be productive
over that useful life. In determining this balance, don’t look at how well a particular
configuration can handle today’s needs; look at how well it can handle tomorrow’s
Some people might disagree, but I firmly believe that price should be your last
priority when you purchase computers. Although purchase price is important, you first
need to determine your needs and then find the most reasonably priced computers that
best fulfill those needs.
Different strategies exist for getting the best price. These strategies range from
straightforward bargaining and competitive bids, to slightly under-purchasing on the
performance side but planning to upgrade the existing computers when needed (at
least in terms of RAM and hard disk space, both of which decrease pretty rapidly in
price over time).
NOTE Don’t forget to estimate the cost involved to replace a computer or to upgrade a computer
when you choose a system. It might be less expensive overall to purchase a more capable
computer that you won’t need to upgrade or replace as quickly, when you factor in the labor costs
and user productivity impact from installing a replacement.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
DEFINE-IT! Useful Life
The term useful life refers to the length of time a particular asset, such as a computer,
will be able to perform useful work. The useful life of a computer will change
depending on the computer, the software it needs to run, the user who uses it, and
the budget available to upgrade or replace it. A programmer who needs the latest
and greatest hardware and software all the time will get a relatively short useful life
out of a computer, while a person who uses a computer only for word processing
or e-mail and doesn’t care about running the latest software will get a much longer
useful life out of a computer. For most desktop computers, the useful life is around
three to four years, although exceptions to this rule of thumb are easy to find.
As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that the demands placed on a desktop
computer will double every 24 months or so, taking into account your planned
useful life. Set your performance levels to meet that need. (People used to assume
performance requirements doubled every 18 months, but this seems to be slowing
a bit in recent years.)
For example, suppose that you’ve determined that today’s user requires 40GB of
disk space, 2GB of RAM, and a Pentium 2.8 GHz processor. In 24 months, your users are
likely to be clamoring for 80GB of disk space, 4GB of RAM, and a Pentium quad-core
3 GHz processor. In another 24 months (about four years from purchase), these demands
will double again, to 160GB of disk space, 8GB of RAM, and the equivalent of a Pentium
8-core processor. These projected demands might seem unlikely today, but when you
look back at the needs of four years ago, such projections seem reasonable.
Using this way of estimating performance needs, you should be able to find a
“sweet spot” between price, performance, and useful life that minimizes your costs and
maximizes the benefits that your users will receive.
Understanding Network Workstation Requirements
Computers connected to a local area network (LAN) differ slightly from computers that
stand alone. They have additional hardware installed in them, and they run additional
network software. This section explores these differences.
Network Workstation Hardware
All network computers need an installed network interface to connect to the network.
Generally, most desktop computers these days have an intergrated Ethernet network
interface built-into them. And if a computer does not, then it can be added as a network
interface card.
NICs are also usually specific to the cable media you have installed. For example,
Ethernet NICs are available for 10Base-2, 10Base-T, 100Base-T, and 1000Base-T media.
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Purchasing and Managing Client Computers
Some NICs also support multiple media types, which can be a blessing if you’re in the
middle of migrating from one media type to another. For example, a single Ethernet
NIC may support 10Base-2, 10Base-T, and 100Base-T. At the time of this edition’s
writing, most business computers come with integrated Ethernet ports capable of
100Base-T or 1000Base-T.
Network Workstation Software
Network workstations also need networking software to work with the network. This
software consists of several components: a driver for the NIC, driver software for the
protocols being used, and a network requestor (sometimes called a network redirector).
Workstations acting in a peer-to-peer fashion also have peer software that provides
network services to other workstations. Additionally, network service software might
be needed, such as that required to use a particular network directory service (for
example, Novell’s eDirectory).
For Windows-based computers, you can choose to use software that is included
with Windows to connect to both Novell networks and to Windows-based networks.
You can also use Novell’s network software for Novell-based networks. Both sets of
network software work well, although differences exist.
For Novell-based networks, Microsoft’s networking software consumes less memory
than Novell’s, but it doesn’t offer as many features and doesn’t integrate with the Novell
servers quite as well. Still, it’s reliable and performs well. Novell’s client software (called
Novell Client) works well and makes good use of the Novell server’s features, and is
also more secure than Microsoft’s Novell network software.
When using the Microsoft software with NetWare 4.x or later servers, you must also
run service software to access Novell’s directory service. This software is included both
with Windows and Novell Client.
Under Windows, you manage the network software through the network Properties
dialog box for Network Neighborhood or through the Network object in the Control
Panel (which also accesses the network Properties dialog box). Figure 14-1 shows an
example of this dialog box.
The network Properties dialog box contains a number of entries, including the
following main categories:
Client You might have client software installed for Novell networks or
Microsoft networks. This client software interacts with the servers to request
network services. In Figure 14-1, you can see that the Client for Microsoft
Networks is an installed component.
Network interface This entry represents the driver software that is installed
for any installed NICs or for “virtual NICs” used to connect to a network
through a modem. In Figure 14-1, you can see the NVIDIA nForce driver listed.
Protocols This software adds support for any needed networking protocols,
such as TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, or NetBEUI.
Services Any additional network service software, such as that used for
Novell eDirectory, also appears in the network Properties dialog box.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 14-1. The network Properties dialog box in Windows Vista
NOTE For many networking components, you may need to have a the component available from
the appropriate supplier.
Chapter Summary
Managing network workstation computers can be a daunting task. Many of them must
be managed frequently, each user may have different needs, and because of how they
are used, network workstation computers are the most likely to experience trouble. In
this chapter, you learned general information about network client computers, along
with how to select appropriate client computers for your network. You also learned
about the components that network computers have in common, which separate them
from stand-alone desktop computers.
In the next chapter, you learn about the basics of how you can design a network
from the ground up. Generally, the process of network design is to first thoroughly
understand the needs that the network must meet, factor in anticipated growth for
the network, and then start to lay out how the network will be structured and which
technologies will be needed.
Part II
Hands-on Knowledge
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Chapter 15
Designing a Network
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
etworking professionals rarely have the opportunity to walk into a company
and design a new network from the ground up, but those who do are certainly
lucky. It’s true that such an effort involves long hours, stress, deadlines,
and the nagging worry that maybe you’re forgetting something. But in return, you
get to shape the computing environment of a large number of users, and—in many
companies—set the tone for how efficiently the company itself can function in coming
years. In some companies that rely heavily on information technology, a smoothly
running network might even determine whether or not the company will be successful.
It’s an enormous responsibility, but also one of the most rewarding jobs you can have.
In practice, you usually start with some sort of network already in place. Networks
start small and simply grow over time. Networks are almost like skin, where you’re
sure to replace each and every cell every few years, but only a few at a time. The
process is usually evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Exceptions exist to this rule,
though. For example, a company might move to a new building, decide to scrap the old
network during the process, and install an entirely new one. Likewise, a well-funded
startup company that goes from 5 to 500 employees in six months is likely to see the
need for a new network.
Regardless of whether you’re building a brand-new network from scratch or
renovating an existing network, the tools you use are much the same, and the process
of designing the network is also much the same. The concept is actually simple: You
assess the needs that the network must meet and then you design to meet those needs.
In practice, this process is much more involved, but the idea is straightforward. Even
in an evolving network, using network planning to formulate a long-term plan to
renovate the network makes sense.
This chapter describes how to design a network. It relies on all the information you
learned in the preceding chapters. Think of this chapter as the one that brings together
into a coherent whole all the information that you have already learned. Preceding
chapters have focused on the bits and bytes of networks, while this chapter is the view
from 30,000 feet where you start to see how everything works together.
The Network Design Process
Network design is not an exact science. Getting it exactly right the first time is nearly
impossible, even with the best design tools and resources available. This is because
every network has different demands placed on it, and these demands often interact
in surprising ways. Moreover, predicting what new demands will be placed on the
network over time, how users will use the network resources, and what other changes
you might need to make is almost impossible. The entire situation is both fluid and
chaotic. The trick is to do a good job of estimating needs, and then do the best job
possible to create a design to meet those needs.
Having fallback plans is also important, in case some part of the network doesn’t
perform the way you intended. For instance, once the network is up and running,
Chapter 15:
Designing a Network
you might find that the distribution of bandwidth across segments is poor. You want
to know in advance how you can measure and address these types of problems. You
might also find storage requirements are much higher or lower than you expected. You
need to know what to do if this happens. The point is that network design is a process,
often an iterative one. Your job as a network designer is to get as close as possible to the
needed design, and then fine-tune the design as needed.
A lot of the network design process is what you decide to make of it. There are
simple network design processes, and there are horrendously complicated processes
that involve dozens of people, complex statistical modeling, and even network
simulation software to test a planned design and see if it holds together under load. In
this chapter, you learn a relatively comprehensive process that is straightforward and
simple. Using the information in this chapter, along with a good dose of experience,
will yield a flexible network that should easily meet the needs of hundreds of users.
TIP You can’t design a network of any size without plenty of experience running similar networks.
You can manage the overall process by understanding the methodology, but you can’t create a good
design without hands-on experience. If you’re new to networking and you are asked to design a
network, make sure you get experienced people on the team—either as consultants or as part of a
supplier-led team—and listen carefully to their advice. Listening well pays off with a design that will
work, rather than one that might look good on paper but won’t hold up to actual use.
Assessing Network Needs
“Measure twice and cut once” is a common adage that conveys the importance of
planning. “Ready, fire, aim,” is one that pokes fun at people who don’t properly set
goals. Assessing the needs that a network must meet corresponds to taking those
measurements and aiming before you shoot.
Before you even think about any specifics—network topology; network operating
system (NOS) platform; a structure for hubs, bridges, and routers; or the grade of
wiring—you must first know what the network needs to accomplish. Doing a proper
job can be tedious, but assessing needs is where you should place the most emphasis
during a design process. Failing to do so almost certainly will result in a network that
isn’t productive for its users.
NOTE Many IT professionals are, at heart, technologists who love to play with the latest
technologies. It’s very tempting to design the network around the “hot” technologies, and then try
to figure out how the needs fit into those technologies. However, this is not the way to go about
designing a network. Instead, start with the needs, and then find out what technologies support
those needs.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
When assessing needs, you are trying to come up with detailed answers to the
following questions:
How much storage space is required?
How much bandwidth is required?
What network services are required?
What is the budget for the project?
These basic questions are fairly easy to answer as a whole, but you need to break
them down further to make sure no holes in the network design could lead to problems.
For example, it might be easy to determine that the network must be able to support
up to 100 Mbps of bandwidth, but you need to know how, when, and where that
bandwidth is used. If the accounting department is using 90 percent of the bandwidth
when communicating to the accounting server, for example, then naturally you want
to put the accounting system’s server and its users on their own network segment. You
won’t recognize such issues and how to address them unless your assessment leads you
to determine with some degree of detail how the network resources will be used.
The following sections discuss what you should examine as you learn what a given
network must be able to do. No particular order exists in which you should examine
these issues, and you might find that you need to cycle through the list several times
to get a complete picture. You also might find a particular company’s needs require
more or less analysis in each category. Common sense is required when you design a
network. The following suggestions are guidelines to start you on the right path.
A good place to start with a network design is to list and understand the applications
that will run on the network. Ultimately, a network is only as good as the work it helps
people accomplish, and people do their work most directly through the application
software they use. If the applications don’t work right, then the users won’t work right.
Most networks have both common applications and department- and user-specific
applications. Most companies usually meet the common application needs through a
suite of desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office or Lotus SmartSuite. The following
is a list of applications that most companies install for all users, whether or not each user
needs each one:
Word processor
End-user database
Presentation graphics
Personal information manager (calendar, contact list, and so forth)
Virus-scanning software
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Designing a Network
Your first order of business is to determine just how the common applications will
be used. Determine whether all users need to have the entire suite installed, how often
different users plan to use the different applications, how many files they will create and
store, how large those files might be, and how those files will be shared among users.
For example, in a 1,000-user population, you might determine that 90 percent will
use word processing to generate an average of ten documents a month, with each
document averaging 100KB, and the users probably will want to keep two years’
worth of documents on hand at any given time. Yes, these will be educated guesses,
but it’s important to come up with reasonable estimates. Experience with similar user
populations and companies can pay off handsomely in determining these estimates.
With this information alone, you know immediately that you need about 24MB of
storage per user, or 21.6GB for the word processing population of 900 users, just for
word processing documents. For applications where users frequently will share files,
you might need to factor in that most users keep personal copies of some files that they
also share with others.
TIP You can help reduce overall network storage requirements by establishing shared directories in
which different groups of people can store and access shared files.
Then you come up with the same estimates for the other applications, taking into
account their expected size, frequency of creation, and long-term storage requirements.
After determining the common applications, move on to department-specific
applications. This step gets trickier for new networks in new companies, because you
might not know which applications will be used. For existing companies, you have the
advantage of already knowing which departmental applications you must support.
Different departmental applications can have wildly different impacts on the network.
For example, an accounting system designed around shared database files needs a
different network design than one using a client/server database design. The former
relies more on file server performance and is more likely to be bandwidth-sensitive than
an efficient client/server application that runs on a dedicated server. If a departmental
application is not yet selected, talk with the managers of that department to get their best
estimates and then proceed.
Following are common departmental applications you should consider:
Distribution and inventory control
Manufacturing/material requirements planning (MRP)
Information technology
Electronic commerce
Human resources
Payroll and stock administration
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Marketing support
Other line-of-business applications specific to the company’s industry
For each of the departmental applications you identify, you need to ask several
questions: How much storage will they consume? From where will the applications
be run (from local computers with data on a server or completely centralized, where
both the data and the application run on a central computer)? Will they have their own
dedicated servers? How much network bandwidth will the application need? How will
all these factors change as the company grows?
Finally, while you might not formally include them in your plan, consider user-specific
applications that might be run. For example, you might estimate that the people in
the company’s research and development group are likely to run two or three unknown
applications as part of their job. If you decide that user-specific applications will have a
significant impact on the network, then you should estimate their needs, just as you have
for the other types of applications. If you believe they will have minimal impact, then you
might decide either to include a small allowance for them or none at all.
TIP Don’t get bogged down in “analysis paralysis,” worrying about whether you can scientifically
prove that your estimates are accurate. Instead, make sure the estimates are reasonable to other
network professionals. At a certain point, you need to justify the network design and cost and, to do
this, having reasonable estimates is necessary. Just avoid overdoing it.
Once you know the applications that the network must support, you can estimate how
many users need to be supported and which applications each user will use. Estimating
total users will likely be easier because the company should already have a business plan
or long-range budget from which you can derive these estimates. Your user estimates
should be reasonably granular; know the number of users in each department in the
company as well as the company’s total number of users.
You should estimate how many users will need to be supported immediately, in
one year, in three years, and in five years. Even though five years is a distant horizon
to use for an estimate, this information is important to know during the design process.
Different growth rates suggest different network designs, even at the inception of the
network. A company estimating that it will have 100 users immediately, 115 users in
one year, 130 users in three years, and 150 users in five years needs a different network
design than a company estimating 100 users immediately, 115 users in one year, 300 users
in three years, and 1,000 users in five years. In the latter case, you must invest more in a
design that is more quickly scalable, and you are likely to spend much more at inception
to build the network, even though the network will have the same number of users in the
first two years.
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Designing a Network
Knowing the number of users isn’t enough, though. You need to know more about
the users. At a minimum, consider the following questions to determine if any of the
following will be important factors for the users generally or for subgroups of users:
Bandwidth requirements Aside from the bandwidth required to save and
retrieve files, send and receive e-mail, and perform an average amount of
browsing on the Internet, do any users need significant amounts of bandwidth?
For example, will scientists download a fresh copy of the human genome from
the Internet once a week? Will groups of users need to exchange large quantities
of data among different sites? Will any users be running videoconferencing
software over your network connection? How much web browsing do you
expect the network’s users to do? Will people be sending large e-mail attachments
Storage requirements Will any group of users need significantly more storage
capacity than the overall average you already determined? For instance, will
an electronic imaging group catalog millions of documents into image files on
a server? If so, how many people need access to that data? Will the accounting
group need to keep the previous ten years of financial information online?
Will the company use or install an executive information system where all the
managers have query capability into the company’s accounting, distribution,
and manufacturing systems, and, if so, how much additional bandwidth or
server performance could that capability require?
Service requirements Will any groups of users require additional network
services not needed by most users? For example, does part of the company do
work of such sensitivity that it should be separated from the rest of the local
area network (LAN) by a network firewall? Will a subset of users need direct
inward fax capability?
When examining user bandwidth requirements, remember to look at the timeliness
of the bandwidth needs. If certain known activities require a lot of bandwidth and must
be carried out during the normal workday, that high-bandwidth use might interfere
with the performance of the rest of the network. Therefore, make sure to estimate both
average and peak bandwidth needs.
Network Services
Next, you should look at the services that the network must provide. These can vary
widely in different companies. A very basic network might need only file and print
services, plus perhaps Internet connectivity. A more complex network will need many
additional services. Consider which of the following types of services the network you
are designing will need to provide, as well as any others that are specific to the company:
File and print services
Backup and restore services
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Internet web browsing
FTP and Telnet
Internet or external e-mail
Internet security services
Remote access to the LAN through a VPN or a modem pool
Fax into the LAN (manually distributed or automatically distributed)
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services
Centralized virus-protection services
Wide area network (WAN) services to other locations
Streaming Internet radio and other media
Voice over IP (VoIP)
For each service, you must answer a number of questions. First, you need to know
the storage and bandwidth requirements for each service, and any other impacts they
might have. For instance, a fax-in service might itself require a small amount of storage
space, but all the fax bitmaps that users will end up storing could have a large impact
on total storage needs.
Second, you need to know how the service is to be provided. Usually, this means
that you need to know which server will host the service. Some services require such
little overhead that you can easily host them on a server that does other jobs. A DHCP
server, which requires minimal resources, is a good example of such a service. On the
other hand, an e-mail system might require such high resources that you must plan to
host it on its own dedicated server.
Third, you need to know what users or groups of users need which services. This is
because, to minimize backbone traffic, you might need to break down the network into
smaller segments and locate frequently used services for a particular user population
on the same segment as the users use.
Security and Safety
The preceding considerations are all related to the bits and bytes required by different
parts of the network. Security and safety concern the company’s need to keep information
secure—both inside and outside an organization—and to keep the company’s data safe
from loss. You need to know how important these two issues are before attempting to set
down a network design on paper.
For both these considerations, a trade-off exists between cost and effectiveness. As
mentioned in earlier chapters, no network is ever totally secure and no data is ever totally
safe from loss. However, different companies and departments have different sensitivities
to these issues, indicating that more or less money should be spent on these areas.
Some applications might be perfectly well suited to keeping their data on a striped
RAID 0 array of disks, where the risk of loss is high (relative to other RAID levels),
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Designing a Network
because the data might be static and easy to restore from tape if the disk array is lost.
Other applications might require the highest level of data-loss safety possible, with
failover servers each having mirrored RAID 1 or RAID 10 arrays and online tape
backup systems updating a backup tape every hour or for every transaction. Similarly,
some companies might work with data that is so sensitive that they must install the
best firewalls, perhaps even two levels of firewalls, and hire full-time professionals
dedicated to keeping the data secure. Other companies might be satisfied if they are
only reasonably secure.
The point is that you must determine how important these issues are to the company
for which you are designing the network. Then you can propose different solutions to
address these needs and factor them into the rest of your design.
Growth and Capacity Planning
The final area to consider is the expected growth of the network, particularly if the
company expects this growth to be substantial. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, a
network designed for a rapidly growing company looks different from one for a slowly
growing company, even if both companies start out at the same size. In the former case,
you want a design that you can quickly and easily expand without needing to replace
much of the existing hardware and software. In the latter case, you can get by with a
simpler network design.
Consider the impact of growth on the different parts of the network that you’ve
already examined (applications, users, and services), because linear growth does not
always mean a matching linear impact to the network. Assuming linear growth, the
impact to the network might be much lower or much higher than the curve.
For example, you saw in Chapter 4 how Ethernet uses a collision detection mechanism
to manage network traffic. In that chapter, you also learned that Ethernet scales linearly,
but only up to a point. Once the network starts to become saturated, performance begins
to drop rapidly because of the chaotic nature of Ethernet’s collision detection scheme.
Consider a 10 Mbps Ethernet network transmitting 3 Mbps of traffic. This traffic probably
flows smoothly, with few collisions and few retransmissions required. Push the network
demand up to 4 or 5 Mbps, however, and its performance grinds to a halt as the network
becomes saturated, and you end up with as many collisions and retransmissions as real
data. In fact, the total amount of good data flowing over a saturated Ethernet network will
be less than the amount flowing over a less-saturated network.
You can also find examples where an increase in demand doesn’t cause a
corresponding increase in network or server load. For example, the server load for
a complex e-mail system might increase only by a small amount if you doubled the
number of users, because the system’s overhead generates most of the load. The storage
requirements for an accounting system might not double just because you keep twice as
much data in it to accommodate the overhead that might consume most of the existing
space. Alternatively, that same accounting system might consume four times as much
storage space if you double the data storage, because it might have a relatively inefficient
indexing scheme. The point is that you need to know how different applications scale
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
with increased use. The vendors of the main applications you will use should be able to
provide useful data in this regard.
TIP Be careful not only to consider how applications behave as they scale, but how they behave
as they are scaled in your planned network environment. Different NOSs, network topologies, and
client and server computers will all affect how well a particular application can support growth.
Meeting Network Needs
Once you complete your assessment (by this point, you’re probably sick of the assessment
process!), you can then start working on finding ways to meet all the needs you’ve
identified. This process is largely holistic and is not worked through by following a series
of steps and ending up with a single answer, like an equation. Instead, you should start by
mapping out the various parts of the network, considering the three main topics discussed
in this section, and “build a picture” of the network design. The design that you create
will incorporate all you learned during the assessment process, taking into account your
experience and the advice you have received to devise a concrete design that results in an
equipment list, specifications, and a configuration.
Seeking criticism of your design from other network professionals, who might have
valuable experience that you can then factor into your design, is important. No single
networking professional has seen and had to cope with all possible design needs, so
you want to combine the advice of as many seasoned people as you can.
Choosing a Network Type
You probably want to start the design by choosing a network type. This should be a
relatively straightforward decision, based on the overall bandwidth requirements for
the network. For most new networks, you almost certainly will decide to use one of the
flavors of Ethernet. Ethernet is by far the most common type of network installed today,
and it’s an easy default choice.
You also need to decide what level of Ethernet you need. For wiring to the desktop,
you should choose 100Base-T. It’s reliable and provides plenty of capacity for most
needs. For your network backbone, you can usually use a higher-bandwidth connection,
such as 1000Base-T, without incurring too much additional cost.
Structuring the Network
Next, decide how you plan to structure the network. In other words, how will you
arrange and wire the various hubs, switches, and routers that the network needs? This
is probably the trickiest part to determine, because it’s hard to predict how much data
must flow from any given set of nodes to any other set of nodes. The estimates you have
based on your assessment work will help. If you can identify expected heavy traffic
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Designing a Network
patterns, you should also draw a network schematic with these patterns indicated to
help you sort it out. Remember the following tips:
Ethernet’s CDMA/CD collision handling means that an Ethernet network will
handle only about one-third of its rated speed. In other words, a 100Base-T
segment, which is rated at 100 Mbps, will handle about 33 Mbps of actual data
before starting to degrade.
Whenever possible, use “home-run” wiring (in which each network cable runs
from each workstation to a single location) for all nodes to a single wiring
closet or server room. Doing so enables you to change the network structure
more easily (for example, to break segments into smaller segments) as needs
Except in the smallest networks, plan on installing a network backbone to
which the hubs connect. An Ethernet switch rather than a nonswitching hub
should handle the backbone, so each hub constitutes a single segment or
collision domain. You still must plan to keep each segment’s traffic below the
Ethernet saturation point, but this structure will give you plenty of flexibility to
meet this goal.
The physical building might dictate how you structure your network. For
example, a building larger than 200 meters (about 600 feet) in any dimension
probably means you won’t be able to employ a home-run wiring scheme
for all your nodes. This is because twisted-pair Ethernet usually reaches
only 100 meters (about 300 feet), which includes routing around building
obstructions, patch cables, and other things that make the actual cable distance
longer than you might measure on a map of the building.
For multifloor buildings that are too big for a home-run wiring scheme,
consider running the backbone vertically from floor to floor, and then have
a wiring closet on each floor that contains the switches to service that floor’s
nodes. The wiring from the closet on each floor then fans out to each of the
nodes on that floor.
Consider running the backbone speed at ten times the hub/desktop network
speed. If you’re using 100Base-T hubs to connect to the desktop computers,
plan on a 1000Base-T backbone.
Most of the time, most nodes do the majority of their communication to one or
two servers on the network. If you are planning department-specific servers or
if you can identify similar patterns, make sure that each server is on the same
segment as the nodes that it primarily serves.
If your servers tend not to be assigned to support departments and instead
support the entire company, make sure that the servers are directly connected
to the backbone’s Ethernet switch.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
If you have any high-bandwidth users, consider keeping them on a segment
separate from the rest of the network (if appropriate) and also consider
upgrading the speed of that segment to 100 Mbps or 1,000 Mbps if needed.
As you start to implement the network, carefully watch the ratio of collision
packets to data packets. If the number of collisions on any segment climbs
5 to 7 percent of the total number of packets, performance is starting to
suffer, so you need to investigate the cause and find a way to decrease this
ratio. You can usually do so by breaking the segment into smaller pieces or by
configuring capable switches into what is called a virtual LAN (VLAN), unless
you know of another way to reduce the amount of traffic.
Selecting Servers
When choosing servers for a network, start by determining which NOS you will use.
For PC-centric networks, the decision is usually between Novell NetWare and Windows
family of servers. As discussed in Chapter 13, whenever possible, avoid using both,
because supporting two NOS systems makes managing the servers much more difficult.
You’re better off compromising on a single NOS platform.
Next, list the various network services that your servers must provide. You need
to look for efficient ways to host these various services on your servers, balancing a
number of factors:
All else being equal, using more small servers to host fewer services each is
more reliable than using fewer large servers to each host many services.
Conversely, having more small servers increases your chance of having a server
fail at any given time.
Using more small servers is more expensive and requires more maintenance than
using fewer large servers.
If you plan to use more than one server, consider which services should be
redundant on another server or how you plan to deal with the failure of any
Using your assessment information, you can easily determine how much storage
capacity your servers will need. However, it’s much harder to know how capable each
server should be in terms of processor power, installed RAM, and other features, such
as bus configuration. For these specifications, you need to rely on the advice of the NOS
vendor and the manufacturer of the servers that you are considering. Fortunately, both
Microsoft and Novell have published tests and recommendations for sizing servers
given different service and user loads. Many first-tier server manufacturers also have
such data to help you choose an actual server model and its specifications.
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Designing a Network
Chapter Summary
Designing an entire network can be extremely complex. If you are in the enviable
position of designing a network, your best bet is to start with the framework described in
this chapter and to use other resources to answer specific questions. Many resources are
available to help you do this, ranging from books devoted to aspects of network design,
server management, network performance tuning, and specific NOS management, to
consultants experienced with similar networks and the various vendors you are working
with on any planned purchases. In fact, so many resources exist to help you accomplish
this job, you may have trouble deciding which advice to follow!
Always remember to leave some escape hatches in any network design, so you
can respond quickly to new or changed requirements, many of which will occur while
you’re finalizing the design. The good news is that if you follow the advice in this
chapter and the rest of the book, along with the other resources mentioned, it’s a safe
bet you’ll end up with a solid, expandable, maintainable network design that meets the
needs of the company and of which you can be proud.
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Chapter 16
Installing and Setting Up
Windows Server 2008
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
n this chapter, you learn how to install Windows Server 2008. Before you install
Windows Server 2008, however, you first must conduct a variety of preinstallation
checks that prepare the system for the process. Next, you perform the actual
installation, providing information that the installation program needs. Finally, you test
the installation by having a client computer log in to the server properly and perform
some basic network duties. All these steps are described in detail in this chapter.
Understanding Windows Server 2008 Editions
Windows Server 2008 is an entire family of products, all built on essentially the same
programming code, but with significant feature and tuning differences.
Standard Edition is the mainstream server version of Windows Server 2008. It
includes all the power of Active Directory, as well as the following features:
New management tools (compared with those provided with Windows Server
2003) based on the Microsoft Management Console (MMC)
Windows Terminal Services, which allows Windows Server 2008 to host
graphical applications, much like a mainframe hosts applications for dumb
Internet and web services, including Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
(DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Information Services (IIS), and
Index Server
Remote access and VPN services
Transaction and messaging services
Support for up to four processors
Support for up to 4GB of RAM (32-bit version) or 32GB of RAM (64-bit version)
Support for the latest versions of the standard network protocols
Enterprise Edition is the mid-range offering of Windows Server 2008 products. It
enhances the features of Windows Server 2008 by adding the following:
Support for up to 64GB of installed RAM (32-bit version) or 2TB of RAM (64-bit
Network load balancing (for example, Enterprise Edition can share a heavy
TCP/IP load among a number of servers and balance their loads)
Windows Server 2008 clustering
Support for up to eight processors
Support for 16-node clusters
Datacenter Edition is the most powerful version of Windows Server 2008. This
version is used when extremely large databases need to be hosted for thousands of
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
users or when other very heavy demands will placed on the server system. It includes
all the features of the other versions, plus the following:
Support for up to 64GB of installed RAM (32-bit version) or 2TB of RAM (64-bit
Support for up to 32 processors (32-bit version) or 64 processors (64-bit version)
Support for 16-node clusters
On the other end of the spectrum, Microsoft also sells Windows Web Server 2008. This is
a more limited edition of Windows Server 2008 that is designed purely as a single-purpose
web server. This edition is the most cost-effective for setting up a Windows-based web
server. It supports up to four processors (32- and 64-bit versions) and up to 4GB of
RAM (32-bit version) or 32GB of RAM (64-bit version).
Preparing for Installation
Before installing Windows Server 2008, you first must prepare the server computer
that you will use and make important decisions about the installation. This preparation
stage consists of a number of tasks, including the following:
Make sure the server hardware is certified for use with Windows Server 2008.
Make sure the server is properly configured to support Windows Server 2008.
Carry out any needed preinstallation testing on the server hardware.
Survey the hardware prior to performing the installation.
Decide how you will install Windows Server 2008, after gathering all the
configuration information you will need during the installation.
Back up the system prior to an upgrade.
These tasks are discussed in the following sections.
Checking Hardware Compatibility
Microsoft maintains an extensive Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) that lists
different hardware components and their testing status on various Microsoft products,
such as Windows Server 2008. To avoid problems with your server, make sure that the
server itself and any installed peripherals have been tested with Windows Server 2008
and work properly. The latest version of the HCL can be found at
.com/whdc/hcl/default.mspx. You can also find a text-based copy on the Windows
Server 2008 CD-ROM. Using the web HCL is preferred, however, because it might have
more current data than the file included on the installation CD-ROM.
If a particular hardware component in your planned server isn’t listed on the HCL,
all is not lost. For one thing, the HCL might not have the most current data, and the
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
hardware that you wish to use might be certified but not yet listed. It’s best to check
with the hardware’s maker, because that company will know the current status of the
hardware’s certification.
NOTE Products not listed in the HCL might work fine with Windows Server 2008. If you are
deploying a server for testing purposes or to support limited services, and you are comfortable
doing so, you can still proceed to install Windows Server 2008 and begin working with it. You should
not do this for production servers that many people will depend on, however. Not only might an
undiscovered incompatibility cause serious problems with an uncertified server, but you will be
unable to get the highest level of support from Microsoft for hardware that is not yet certified. For
this reason, you should avoid deploying important servers that are not yet certified by Microsoft.
Checking the Hardware Configuration
Purchasing a computer for use as a server can be a complex task. You must contend
with the myriad details of installed RAM, processor configuration, disk configuration,
and so forth, as well as factor in your anticipated needs to come up with a reasonable
server configuration. (Chapter 13 contains information about different server
technologies and about specifying a server for general use.)
Windows Server 2008 requires the following minimum hardware configuration:
One 1 GHz (x86 processor) or 1.4 GHz (x64 processor) or greater
512MB of RAM
About 20GB (32-bit version) or 32GB (64-bit version) of free disk space
A DVD-ROM or network connection from which to install Windows Server 2008
For any kind of server (even one that will support only a few users), you should
consider using more capable hardware than that specified as the minimum by
Microsoft. Here is some advice for configuring a server for Windows Server 2008:
Processor Start with at least an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at
2.4 GHz or greater. Intel Xeon processors are a benefit in a server, and you
should carefully consider the price of such systems relative to the expected
performance improvement. (All else being equal, an Intel Xeon family
processor will perform about 15 to 20 percent faster than an equivalent
core 2 processor.) Also, consider using a system that has either two or more
processors, or the capability to add processors later if your needs grow faster
than expected.
RAM Windows Server 2008 runs best on systems that have plenty of
RAM. For a server, make sure you have at least 1GB of RAM. If you plan on
supporting all the different services available with Windows Server 2008 (such
as Terminal Services, Routing and Remote Access Service, DHCP, DNS, and so
forth), then 2GB to 3GB of RAM might be a better choice than 1GB of RAM.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Disk A fast SCSI-based disk subsystem is important, particularly for servers
that will store a lot of data. (See Chapter 13 for more information about
choosing SCSI systems, using different RAID levels, and other important disk
Use the information in Chapter 13 to help you size your server, but remember
this rule of thumb: Get the most capable server you can afford and make sure it is
expandable to meet your future needs, through the addition of more RAM, more
processors, and more disk space. Even with all of that, it is common for servers to be
replaced three to four years from the date they were placed into service.
Testing the Server Hardware
You found all your server hardware in the Windows Server 2008 HCL, you made
sure your server is adequately sized, you purchased it, and you have your shiny new
Windows Server 2008 DVD-ROMs sitting there, all ready to be installed. Is it time
to start the installation yet? Well, not quite. Before installing any network operating
system (NOS), particularly on a server that will be used for production, make sure you
carry out hardware testing (also called burn-in) on the server before installing Windows
Server 2008.
Computer hardware tends to be most reliable after it has been running for a while.
In other words, failures tend to happen when equipment is new, and the chance of
hardware failure decreases rapidly after the hardware has been up and running for
30 to 90 days. Because of this, it‘s a good idea to test new servers for at least a week
(testing for two weeks is even better) before proceeding to install the NOS. Doing
this can help provoke any early failures in the equipment during a time when they’re
easy to fix and they won’t affect any users or the network. Moreover, many servers
have a 30-day return or exchange policy from their manufacturer, so if you discover
problems, you’ll have a chance to return the system and perhaps start over with a
different model.
You test the hardware using diagnostic software that came with the server
computer or is available from the maker of the server. Most such diagnostic software
lets you to choose which components of the system are tested and enables you to test
them in an endless loop, logging any discovered errors to a floppy disk, USB key, or the
screen. You should focus the tests on the following components:
System board components, such as interrupt controllers, direct memory access
(DMA) controllers, and other motherboard support circuitry
Disk surfaces
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
TIP Server-testing software often enables you to choose between nondestructive and destructive
testing of the disks. (Destructive means any data on the disks is erased during the testing.)
Destructive testing is best to discover any errors on the disks. This is one reason that you want to
carry out this testing before you install your NOS.
If the diagnostic software allows you to do so, you can usually safely skip testing
components such as the keyboard or the display. Your primary concern is that the unit
continues running properly when it is under load for an extended period of time. You
also want to make sure that the RAM is working properly and that no bad sectors show
up on the disks during testing. It’s also a good idea during testing to power the unit on
and shut it down a number of times, since the impact to the unit of initially powering
on often can provoke a failure in any marginal components, especially if the unit is
allowed to cool down first.
Surveying the Server Prior to an In-Place Upgrade
The Windows Server 2008 family of products takes advantage of plug and play (PnP)
hardware and can detect and automatically configure any PnP devices to work with
Windows Server 2008 during the installation. PnP is not perfect, though. For one thing,
you might have installed components that are not PnP devices, and Windows Server
2008 will not be able to configure those devices. Also, sometimes PnP devices can
conflict with other devices, or the drivers for a specific device might not allow proper
configuration for some reason. Because of these imperfections, it’s important to survey
the components installed in the server before installing Windows Server 2008 as an
upgrade. Performing a survey is not really important when setting up a new server.
For the survey, write down all the installed devices, along with the resources that
each one uses in the server. The resources include the IRQ channel, DMA channel, and
memory I/O addresses used by each device. Then, if a device isn’t working properly
after you install Windows Server 2008, you might be able to configure the device
manually to known settings that work.
NOTE Some server computers come with utilities such as HP’s SmartStart. Such utilities handle
the server at a hardware level and keep the information in a space separate from the NOS. Server
utilities such as HP’s make life much easier when you are trying to troubleshoot a hardware problem
with the server.
Making Preinstallation Decisions
After configuring, checking, preparing, and testing your hardware, you can actually
begin installing Windows Server 2008. During this process, you first spend time
making a number of important preinstallation decisions that you must be prepared to
specify during the installation. The following sections discuss these choices.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
NOTE This chapter and the two following chapters provide an overall introduction to Windows
Server 2008. Certain advanced installation scenarios and techniques are not described here. To
learn about other features and choices available when installing, administering, or using Windows
Server 2008, consult a book devoted to Windows Server 2008, such as Microsoft Windows
Server 2008: The Complete Reference by Danielle Ruest and Nelson Ruest (McGraw-Hill/
Professional, 2008).
Upgrade or Install?
You can upgrade a server running Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 or
perform a full installation, where you wipe out any existing NOS on the server. The
main benefit to upgrading is that all your existing settings under Windows Server
2003 will be maintained and automatically carried forward into your Windows Server
2008 installation. These include networking details, such as TCP/IP configuration
information, as well as security settings that you might have tediously set up over time.
In fact, if the server can be upgraded, you should plan on doing so, unless you need to
change something fundamental in the server, such as changing the disk format from
FAT32 to NTFS.
NOTE Different upgrade paths exist depending on which edition of Windows Server 2003 you
were running. You can upgrade Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition to 2008 Standard or 2008
Enterprise. You can upgrade Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition to 2008 Enterprise or 2008
Datacenter Edition.
Windows Server 2008 supports hard disks formatted using either File Allocation Table
(FAT16 and FAT32) or NT File System (NTFS). NTFS is required for any Windows
Server 2008 servers that will function as domain controllers. NTFS also is the only
file system that enables you to take full advantage of Windows Server 2008’s security
features. Moreover, NTFS is optimized for server performance and performs better
than FAT under almost all circumstances.
Domain Controller, Member Server, or Stand-Alone Server?
Another choice you need to make is in which mode you will configure your server. To
make this decision, you need to understand two important concepts: Windows Server
2008 domains and workgroups. A domain is a sophisticated administrative grouping of
computers on a Windows network that makes it possible to administer the network’s
resources from a single point and to implement strong security. Domains enable
you to manage multiple Windows Server 2008 or Windows 2003 servers more easily.
A workgroup is a simple collection of computers on a network and is suited only to pure
peer-to-peer networks.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
You can configure Windows Server 2008 in one of three modes to support either
domains or workgroups, as follows:
Domain controllers hold the domain’s Active Directory information and
authenticate users and access to resources. Most Windows Server 2008
networks have at least one domain and therefore need at least one domain
Member servers are part of a domain, but do not hold a copy of the Active
Directory information.
Stand-alone servers do not participate in a domain, but instead participate in a
Earlier versions of Windows servers (NT and 2000) needed to be designated as
either primary domain controllers (PDCs) or backup domain controllers (BDCs). The
PDC performed all administrative tasks, and the BDCs simply kept read-only copies of
the domain information to continue authenticating security on the network in case the
PDC failed.
Newer Windows servers, such as those running Windows Server 2008, simplify
matters, so that all Windows Server 2008 domain controllers are just that—domain
controllers. Each domain controller holds a copy of the Active Directory data and can
perform all the functions of the other domain controllers. Windows Server 2008 uses
the concept of multimaster domain controllers, which all seamlessly operate the same way
as the other domain controllers.
TIP Except in the smallest of networks, it’s a very good idea to have two domain controllers. This
way, all of your domain information is preserved and available to the network should one of the
domain controllers crash. Domain information is automatically synchronized between the available
domain controllers.
Per Seat or Per Server?
Yet another important choice to make when installing Windows Server 2008 is how the
server will manage its Client Access Licenses (CALs). Windows Server 2008 supports
two different ways of managing CALs:
Per-server licensing assigns the CALs to the server, which will allow only as
many connections from computers as there are installed CALs on that server.
Per-seat licensing requires purchasing a CAL for each of your client computers,
which gives them the right to access as many Windows servers as they wish;
the servers will not monitor the number of connections.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Generally, Microsoft recommends that you use per-server licensing when running a
single server and per-seat licensing when running multiple servers. If you are unsure of
which mode to use, Microsoft recommends that you choose per server, because Microsoft
lets you change to per-seat mode once at no cost (changing from per seat to per server
has a price). Carefully review licensing options with your Windows Server 2008 reseller
to determine the most economical way to license your network servers properly.
Wait! Back Up Before Upgrading!
If you are installing Windows Server 2008 as an upgrade to another NOS, such as
Windows Server 2003, it’s vital that you fully back up the server prior to installing
Windows Server 2008. (It’s a good idea to make two identical backups, just in case.)
You should use whatever backup software you normally use for your existing NOS,
making sure the software can properly restore the previous NOS in case you need to
“unwind” the upgrade process and revert to your starting point.
Even when you are performing an upgrade and will not be reformatting any of the
disks, making a preinstallation backup is good insurance in case of trouble.
Installing Windows Server 2008
To begin the installation of Windows Server 2008, you can either configure the server
computer to boot from the Windows Server 2008 DVD-ROM or insert the Windows
Server 2008 DVD-ROM while running Windows Server 2003. Most servers can boot
from their DVD-ROM drives, which is the best way to start the installation.
Running the Windows Server 2008 Setup Program
The following steps outline the process of running the installation program for
Windows Server 2008 and installing it onto a server. If you are learning about
Windows Server 2008 and have a suitable computer to use, you should take the time to
install Windows Server 2008 so that you understand how the process works. Or, if you
like, you can read along through the following steps to familiarize yourself with the
installation process. (I recommend actually performing an installation such as the one
described here, and then playing with the resulting server as a way of more quickly
and completely learning about Windows Server 2008.)
1. When you boot from the Windows Server 2008 DVD-ROM, the program first
presents a screen that lets you choose the language to install, the formatting
to use for time and currency displays, and the keyboard or input method (see
Figure 16-1). Make the appropriate choices, and then click Next to continue.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-1. Choosing the language and other preferences
2. You see the screen shown in Figure 16-2. If you booted your Windows Server 2008
DVD-ROM in order to try to repair an existing installation, you can choose Repair
Your Computer. To start the installation, click Install Now to continue.
3. You are prompted to enter your Windows Server 2008 product key, as shown
in Figure 16-3. Enter the appropriate key for the version you are installing.
Alternatively, you can leave this field blank. If you do not enter a product key,
Windows Server 2008 will install in a fully functional, but time-limited, trial
mode. You can provide a key after the installation with no loss of data or
functionality, but the key you provide must match the edition you installed
and then click Next to continue.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-2. Choosing to install the software
4. If you did not enter a product key, you are next prompted for the edition of
Windows Server 2008 you are installing, as shown in Figure 16-4. (If you provided a key, the installation program can determine this automatically.)
5. Choose to accept the license terms, and then click Next to continue.
6. You are asked whether to perform an upgrade installation or a custom (clean)
installation of Windows Server 2008, as shown in Figure 16-5. If you are
installing on a computer that has an upgradable version, you can choose to
upgrade. In this example, we are installing onto a fresh computer system, so
performing a custom (clean) installation is the only selectable option.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-3. Entering the product key for installation
7. You next must choose where to install Windows Server 2008, as shown in
Figure 16-6. If you are installing onto a computer with an empty hard disk
that has never been used, as shown in Figure 16-6, you first need to partition
the disk, and then you need to format the disk. To partition the disk, click the
Drive Options (Advanced) link. This reveals some new options, as shown in
Figure 16-7.
8. From the advanced drive options screen, click New to create a partition on the
disk drive. Choose the size to use for the partition, and click Apply to create it.
Next, with the partition selected, click the Format link to format it. When the
format is complete (formatting usually takes just a few minutes), make sure the
correct disk is selected, and then click Next to continue with the installation.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-4. No product key? Choose which edition you want to install in trial mode.
9. The installation will proceed, and you will see its status, as shown in Figure 16-8.
This portion of the installation proceeds automatically and takes around
15 to 25 minutes, depending on the speed of the server.
10. After the installation completes, the server will restart, and you will see the
screen shown in Figure 16-9, stating that you must change your password
before you can log in. Click OK.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-5. Choosing to upgrade or perform a clean (custom) installation
11. You will be prompted to assign a new password for the administrator account
on the server. Choose a good, strong password. Then click the right-arrow button on the screen to log in.
12. After you set your password and log in, you will soon see the new server’s
desktop, along with the Initial Configuration Tasks window (which appears
automatically), as shown in Figure 16-10.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-6. Partitioning the installation disk drive
Performing the Initial Configuration
To complete the setup of Windows Server 2008, you use the Initial Configuration Tasks
window and work through the numbered items shown in Figure 16-10.
Provide Computer Information
In the first section of the Initial Configuration Tasks window, first review the time zone
for the computer’s clock. Usually, the installation program correctly determines your
time zone. However, if it’s incorrect, click Set Time Zone and adjust it.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-7. Advanced options for partitioning the installation disk drive
If you are installing Windows Server 2008 simply to learn more about it, and the
network it’s connected to already has a DHCP server, Windows will automatically
obtain an IP address and access the network, so you do not need to change the network
settings. However, in a production environment, most servers are assigned static IP
addresses to use.
To assign a static IP address, click Configure Networking to display the Network
Connections window. Find the active LAN connection in the window, right-click it, and
choose Properties to open the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box. In this dialog
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-8. Windows reports the status of the installation.
box, click the Internet Protocol Version 4 item in the list, as shown in Figure 16-11, and
then click the Properties button. The Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties
dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 16-12. Click the Use the Following IP Address
button, and then provide a fixed IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway for your
network. After entering this information, click OK to save your changes.
CAUTION When assigning static IP addresses, it is important not to assign an address already in
use on the network.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-9. You need to change your password before logging in.
After configuring networking, you will also want to assign a computer name and,
if there is an existing domain, connect this server to the domain. Click the Provide
Computer Name and Domain link in the Initial Configuration Tasks window to display
the System Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure 16-13.
Click the Change button, and you will see the Computer Name/Domain Changes
dialog box, as shown in Figure 16-14. In this dialog box, enter an appropriate name for
the new server. I usually recommend something relatively short and easy to remember
and to type. If you want to connect this server to an existing Active Directory domain,
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-10. The Initial Configuration Tasks window appears after installation
click the Domain option button and enter the correct domain name. (You will need an
administrative account and password on a target domain in order to join this computer
to it.) If you are just learning about Windows Server 2008 or you are going to create an
Active Directory domain, you can leave the server in workgroup mode at this time.
Click OK to save the new server name, which will require a restart of the server.
Update This Server
In the second section of the Initial Configuration Tasks window, choose to set the server
to automatically download updates. Then go ahead and click the Download and Install
Updates link to update the server with all of the released Windows Server 2008 patches.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-11. Configuring networking
Customize This Server
The third section of the Initial Configuration Tasks window contains two simple
options and two very powerful options. The two simple options are Enable Remote
Desktop and Configure Windows Firewall. The two powerful options are Add Roles
and Add Features.
The Windows firewall is turned on by default. I recommend also enabling Remote
Desktop, which you can use to administer a Windows Server 2008 server over the
network using Remote Desktop Connection.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-12. Configuring a TCP/IP address
Windows Server 2008 makes setting up the server to perform different roles a snap.
Clicking the Add Roles link starts the Add Roles Wizard, as shown in Figure 16-15. If
you are configuring the server as a file server, just check the File Services checkbox.
To configure it as a web server using IIS, click the Web Server (IIS) checkbox. You can
choose any combination of roles that you need, and the wizard will walk you through
any necessary additional setup with a minimum of hassle. In this example, we are
installing Windows Server 2008 as a stand-alone domain controller. Using the Add
Roles Wizard, choose the Active Directory Domain Services role, and then click Next
to install them. (You cannot install other roles at the same time as Active Directory
Domain Services.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-13. Setting the server name and workgroup or domain
The Add Features option allows you to install particular Windows Server 2008
features. When you add roles, any required features are automatically installed.
Accordingly, you will not often need to add specific features to a Windows Server
2008 installation. I do, however, recommend that you look through the list in the Add
Features Wizard, as shown in Figure 16-16, so that you understand the types of features
are available.
After the installation is complete (it usually does not take more than a few minutes),
you need to run a program called DCPromo in order to create the new domain and
complete the setup of the server.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-14. Entering a new server name
Creating a New Domain
To install your new domain, follow these steps:
1. Open the Start menu, click Run, enter DCPROMO, and press ENTER. This
starts the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard, as shown in
Figure 16-17. Click Next to continue.
2. The next wizard page lets you join an existing forest or create a new forest. For
this example, we will create a new forest. Choose that option button and click
Next to continue.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-15. Using the Add Roles Wizard
CAUTION Join an existing forest only if you are the network administrator responsible for the
existing Active Directory forest, and you are adding a new domain controller to that forest. If you are
just evaluating and learning about Windows Server 2008, you should instead create a new forest.
3. You are prompted to enter the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the new
forest root domain ( in this example), as shown in Figure 16-18.
4. You are prompted to enter a domain NetBIOS name. Usually, this will be the
main portion of the domain name you entered for the FQDN of the forest root
domain (for this example, the NetBIOS name NABG will be entered by default).
If the default NetBIOS name is acceptable to you, click Next to continue.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-16. Looking over the features list offered by the Add Features Wizard
5. You now need to choose the functional level for the forest, as shown in
Figure 16-19. Your choices are Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, and
Windows Server 2008. Choose Windows Server 2000 or 2003 functional levels
if you wish the server to be compatible with domain controllers running those
versions. For this example, choose the Windows Server 2008 functional level.
6. The wizard recommends that you add DNS services to the server. Accept this
default and click Next to continue. (DNS services should run on each Active
Directory domain controller.)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-17. Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard
7. You are prompted for the location for several critical Active Directory files and
directories. Accept the defaults and click Next.
8. You are prompted for a directory services restore mode administrator password.
This is an important password to set, and you need to keep it in a secure place.
If the domain controller ever needs to be recovered, the password you specify
here will be required in order to potentially recover the information in the
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
Figure 16-18. Naming a new forest
9. You see a final Summary screen. Review the configuration, and then click Next
to complete the installation of Active Directory services. While this process can
take up to a couple of hours for a very complex installation, for this stand-alone
domain controller example, it is likely to finish within a few minutes. After it
completes, you will be prompted to restart the server, which you should do immediately.
Congratulations! With the preceding steps, you have finished the installation and
configuration of a Windows Server 2008 acting as a domain controller. You now have
a server capable of serving the needs of many users and of performing a number of
useful tasks.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 16-19. Choosing a forest functional level
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned how Windows Server 2008 is installed and set up, using
basic installation choices that will be appropriate for many servers in small businesses.
As you saw, installing Windows Server 2008 is really not much more difficult than
installing Windows Vista.
This chapter did not cover all the myriad choices available to you during the
installation of Windows Server 2008 or discuss more complex installation topics
appropriate for larger networks. Instead, this chapter was intended to help beginners to
networking understand the basic steps to install Windows Server 2008 and to provide
enough information to get a basic server up and running with minimal problems.
Chapter 16:
Installing and Setting Up Windows Server 2008
If you will be installing Windows Server 2008 into a production environment—no
matter how small—it’s vital for you to learn much more about Windows Server 2008
than presented in this book. Fortunately, many fine training classes and books are
available to teach you all you must do to set up and administer a Windows Server 2008based network.
Installing the NOS is only a small part of the battle. Even more important is that
you know how to administer the server and perform various administrative tasks
for the NOS. These include managing user accounts, groups, printers, and other
required maintenance tasks. Chapter 17 discusses the basics of Windows Server 2008
This page intentionally left blank
Chapter 17
Administering Windows
Server 2008: The Basics
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
nstalling and setting up Windows Server 2008 is only the tip of the iceberg. Far
more important and time-consuming is the process of administering the server. This
process includes regular and common duties such as adding new users, deleting old
users, assigning permissions to users, performing backups, and so forth. These topics
are covered in this chapter. Good administration habits will ensure that the network
and the server remain productive and secure.
Thinking About Network Security
Before delving into the administrative activities discussed in this chapter, you should
spend some time thinking about network security and how it relates to your specific
company. Administering a server must be predicated on maintaining appropriate
security for your network.
The key here is to remember that every network has an appropriate level of security.
The security requirements for a Department of Defense (DoD) contractor that designs
military equipment will be different from the security requirements for a company that
operates restaurants.
Many beginning network administrators think they need to set up their networks
to follow the strongest security measures available. The problem with this approach
is that these measures almost always reduce the productivity of people using the
network. You need to strike a balance between productivity and security in accordance
with the needs of your company.
For example, Windows Server 2008 enables you to set various security policies that
apply to users. These include forcing password changes at specified intervals, requiring
that passwords be a certain minimum length, disallowing reuse of old passwords, and
so on. For example, you could set up policies to require passwords that are at least
20 characters long and that must be changed weekly. In theory, these settings should be
more secure than shorter, less-frequently changed passwords. A 20-character password
is virtually impossible to crack using standard methods, and weekly password changes
reduce the chance that someone else will discover a user’s password and be free to use
it for an extended period of time.
One problem with such strict policies is that users may resort to writing down
their passwords so they can remember them from week to week. A written password
is far less secure than one that is remembered, because someone else can find the
written password and bypass security easily after doing so. Another problem is that
users might frequently forget their passwords, which will lead to them being locked
out of the system for periods of time. This means they will require a lot of help from
the network administrator (you!) to clear up these problems each time they occur. For
a DoD contractor, these trade-offs might be worthwhile. For the restaurant operator,
however, they would be inappropriate and would end up hurting the company more
than they help.
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
The primary reason you should pay attention to this subject before learning about
administration is that you should determine the appropriate network security early,
so that you can allow for it as you administer the network on a daily basis. Network
security doesn’t need to take up much of your time, provided you set up your
administrative procedures so they presuppose the level of security you require. For
example, if you know what your password policies will be on the network, it takes
only a few seconds to ensure that new users have those policies set for their account.
If you know that you maintain a paper-based log of changes to security groups in the
network, then it takes only a second to follow this procedure as you change group
membership occasionally. Failing to determine these security practices and policies
early on will result in needing to undertake much larger projects as part of a security
review or audit. Security is an area where you’re much better off doing things right the
first time!
Working with User Accounts
For anyone—including the administrator—to gain access to a server running Windows
Server 2008, the user must have an account established on the server or in the domain.
(A domain is essentially a collection of security information shared among Windows
servers.) The account defines the user name (the name by which the user is known to
the system) and the user’s password, along with a host of other information specific
to each user. Creating, maintaining, and deleting user accounts is easy with Windows
Server 2008.
NOTE Every account created for a Windows Server 2008 domain is assigned a special number,
called a security ID (SID). The server actually recognizes the user by this number. SIDs are said
to be “unique across space and time.” This means that no two users will ever have the same SID,
even if they have the same user name and even the same password. This is because the SID is
made up of a unique number assigned to the domain and then a sequential number assigned to
each created account (with billions of unique user-specific numbers available). If you have a user
called Frank, delete that account, and then create another account called Frank, the accounts
will have different SIDs. This ensures that no user account will accidentally receive permissions
originally assigned to another user of the same name.
To maintain user accounts, you use the Active Directory Users and Computers
console. You can open this console by clicking the Start menu, choosing Programs, and
then selecting Administrative Tools. To accomplish activities in the console, you first
select either a container in the left pane or an object in the right pane, and then either
right-click the container or object or open the Action pull-down menu and choose
from the available options. Because the available options change based on the selected
container or object, first selecting an object with which to work is important.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Adding a User
To add a user with the Active Directory Users and Computers console, start by
selecting the Users container in the left pane (with the tree open to the domain you
are administering), as shown in Figure 17-1. Then right-click the Users container,
choose New from the pop-up menu, and choose User from the submenu. You see the
New Object – User dialog box, as shown in Figure 17-2. Fill in the First Name, Last
Name, and User Logon Name fields. Then click the Next button to move to the next
dialog box.
TIP You should establish standards by which you assign logon names on your network. Small
networks (those with fewer than 50 users) often just use people’s first names, followed by the first
initial of their last names when conflicts arise. A more commonly used convention is to use the
user’s last name followed by the first initial of their first name. This latter standard allows far more
combinations before conflicts arise, and you can then resolve any conflicts that arise by adding the
person’s middle initial, a number, or some other change so that all user names at any given time on
the system are unique.
Figure 17-1. The Active Directory Users and Computers console allows you to manage user
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Figure 17-2. Use the New Object – User dialog box to add a new user.
In the second dialog box, shown in Figure 17-3, you enter the initial password
that the account will use. You also select several options that apply to the account, as
User Must Change Password at Next Logon Selecting this checkbox forces
users to choose their own password when they first log in to the system.
User Cannot Change Password You might select this option for resource
accounts if you do not want to allow users to change their passwords. (For
instance, you might have a specific user account established for a particular
computer that performs a particular function that many people employ.)
Generally, however, you should not select this option; most sites allow users to
change their own passwords, and you want to permit them to do so if you’ve
also set passwords to automatically expire.
Password Never Expires Choose this option to allow the password to remain
viable for as long as the user chooses to use it. Activating this option for most
users is generally considered a poor security practice.
Account Is Disabled Selecting this option disables the new account. The
administrator can enable the account when needed by clearing the checkbox.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 17-3. Setting the user’s password
After entering the password and selecting the options you want, click Next to
continue. You will then see a confirmation screen. Click Next a final time to create the
account, or click Back to return to either dialog box to make changes.
Modifying a User Account
The dialog box in which you modify the information about a user account contains
many other fields than the ones to create the account. You can use these to document
the account and to set some other security options.
To modify an existing user account, right-click the user object you wish to modify
and choose Properties from the pop-up menu. You then see the tabbed dialog box
shown in Figure 17-4.
In the first two tabs, General and Address, you can enter some additional information
about the user, such as job title, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail account, and
so forth. Because Active Directory also integrates with Exchange Server, this information
might be important to enter for your network.
In the Account tab, shown in Figure 17-5, you can set some important user account
options. At the top of the tab, you can see the user’s logon name, as well as the Windows
domain in which the user has primary membership. Below that is the user’s Windows NT
Chapter 17:
Figure 17-4.
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Setting properties for a user’s account
logon name (called the pre-Windows 2000 logon name), which the user can optionally use
to log in to the domain from a Windows NT computer or to use an application that doesn’t
yet support Active Directory logins. (Although you can set these two logon names to be
different, doing so rarely is a good idea.)
Clicking the Logon Hours button displays the dialog box shown in Figure 17-6. In
this dialog box, you select different blocks of time within a standard week, and then
click the appropriate option button to permit or deny access to the network for that
time period. In Figure 17-6, the settings permit logon times for a normal workday, with
some cushion before and after those times to allow for slightly different work hours. By
default, users are permitted to log on to the network at any time, any day of the week.
For most networks, particularly smaller networks, permitting users to log on at any
time is generally acceptable.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 17-5. The Account tab of a user’s Properties dialog box lets you set some important
user account options.
Clicking the Log On To button on the Account tab opens the Logon Workstations
dialog box, as shown in Figure 17-7. By default, users can log on to any workstation in
the domain, and the domain authenticates them. In some cases, a system might require
stricter security, where you specify the computers to which a user account can log on.
For example, you might set up a network backup account that you use to back up the
network, and then leave this account logged on all the time in your locked computer
room. Because the backup account has access to all files on the network (necessary to do
its job), a good idea is to limit that account to log on only to the computer designated for
this purpose in the computer room. You use the Log On To feature to set up this type of
Chapter 17:
Figure 17-6.
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Setting logon time restrictions for a user
Figure 17-7. Restricting the computers to which a user can log on
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
restriction. (Note that the Log On To feature works only if the network uses the NetBIOS
or NetBEUI protocols; it will not work with TCP/IP-only networks unless the Windows
Internet Naming Service is set up on the network.)
NOTE Allowing a user to log on to another user’s computer does not mean that user can log
on with the other user’s permissions or access anything that only the other user can access. This
simply means the user can use the listed physical computer to log on to his own account from that
The Account Options section of the Account tab enables you to select various
binary (on/off) account options. Yet set some of the options, such as requiring a user
to change the password at the next logon, as you add the account. Some options
listed are unique to the user’s Properties dialog box. The two most important of these
additional options are Account Is Disabled and Account Is Trusted for Delegation.
Account Is Disabled, if selected, disables the user account while leaving it set up
within Active Directory. This option is useful if you need to deny this user account
access to the network, but might need to reenable the account in the future. (Account
Is Disabled is handled as a high-priority change within the domain, and it takes effect
immediately, even across large numbers of domain controllers.) Because deleting an
account also deletes any permissions the user might have, you should always disable
an account instead if you might need to grant access to the network again to that user.
For example, if someone is on vacation, you could disable the user’s account while she
is gone, and then clear the Account Is Disabled checkbox when she returns.
You must select Account Is Trusted for Delegation option if you want to designate
the user account to administer some part of the domain. Windows Server 2008 enables
you to grant administrative rights to portions of the Active Directory tree without
needing to give administrative rights to the entire domain.
The last option on the Account tab of the user Properties dialog box is the expiration
date setting, Account Expires. By default, it is set to Never. If you wish to define an
expiration date, you may do so in the End Of field. When the date indicated is reached,
the account is automatically disabled (but not deleted, so you can reenable it if you
Another tab that you will use often in the user’s Properties dialog box is the Member
Of tab, in which you define the security groups for a user, as shown in Figure 17-8.
Security groups are discussed after the description of deleting or disabling a user account.
Deleting or Disabling a User Account
Deleting a user account is easy using the Active Directory Users and Groups console.
In the left pane, select the Users folder, and then select the user in the right pane. Either
right-click the user and choose Delete or open the Action pull-down menu and choose
Disabling an account is just as easy. Select the user account, right-click it, and
choose Disable Account (or open the Action pull-down menu and choose Disable
Chapter 17:
Figure 17-8.
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Controlling a user’s membership in groups
TIP If you need to delete a large number of accounts, you can save time by selecting them all
before choosing the Delete or Disable Account commands. Just be sure you haven’t selected
accounts that you don’t want to delete or disable!
Working with Active Directory Security Groups
On any network, you usually need to administer permissions to many different folders
and files. If you were able to grant access only by user account, you would quickly go
crazy trying to keep track of all the necessary information.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
For example, suppose that a group of people, such as an accounting department, has
specific permissions to access 20 different folders on the server. When a new accountant
is hired, do you need to remember or look up all those 20 folders so you can give the
accountant the same permissions as the rest of the department? Or suppose that a user
who has many different permissions changes departments. Do you need to find each
permission so you can make sure he has only the appropriate permissions for his new
To address such problems, network operating systems support the concept of
security groups (or just groups). You first create the group, and then assign all the
appropriate users to it so you can administer their permissions more easily. When
you grant permission to a folder on the server, you do so by giving the group the
network permission. All the members of the group automatically inherit those
permissions. This inheritance makes maintaining network permissions over time
much easier. In fact, you shouldn’t try to manage network permissions without
using groups. Otherwise, you might quickly become overwhelmed trying to keep
track of everything, and you’re almost certain to make mistakes over time.
Not only can users be members of groups, but groups can be members of other
groups. For instance, suppose that you define a group for each department in your
company. Half those departments are part of a larger division called Research and
Development (R&D) and half are part of Sales, General, and Administration (SG&A).
On your network, some folders are specific to each department, some are specific to
all of R&D or SG&A, and some can be accessed by every user on the network. In such
a situation, you would first create the departmental groups, and then create the R&D
and SG&A groups. Each departmental group would then become a member in either
R&D or SG&A. Finally, you would use the built-in Domain Users group, or another one
you created that represents everyone, and then assign R&D and SG&A to that top-level
group for every user.
Once you’ve set up your groups, you can grant permissions in the most logical way.
If a resource is just for a specific department, you assign that departmental group to the
resource. If a resource is for R&D or SG&A, you assign those divisions to the resource;
then all the individual departmental groups within that division will inherit permission
to access the resource. If a resource is for everyone, you assign the master, top-level
group to the resource.
Using such hierarchical group levels makes administering permissions even easier,
and this approach is practically necessary for larger networks with hundreds of users.
Creating Groups
You create groups using the Active Directory Users and Computers console. Groups
appear in two of the domain’s containers: Builtin and Users.
The built-in groups, shown in Figure 17-9, are fixed. They cannot be deleted or made
members of other groups. The built-in groups have certain important permissions already
assigned to them, and other groups you create can be given membership in the built-in
groups. Similarly, if you want to disable a particular built-in group, you would do so
simply by removing all its member groups.
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Figure 17-9. Viewing the list of built-in groups
CAUTION Be careful changing the membership of the built-in groups. For most networks, while
it’s important to understand what these groups are and how they work, you generally want to leave
them alone.
Generally, you work only with groups defined in the Users container. Figure 17-10
shows the default groups in the Users container, which you can distinguish from user
accounts by both the two-person icon and the type designation.
To add a new group, select the Users container in the left pane. Then open the
Action pull-down menu, choose New, and choose Group. You see the New Object –
Group dialog box, as shown in Figure 17-10. Enter the name of the group in the first
field. You’ll see the name you enter echoed in the second field. This field enables you
to specify a different group name for Windows NT (pre-Windows 2000) computers.
However, using different group names is usually not a good idea, because it can
quickly make your system confusing.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 17-10.
Creating a new group
After naming the group, you can select from the available option buttons in the
lower half of the dialog box. The Group Scope section refers to how widely the group is
populated throughout a domain:
Domain local groups exist only within a single domain and can contain
members only from that domain.
Global groups can contain members only from the domain in which they exist.
However, you can assign global group permissions to any domain within the
network, even across multiple domains.
Universal groups exist throughout an organization, even when the
organization’s network is made up of many individual domains. Universal
groups can also contain members from any domain in an organization’s
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
TIP Don’t worry if you create a group with the wrong scope. You can easily change the group’s
scope, provided its membership doesn’t violate the new scope’s rules for membership. To change
a domain scope, select the group and open its Properties dialog box (right-click and then choose
Properties from the pop-up menu). If the group membership allows the change, you can select a
different Group Scope option button.
After you set the group’s scope, you can also select whether it will be a security
group or a distribution group. Distribution groups are used only to maintain e-mail
distribution lists for e-mail applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server. They have
no security impact in Windows Server 2008.
Finally, click OK to create the group. Now you can add members to the group, as
described in the next section.
Maintaining Group Membership
A new group starts out without any members. To set the membership for a group,
follow these steps:
1. Select the group and open its Properties dialog box (by right-clicking it and
choosing Properties from the pop-up menu). Then click the Members tab, as
shown in Figure 17-11.
Figure 17-11. A brand-new group does not have any members.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 17-12. Adding a member to a group
2. Click the Add button. You see the Select Users, Contacts, Computers, or
Groups dialog box, as shown in Figure 17-12.
3. Type in enough of a user or another group’s name to identify it, and then click
the Check Names button. If you type in too few characters to uniquely identify
the user or group, Windows will show you a list of the possible matches from
which you can select the correct one.
4. Choose the member you want to add, and then click OK.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to complete the group membership.
Working with Shares
Drives and folders under Windows Server 2008 are made available to users over the
network as shared resources, simply called shares in Windows networking parlance. You
select a drive or folder, enable it to be shared, and then set the permissions for the share.
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Understanding Share Security
You can set both drives and folders as distinct shared resources, whether they are
located on a FAT-formatted drive or on an NTFS-formatted drive. In the case of an
NTFS-formatted drive (but not a FAT-formatted drive), you can also set permissions on
folders and files within the share that are separate from the permissions on the share
itself. Understanding how Windows Server 2008 handles security for shares, folders,
and files on NTFS drives is important.
Suppose that you created a share called RESEARCH and you gave the R&D security
group read-only access to the share. Within the share, you set the permissions on a
folder called PROJECTS to allow full read and write access (called change permission) for
the R&D security group. Will the R&D group have read-only permission to that folder
or change permission? The group will have read-only permission. This is because when
security permissions differ between folders within a share and the share itself, the most
restrictive permissions apply.
A better way to set up share permissions is to allow everyone change permission to
the share and then control the actual permissions by setting them on the folders within the
share itself. This way, you can assign any combination of permissions you want; then the
users will receive the permissions that you set on those folders, even though the share is
set to change permission.
Also, remember that users receive permissions based on the groups of which they
are members, and these permissions are cumulative. So, if you are a member of the
Everyone group who has read-only permission for a particular file, but you’re also a
member of the Admins group who has full control permission for that file, you’ll have
full control permission in practice. This is an important rule: Permissions set on folders
and files are always cumulative and take into account permissions set for the user
individually as well as any security groups of which the user is a member.
Another important point is that you can set permissions within a share (sometimes
called NTFS permissions) on both folders and files, and these permissions are also
cumulative. So, for instance, you can set read-only permission on a folder for a user,
but change permission for some specific files. The user then has the ability to read,
modify, and even delete those files without having that ability with other files in the
same folder.
There’s a special permission called no access, which overrides all other permissions,
no matter what. If you set no access permission for a user on a file or folder, then that’s
it—the user will not be able to access that file or folder. An extremely important corollary
to this rule is that no access permission is also cumulative and overriding. So, if the
Everyone security group has change permission for a file, but you set a particular user
to no access for that file, that user will receive no access permission. If you set no access
permission for the Everyone group, however, then all members of that group will also
receive the no access permission, because it overrides any other permissions they have.
Be careful about using no access with security groups!
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
To summarize, you can resolve most permission problems if you remember the
rules discussed here:
When share permissions conflict compared to the file or folder permissions, the
most restrictive one always wins.
Aside from the preceding rule, permissions are cumulative, taking into account
permissions assigned to users and groups as well as files and folders.
When a permission conflict occurs, the no access permission always wins if
it is set.
Creating Shares
As a network administrator, you will frequently create and manage the shares on the
network. The following steps walk you through creating a new share.
1. Open either My Computer or Windows Explorer on the server.
2. Right-click the folder or drive you want to share, and then choose Share from the
pop-up menu. You will see the File Sharing dialog box, as shown in Figure 17-13.
3. In the field provided, enter enough of a user’s name to identify that person in
the system, and then click Add.
4. Click the down arrow next to the user’s name to set that user’s permission
level. The permission levels available are Owner, for full read and write access,
plus the ability to grant permissions to other users; Contributor, for full read
and write access; and Reader, for read-only access.
5. Click the Share button to create the share. You will see a confirmatory dialog
box. Click OK, and the share will be created. By default, the share uses the
folder’s name as the share name.
Figure 17-13.
Creating a share
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Once a share is created and the share information has propagated through the domain
(usually within several minutes), users can browse it through Network Neighborhood
(Windows 9x and NT), My Network Places (Windows 2000 and XP), or Network
(Windows Vista). Double-clicking the share will open it (if allowed by the permissions).
Mapping Drives
You can use shares by opening them through Network Neighborhood, My Network
Places, or Network, and they function just like the folders in My Computer. However,
you might frequently want to simulate a connected hard disk on your computer with a
share from the network. For example, many applications that store files on the network
require that the network folders be accessible as normal drive letters. The process
of simulating a disk drive with a network share is called mapping. You create a map
(link) between the drive letter you want to use and the actual network share to remain
attached to that drive letter.
You can create a drive mapping in many ways. The easiest way is to open Network
from the client computer, locate the share you want to map, right-click it, and choose
Map Network Drive. In the dialog box that appears, the name of the domain and
share will already be filled in for you. Simply select an appropriate drive letter for the
mapping and click OK. From then on, the share will appear to your computer as that
drive letter, and users will see this share’s letter in My Computer.
You can also map drives using a command-line utility called NET. The NET
command takes a variety of forms and can fulfill many different needs, depending on
the parameters you give it. To map a drive, you use the NET USE command. Typing
NET USE by itself and pressing ENTER will list all currently mapped drives. (You can
type NET HELP USE for more detailed help on the command.) To add a new drive
mapping, you would type the following:
NET USE drive_letter: UNC_for_share
Most network resources in a Windows network use a naming system called
the Universal Naming Convention (UNC). To supply a UNC, you start with two
backslashes, then the name of the server, another backslash, and the name of the share.
(Additional backslashes and names can refer to folders and files within the share.) For
example, to map drive G: to a share called EMPLOYEES located on the server SERVER,
use the following command:
TIP You can use the NET command from any Windows client for any Windows network. Type
NET by itself to list all of the different forms of the command. Type NET command HELP to see
detailed help on the different NET commands.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Working with Printers
Before setting up and working with printers on a network, you need to understand the
components involved in network printing and how they interact.
Understanding Network Printing
A print job is a set of binary data sent from a network workstation to a network
printer. A print job is the same data that a computer would send to a locally connected
printer—it’s just redirected to the network for printing.
The network workstation that sends the print job to the print queue is responsible
for formatting the print data properly for the printer. This is done through software
installed on the workstation, called a print driver, which is specific to each type of
printer. Printer drivers are also specific to each operating system that uses them. In
other words, an HP LaserJet 5si driver for a Windows XP computer is different from a
HP LaserJet 5si driver for a Windows 2000 workstation computer. More troublesome,
different versions of the same operating system sometimes use different drivers, so a
driver for a Windows XP computer might not work with a Windows Vista computer
and vice versa.
Print jobs are often sent to the network through a captured printer port. The
network client software redirects to the network one of the printer ports on a
networked workstation, such as LPT1. The process of redirecting a printer port to a
network printer is called capturing. Usually, captured ports are persistent and continue
through multiple logins until they are turned off.
Print jobs sent to the network go to a place called a print queue. The print job sits in
the queue until the network can service the print job and send it to the printer. Print
queues can hold many jobs from many different users and typically are managed in a
first-in, first-out fashion.
Print jobs are removed from print queues and sent to actual printers by print servers.
After sending the complete job to the printer, the print server removes the job from the
queue. You can accomplish print serving in many different ways. If the printer you are
using is connected to a server or workstation on the network, that server or workstation
handles the print server duty. If the printer is directly connected to the network (if it
has its own network port), then the printer usually has a built-in print server as part
of its network hardware. This built-in print server has the intelligence to log in to the
network and to service a particular printer queue.
Print jobs start at the printing application, which sends its printer output to the
local operating system. The local operating system uses the printer driver requested
by the application to format the actual print job for the printer in question. The
local operating system works with the installed network client software to send the
formatted print job to the print queue, where the job sits until the printer is available.
Then the print server sends the print job from the queue to the actual printer.
Many steps are involved, but once everything is set up, it works smoothly, as you
will see in the next section. Figure 17-14 shows an overview of how network printing
Chapter 17:
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
and OS send
print job to
printer port
on computer
printer port
(i.e., LPT1)
Figure 17-14.
Print job never
arrives at
printer port;
instead it is
redirected to
the network
Voila! Print job
emerges from
Print job arrives
at server and is
placed into a
queue, where it
waits to be
Print server
sends print job
to printer
queue on
print server
Print server
takes print job
out of queue
Print server
Overview of the network printing process
Setting Up a Network Printer
You can easily set up a printer connected to a server (or workstation) so other network
users can access it. However, for networks with more than about 20 users, you’re better
off either buying printers with network interfaces and built-in print servers or using
dedicated print server boxes that interface between a printer and the network. For most
laser printers, adding a dedicated network interface and server increases the cost of the
printer by about $150 to $300. This is money well spent, because sending a print job to a
printer requires the print server to do a lot of processing. If that print server is also your
main file server, its overall performance will decrease significantly while it is printing
(and particularly while it services large print jobs).
Also, printers with built-in print servers are far easier to relocate on the network.
They can go anywhere a network connection exists and where power is available. Once
connected to the network at a new location, the printer logs in to the network and starts
doing its work immediately.
If you want to share a printer connected directly to a Windows Server 2008 server,
this is easy to do. First, open the server’s Printers folder (from the Start menu, choose
Control Panel, and then choose Printers), which lists all the installed printers. Rightclick the one you want to share and choose Sharing from the pop-up menu. The
Properties dialog box for the printer will appear, with the Sharing tab activated, as
shown in Figure 17-15.
NOTE In this example, the printer and its Windows 2000 driver are already installed properly, as they
would normally be during the installation of Windows Server 2008. If they are not properly installed,
open the Printers folder and use the Add Printers icon to set up the printer on the server itself.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 17-15.
Enabling printer sharing
On the Sharing tab, click the Share This Printer checkbox, and then assign the
printer a share name, by which the client computers will recognize the printer. At this
point, you can click the OK button because the default permissions for a shared printer
are for the Everyone group to be able to print to it. Alternatively, if you want to set
other permissions for a shared printer, use the Security tab of the printer’s Properties
dialog box.
The groups assigned in the Security tab are the default assignments for a shared
printer, with the Administrators permissions shown. Three main permissions are
assigned to each entity: Print, Manage Printers, and Manage Documents. The Everyone
group has permission to print, but not to manage documents in the queue. However, a
special group called Creator Owner has permission to manage documents. This means
that the user who sent the print job automatically has permission to modify or delete
his own print job, but not others waiting in the queue.
Chapter 17:
Figure 17-16.
Administering Windows Server 2008: The Basics
Enabling printer pooling
For high-throughput requirements, you might want to use a feature called printer
pooling, which enables you to set up a number of identical printers, all connected to a
single printer queue, that appear to the network as one printer. Users print to the listed
printer, and the first available real printer services the job. Using printer pooling, you
could have a whole bank of printers appear as one printer to the users and dramatically
increase the number of print requests you can handle. Keep in mind that pooled
printers must be identical, because they will all use the same print driver. Figure 17-16
shows the tab on which printer pooling is enabled.
As you can see, setting up networked printers with Windows Server 2008 is a
relatively straightforward process that gives you considerable flexibility in how you
set up and manage your shared printers. Remember, too, that other printing models
are also possible, such as network-connected printers. Consult the documentation that
comes with such printers for details on setting them up on your network.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Chapter Summary
No single chapter can do justice to all the tools and knowledge needed to administer
a Windows Server 2008 professionally. This chapter briefly covered how the most
common and important tasks are handled. If you are or will be administering a
Windows Server 2008 system, you should pursue more detailed knowledge about the
topics discussed in this chapter and the many other subjects you will need to master.
In particular, start out by researching and learning about these important tools:
Reliability and Performance Monitor for troubleshooting, performance
tuning, and ongoing monitoring of important server statistics. Reliability and
Performance Monitor can be configured to take certain actions when triggers
that you set occur, such as beeping you or sending alert messages to other
computers on the network. It is also an extremely useful tool for resolving any
performance problems you encounter.
Event Viewer is key to your ability to find and diagnose Windows Server 2008
problems. You should use Event Viewer on a regular basis (I recommend using
it daily) to view new events and decide whether they need your immediate
attention. You can use Event Viewer to save the event logs periodically, creating
a long-term record of error and informational messages stored in its logs.
Task Scheduler can be used to schedule recurring tasks you want to run
frequently on your server, such as virus scans (with third-party virus software),
disk defragmentation, and disk testing.
These are some of the core tools you should learn for basic Windows Server 2008
administration. In Chapter 19, you can also read about some other network services
that are available on Windows Server 2008.
Chapter 18
Introducing Exchange
Server 2010
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
icrosoft offers a number of specialized server systems, including the widely
used Exchange Server application. Exchange Server is Microsoft’s e-mail
solution, and it is designed to be able to handle virtually any organization’s
e-mail needs.
This chapter introduces Exchange Server. You learn how to install it, perform
basic configuration tasks, and access a mailbox using Exchange Server’s Web Outlook
Exchange Server 2010 Features
Exchange Server is a comprehensive e-mail solution for organizations of all sizes, from
small companies to large multinational conglomerates. It is highly reliable and scalable,
and has been in very wide use for many years. Some of Exchange Server’s features
include the following:
Numerous access methods for users to get to their e-mail, including from an
e-mail client application such as Microsoft Outlook, a mobile device (like the
BlackBerry or iPhone), a web browser, and even a voice-response system
Unified Messaging, in which not only e-mail messages are delivered to users
inboxes, but also voicemail messages and faxes
Support for collaborative features such as calendaring, shared resource
scheduling (such as conference rooms or equipment), meeting scheduling, and
out-of-office notifications
Support for user-defined rules that allow for the automation of routine e-mail
TIP Automating e-mail tasks can be very useful. For instance, you could set up an human
resources department mailbox to which employment applicants send their resumes, and on receipt
of each resume, the server responds to the sender with an immediate acknowledgment. It might
also forward the resumes to appropriate personnel automatically.
Close integration with Active Directory, which means that you can maintain
user accounts, and their associated mailboxes, in one centralized place
Some antispam and antivirus technologies, and easy addition of third-party
add-on software for these tasks
Chapter 18:
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Whether you need a basic internal e-mail system for a small organization or a
sophisticated, powerful system to handle a company of hundreds of thousands of
users, Exchange Server can meet those needs.
Installing Exchange Server 2010
If you are just learning about Exchange Server 2010 or evaluating it, you can download
a fully functional copy from Microsoft that will operate for 120 days. Before installing
it, however, review the following prerequisites:
Windows Server 2008 (64-bit) Standard Edition or higher
An Active Directory domain
At least 2GB of RAM, plus recommended 2MB to 4MB of additional RAM per
At least 1.2GB free disk space on the installation partition
200MB free space on the system partition
For Unified Messaging features, 500MB free disk space for each Unified
Messaging language pack
All disk partitions formatted with NTFS
There are a number of other detailed requirements, but the Exchange Server
installer will survey your system and will notify you of any additional requirements
you must meet.
NOTE This chapter was prepared with a late-stage beta version of Exchange Server 2010. It is
possible that there may be minor differences between the screens and steps presented here and
the final released version.
For this example installation, you can use the Windows Server 2008 installation that
was discussed in Chapter 16. Before you begin, you should run Windows Update to
ensure that you have all current system patches.
When you first start the Exchange Server installation program (see Figure 18-1), the
installer will indicate any of the major prerequisites that may not yet be present on the
.NET Framework 3.5
Windows Remote Management 2.0
Windows PowerShell version 2
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-1. Beginning the installation of Exchange Server
You can use the links provided for Steps 1 to 3 to install any of these missing
components. Once each of these major prerequisites are installed, the links for Steps 1
to 3 will be unavailable. You can then install Exchange, as follows:
1. Click Step 4, Install Microsoft Exchange, to launch that option. The installer
will initially ask you if you wish to install any additional language files, and
you will then be prompted to accept the license agreement.
2. After you choose whether you want to send error reporting data to Microsoft,
you see the setup screen, as shown in Figure 18-2. For this example, select
Typical Exchange Server Installation.
Chapter 18:
Figure 18-2.
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Choosing the type of installation
NOTE To install the Exchange Management Console on a client computer, choose Custom
Exchange Server Installation, and then choose to install only the Management Console. You can
then administer an Exchange Server from a client computer on your network.
3. You are prompted for the name of your organization, as shown in Figure 18-3.
You can enter a name of up to 64 characters in length.
4. You are asked whether you will be supporting any client computers that use
either Outlook 2003 or Entourage. Outlook 2003 and Entourage require a
public folder database on the Exchange Server. As mentioned in the screen
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-3.
Entering a name for the Exchange organization
shown in Figure 18-4, if you choose No here, you can always add a public
folder database to Exchange Server in the future in order to support these client
5. You are asked whether you wish to join Microsoft’s Customer Experience
Improvement Program (see Figure 18-5). Choosing to do this will send to
Microsoft statistical data about your organization’s use of Exchange Server,
Chapter 18:
Figure 18-4.
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Support for Outlook 2003 or Entourage?
which Microsoft developers will use to help them understand how to best
improve Exchange Server in the future. For this example, choose not to join the
program at this time.
6. The Exchange Server 2010 setup program will perform a number of detailed
checks of the server to ensure that all required software and patches are present
on the system. It is typical for the program to find a number of items that need
to be addressed, as demonstrated in Figure 18-6.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-5. Join the Exchange Customer Experience Program?
7. For each of the missing prerequisites, you can click the Recommended Action
links to address each shortcoming. It may take a bit of time to work through
them all, but it is fundamentally a straightforward process. After you have
installed all of the required components in order for the Exchange Server Setup
program to proceed, it’s a good idea to first run Windows Update to ensure
that you have the latest patches for all the added components, and then restart
the system before proceeding with Exchange Server installation.
Chapter 18:
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Figure 18-6. More prerequisites!
TIP One of the big prerequisites for most Exchange Server installations is Internet Information
Services (IIS), which you will be prompted to add through the Server Manager. A large number
of role services for IIS will also be required. As you progress through the Exchange Server
prerequisites checks, periodically click the Retry button to have the system recheck the
8. Finally, you will see that you’ve completed all of the prerequisite role and
feature installations, as shown in Figure 18-7. Click Install to complete the
installation of Exchange Server.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-7. Finally, ready to install Exchange Server
9. When the installation is complete (which will take around 15 to 30 minutes
depending on the server hardware), you will see the completion screen shown
in Figure 18-8. Make sure that the Finalize Installation Using the Exchange
Management Console checkbox is selected before clicking Finish.
Setting Up Mailboxes
Once you get into the Exchange Management Console, you should first run a process
to gather some information about your organization. To do this, click the second-to-top
node in the Exchange Management Console, called Microsoft Exchange On-Premises.
Chapter 18:
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Figure 18-8. Exchange Server is installed
In the Actions pane, you will see a link called Gather Organizational Information, as
shown in Figure 18-9. Click this link to run the function. Doing so will allow you to see
the default objects that have been created within the Exchange Management Console.
Creating a Mailbox
To create a mailbox in Exchange, follow these steps:
1. In the Exchange Management Console’s left pane, navigate to Recipient Configuration, and then Mailbox. You will see the screen shown in Figure 18-10.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-9. First time in Exchange? Choose to gather organizational information.
2. Click New Mailbox in the Actions pane. This starts the New Mailbox wizard,
as shown in Figure 18-11. As you can see, along with user mailboxes, several
other types of mailboxes can be created. Room and equipment mailboxes are
assigned to a resource, rather than to a user account. They are used to allow
users to easily schedule rooms and equipment when they set up meetings
within Outlook. A linked mailbox is for larger organizations that have multiple
Exchange Servers, and allows users from another Active Directory forest to
establish a local, linked mailbox to their home mailbox.
Chapter 18:
Figure 18-10.
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Mailbox management in Exchange System Manager
3. For this example, ensure that User Mailbox is selected, and then click Next to
continue. You will see the User Type screen, as shown in Figure 18-12. If you
are creating a mailbox for a user account that you’ve already established,
select Existing Users, and then click Add to locate the user account to
which you want the new mailbox attached. Selecting New User will create
the user in Active Directory and also create and attach a mailbox to the
new user account.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-11.
Starting the New Mailbox wizard
4. For this example, select New User and click Next to continue. You now see the
User Information screen, as shown in Figure 18-13. The example shows all the
fields already complete for a test user. Go ahead and fill out the fields for a test
user on your system, and then click Next to continue.
5. You are prompted for specific mailbox settings, as shown in Figure 18-14.
Typically, the default settings are fine (especially for a test system), so go ahead
and click Next to continue.
Chapter 18:
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Figure 18-12. Adding a user mailbox
6. Finally, you will see a confirmation screen. Verify the information shown. If
necessary, you can click Back to return to a screen and make changes. If it all
looks good, click New and then Finish to complete the creation process.
Testing Your Mailbox
To enter the test mailbox that you just created, you’ll use Outlook Web Access (OWA) on
the server itself. Open Internet Explorer, and enter the URL https://local_host_name/owa/.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-13.
Filling in user information for a new user with mailbox
You can use https://localhost/owa/ for testing, but Internet Explorer will likely
complain that the certificate for localhost does not match the machine name. However,
if you tell Internet Explorer to continue, it will work fine.
Figure 18-15 shows the login screen for the test user’s mailbox. Complete the login
fields as appropriate, and then click Log On to, well, log on.
You are next prompted to select your language and time zone. Choose the appropriate
selections for your location (the defaults should be correct), and then click OK to complete
the logon process.
Chapter 18:
Figure 18-14.
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Specifying mailbox settings
You are now in OWA, as shown in Figure 18-16. For a web-based e-mail system,
you’ll find that it’s very complete, and mimics regular Office Outlook to a large degree.
Spend some time exploring OWA. Although local users will typically use Microsoft
Office Outlook to work with the Exchange Server, you’ll find that OWA is an excellent
remote-access solution to allow users to access e-mail, calendar information, and
contacts stored on Exchange Server.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 18-15.
Logging on to Outlook Web Access
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you installed Exchange Server 2010 onto a Windows Server 2008 server
with Active Directory. You also created a user account with an attached mailbox, and
successfully accessed it using OWA. This demonstration showed that installing and
using Exchange Server is not terribly difficult. However, if you will be working with a
Chapter 18:
Introducing Exchange Server 2010
Figure 18-16. You’re in! Outlook Web Access
production system, you will definitely need much more information. One place to start
is Microsoft’s documentation, which you can find at
While there are many applications and services available for Windows Server
2008, the services described in the next chapter are mainstays that are used in virtually
every network. In Chapter 19 you learn about DHCP, DNS, remote access, Internet
Information Services, and Windows Terminal Services, all of which are a part of
Windows Server 2008.
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Chapter 19
Understanding Other
Windows Server
2008 Services
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
ne of the strengths of Windows Server 2008 is that it can perform many
functions and fill many roles. Not only is Windows Server 2008 a powerful
and effective file server and print server, but it’s also extremely capable of
performing many other tasks right out of the box.
Chapters 16 and 17 explained how to set up Windows Server 2008 as a basic file
server and print server, and how to administer Windows Server 2008 on a daily basis.
To get the most out of Windows Server 2008, you need to know what additional services
are available, how they work, and what they do. This chapter introduces some of the
other services that come with Windows Server 2008. You can find detailed instructions
for implementing these services in a book devoted to Windows Server 2008.
Exploring DHCP
If you’ve been involved with computers for long, you probably remember what it was
like to manage TCP/IP addresses manually (and you might still do this now!). You
needed to visit every computer on the network to set its TCP/IP address manually.
You also had to keep track of which computers used which addresses, because you
had a limited number of addresses with which to work. Plus, as you probably know,
when two computers on a network try to use the same TCP/IP address, trouble quickly
follows, and you must spend time sorting out these problems.
As discussed in Chapter 8, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) saves
the day in such situations. A DHCP server is a computer on the network that keeps
track of which TCP/IP addresses are available, and parcels them out to computers and
other devices that boot up and request a TCP/IP address from the server. With a DHCP
server, you don’t need to worry about address conflicts or renumbering the addresses
used on computers if your TCP/IP address range ever changes.
NOTE Because TCP/IP is the default protocol for Windows Server 2008-based networks and
because Windows Server 2008 is designed to operate correctly over a TCP/IP-only network, DHCP
services are installed with Windows Server 2008 by default. However, the DHCP services are not
enabled by default, because you should not set up conflicting DHCP servers on a network.
To use DHCP, you must define a scope and other associated TCP/IP settings that
the servers give to client computers. A scope is simply the range (or ranges) of TCP/IP
addresses that the server is allowed to parcel out.
Among the associated TCP/IP settings that the server distributes are the addresses
for Domain Name System (DNS) or Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) servers
also on the network. When a DHCP server assigns a TCP/IP address to a client computer,
the address is said to be leased, and it remains assigned to that client computer for a set
period of time. Leases are usually configured to last for two to seven days. (The default
setting in Windows Server 2008 is eight days.) During this period, the assigned TCP/IP
address is not given out to a different computer.
Chapter 19:
Understanding Other Windows Server 2008 Services
When a client computer boots up and joins the network, if it is configured to seek a
DHCP server, the client computer does so while initializing its TCP/IP protocol stack.
Any available DHCP servers respond to the client’s request for an address with an
available address from the DHCP server’s address database. The client computer then
uses this address for the duration of its lease.
The administrator can cancel and reassign TCP/IP information as necessary
(usually, this is done after business hours, when the client computers are turned off).
The administrator can then make changes to the DHCP scope information, which is
then communicated to the clients when they reconnect to the network. In this way, you
can easily make changes to information such as DNS server addresses or even TCP/IP
address ranges without needing to visit all the computers.
Although DHCP is a great tool for managing TCP/IP addresses, you should use
it only for client computers that do not host any TCP/IP services provided to other
computers. For example, you would not want to set up a web server to use DHCP to
get a dynamic TCP/IP address, because client computers wishing to connect to the
web server would not be able to find the address when it changed. Instead, you should
assign fixed addresses to computers that offer TCP/IP-enabled services either to the
local network or through the Internet. You can assign these addresses in one of two
You can simply assign those computers fixed TCP/IP addresses locally and
then set up exclusion ranges to the scope that the DHCP server manages, which
prevents the DHCP server from using or offering those addresses to other
You can set up a reservation on the DHCP server, which forces the server always
to assign the reserved address to a specific computer.
TIP It’s a good idea to use static IP addresses for your network printers. Doing so makes
troubleshooting printer connectivity problems easier.
Investigating DNS
As discussed in Chapter 8, DNS is a technology that allows easily remembered names
to be mapped to TCP/IP addresses and ports. For instance, when you use a web
browser and enter the address, you are using a DNS server
to resolve the domain name to a particular TCP/IP address. Your
web browser transparently uses the TCP/IP address to communicate with the server
in question. The DNS system makes the Internet much easier to use than it otherwise
would be. (Imagine how excited advertisers would be to say, “Visit our web site at!”)
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Windows Server 2008 includes a full DNS server. In fact, a DNS server is required
for Active Directory to function. If you install the first Active Directory server into a
Windows Server 2008 domain, DNS services are automatically installed at the same
time; otherwise, you must select them manually to add them.
A Windows Server 2008 running DNS services can manage your own domains and
subdomains, and you can also set up multiple DNS servers that each manage a portion
of the domain namespace. Of course, on small networks, it is possible—and probably
desirable because of cost issues—to use only a single DNS server.
You manage the DNS services with the DNS Microsoft Management Console
(MMC) plug-in, which you access by opening the Start menu and choosing Programs,
Administrative Tools, then DNS. Figure 19-1 shows the DNS Manager window.
When you set up DNS for an organization, you first establish a root namespace
(a virtual location in which domain names are stored), usually using the domain name
you have registered for the Internet, such as You can then create your own
subdomains by prepending organizational or geographic units, such as
Each DNS server is responsible for storing all the DNS names used for its managed
namespace and for communicating any changes to other DNS servers. When you use
multiple DNS servers to manage separate portions of your DNS namespace, each
Figure 19-1. Use the DNS Manager to manage DNS services.
Chapter 19:
Understanding Other Windows Server 2008 Services
DNS server manages a zone. Updates between different zones are called zone transfers.
Windows Server 2008 DNS services support both full and incremental zone transfers.
(Incremental zone transfers exchange only updated information, which cuts down on
network traffic considerably on networks with large DNS namespaces.)
Because DNS is integral to Active Directory, it’s important for you to establish
redundancy for your DNS servers. Microsoft recommends that each domain controller
also act as a DNS server, and you must have at least one primary and secondary DNS
server for each managed zone.
Understanding RRAS
Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS, pronounced “ar-razz”) is a remote access
technology. It includes routing capabilities that enable connections to the network over
a public network, such as the Internet, using virtual private network (VPN) technology
(discussed in Chapter 10). A VPN works by setting up a secure “tunnel” between a
client and the RRAS server through which encrypted packets pass. The client computer
dials up its normal Internet service provider (ISP), and then forms a secure VPN
connection to the RRAS server over the Internet.
Remote access services under Windows Server 2008 are secure and offer considerable
flexibility, so you can set them up to meet the requirements of your organization.
To administer RRAS, open the Start menu and choose Programs, Administrative
Tools, then Routing and Remote Access to access the MMC plug-in. After the plug-in
starts, right-click the server on which you want to enable remote access, and then choose
Configure and Enable Routing and Remote Access. A wizard guides you through the
process and enables you to choose whether to enable only remote access, only routing/
remote access, or both. Figure 19-2 shows the Routing and Remote Access MMC plug-in
once RRAS has been enabled.
First, you must enable a user to access the network remotely, which you can do by
editing the user’s Properties dialog box (setting user properties is discussed in Chapter 17).
Then you can configure RRAS to use a number of control features that enable you to keep
remote access secure, including the following:
Set times and days when remote access is operational.
Set times and days when specific users or groups can use remote access.
Limit access to only the RRAS server or to specific services on the network.
Use callback features, where a remote client dials into the network and logs
in. The network then disconnects the connection and dials the user back at a
predefined phone number.
Set access policies based on a remote client computer name or TCP/IP address.
Through the use of RRAS, you can easily set up Windows Server 2008 to provide
important secure access services to remote users, both over dial-up connections and
through the Internet.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 19-2. Use the Routing and Remote Access MMC plug-in to administer remote access.
Exploring IIS
Windows Server 2008 includes a set of Internet services that run as part of Internet
Information Services (IIS). These include the following services:
Web IIS web services provide comprehensive web-hosting software. You can
define multiple web sites with IIS, each one administered separately. For each
site, you specify the directory in which the site’s files can be found, as well
as security settings for the site and performance parameters to optimize the
performance of the web site.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) IIS FTP services enable you to set up an FTP
site on a Windows Server 2008 computer. You define the FTP directory, as well
as whether directory listings will be shown in UNIX or MS-DOS style formats.
You can also set security settings to allow or disallow different client computers
or client networks access to the FTP server, and specify whether you will
permit anonymous FTP logins.
Chapter 19:
Understanding Other Windows Server 2008 Services
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) The NNTP server in IIS enables
you to set up your own Usenet-style site using the NNTP protocol. Clients can
connect to your NNTP server using tools such as Outlook Express or other
Usenet news readers.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) The SMTP server allows SMTP
connections to be formed between the system running IIS and remote SMTP
mail systems. SMTP is the standard protocol for exchanging e-mail over the
Each of these services can be started or stopped independently.
IIS is administered through the Internet Services Manager program found in the
Administrative Tools program group. Figure 19-3 shows the Internet Information
Services (IIS) Manager window.
Figure 19-3. The Internet Information Services Manager provides a single place to administer
Internet services.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Understanding Windows Terminal Services
Windows Terminal Services is possibly one of the most powerful services discussed in
this chapter. Using Terminal Services, you can set up a Windows Server 2008 almost as
if it were a mainframe—where terminals can connect and all the work is performed on
the central computer, which in this case would be a Windows Server 2008 computer.
A client computer connects to a terminal server using a TCP/IP connection—over
a dial-up or a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) connection—and
logs in. From then on, the client computer is responsible only for displaying screens
and accepting keyboard and mouse input—all of the work is actually being done on
the terminal server through the creation of a virtual Windows machine on the server. A
terminal server can create many virtual Windows machines, each one carrying out its
own tasks and running its own programs.
When would you use a Terminal Services connection to a network instead of a
remote node connection, such as the remote node connections offered via RRAS? The
answer depends on a number of factors, including the following:
Inadequate resources The remote computer doesn’t have adequate resources
to run some application or perform some task. By running its programs on
the terminal server, the remote computer can take advantage of the terminal
server’s resources. For example, suppose that a particular application runs
optimally only when it has 8GB of RAM with which to work. A Windows XP
client with 1GB of RAM could connect to the terminal server (which has, say,
12GB of RAM) and run the application in question. Similarly, some applications
might require many processors or direct access to large disk arrays or to some
other centrally located resource to which the terminal server has access.
Low-bandwidth connections Over low-bandwidth connections, such as
33.6 Kbps modem connections, some applications work far more effectively
using a remote control approach rather than a remote node approach (these
approaches are explained in Chapter 10). Most remote access connections are
low bandwidth, yet some applications need high bandwidth to work properly.
Because a remote computer connected to a terminal server just needs to
transfer display and input information, the application running on the terminal
server can run much faster than it could over a remote node connection.
Demanding applications Some applications and tasks, such as administration
of a Windows Server 2008, cannot be fully performed by another computer,
even if it has a connection running at LAN speeds. Terminal Services allows a
remote computer to run such applications if the computer has the appropriate
permissions. For instance, suppose that your company has a remote network
located somewhere in Asia, but the network is not large enough to justify a local
administrator. Using Terminal Services, you could connect to that network over
the company WAN and perform the necessary administrative tasks, such as
configuring hard disks, shares, additional network protocols, and so forth.
Chapter 19:
Understanding Other Windows Server 2008 Services
Certain applications might require that you use Terminal Services. However, in any
case, you might want to consider Terminal Services as an adjunct to your remote access
services. If you have many remote users to support, you might find that some users
have needs best served by remote node connections and some have needs best served
by remote control connections. Running both services on your network will give you
considerable flexibility in supporting remote users and solving any problems that they
might encounter.
CAUTION If you implement Terminal Services, make sure that you carefully review Microsoft’s
license agreement and pricing models, which differ when you use Terminal Services.
Chapter Summary
The Windows family of servers, including Windows Server 2008, is perhaps the richest
network operating system environment available today. While other products can
perform all the tasks described in this chapter, none include all these capabilities out of
the box; add-on purchases are required. Because of the richness with which Windows
Server 2008 is packaged, you can more easily put together a server to meet nearly any
need you may have. And because the various Windows Server 2008 services work so
well together, you can easily implement nearly all these advanced services on just a
single server!
This out-of-the-box flexibility and ease of administration are two of the reasons
the Windows family of network operating systems has gained a leading share of the
market, and why it’s a safe bet Windows Server 2008 will continue this trend.
Although Windows servers probably run most servers in most companies, another
popular choice is servers that run Linux. In the following three chapters you learn
about installing and administering Fedora Linux, as well as installing an Apache web
server under a Fedora Linux installation.
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Chapter 20
Installing Linux
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
key component of Linux’s success has been the remarkable improvement in
installation tools. What once was a mildly frightening process many years back
has now become almost trivial.
Most default configurations in which Linux is installed are already capable of
creating a server. This is, unfortunately, due to a slightly naïve design decision: A server
serves everything, ranging from disk services to mail. Often, all of these services are
turned on from the start (depending on the distribution you are using and whether it
was installed as a workstation or a server). As you know, most servers are dedicated to
performing one or two tasks, and any other installed services simply take up memory
and slow performance.
This chapter discusses the installation process of Fedora Linux as it pertains to
servers. This process has two objectives: to differentiate servers from client workstations
and to streamline a server’s operation based on its dedicated purpose.
You may be wondering why of all of the available Linux distributions, I chose to
focus on Fedora. The answer is simple: Fedora is both popular and technically sound.
It is friendly to a lot of different types of users and serves many uses. (That the entire
distribution is available free from the Internet is also a plus!) As you become more
experienced with Linux, you might find other distributions interesting and should look
into them. After all, one of the war cries of Linux users everywhere is that freedom of
choice is crucial. You should never feel locked into a proprietary system.
Configuring Computer Hardware for Linux
Before you get into the actual installation phase, you need to consider the hardware
on which the system will run and how the server will best configured to provide the
services you need from it. Let’s start by examining hardware issues.
Hardware Compatibility
As with any operating system, determining which hardware configurations work before
starting an installation process is prudent. Each commercial vendor publishes a list of
compatible hardware and makes that list available on its web site. Be sure you obtain
the latest versions of these lists so you are confident that the vendor fully supports the
hardware you are using. In general, most popular Intel-based configurations work
without difficulty. Red Hat’s certified hardware compatibility list is at http://bugzilla For Novell’s SUSE Linux. you can search compatibility at http://
TIP Some computer manufacturers sell computers with Linux preloaded on them. When you
purchase a computer like this, you can usually be confident that the computer manufacturer
has ensured that the hardware is fully compatible with the installed Linux version, and that the
appropriate Linux drivers are loaded and work properly.
Chapter 20:
Installing Linux
Because Fedora is a fast-moving distribution, and because development is occurring
at a breakneck pace, there is no hardware list available for Fedora Linux. However, you
can read more about hardware compatibility with Fedora at
wiki/HCL. Note also that, generally speaking, hardware that works with Red Hat Linux
will typically work with Fedora.
A general suggestion that applies to all operating systems is to avoid bleedingedge hardware and software configurations. Although these appear impressive, they
have not undergone the maturing process that some of the slightly older hardware has
experienced. For servers, the temptation to use a bleeding-edge configuration usually
isn’t an issue because a server has no need for the latest and greatest toys, such as
fancy video cards. After all, the main goal is to provide a highly available server for the
network’s users, not to play the latest games.
Server Design
When a system becomes a server, its stability, availability, and performance are
significant issues. These three issues are usually addressed through the purchase
of more hardware, which is unfortunate. Paying thousands of dollars extra to get a
system capable of achieving all three objectives when the desired level of performance
could have been attained from existing hardware with a little tuning is a waste. With
Linux, achieving these objectives without overspending is not hard. Even better, the
gains are outstanding!
The most significant design decision that you must make when managing a server
configuration is not technical, but administrative. You should design a server not to be
friendly to casual users. This means without any cute multimedia tools, sound card
support, or fancy web browsers (when possible). In fact, your organization should
make a rule that casual use of a server is strictly prohibited. This rule should apply not
only to site users, but to site administrators as well.
Another important aspect of designing a server is making sure that it has a good
environment. As a systems administrator, you must ensure the physical safety of
your servers by keeping them in a separate, physically secure room. The only access
to the servers for nonadministrative personnel should be through the network. The
server room itself should be well ventilated, cool, and locked. Failing to ensure such
a physical environment is an accident waiting to happen. Systems that overheat and
helpful users who “think” they know how to fix problems can be as great a danger
(arguably an even greater danger) to server stability as bad software. Moreover, Linux
is particularly vulnerable to hacking at its command prompt.
Once the system is well secured behind locked doors, installing battery backup
is also crucial. This backup serves two key purposes. The first purpose is to keep the
system running during a power failure so that it can gracefully shut down, thereby
avoiding the loss of any files. The second is to ensure that voltage spikes, drops, and
various noises don’t interfere with the health of your system.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
To improve your server situation, you can take the following specific actions:
Take advantage of the fact that the graphical user interface (GUI) is uncoupled
from the core operating system and avoid starting X Window System unless
someone needs to sit on the console and run an application. After all, X Window
System, like any other application, requires memory and CPU time to work, both
of which are better off going to the server processes instead.
Determine which functions you want the server to perform and disable all
other functions. Not only are unused functions a waste of memory and CPU
time, but they are also just another security issue that you need to address.
Linux, unlike some other operating systems, enables you to choose the features
that you want in the kernel. The default kernel you get is already reasonably well
tuned, so you shouldn’t need to adjust it. If you do need to change a feature or
upgrade a kernel, though, be picky about what you add and what you leave out.
Make sure that you need a feature before including it.
Server Uptime
All this chatter about taking care of servers and making sure that silly things don’t
cause them to crash stems from a longstanding UNIX philosophy: Uptime is good. More
uptime is better.
The uptime command tells the user how long the system has been running since
its last boot, how many users are currently logged in, and how much load the system
is experiencing. The latter two statistics are useful measures necessary for daily
system health and long-term planning. For example, if server load has been staying
consistently high, you should consider a more capable server.
But the all-important number is how long the server has been running since its
last reboot. Long uptimes are a sign of proper care, maintenance, and, from a practical
standpoint, system stability. You often find UNIX administrators boasting about their
server’s uptimes the way you hear car buffs boast about horsepower. This focus on
uptime is also why you hear UNIX administrators cursing at Windows installations
that require a reboot for every little change. In contrast, you’ll be hard-pressed to find
any changes to a UNIX system that require a reboot in order to take effect.
Dual-Booting Issues
If you are new to Linux, you might not be ready to commit the use of a complete
system for the sake of “test driving.” Because the people who built Linux understand
that we live in a heterogeneous world, all distributions of Linux have been designed
so that they can be installed on separate partitions of your hard disk, while leaving
other partitions alone. Typically, this means that Microsoft Windows can coexist on
a computer that also can run Linux. Additionally, many Linux distributions can be
Chapter 20:
Installing Linux
run from a bootable “live” CD-ROM, which lets you run a fully functional build of
the Linux distribution, without affecting your computer’s existing installed operating
system. If you like the Linux distribution, there is usually a simple procedure you can
run from within the live CD environment to install that distribution to the hard disk.
Because the focus of this chapter is server installations, this section will not cover
the details of building a dual-boot system. Anyone with a little experience in creating
partitions on a disk should be able to figure out how to build such a system. If you
are having difficulty, you can refer to the installation guide that came with your
distribution or one of the many beginners’ guides to Linux.
To repartition a system that has already had Windows installed on it, without needing
to reformat the disk and rebuild from scratch, you can use a commercial software program
such as Norton’s PartitionMagic.
Installing Fedora Linux
This section describes how to install Fedora Linux (version 10) on a stand-alone system.
The section takes a liberal approach to the process, installing all the tools possibly
relevant to server operations.
Before you begin the actual installation procedure, you need to decide how you will
run the installation program.
Choosing an Installation Method
With the improved connectivity and speed of both local area networks and Internet
connections, an increasingly popular option is to perform installations over the network,
rather than using a local CD-ROM. Network installations can be a great convenience
when installing a large number of hosts.
TIP In UNIX (or Linux) parlance, a host is any computer on a network, regardless of whether the
computer is functioning as a server or as a workstation.
Typically, server installations aren’t well suited to being automated, because
each server usually has a unique task and thus a slightly different configuration. For
example, a server dedicated to handling logging information sent to it over the network
will have especially large partitions set up for the appropriate logging directories. This
is in contrast to a file server that performs no logging of its own.
Because servers are not usually set up using a “one-size-fits-all” approach, the focus
in this section is exclusively on the technique for installing a system from a CD-ROM.
After you have gone through the installation process from a CD-ROM once, you will
find performing the network-based installations straightforward.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Starting the Installation
Usually, you will start the installation by downloading a copy of Fedora Linux and
burning it onto a CD-ROM. Here are the steps for installing that copy:
1. To start the installation process, boot off the CD-ROM. This will boot Fedora
Linux in its live mode, in which a fully operating system will start on the
system, as shown in Figure 20-1. (If you like, you can explore Fedora’s menus
and basic applications at this point, before continuing with the installation.)
2. Double-click the Install to Hard Drive icon on the desktop. This launches the
Fedora installation program.
3. You are prompted for the language to use when installing. By default, U.S.
English is selected. Click Next to continue.
Figure 20-1.
Fedora Linux started in live mode
Chapter 20:
Figure 20-2.
Installing Linux
Naming the computer
4. You are prompted to name the computer, in the format computer_name.domain,
as shown in Figure 20-2. Enter an appropriate name for your computer, and
then click Next to continue.
5. Choose the time zone in which you are located, as shown in Figure 20-3. You
can click the map until a city in the same time zone as you is located, or you
can choose from the available options in the drop-down menu. Once you have
selected the time zone, click Next to continue.
6. You are prompted to enter a password for the system’s root account, which is
a user named root that has full and complete access to change anything about
the system. It is similar to the administrator password on a Windows server.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 20-3. Choosing a time zone
Accordingly, you should choose a good, strong password for the root account.
Enter your password where prompted, and also in the confirmation field. Click
Next to continue.
7. You now need to partition the hard disk for the computer. This example
assumes that you are installing Fedora on a system with a blank hard disk.
You will be asked to confirm that anything existing on the hard disk will be
erased by the partitioning process. When you continue, the default option
is “Remove Linux Partitions on selected drives and create default layout.”
I recommend this option. If you would like to see what the default partitioning
scheme looks like, select the Review and Modify Partitioning Layout checkbox
before clicking Next to continue. Figure 20-4 shows an example of a default
partitioning scheme on a 10GB disk.
Chapter 20:
Figure 20-4.
Installing Linux
Default partitioning scheme on a 10GB disk
NOTE While the Fedora installer lets you customize the partitioning scheme in a variety of ways,
for most uses, the default choices will work best. If you decide to install Linux for production use, you
will want to explore other options in the partitioning, such as setting up RAID disk arrays.
8. After confirming the creation of the partitioning scheme you have selected,
you will see the boot loader installation screen, as shown in Figure 20-5. Here,
you can customize the boot loader to enable the booting of multiple operating
systems from the system, or to set a password that must be entered before the
system will boot. For this example, accept the default options and click Next to
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 20-5. Configuring the boot loader options
At this point, Fedora will be installed onto the hard disk. Typically, the process
is fairly quick and should take around 5 to 10 minutes. When it’s complete, you are
prompted to restart the system. After the system restarts, you will need to do some
initial configuration, as described in the next section.
Initially Configuring Fedora Linux
When your new Fedora Linux system boots for the very first time after the main
installation, you are walked through various initial configuration options. Initially,
you will see the screen shown in Figure 20-6. The left pane lists the basic configuration
Chapter 20:
Figure 20-6.
Installing Linux
Initially configuring Fedora Linux
Here is the procedure for completing the initial configuration of Fedora:
1. First, you are prompted to accept the software license. As you will read, there
are no restrictions on using, copying, or modifying the Fedora Linux code.
However, there are restrictions on redistribution of the code, use of the Fedora
trademarks, and other matters. If you wish, you can read the full agreement at
2. You are prompted to create a user account, as shown in Figure 20-7. It is
important to avoid using the root account except for when you absolutely need
it. Instead, create a user account for yourself to use, even if you are the only
person using the system.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 20-7. Creating your nonadministrative user account
3. Check the time and date for the system, as shown in Figure 20-8. If this
computer will not be connected to the Internet, update the time and date, if
necessary. Otherwise, click the Network Time Protocol tab and then select the
Enable Network Time Protocol checkbox.
4. Finally, you are prompted to submit a profile of the hardware on which you
have installed Fedora Linux to the developers of the system. Doing so helps
the developers understand the hardware that people are using for Fedora
Linux, and allows them to focus their efforts on supporting the most popular
hardware choices being made. Make whichever choice you prefer, and then
click Finish to complete the configuration.
Chapter 20:
Installing Linux
Figure 20-8. Adjusting the system’s date and time
Logging in to Fedora Linux
After completing the configuration, you will see the normal login screen for Fedora
Linux, as shown in Figure 20-9. This screen will display all of the normal user accounts
available on the system. If you followed the procedure outlined in this chapter, you
will have only one user account (aside from the root account, which is not shown by
To choose an account to log in with, double-click the name in the login screen. You
will be prompted for your password. After you’ve successfully logged in, you will see
the Fedora desktop.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 20-9. Logging in to Fedora Linux
And You’re Finished!
That’s it! The installation process is over. I recommend you spend time exploring
Fedora’s menus and various functions.
Keep in mind that if you make a change that will be systemwide and is considered
an administrative change to the system, you will be prompted for the root password
you set up during the installation. This process of prompting you for the root password
for important system changes is how most Linux distributions, such as Fedora, ensure
that a valid system administrator is making the change, and not some random person
who happened to connect to the computer remotely over a network.
If It Just Won’t Work Right
You’ve gone through the installation procedure, maybe more than once. This book
said it should work. The installation manual said it should work. The Linux guru with
whom you spoke last week said it should work. But it’s just not working.
Chapter 20:
Installing Linux
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic!” No operating system
installs smoothly 100 percent of the time. (Yes, not even Mac OS X!) Hardware doesn’t
always work as advertised, combinations of hardware conflict with each other, or that
CD-ROM that your friend burned for you has errors on it. (Remember that it is legal for
your friend to burn you a copy of most Linux distributions!) Or, as much as you might
hope that it does not, the software has a bug.
With Linux, you have several paths that you can take to get help. If you have
purchased a Linux distribution, such as from Red Hat or Novell, you can always
call the distribution’s tech support lines and talk to a knowledgeable person who is
dedicated to working through the problem with you. If you didn’t purchase a box set,
most Linux distributions have rich help available online. For Fedora, you can find a lot
of helpful documents at
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about the process of installing a popular and very capable
Linux distribution. The steps to installing Fedora Linux are quite straightforward. If
you ever witnessed the procedure for prior versions, you will be aware of how much
easier the process has become, with fewer configuration choices to make to begin
working with the operating system. What makes Linux wonderful is that, even though
those options are no longer part of the installation process, you can still change them
and tweak them to your heart’s delight once you complete the installation and start the
The next chapter continues with the system as it was installed here, and shows you
how to perform basic administrative tasks within Fedora Linux.
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Chapter 21
Introduction to Linux
Systems Administration
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
hen Linux first came out in 1991, you had to be either a systems administrator
with a lot of time or a good hacker to be able to use the system effectively.
While this was fine for folks who were willing to expend the effort, it wasn’t
great for the vast majority who saw potential for using Linux but shied away from
the learning curve. Thankfully, many Linux distribution developers have realized this
shortcoming and have gone to great lengths to make Linux not only easy to install, but
relatively painless to administer.
This chapter provides an overview of some of the basic administrative chores
necessary to keep a Linux server running smoothly. Although it is by no means a
complete guide to systems administration, this chapter will get you started in the right
This chapter assumes that you have Fedora Linux already installed and the
graphical user interface (X Window System) configured. The chapter also assumes that
you are logging in to the system and running all programs as the user root.
CAUTION The root user is almighty under Linux. If you are familiar with Windows server, you
can think of root as being somewhat equivalent to the administrator account. With root access, you
have full control of the system, including the ability to break it. If you are new to Linux, you should
definitely take some time to practice on a nonproduction system before trying things out on your
system’s users.
This chapter is divided into two main sections. The first section deals with
configuring Fedora Linux with graphical tools for systems administration functions.
The second part of the chapter deals with the command-line interface. While this
section isn’t about systems administration per se, the commands it covers are the
foundation for basic systems administration tasks.
Managing Fedora Linux with Graphical Tools
The graphical tools are the basis for most of the administrative tasks you will need to
do. They handle user administration, network administration, disk administration, and
so on. What makes these tools especially helpful is that they provide a very consistent
interface for Linux administrative tasks. The only downside is that, like other graphical
user interfaces (GUIs), these tools have limitations. You might find that for more
advanced tasks, you will need to use the command-line interface, as described later in
this chapter.
Managing Users
To take advantage of the multiuser nature of Linux, you need to be able to add, edit,
and remove users from the system. You can perform all of these actions through the
User Manager program, as follows:
Chapter 21:
Figure 21-1.
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
Use the User Manager program for user administration.
1. Open the System menu and choose Administration, then Users and Groups.
After being prompted for the system’s root password, you see the User
Manager program window shown in Figure 21-1.
2. Click the Add User button in the toolbar at the top of the window to open the
Create New User dialog box, as shown in Figure 21-2.
3. In the Create New User dialog box, you must, at a minimum, fill in the login
name and a password for the user. The user’s home directory and type of shell
will be filled in automatically, and you can accept those default options. Click
OK to create the user account.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 21-2. Creating a new user
TIP As discussed in Chapter 11, picking a good password means not using a dictionary word
(including foreign language words). One technique is to take the first letter of each word in a phrase.
For example, “Snacking on Oatmeal Squares is good for you” translates into SoOSigfy. The phrase
is easy to remember, and the resulting password is cryptic. Another strategy is to take a word of
six letters or more and substitute two or more letters with numbers. For example, the password
le11ers (with ones in the middle instead of the letter l ) is not a bad password. But be warned that
sophisticated password-cracking programs often will try these sorts of number substitutions within
dictionary words.
Once the account is created, you can double-click it in the list of user accounts in
order to set some additional properties for the account through the User Properties
dialog box, as shown in Figure 21-3:
The User Data tab lets you change the user’s name, password, home directory,
and login shell.
The Account Info tab lets you set an account expiration date for the user, if
you desire, and also to lock the user account if that becomes necessary for any
Chapter 21:
Figure 21-3.
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
Setting user properties
The Password Info tab lets you set password expiration settings for the selected
user account.
The Groups tab lets you assign security group membership to the selected user
To remove a user, from the main User Manager window, select the user account to
be deleted, and then click the Delete button in the toolbar.
Changing Root’s Password
As mentioned in the previous chapters, the root user is a special user who has a lot
of power on the system. Obviously, an account with this much power needs to be
protected with a good password. If you think that someone might have gotten the root
password, or that someone who had the root password should no longer have it (for
example, a former employee), you should immediately change it.
To change the root password on a system, from the System menu, choose
Administration, then Root Password. After being prompted for the current root
password, you see the dialog box shown in Figure 21-4. Enter the new password
to use for the root account in the two fields provided. The program will not let you
change the root password if both entries do not match exactly. (Remember that Fedora
Linux, like all UNIX operating systems, uses case-sensitive passwords.) Click OK to
complete the change.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 21-4. Changing the root password
Configuring Common Network Settings
Linux is very much at home in a networked environment. In fact, its design from the
onset supports its use on a network. Networks are dynamic, and Linux makes it easy to
change the network configuration to accommodate the changes in the network.
You manage network settings through the Network Configuration window,
as shown in Figure 21-5. To access this window, open the System menu, choose
Administration, and then choose Network.
Figure 21-5. Use the Network Configuration window to change the network configuration.
Chapter 21:
Figure 21-6.
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
Changing Ethernet device settings
Changing Your IP Address
In most cases, if a system is configured to use DHCP to acquire its IP address, you
should not change the IP address setting. However, at times you will need to set a static
IP address on a system. To change the IP address of your system, click the Edit button
in the toolbar at the top of the Network Configuration window. This brings up the
Ethernet Device dialog box, as shown in Figure 21-6.
Click the Statically Set IP Addresses option button. Then enter the appropriate IP
address information in the Manual IP Address Settings fields. Once you have made all
of your selections, click OK to accept the changes.
Adding Entries to the /etc/hosts File
The /etc/hosts file contains a list of hostname-to-IP mappings. Most systems use
this list so that they can find other machines on the network if DNS ever becomes
inaccessible. Typical entries include the host itself, servers for common services
(such as the DNS server), and gateway entries.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 21-7. Modifying host entries
To add entries to the /etc/hosts file, click the Hosts tab in the Network Configuration
window, as shown in Figure 21-7. Then click the New button to open the Add/Edit Hosts
Entry dialog box, as shown in Figure 21-8. Enter the appropriate information into the
Address and Hostname fields, and if desired, the Aliases field. Then click OK to save
your changes.
Changing the DNS Client Configuration
If your system needs to work with a larger network (such as the Internet), it is a good
idea to configure your system to point to a DNS server so that it can resolve host names
Figure 21-8. Adding a new host to the hosts file
Chapter 21:
Figure 21-9.
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
Configuring a system’s DNS settings
to IP addresses, and vice versa. Many times, the appropriate DNS servers to use are
automatically assigned through the DHCP process, but if necessary, you can control
these settings using the Network Configuration window.
Click the DNS tab in the Network Configuration window to see the DNS configuration
of the computer, as shown in Figure 21-9. Enter the IP addresses for the DNS servers you
want to use in the Primary DNS, Secondary DNS, and Tertiary DNS fields. Close the
Network Configuration dialog box to commit these changes.
Mastering Linux Command-Line Basics
Historically, the aspect of UNIX that makes it so powerful and flexible has been the
options available through the command line. Casual observers of UNIX gurus are often
astounded at how a few carefully entered commands can result in powerful actions.
Unfortunately, this power comes at the expense of ease of use. For this reason, GUIs
have proliferated and have become the de facto standard for so many tools.
As you become more experienced, however, you will find that it is difficult for
GUIs to present all of the available options to a user, because doing so would make
the interface just as complicated as the command-line equivalent. Thus, the GUIs
have remained overly simplified, and experienced users have needed to resort to the
command line.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
TIP Before you get into a “which interface is better” holy war with someone, remember that both
types of interfaces serve a purpose, with each having weaknesses as well as benefits. In the end,
the person who chooses to master both will come out ahead.
This section covers some of the Linux command-line tools that are most crucial for
day-to-day work. All of the commands discussed in this section are to be performed
in a terminal window. You can open a terminal window by opening the Applications
menu and choosing System Tools, then Terminal. This window displays a prompt
that looks something like [[email protected] /root]#, where hostname is the name of your
Working from the Command Line
One of the difficulties in moving to the Linus command-line interface, especially if you
are used to using Windows command-line tools such as cmd.exe, is dealing with a shell
that has a great number of shortcuts that might surprise you if you’re not careful. This
section reviews the most common of these shortcuts.
Filename Expansion
Under UNIX-based shells such as bash, you expand wildcards seen on the command
line before passing them as a parameter to the application. This is in sharp contrast to
the default mode of operation for DOS-based tools, which often need to perform their
own wildcard expansion. This also means that you must be careful where you use the
wildcard characters.
The wildcard characters themselves are identical to those in cmd.exe. The asterisk
(*) matches against all filenames, and the question mark (?) matches against single
characters. If you need to use these characters as part of another parameter, you can
“escape” them by placing a backslash (\) in front of them. This character will cause the
shell to interpret a wildcard as just another character.
Environment Variables as Parameters
You can use environment variables as parameters on the command line. This
means that issuing the parameter $FOO will result in passing the value of the FOO
environment variable instead of the string “$FOO.”
Multiple Commands
Under the bash shell, it is possible to execute multiple commands on the same line by
separating them with a semicolon (;). For example, suppose that you want to execute
the following sequence of commands on a single line:
[[email protected] /root]# ls -l
[[email protected] /root]# cat /etc/hosts
Chapter 21:
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
You could instead type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# ls -l ;cat /etc/hosts
How’s this for wild: you can make the output of one program the parameter of another
program. Sound bizarre? Well, it’s time to get used to it—this is one of the most
creatively used features available in all UNIX shells.
A backtick (`) enables you to embed commands as parameters to other commands.
A common instance of the use of this character is to pass a number sitting in a file as a
parameter to the kill command. A typical instance of this occurs with the DNS server
named. When this server starts, it writes its process identification number into the file
/var/run/ Thus, the generic way of killing the named process is to look at
the number in /var/run/ using the cat command, and then issue the kill
command with that value, as in the following example:
[email protected] /root]# cat /var/run/
[[email protected] /root]# kill 253
One problem with killing the named process this way is that you cannot automate
the killing, so you are counting on the fact that a human will read the value in /var/
run/ and then kill the number. The second problem isn’t so much a problem
as it is a nuisance—it takes two steps to stop the DNS server.
Using backticks, however, you can combine the steps into one and do so in a way
that you can automate. Here’s the backticks version:
[[email protected] # kill'cat /var/run/'
When the bash shell sees this command, it will first run cat /var/run/ and
store the result. It will then run the kill command and pass the stored result to it—all in
one graceful step.
Environment Variables
The concept of environment variables is almost the same under Linux as it is under
Windows. The only difference is in how you set, view, and remove the variables.
Printing Environment Variables
To list all of your environment variables, use the printenv command, as in the
following example:
[[email protected] /root]# printenv
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
To show a specific environment variable, specify the variable as a parameter to
printenv. For example, to see the environment variable USER, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# printenv USER
Setting Environment Variables
To set an environment variable, use the following format:
[[email protected] /root]# variable=value
where variable is the variable name, and value is the value that you want to assign the
variable. For example, to set the environment variable FOO with the value BAR, type
the following:
[[email protected] /root]# FOO=BAR
After setting the value, use the export command to finalize it. The format of the
export command is as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# export variable
where variable is the name of the variable. In the example of setting FOO, type the
[[email protected] /root]# export FOO
You can combine the steps of setting the environment variable with the export
command, as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# export FOO=BAR
If the value of the environment variable you want to set has spaces in it, you need
to surround the variable with quotation marks. For example, to set FOO to “Welcome
to the BAR of FOO,” type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# export FOO="Welcome to the BAR of FOO."
Clearing Environment Variables
To remove an environment variable, use the unset command:
[[email protected] /root]# unset variable
where variable is the name of the variable you want to remove. For example, to remove
the environment variable FOO, type the following:
[[email protected]]# unset FOO
Chapter 21:
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
Documentation Tools
Linux comes with two tremendously useful tools for making documentation accessible:
man and info. Currently, the two documentation systems have a great deal of overlap
between them, as many applications are moving their documentation to the info
format. Info is considered superior to man because it allows the documentation to
be hyperlinked together in a web-like way, without actually being written in HTML
format. The man format, on the other hand, has been around for decades. Thousands
of utilities have only man pages as their source of documentation. Furthermore, many
applications continue to release their documentation in man format since many other
UNIX-like operating systems such as Sun Solaris default to the man format for their
documentation. As a result, both of these documentation systems will be around for a
long while to come. Becoming comfortable with both of them is highly advisable.
man: View Man Pages
Man (short for manual) pages are documents found online covering the usage of tools
and their corresponding configuration files. The format of the man command is as
[[email protected] /root]# man program_name
where program_name is the name of the program for which you want to read the
manual page. Here’s an example:
[[email protected] /root]# man ls
While reading about UNIX and UNIX-related sources for information (such
as newsgroups), you might find references to commands followed by numbers in
parentheses, as in ls(1). The number represents the section of the manual pages;
each section covers various subject areas. The section numbers are handy for some
tools, such as printf, that are commands in the C programming language as well as
command-line commands. Thus, two entries would exist for such a command under
two different sections.
To refer to a specific section, simply specify the section number as the first parameter
and the command as the second parameter. For example, to get the C programmers’
information on printf (assuming that the C programming man files are installed), enter
the following:
[[email protected] /root]# man 3 printf
To get the command-line information, enter the following:
[[email protected] /root]# man 1 printf
By default, the manual page for the lowest section number is printed first. The
section numbers’ meanings are shown in Table 21-1.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Section Number
User tools
System calls
C library calls
Device driver-related information
Configuration files
System tools
Table 21-1. Manual Page Section Numbers
A handy option to the man command is -k. With this option, man will search the
summary information of all the man pages and list which pages have a match along
with their section number. For example, the following command will find pages
matching the search criteria “printf”:
[[email protected] /root]# man -k printf
info: View info Pages
In addition to man pages, info pages are another common form of documentation.
Established as the GNU standard, info is a documentation system that more closely
resembles the Web in the sense that documents can be hyperlinked together, whereas
man pages are single, static documents. Thus, info pages tend to be easier to read and
To read the info documents on a specific tool or application, simply invoke info
with the parameter specifying the tool’s name. For example, to read about emacs,
simply type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# info emacs
Usually, you will first want to check if there is a man page. This is because a great
deal more information is still available in the man format than in info format. However,
some man pages will explicitly state that the info pages are more authoritative and
should be read instead.
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Long listing. In addition to the filename, show the file size,
date/time, permissions, ownership, and group information.
All files. Show all files in the directory, including those that are
hidden. Hidden files begin with a period.
Single column listing. List all files in a single column.
Recursive. Recursively list all files and subdirectories.
Table 21-2. Common ls Command Options
File Listings, Ownerships, and Permissions
Managing files under Linux is different from managing files under Windows. This
section discusses the tools necessary to perform basic file management.
ls: List Files
The ls command is used to list all of the files in a directory. The command has more
than 26 options. The most common of these options are shown in Table 21-2. See the
man page for the complete list of options.
You can use these options in any combination with one another. For example, to list
all files in a directory with a long listing, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# ls -la
To list nonhidden files in a directory that start with A, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# ls A*
About Files and Directories
Under Linux (and UNIX in general), you will find that almost everything is abstracted
to a file. Linux’s developers originally did this to simplify the programmer’s job. Thus,
instead of having to communicate directly with device drivers, you use special files
(which to the application appear as ordinary files) as a bridge instead. To accommodate
all of these uses of files, different types of files exist:
Normal files Normal files are just that—normal. They contain data or
executables, and the operating system makes no assumptions about their
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Directories Directory files are a special instance of normal files in that their
contents list the location of other files. Among the files to which directories
point might be other directories. In your day-to-day work, it won’t matter to
you much that directories in Linux (and UNIX) are actually files, unless you
happen to try to open and read the directory file yourself, rather than use
existing applications to navigate directories.
Hard links Each file in the Linux file system gets its own i-node. An i-node
keeps track of a file’s attributes and location on the disk. If you need to be able
to refer to a single file using two separate filenames, you can create a hard link.
The hard link will have the same i-node as the original file, so it will look and
behave just like the original file. With every hard link that is created, a reference
count is incremented. When a hard link is removed, the reference count is
decremented. Until the reference count reaches zero, the file will remain on
NOTE A hard link cannot exist between two files that are on separate partitions. This is because
the hard link refers to the original file by i-node. A file that is referred to by one i-node on one file
system will refer to another file on another file system.
Symbolic links Unlike a hard link, which points to a file by its i-node, a
symbolic link points to another file by its name. Thus, symbolic links (often
abbreviated as symlinks) can point to files located on other partitions or even on
other network drives.
Block devices Since all device drivers are accessed through the file system,
files of type block device are used to interface with devices such as disks.
Character devices Similar to block devices, character devices are special files
that allow you to access devices through the file system. The obvious difference
between block and character devices is that block devices communicate
with the actual devices in large blocks, whereas character devices work one
character at a time. A hard disk is a block device; a modem is a character
Named pipes A named pipe is a special type of file that allows for
interprocess communication. Using the mknod command (discussed later in
the “File Management and Manipulation” section), you can create this special
kind of file that one process can open for reading and another process can open
for writing, thus allowing the two processes to communicate with one another.
Named pipes work especially well when a package refuses to take input from a
command-line pipe, you have another program that you need to feed data, and
you don’t have the disk space for a temporary file.
Block devices, character devices, and named pipes have certain characteristics that
identify their file type.
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The three identifying traits of a block device are that it has a major number, has a
minor number, and when viewed using the ls -l command, shows the first character of
the permissions to be a b. Here’s an example:
[[email protected] /root]# ls-l /dev/sda1
brw-rw---1 root
In this case, the b is at the beginning of the file’s permissions, the 8 is the major
number, and the 1 is the minor number. The significance of the major number is that
it identifies which device driver the file represents. When the system accesses this file,
the minor number is passed to the device driver as a parameter to tell the driver which
device it is accessing. (For example, if there are two serial ports, they will share the
same device driver and thus the same major number, but each serial port will have a
unique minor number.)
The distinguishing characteristics of a character device are that its permissions start
with a c, and the device has a major and minor number. Here’s an example:
[[email protected] /root]# ls -l /dev/ttyS0
crw------1 root
You can tell that a file is a named pipe by the fact that the first character of its file
permissions is a p, as in the following example:
[[email protected] /root]# ls-l mypipe
prw-r--r-1 root
chown: Change Ownership
The chown command allows you to change the ownership of a file to someone else.
Only the root user can change this ownership. (Normal users may not “give away” or
“steal” ownership of a file from another user.) The format of the command is as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# chown [-R] username filename
where username is the user’s login to which you want to change the ownership and
filename is the name of the file that will have its ownership changed. The filename may
be a directory as well.
The -R option applies when the specified filename is a directory name. It tells
the command to descend recursively through the directory tree and apply the new
ownership not only to the directory itself, but to all of the files and subdirectories
within it.
chgrp: Change Group
chgrp is another command-line utility that allows you to change the group settings of
a file. The command works in much the same way as chown does. The format of the
command is as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# chgrp [-R] groupname filename
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where groupname is the name of the group to which you want to change filename. The
filename may be a directory as well.
The -R option applies when the specified filename is a directory name. As with
chown, the option tells the chgrp command to descend recursively through the directory
tree and apply the new ownership not only to the directory itself, but to all of the files
and subdirectories within it.
chmod: Change Mode
Permissions are broken into four parts. The first part is the first character of the
permissions. If the file is a normal file, then it will have no value and be represented
with a hyphen (-). If the file has a special attribute, it will be represented with a letter.
The two special files that you are most interested in are directories that are represented
with a d and symbolic links that are represented with an l.
The second, third, and fourth parts are represented in three-character chunks. The
first part is the permissions for the owner of the file. The second part is the permissions
for the group. Finally, the last part is the permissions for the world. In the context of
UNIX, the world is simply all the users in the system, regardless of their group settings.
The letters used to represent permissions are R for read, W for write, and X for
execute. Each permission has a corresponding value. The read attribute is equal
to 4, the write attribute is equal to 2, and the execute attribute is equal to 1. When
you combine attributes, you add their values. The reason that these attributes need
values is to ensure that you can use the chmod command to set them. Although the
chmod command does have more readable ways to set permissions, it is important
that you understand the numbering scheme since it is used for programming. Plus,
not everyone uses the naming scheme, and Linux users often assume that if you
understand file permissions, you understand the numeric meanings as well.
The most common groups of three and their meanings are listed in Table 21-3.
No permissions
Read only
Read and write
Read, write, and execute
Read and execute
Execute only
Table 21-3. Common Permission Combinations
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Each of these three-letter chunks is then grouped together three at a time. The first
chunk represents the permissions for the owner of the file, the second chunk represents
the permissions for the group of the file, and the last chunk represents the permissions
for all of the users on the system. Table 21-4 lists some common permission.
Equivalent Meaning
The owner has read and write permissions. You want
this setting for most of your files
The owner has read and write permissions. The group
and world have read-only permissions. Be sure that you
want to let other people read this file.
Everyone has read and write permissions on a file. This
setting is bad. You don’t want other people to be able to
change your files.
The owner has read, write, and execute permissions.
You want this setting for programs that you wish to run
(such as the file that results from compiling a C or C++
The owner has read, write, and execute permissions. The
rest of the world has read and execute permissions.
-rwxrwxrwx 777
Everyone has read, write, and execute privileges. Like
the 666 setting, this is bad.
The owner has read, write, and execute permissions.
The rest of the world has execute-only permissions. This
setting is useful for programs that you want to let others
run but not copy.
This is a directory created with the mkdir command.
Only the owner can read and write to this directory.
Note that all directories must have the executable bit set.
Only the owner can change this directory, but everyone
else can view its contents.
A handy trick is to use this setting when you need to
keep a directory world-readable, but you don’t want
people to be able to list the files by running the ls
command. The setting enables users to read a directory
only if they know the filename that they want to retrieve.
Table 21-4. Common File Permissions
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File Management and Manipulation
This section provides an overview of the basic command-line tools for managing files
and directories. Most of this overview should be familiar if you have used a commandline interface before. Basically, you use the same old functions, just with new commands.
cp: Copy Files
The cp command is used to copy files. By default, this command works silently, displaying
status information only if there is an error condition. For example, to copy index.html to
index-orig.html, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# cp index.html index-orig.html
The cp command has a large number of options, which are detailed on its man
page. The most common options are -f to force copy (do not ask for verification) and
-1 for an interactive copy (ask for verification before copying). For example, to copy
interactively all files ending in .html to the /tmp directory, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# cp -i *.html /tmp
mv: Move Files
Use the mv command to move files from one location to another. The command can
move files across partitions as well; however, realize that when moving a file between
partitions that you are actually copying the file to the other partition, and then erasing
the original, so it can take longer than moving a file within a partition. Moving a file
within a single partition just tells the system that the file is in a different directory; the
file isn’t copied or physically moved on the disk.
For example, to move a file from /usr/src/myprog/bin/* to /usr/bin, type the
[[email protected] /root]# mv /usr/src/myprog/bin/* /usr/bin
The most common options are -f to force a move and -l to move interactively.
Although Linux has no explicit rename tool, you can use mv to accomplish this
task. To rename /tmp/blah to /tmp/bleck, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# mv /tmp/bleck /tmp/blah
ln: Link Files
The ln command allows you to establish a hard link or a soft link. (See the “About Files
and Directories” section earlier in this chapter for additional information.) The general
format of this command is as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# ln original_file new_file
The ln command has many options, most of which you’ll never need to use. The
most common option is -s, which creates a symbolic link instead of a hard link. For
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example, to create a symbolic link so that /usr/bin/myadduser points to /usr/ local/
bin/myadduser, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# ln -s /usr/local/bin/myadduser /usr/bin/myadduser
find: Find a File
The find command enables you to find files based on a number of criteria. The
following is the command’s general format:
[[email protected] /root]# find start_dir [options]
where start_dir is the directory from which the search should start.
find, like the other commands that we have already discussed, has a large number
of options that you can read about on its man page. Table 21-5 list the most common
options used with find.
Do not search file systems other than the file system from which you started.
-atime n
Specify that the file was accessed at least n*24 hours ago.
-ctime n
Look only for files changed at least n*24 hours ago.
-inum n
Find a file that has i-node n.
-amin n
Specify that the file was accessed n minutes ago.
-cmin n
Look only for files that were changed n minutes ago.
Find empty files.
-mmin n
Specify that the file was modified n minutes ago.
-mtime n
Search only for files modified n*24 hours ago.
Find files whose UID does not correspond to a real user in /etc/passwd.
Look only for files whose GID does not correspond to a real group in
-perm mode Specify that the file’s permissions are exactly set to mode.
-size n[bck] Search only for files at least n blocks/characters/kilobytes big. One block
equals 512 bytes.
Print the filenames found.
-exec cmd\; On every file found, execute cmd. If you are using the bash shell, be sure to
follow every cmd with a \; otherwise, the shell will become very confused.
-name name Specify that the filename should be name. You can use regular expressions
Table 21-5. Common find Command Options
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For example, to find all files in /tmp that have not been accessed in at least seven
days, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# find /tmp -atime 7 -print
To find all files in /usr/src whose names are core and then remove them, type the
[[email protected] /root]# find /usr/src -name core -exec rm {} \;
To find all files in /home with the extension .jpg that are bigger than 100KB, type
the following:
[[email protected] /root]# find /home -name "*.jpg" -size 100k
dd: Convert and Copy a File
The dd command reads the contents of a file and sends them to another file. What
makes dd different from cp is that dd can perform on-the-fly conversions on the file
and can accept data from a device (such as a tape or floppy drive). When dd accesses a
device, it does not assume anything about the file system and instead pulls the data in
a raw format. Thus, you can use the data to generate images of disks, even if the disk is
of foreign format. Table 21-6 lists the most common parameters for dd:
For example, to generate an image of a floppy disk (which is especially useful for
foreign file formats), type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/tmp/floppy_image
Specify the input file as infile.
Specify the output file as outfile.
Specify blocks as the number of blocks on which dd should
operate before quitting.
Set the block size of the input device to be size.
Set the block size of the output device to be size.
Skip blocks number of blocks on the output.
Skip blocks number of blocks on the input.
Convert big endian input to little endian, or vice versa.
Table 21-6. Common dd Command Options
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gzip: Compress a File
In the original distributions of UNIX, a tool to compress a file was appropriately called
compress. Unfortunately, an entrepreneur patented the algorithm, hoping to make
a great deal of money. Instead of paying out, most sites sought and found gzip, a
different compression tool with a patent-free algorithm. Even better, gzip consistently
achieves better compression ratios than compress does. Note that gzip compresses
the file “in place,” meaning that after the compression takes place, the original file is
removed, leaving only the compressed file.
TIP You can usually distinguish files compressed with gzip from those compressed by compress by
checking their extensions. Files compressed with gzip typically end in .gz whereas files compressed
with compress end in .Z.
Table 21-7 lists the most-used optional parameters to gzip. See the man page for a
complete list.
For example, to compress a file and then decompress it, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# gzip myfile
[[email protected] /root]# gzip -d myfile.gz
To compress all files ending in .html using the best compression possible, enter the
following command:
[[email protected] /root]# gzip -9 *.html
NOTE The gzip tool does not share file formats with either PkZip or WinZip. However, WinZip can
decompress gzip files.
Write compressed file to the standard output device (thereby allowing
the output to be piped to another program).
Recursively find all files that should be compressed.
Provide the best compression.
Achieve the fastest compression.
Table 21-7. Common gzip Command Options
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mknod: Make Special Files
As discussed earlier, Linux accesses all of its devices through files. To create a file that
the system understands as an interface to a device, you must specify that the file is
of type block or character and has a major and minor number. To create this kind of
file with the necessary values, you use the mknod command. In addition to creating
interfaces to devices, you can use mknod to create named pipes.
The command’s format is as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# mknod name type [major] [minor]
where name is the name of the file; and type is the character b for block device, c for
character device, or p for named pipe. If you choose to create a block or character
device, you need to specify the major and minor number.
The only time you will need to create a block or character device is when installing
some kind of device driver that requires it. The documentation that comes with your
driver should tell you which values to use for the major and minor numbers.
For example, to create a named pipe called /tmp/mypipe, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# mknod /tmp/mypipe p
mkdir: Create a Home Directory
The mkdir command in Linux is identical to the one in other flavors of UNIX as well as
in MS-DOS. For example, to create a directory called mydir, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# mkdir mydir
The only option available is -p, which creates a parent directory if none exists. For
example, if you need to create /tmp/bigdir/subdir/mydir, and the only directory that
exists is /tmp, using -p will automatically create bigdir and subdir along with mydir.
Under Linux, you cannot abbreviate the mkdir command as md as you can under DOS.
rmdir: Remove Directory
The rmdir command offers no surprises if you are familiar with the DOS version of the
command. It simply removes an existing directory. For example, to remove a directory
called mydir, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# rmdir mydir
One command-line parameter available for this command is -p, which removes
parent directories as well. For example, if the directory /tmp/bigdir/subdir/mydir
exists and you want to get rid of all of the directories from bigdir to mydir, issue the
following command:
[[email protected] /tmp]# rmdir -p bigdir/subdir/mydir
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Under Linux, you cannot abbreviate the rmdir command as rd as you can under DOS.
pwd: Print Working Directory
It is inevitable that eventually you will sit down in front of an already logged-in
workstation and not know where you are located in the directory tree. To get this
information, you need the pwd command. It has no parameters and its only task is to
print the current working directory. The DOS equivalent is to type cd alone; however,
under bash, typing cd simply takes you back to your home directory.
For example, to get the current working directory, enter the following command:
[[email protected] src]# pwd
tar: Tape Archive
If you are familiar with the pkzip program, you are used to compression tools not
only reducing file size, but also combining multiple files into a single large file.
Linux separates this process into two tools. The compression tool is gzip, which was
discussed earlier.
The tar program combines multiple files into a single large file. The reason for
separating this program from the compression tool is that tar allows you to select
which compression tool to use or whether you even want compression. Additionally,
tar is able to read and write to devices in much the same way that dd can, thus making
tar a good tool for backing up tape devices.
NOTE Although the name of the program includes the word tape, you do not need to read or
write to a tape drive when creating archives. In fact, you will rarely use tar with a tape drive in your
day-to-day work (aside from your backups).
The format of the tar command is as follows:
[[email protected] /root]# tar [commands and options] filenames
Some of options available to tar are listed in Table 21-8. Refer to the man page for
the complete list.
For example, to create an archive called apache.tar containing all the files from
/usr/ src/apache, type the following:
[[email protected] src]# tar -cf apache.tar /usr/src/apache
To create an archive called apache.tar containing all the files from /usr/ src/apache
and see the list of files as they are added to the archive, type the following:
[[email protected] src]# tar -cvf apache.tar /usr/src/apache
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Create a new archive.
View the contents of an archive.
Extract the contents of an archive.
Specify the name of the file (or device) in which the archive is located.
Be verbose during operations.
Assume that the file is already (or will be) compressed with gzip.
Table 21-8. Common tar Command Options
To create a gzipped compressed archive called apache.tar.gz containing all the files
from /usr/src/apache and list the files as they are being added to the archive, type the
[[email protected] src]# tar -cvzf apache.tar.gz /usr/src/apache
To extract the contents of a gzipped tar archive called apache.tar.gz and list the files
as they are being extracted, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# tar -xvzf apache.tar.gz
cat: Concatenate Files
The cat program serves a simple purpose: to display the contents of files. While you
can do more creative things with it, you will almost always use the program simply to
display the contents of text files, much like you would use the type command under
DOS. Because you can specify multiple filenames on the command line, it is possible to
concatenate files into a single large continuous file. Thus, cat differs from tar in that the
resulting file has no control information to show the boundaries of different files.
For example, to display the /etc/passwd file, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# cat /etc/passwd
To display the /etc/passwd file and the /etc/group file, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# cat /etc/passwd /etc/group
To concatenate the /etc/passwd file with the /etc/group file into the /tmp/
complete file, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# cat /etc/passwd /etc/group > /tmp/complete
To concatenate the /etc/passwd file to an existing file called /tmp/orb, type the
[[email protected] /root]# cat /etc/passwd >> /tmp/orb
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more: Display a File One Screen at a Time
The more command works in much the same way as the DOS version of the program.
It displays an input file one screen at a time. The input file can come from either more’s
standard input or a command-line parameter. Additional command-line parameters
exist for this command; however, they are rarely used. See the man page for additional
For example, to view the /etc/passwd file one screenful at a time, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# more /etc/passwd
To view the directory listing generated by the ls command one screenful at a time,
type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# ls | more
du: Disk Utilization
You will often need to determine where and by whom disk space is being consumed,
especially when you’re running low on it! The du command allows you to determine
the disk utilization on a directory-by-directory basis. Table 21-9 lists some of the
options for du.
For example, to display in a human-readable format the amount of space each
directory in the /home directory is taking up, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# du -sh /home/*
which: Show the Directory in Which a File Is Located
The which command searches your entire path to find the name of the file specified
on the command line. If it finds the filename, the tool displays the actual path of the
requested file. The purpose of this command is to help you find fully qualified paths.
Produce a grand total at the end of the run.
Print sizes in human-readable format.
Print sizes in kilobytes rather than block sizes. (Note that under
Linux, one block is equal to 1KB. However, this is not true for all
flavors of UNIX.)
Summarize; print only one output for each argument.
Table 21-9. Common du Command Options
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For example, to find out which directory the ls command is in, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# which ls
whereis: Locate the Binary, Source, and Manual Page for a Command
The whereis program not only searches your path and displays the name of the
program and its absolute directory, but also finds the source file (if available) and the
man page for the command (again, if available).
For example, to find the location of the binary, source, and manual page for the
command grep, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# whereis grep
df: Determine the Amount of Free Space on a Disk
The df program displays the amount of free space on a partition-by-partition basis. The
drives/partitions must be mounted for df to retrieve this information. You can also
gather Network File System (NFS) information using this command.
Two options are commonly used with df: -h and -l. The -h option specifies to use a
human-readable measurement, other than simply the number of free blocks, to indicate
the amount of free space. The -l option lists only the mounted file systems that are
local; do not display any information about network-mounted file systems. Additional
command-line options are available; however, they are rarely used. You can read about
them in the df man page.
For example, to show the free space for all locally mounted drivers, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# df -l
To show the free space in a human-readable format for the file system on which
your current working directory is located, type the following (the trailing period is
shorthand that means “current directory,“ just as it does under DOS):
[[email protected] /root]# df -h .
To show the free space in a human-readable format for the file system on which
/tmp is located, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# df -h /tmp
sync: Synchronize Disks
Like most other modern operating systems, Linux attempts to improve efficiency
by maintaining a disk cache. This means, however, that at any given moment not
everything you want written to disk has been written to disk.
To schedule the disk cache to be written out to the disk, use the sync command.
If sync detects that writing the cache out to disk has already been scheduled, the tool
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causes the kernel to flush the cache immediately. For example, to ensure that the disk
cache has been flushed, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# sync ; sync
The sync command does not have any command-line parameters.
Process Manipulation
Under Linux (and UNIX in general), each running program is composed of at least
one process. From the operating system’s standpoint, each process is independent of
one another, and unless you specifically ask the processes to share resources with each
other, they are confined to the memory and CPU allocation assigned to them. Processes
that overstep their memory allocation (which could potentially corrupt another
running program and make the system unstable) are immediately killed. This method
of handing processes has been one of the key reasons that UNIX has been able to
sustain its claims to system stability for so long—user applications cannot corrupt other
user programs or the operating system.
This section discusses the tools used to list and manipulate processes. This
information is very useful to systems administrators, since it’s always important to
keep an eye on what’s going on.
ps: List Processes
The ps command lists all of the processes in a system, as well as their state, size, name,
owner, CPU time, wall clock time, and much more. The command has many commandline parameters. Table 21-10 lists the ones that are most commonly used.
The most common parameter used with the ps command is -auxww, which shows
all of the processes (regardless of whether or not they have a controlling terminal),
Option Description
Show all processes with a controlling terminal, not just the current user’s.
Show only running processes.
Show processes that do not have a controlling terminal.
Show the process owners.
Show which processes are the parents to which other processes.
Produce long format.
Show the process’s command-line parameters (up to half a line).
Show all of a process’s command-line parameters, despite length.
Table 21-10. Common ps Command Options
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
each process’s owners, and all of the process’s command-line parameters. Here is an
example of the output of an invocation of ps -auxww:
-p 10 -w 5
daemon 325
nobody 6436
nobody 6437
nobody 6438
nobody 6439
nobody 6440
nobody 6441
sshah 16675
sshah 18244
syslogd -m 0
/sbin/mingetty tty2
/sbin/mingetty tty3
/sbin/mingetty tty4
/sbin/mingetty tty5
/sbin/mingetty tty6
update (bdflush)
su -sshah
login -- sshah
The very first line of the output is the header indicating the meaning of each
column, as listed in Table 21-11.
Chapter 21:
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
The user name of the owner for each process.
The process identification number.
The percentage of the CPU taken up by a process. Remember that
for a system with multiple processors, this column will add up to
greater than 100 percent!
The percentage of memory taken up by a process.
The amount of virtual memory that a process is taking.
The amount of actual (resident) memory that a process is taking.
The controlling terminal for a process. A question mark (?) means
that the process is no longer connected to a controlling terminal.
The process’s state. S is sleeping. (Remember that all processes
that are ready to run—that is, those that are being multitasked
while the CPU is momentarily focused on another process—will
be asleep). R means that the process is actually on the CPU. D is an
uninterruptible sleep (usually I/O-related). T means that a process
is being traced by a debugger or has been stopped. Z means
that the process has gone zombie. Each process state can have a
modifier suffixed to it: W, <, N, or L. W means that the process has
no resident pages in memory (it has been completely swapped out).
< indicates a high-priority process. N indicates a low-priority task.
L indicates that some pages are locked into memory (which usually
signifies the need for real-time functionality).
The date that the process was started.
The amount of time the process has spent on the CPU.
COMMAND The name of the process and its command-line parameters.
Table 21-11. ps Command Output
DEFINE-IT! Going Zombie
Going zombie means one of two things: either the parent process has not
acknowledged the death of its child process using the wait system call or the
parent was improperly killed and thus the init process cannot reap the child
until the parent is completely killed. A zombied process usually indicates poorly
written software.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
top: Show an Interactive List of Processes
The top command is an interactive version of ps. Instead of giving a static view of what is
going on, this tool refreshes the screen with a list of processes every two or three seconds
(the user can adjust the interval). From this list, you can reprioritize or kill processes.
The key problem with the top program is that it is a CPU hog. On a congested
system, this program tends to make memory problems worse as users start running
top to see what is going on, only to find several other people are running it as well.
Collectively, they have made the system even slower than before!
By default, top installs with permissions granted to all users. You might find it
prudent, depending on your environment, to allow only root to be able to run it. To do
this, change the permissions for the top program with the following command:
[[email protected] /root]# chmod 0700 /usr/bin/top
kill: Send a Signal to a Process
For some reason, the kill program was horribly named. The program doesn’t really kill
processes! What it does is send signals to running processes. By default, the operating
system supplies each process a standard set of signal handlers to deal with incoming
signals. From a systems administrator’s standpoint, the most important handler is for
signal numbers 9 and 15: kill process and terminate process. (Okay, maybe using kill as
a name wasn’t so inappropriate after all. )
When kill is invoked, it requires at least one parameter: the process identification
number (PID) as derived from the ps command. When passed only the PID number,
by default, kill will send signal 15, terminate process. Sending the terminate process
signal is a lot like politely asking a process to stop what it’s doing and shut down.
Some programs intercept this signal and perform a number of actions so that they can
cleanly shut down; others just stop in their tracks. Either way, sending the signal isn’t a
guaranteed method for making a process stop.
The optional parameter is a number prefixed by a dash (-), where the number
represents a signal number. The two signals that systems administrators are most
interested in are 9 and 1: kill and hang up. The kill signal is the impolite way of making
a process stop. Instead of asking a process to stop, the operating system takes it upon
itself to kill the process. The only time this signal will fail is when the process is in the
middle of a system call (such as a request to open a file), in which case the process will
die once it returns from the system call.
The hangup signal is a bit of a throwback to when most users of UNIX connected
to the system via VT100-style terminals. When a user’s connection would drop in
the middle of a session, all of that user’s running processes would receive a hangup
signal (often called a SIGHUP, or HUP for short). This signal gave the processes an
opportunity to perform a clean shutdown or, in the case of some programs designed
to keep running in the background, to safely ignore the signal. These days, the hangup
(HUP) signal is used to tell certain server applications to reread their configuration
files. Most applications otherwise ignore the signal.
For example, to terminate process number 2059, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# kill 2059
Chapter 21:
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
To kill process number 593 in an almost guaranteed way, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# kill -9 593
To send the init program (which is always process ID 1) the HUP signal, type the
[[email protected] /root]# kill -1 1
CAUTION The capability to terminate a process is obviously a very powerful one. The developers
of the kill command realized this and made sure that security precautions existed so that users can
kill only those processes they have permission to kill. For example, nonroot users can send signals
only to their own processes. If a nonroot user attempts to send signals to processes that she does
not own, the system returns error messages. On the other hand, the root user may send signals to
all processes in the system. This means that when using the kill command, the root user needs to
exercise great care to avoid accidentally killing the wrong process!
Miscellaneous Tools
If this book were devoted to the commands available in your Linux system, the tools
discussed in this section would each fit into specific categories. But since this overview
is focused on only the most important tools for day-to-day administrative chores, the
following tools are lumped together under “miscellaneous.” However, even though
this section declines to classify them under their own specific categories, that doesn’t
mean the tools are not important!
uname: Show the System Name
The uname program allows you to learn some details about a system. This tool is
often helpful when you’ve managed to log in remotely to a dozen different computers
and have lost track of where you are. This tool is also helpful for script writers since
it allows them to change the path of a script based on the system information. The
command-line parameters for uname are listed in Table 21-12.
Print the machine hardware type (for example, i686 for Pentium Pro
and better architectures).
Print the machine’s hostname.
Print the operating system’s release name.
Print the operating system’s name.
Print the operating system’s version.
Print all of the preceding information.
Table 21-12. Common uname Command Options
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
For example, to get the operating system’s name and release type, enter the following:
[[email protected] /root]# uname -s -r
It might appear odd that uname prints such things as the operating system name
when the user obviously will know that the name is Linux. However, such information
is actually quite useful because you can find uname across almost all UNIX-like
operating systems. Thus, if you are at an SGI workstation and enter uname -s, the tool
will return IRIX; if you enter the command at a Sun workstation, it would return SunOS;
and so on. People who work in heterogeneous environments often find it useful to write
their scripts such that they behave differently depending on the operating system type,
and uname provides a wonderfully consistent way to determine that information.
who: Find Out Who Is Logged In
When administering systems that allow people to log in to other people’s machines or
set up servers, you will want to know who is logged in. To generate a report listing the
users currently logged in, use the who command, as follows:
[[email protected]]# who
This command will generate a report similar to the following:
su: Switch Users
Once you have logged in to the system as one user, you do not need to log back out
and then log in again to assume another identity (for example, if you logged in as
yourself and want to become the root user). Simply use the su command to switch to
another user. This command has only two command-line parameters, both of which are
By default, running su without any parameters results in an attempt to become the
root user. For example, if you are logged in as yourself and want to switch to the root
user, type the following:
[[email protected] ~]$ su
Linux will prompt you for the root password; if you enter the password correctly,
Linux then drops down to a root shell.
If you are the root user and want to take the identity of another user, you do not
need to enter that user’s password. For example, if you are logged in as root and want
to switch over to user sshah, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# su sshah
Chapter 21:
Introduction to Linux Systems Administration
You can use the dash (-) as an optional parameter. This character tells su not only to
switch identities, but to run the login scripts for that user as well. For example, if you
are logged in as root and want to switch to user sshah with all of his login and shell
configurations, type the following:
[[email protected] /root]# su - sshah
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you first learned about setting some of the key server settings using the
built-in graphical tools in Fedora Linux. Then you learned about the Linux command
line and how to control the system using it.
Of course, this chapter didn’t cover everything you need to know about Linux
system administration. But given what you learned here, you should be able to perform
basic administrative duties and find your way through the operating system.
The easiest way to gain more information is to spend time playing with both the
command-line tools and the various System Tools programs. The graphical tools are
capable of so much more than was shown here. In fact, for simple servers it is possible
to perform system maintenance using the graphical tools alone! The command line, on
the other hand, is the core of Linux’s flexibility.
If you want to learn more about systems administration for Linux, be sure to
check out Linux Administration: A Beginner’s Guide, Third Edition, by Steven Graham
(McGraw-Hill/Professional, 2002).
Now that you’ve learned about installing Linux and about administering a Linux
system, in the next chapter you learn about installing one of the most common network
services that are run under Linux; an Apache web server.
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Chapter 22
Setting Up a Linux Web
Server with Apache
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
ne of the most popular web server applications is the Apache web server,
a free program that runs under a variety of operating systems, including
Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, and NetWare. The Apache web server is
a robust, proven platform on which to host a web site. The fact that it is open source
and available for free, running on the UNIX-like operating system Linux, which is
also often available for free, is a huge plus, and no doubt helps drive its continuing
This chapter introduces the Apache web server. You learn the basics that you need
to install it, find web-based resources to support it, and set up a basic web site on a
Fedora Linux system.
Overview of Apache Web Server
The Apache web server started out as a small development at the National Center for
Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in the early 1990s. Beginning as a very simple
UNIX daemon (pronounced the same as “demon”), it was initially programmed by
Rob McCool. McCool left NCSA in 1994, and the project began to be extended by a
number of different programmers, some of whom added packages (modules) to the core
program to enable it to support new web technologies. In those days, the web server
was referred to as “patchy,” because it kept getting new patches to correct problems or
extend functionality. Eventually, it came to be called the Apache web server.
Version 1.0 of the Apache web server was released to the public at the end of 1995,
and by 1996 was the most popular web server on the Internet. The latest statistics at the
time this chapter was written (available from
server_survey.html) reveal that Apache is being used to host approximately 50 percent
(more than 113 million web sites) of the active web sites on the Internet. Microsoft’s IIS
is in second place, with around 25 percent (about 56 million web sites).
The Apache HTTP Server project is presently coordinated through the Apache
Software Foundation (, a nonprofit corporation formed in 1999.
Apache is unlike most other server applications in that it is not a graphical program
(despite the fact that its main purpose is to serve up graphical web pages) and has
no graphical installation routine. Instead, Apache runs as a background process, or
daemon, on the operating system, which is typically called httpd (Hypertext Transfer
Protocol daemon). The management of an Apache web server is handled by editing its
text-based configuration files, and by stopping and starting the daemon to cause any
changes to those configuration files to take effect.
The fact that Apache is text-based and is administered through a command-line
interface should not daunt you. It is straightforward to install and administer an
Apache web server, and you should have no trouble doing so. In fact, if you followed
the Fedora Linux installation instructions in Chapter 20, you already have Apache
installed on that computer, and you just need to activate it (it is not turned on by
default in a Fedora installation), as described in the next section.
Chapter 22:
Setting Up a Linux Web Server with Apache
Activating Apache Web Server Under Fedora
The simplest way to install Apache web server under Fedora Linux is to perform a default
installation using the Fedora Linux installation routine, as described in Chapter 20. After
Fedora is installed, you can start and test Apache with the following steps:
1. Open a terminal emulation window.
2. Change to the superuser (root):
3. Provide the root password when prompted.
4. Type the following command to start Apache:
apachectl start
5. Create a simple HTML file in the location /var/www/html/ and save the file
as index.html. (Note that, by default, you must be the root user to create or
modify files in /var/www/html.)
6. Open a web browser and navigate to the address http://localhost/. The file
you saved as index.html should appear in the web browser, showing that
Apache is up and running.
Downloading and Installing Apache Web Server
If you did not install Apache under Linux (for example, if you are using a distribution
of Linux that does not come with Apache), you can download the latest version and
install it manually.
To download the latest version of Apache, use a web browser to go to http:// Open the Binaries folder, open the folder representing
the operating system you are using (Linux or RPM, for Red Hat Package Manager),
and then choose the appropriate package from the list that appears. The packages are
organized by the Apache version (which is also shown as part of the filenames), the
processor, and the operating system. For example, you might download a file called
httpd-2.2.3-i386.rpm (representing version 2.2.3 of Apache for 32-bit Intel-based systems
running Linux and that use the RPM installation format) into a temporary directory on
your Linux system.
After you’ve downloaded the package, you can install the Apache web server and
start it, as follows:
1. Open a terminal emulation window.
2. Type the following to change to the directory that contains the downloaded
Apache binary file:
cd / directory
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
3. Unzip the gz file using the following command (substitute the actual filename
of the file you downloaded):
gunzip filename.tar.gz
4. Untar the resulting .tar file with the following command (substituting the actual filename found in the directory after performing step 3; you can use the ls
command to see its name):
tar -xvf filename.tar
5. The tar command in step 4 creates a directory that has the same name as the
name and version portion of the tar file. Change to that directory, as follows
(change the command to match your downloaded version):
cd /httpd-2.2.3
6. Run the Apache configuration script by entering the following command (it
will take only a few seconds to run):
7. Now you need to prepare the binaries by compiling them. This takes two commands, each of which might take several minutes to complete:
make install
8. At this point, Apache is installed but not yet running. To start Apache, execute
the following command from any directory:
/usr/local/apache/bin/apachectl start
To test your Apache installation, you can use the ps command to verify that the
daemons are running:
ps -e |more
The ps command will display all running processes. Because the preceding
command pipes the output of ps -e through the more command, you might need to
press the spacebar a number of times to see all of the running processes. In the output,
you should see one or more copies of a process called httpd, which is the Apache
daemon. You might see many of these processes, because Apache usually starts a
number of them, depending on the computer on which you have installed Apache, but
this is perfectly normal.
After you’ve verified that Apache has started, you can also test it using a web
browser. Enter either of the following web addresses:
Chapter 22:
Setting Up a Linux Web Server with Apache
Both of these commands access any running web server on the computer on which
they are used. (Remember that the address is always shorthand for the local
computer, as is the name localhost.)
You should also be able to access the page from another computer. Assuming that
the computer on which you installed Apache has an IP address of, the
following web address should bring up the page:
If you cannot access the page from a remote computer, but can on the local computer,
you should check basic IP connectivity using the PING command and typical network
troubleshooting techniques. It’s also possible that you have a firewall running on the
machine with Apache on it, and the firewall is preventing access.
Administering Apache Web Server
You will need to perform a number of basic administrative tasks on an Apache server,
not the least of which is publishing a web site onto your newly installed Apache web
server. This section briefly describes basic administrative tasks.
Stopping and Starting Apache
You use a script file called apachectl to start and stop the server. For a default Fedora
installation, the apachectl file is located in the /usr/sbin directory and takes three main
parameters: start, stop, and restart. For example, the following command will restart
the server:
/usr/sbin/apachectl restart
Changing the Apache Configuration
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, Apache is essentially controlled through text-based
configuration files, the main one of which is called httpd.conf. The httpd.conf file is
located in the /etc/httpd/conf/ directory.
The httpd.conf file works through the use of plain-text directives contained in the
file, along with the associated settings. For example, the following directive defines
where Apache is installed:
ServerRoot "/etc/httpd"
If you wanted to move the Apache installation to a different directory on your
Linux computer, you could certainly do so, but you would want to be careful to change
the ServerRoot setting before attempting to restart Apache in its new location.
NOTE For any changes to the httpd.conf file to take effect, you must restart Apache using the
apachectl restart command.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
The httpd.conf file is divided into three main sections:
Global environment
Main server configuration
Virtual hosts
Each of these sections contains a large number of directives that control how
Apache works.
When learning about Apache, you should spend some time studying the contents
of the httpd.conf file and reading the extensive comments included in the file. You
should also look up the various directives in the online Apache documentation
(, to get more information than provided by the
comments in the httpd.conf file.
Publishing Web Pages
By default (for Apache version 2), the main web site published by Apache is located in
the /var/www/html directory, and this directory is blank.
Once you are ready to publish a complete web site, you can place the files into /var/
www/html with the home page stored as index.html. The easiest way to do this is to
connect to the computer running Apache by using the FTP program, and then upload
the web site’s files, either directly to the /var/www/html directory or to a temporary
directory on the server’s hard disk. Once in the temporary directory, you can move them
to the correct location on the server itself using the mv or cp commands (these, among a
number of other useful Linux/UNIX commands, are covered in Chapter 21).
Chapter Summary
Most networking professionals will need to set up and maintain a web server in the
course of their work. All server platforms have web servers available for them. An
excellent web server that is available for just about all platforms is the Apache web
server. As you saw in this chapter, Apache is easy to install, administer, and get up and
running. If you have followed the instructions in the previous chapters and have set
up Fedora Linux on a test system, I recommend that you also follow the steps in this
chapter and set up and run Apache. Then add some files for a simple web site to it and
browse the web server first from the computer on which it’s running, and then from
another computer on the network.
This chapter was intended to get you started with the Apache web server. If this is an
area in which you wish to gain greater expertise, you will find more details in resources
devoted to Apache server. Two books in this area that might interest you are Apache Server
2.0: A Beginner’s Guide, by Kate Wrightson (McGraw-Hill/Professional, 2001) and Apache
Server 2.0: The Complete Reference, by Ryan Bloom (McGraw-Hill/Professional, 2002).
Chapter 23
to Virtualization
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
ne of the most exciting areas to develop in networking over the past several
years is virtualization, which is a method of creating multiple virtual machines
on a single computer. These virtual machines operate as if they were running
on their own computer, and the computer’s actual resources—its processor, hard disk
space, network connection, and other hardware—are virtualized so that they can be
shared among the various virtual machines.
This chapter introduces virtualization. It discusses some of the main benefits
of virtualization, and then provides of an overview of Microsoft’s and VMware’s
virtualization offerings. To get you started, the chapter walks you through a VMware
Server installation, along with the setup of an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine.
Benefits of Virtualization
The ability to virtualize computers can pay rich dividends. The following are some of
the chief benefits of virtualization:
More efficient use of server resources As noted in previous chapters,
dedicating one server application per computer is the most reliable way to
provide the services, and it’s more maintainable as well. However, you often
will have server applications that don’t use that many server resources. For
instance, you may have a web server that is used by 30 to 40 people within
your organization on an occasional basis. With virtualization, however, you
can run multiple virtual machines—all completely independent from one
another—on a single server and more efficiently utilize the server’s resources.
Ability to run multiple operating systems on a single computer With
virtualization, there is a host operating system, which is the operating system
installed on the computer itself, and guest operating systems, which are the
operating systems installed within each virtual machine. So you can, for
instance, have a Windows Server 2008 host operating system installed on a
computer, and then run operating systems like Windows XP, Ubuntu Linux,
Windows Vista, or Sun Solaris within the virtual machines themselves. Or you
can have Linux installed on a computer, and then have a variety of Linux and
Windows operating systems running within virtual machines. You can even
have no host operating system, and instead install what is called a hypervisor,
which is a bare-bones operating system that just supports virtual machines.
Ease of moving virtual machines You can easily move virtual machines from
one virtual server to another, in order to better manage and balance resources
like disk space, RAM, and processor utilization.
Reduced power requirements You can reduce the energy required to run
your IT infrastructure. By consolidating servers, your power requirements are
Chapter 23:
Introduction to Virtualization
Simplified maintenance When you put a lot of applications on a single server
operating system, it becomes difficult to maintain each individual application
without affecting the others. For example, if you upgrade an application and
need to restart the server, you must restart the whole server, affecting all of the
other jobs it may be doing. With a virtual machine setup, you can easily restart
individual virtual machines without affecting how the other machines operate,
and without interrupting their services.
Introducing Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V
Microsoft now offers Hyper-V technology within Windows Server 2008 64-bit edition, at
no additional charge. Hyper-V is a full-featured hypervisor that runs within the Windows
Server 2008 environment, and allows you to create and manage virtual machines within
Windows Server 2008. This provides an easy way for a Windows 2008 Server-based
organization to easily start using virtualization.
Microsoft’s Hyper-V supports a single host operating system, of course: Windows
Server 2008 64-bit. It supports the following guest operating systems:
Windows Server 2008 (64- and 32-bit)
Windows Server 2003 (64- and 32-bit)
Windows Server 2000
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (64- and 32-bit)
Windows Vista (64- and 32-bit)
Windows XP Professional (64- and 32-bit)
These are the supported operating systems. Note that variants, such as other
distributions of Linux, may—and often do—work perfectly fine.
Microsoft is dramatically expanding its virtualization efforts, but as of the publication
of this book, they are not as mature as VMware offerings, which are described next.
Using VMware Virtualization Products
Currently, VMware has the most mature virtualization infrastructure available. VMware
has a wide variety of products designed to help companies of any size manage virtual
machines. And two powerful virtualization products are offered for free:
VMware Server, which is a full virtualization product designed to install onto a
wide variety of host operating systems
VMware ESXi, which is a small (32MB) hypervisor that is installed directly
onto a bare-metal computer, and can efficiently host guest operating systems
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
One of the nice features of VMware Server is that it is supported on a wide variety
of host operating systems, including many that are designed as client operating
systems. This means that you can install VMware Server onto, say, Windows Vista,
and then install the full range of guest operating systems within virtual machines. This
allows IT professionals to run a wide variety of operating systems, or to test various
operating system and application combinations, without even starting with a server
operating system.
VMware Server and ESXi require that they be installed on a computer that has a
processor capable of supporting virtualization. Fortunately, virtually every Intel or
AMD processor available these days supports virtualization. VMware Server can also
be installed onto either 32-bit or 64-bit processors. However, keep in mind that if you
want to install a 64-bit guest operating system in a virtual machine, the host operating
system must also be 64 bits.
VMware Server supports the following host operating systems:
Windows Server 2008 (64- and 32-bit)
Windows Server 2003 (64- and 32-bit, including Small Business Server)
Windows 2000 Server
Various 64- and 32-bit versions of Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu, Mandrake, and
Mandriva Linux operating systems (the detailed list of supported versions
changes, so consult VMware documentation for the version you wish to install)
VMware Server supports the following guest operating systems:
Windows Server 2008 (64- and 32-bit)
Windows Server 2003 (64- and 32-bit, including Small Business Server)
Windows 2000 Server
Windows Vista (64- and 32-bit)
Windows XP Professional (64- and 32-bit)
Mandrake, Mandriva, Red Hat, SUSE, openSUSE, Open Enterprise Server, and
Ubuntu Linux
Sun Solaris
Novell NetWare
As with the Hyper-V list, these are the supported operating systems. Variants, such
as other distributions of Linux, may work. For example, while writing this book, I had
Chapter 23:
Introduction to Virtualization
no problems installing and extensively using VMware Server on Windows Vista 64-bit
as a host operating system.
Downloading and Installing VMware Server
To download VMware Server, go to You
will need to register on VMware’s site during the download process, and you will then
be given a serial number to install both VMware for Windows and VMware for Linux.
You can download whichever version matches your host operating system.
NOTE The example in this chapter uses VMware Server 2.0.1 installed onto Windows Vista 64-bit.
Windows Vista is not an officially supported host operating system; however, for experimental/
learning purposes it should work fine. For production purposes, you should use a supported host
operating system.
The installation of VMware Server 2 is actually very straightforward. You’re prompted
for where you wish to install it, and also for the machine name and the IP ports to use
for remote access to the VMware management console. For all of these settings, you can
accept the default choices provided.
Once the installation of VMware Server completes, you will need to restart the system.
Accessing the VMware Server Management Console
VMware Server’s management console is accessed through Internet Explorer. Once
VMware Server is installed, a copy of the Tomcat web server is also installed onto
the local machine, and it is Tomcat that serves up the VMware web pages to Internet
NOTE If you install VMware Server 2 onto Windows Vista as the host operating system, you
need to create an administrator-class account named Admin on the machine in order to log in to
the VMware Server management console. You do this through the standard Windows Vista Control
Panel tools for managing local machine user accounts.
You can find the URL for the management console in the system’s Start menu,
under /Programs/VMware/VMware Server/VMware Server Home Page. You can
also enter the URL into Internet Explorer, and then bookmark it into Internet Explorer
as an alternate way of accessing it. Enter the following URL:
https://<local machine name>:8333/ui/
The login page for VMware Server will appear, as shown in Figure 23-1.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 23-1. Logging in to VMware Server
Figure 23-2 shows the main management console, which appears after you’ve
logged in to VMware Server using an administrative account.
Creating a Virtual Machine for Ubuntu Linux
In this example, you will see how easy it is to create a virtual machine running Ubuntu
Linux as a guest operating system. You will install Ubuntu from a CD image file (an
ISO file). You can download the current version of Ubuntu Linux from http://www I recommend downloading the desktop version of Ubuntu Linux, rather
than the server version (the server version uses only a text-based console).
Chapter 23:
Introduction to Virtualization
Figure 23-2. Use the VMware Server management console to manage your virtual environment.
Before beginning, you will need to place a copy of the Ubuntu ISO file into
the VMware datastore. The datastore is where the virtual machines you create with
VMware Server will be stored. The location of the VMware datastore appears on the
VMware Server management console, listed in the Datastores pane on the Summary
tab. If the location that VMware’s installation chose for the storage of your virtual
machine is not to your liking, you can create a new datastore, and then remove
the default standard datastore (or simply not use it). Figure 23-3 shows the Add
Datastore dialog box.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 23-3. Creating a new VMware datastore
Virtual machines are created using a wizard-like process that walks you through
making all the appropriate choices. Here are the steps:
1. Click the Create Virtual Machine link in the VMware Server console’s Command
pane. You see the Create Virtual Machine screen, as shown in Figure 23-4.
2. On the Name and Location page, name the virtual machine you will create.
In this example, I’ve named it Ubuntu 9.0.3. You should also verify that the
correct datastore has been selected (if you have more than one). Click Next to
Chapter 23:
Figure 23-4.
Introduction to Virtualization
Starting to create a virtual machine
3. On the Guest Operating System page, shown in Figure 23-5, first select the
appropriate type of guest operating system that will run in the virtual machine.
In the Version drop-down list, you will see that a wide variety of supported
guest Linux versions are available, including some choices for generic Linux
distributions. Select the version that is closest to that of your guest operating
system. Then click Next to continue.
4. On the Memory and Processors page, shown in Figure 23-6, based on the guest
operating system you chose in the preceding step, VMware will propose a suggested value for the amount of RAM to give it. You can accept this amount or
change it. Note that you can increase this amount later if necessary.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 23-5. Choosing the guest operating system
NOTE The amount of RAM you allocate to the virtual machine will come from the host computer’s
available RAM and, while the virtual machine is running, will not be available for the host operating
system. Therefore, you do not want to allocate all of the computer’s installed RAM to the virtual
machine, as then the host operating system would not have enough RAM to do its work, and it
would likely thrash its virtual memory file and become unusable. On the other hand, you don’t
want to allocate too little RAM to the virtual machine, particularly if you know you’ll be performing
memory-intensive actions within the virtual machine, as then the virtual machine wouldl run poorly.
As a general rule, unless you’re limited in the amount of installed RAM on the computer, or if you’re
planning on running many parallel virtual machines at the same time, I recommend increasing the
amount of RAM allocated by 50 to 100 percent of the default suggested by VMware.
Chapter 23:
Figure 23-6.
Introduction to Virtualization
Setting the amount of RAM for the guest operating system
5. If you’re using a multicore or multiprocessor computer, you can select how
many processors the virtual machine can monopolize while it’s running.
Unlike the amount of RAM, which can be easily changed later, the choice you
make for the number of processors to allocate should not be changed without
re-creating the virtual machine from scratch. This is because when you install
a guest operating system, the guest operating system installation will often
be installed to support the number of processors it originally detects. If you
increase or decrease the number of processors allocated to the virtual machine,
the guest operating system may no longer start or operate properly. After making your RAM and processor choices, click Next.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 23-7. Choosing your virtual disk
6. From the Hard Disk page, shown in Figure 23-7, you can choose to create a
new virtual disk or use an existing one. The hard disk for a virtual machine is
actually a file stored on the real hard disk of the host operating system. All of
the guest operating system’s files will be stored in that virtual hard disk file.
From the perspective of the virtual machine, it has a hard disk installed with
a size that you specify. From the perspective of the host operating system, it’s
just a single file stored in the VMware datastore location. For almost all virtual
machines, you will need to create a virtual hard disk, and this example is no
exception. Click Create a New Disk.
7. On the Properties page for the hard disk, shown in Figure 23-8, you can set a
number of properties for creating a virtual hard disk. Choose from the following choices, and then click Next.
Size of the virtual hard disk VMware will, based on the operating
system you’ve selected, propose a size for the virtual hard disk. While it
is possible to increase this later, it can be difficult to do so. Accordingly, I
recommend that you set the size to be larger than you think you need.
Chapter 23:
Figure 23-8.
Introduction to Virtualization
Setting virtual hard disk properties
File options If you select the checkbox Allocate All Disk Space Now,
VMware will create a virtual hard disk file that is the size you selected.
Otherwise, VMware will automatically expand the virtual hard disk file’s
size as the space is used. The trade-off is that if you choose to allocate the
space immediately, the virtual hard disk may consume much more space
on the host system’s hard disk than it is actually using. On the other hand,
if the space is allocated immediately, then the performance of creating
files or writing new blocks to the disk will be much faster, because the
space is already allocated. I recommend leaving this checkbox unchecked,
but choosing a size that is comfortably larger than you think you need.
This way, you efficiently use actual hard disk space, and the automatic
expansion process is generally not a huge price to pay for most uses.
Independent disk mode This option allows you to configure a virtual
hard disk as independent of any snapshots you make of the virtual
machine. Note that you can have multiple virtual hard disks in each
virtual machine, and for some applications, you may want the one or more
of the virtual hard disks to not be part of the VMware snapshot process.
Generally, you will leave this option unselected.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Virtual device node This setting lets you choose whether VMware will
emulate a SCSI or IDE controller for the virtual hard disk you are creating,
and which virtualized controller interface number will be used. Realize
that the type of hard disk interface used on the host computer does not
matter here; VMware can run a virtual SCSI hard disk on a host computer
that has only IDE drives or vice versa. For this setting, VMware will
propose a virtual disk interface type based on the guest operating system
you chose, and you should generally accept the default choice.
Write caching You can set the virtual hard disk to optimize write
caching to optimize for data safety or for performance. In a production
environment, where the data stored on the virtual machine is important,
you should choose Safety. If you’re just experimenting with an operating
system and wouldn’t mind if you lost the files stored on it, you can choose
8. On the Network Adapter page, shown in Figure 23-9, you can choose to create
a virtual network adapter for the virtual machine. In most cases, you will need
to do this. Click Create a Network Adapter.
Figure 23-9. Choosing whether or not to add a network adapter
Chapter 23:
Figure 23-10.
Introduction to Virtualization
Setting network adapter properties
9. On the Properties page for the network adapter, shown in Figure 23-10, you
can choose to create three types of network adapters. Select from the following
choices, and then click Next.
Bridged This is the default choice and is best for most applications.
A bridged virtual network adapter makes use of the host computer’s
network adapter, but it obtains its own IP address from the appropriate
DHCP server, or it can have an IP address manually assigned to it. The
main thing to keep in mind is that if you run many virtual machines
simultaneously, each one with a bridged virtual network adapter will use
one of the available IP addresses on your network.
Network Address Translation (NAT) When you choose a NAT virtual
network adapter, the virtual machine makes use of the IP and MAC
addresses of the host computer when it communicates on the network. If
you are running various servers as virtual machines, a NAT configuration
can be difficult to set up, as you would need to configure port forwarding
so that the packets are properly routed to the appropriate virtual machine.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
For instance, if you have a web server running in a virtual machine that is
using a NAT virtual network interface, you would need to configure the
host operating system to forward incoming port 80 (and maybe port 443)
packets to that virtual machine. If the virtual machine is running only
client-type systems, however, then NAT would help conserve IP addresses
on the local network.
HostOnly Choosing HostOnly creates a virtual network on the host
computer. Virtual machines that use this type of virtual network adapter
can communicate over the network, but only to other running virtual
machines on the host computer or to the host computer itself.
10. On the CD/DVD Drive page, shown in Figure 23-11, choose how to access the
CD/DVD drive. VMware Server can either share access to the host computer’s
CD/DVD drive or it can emulate a CD or DVD drive by connecting to an image
file (ISO) stored on the host computer, within the VMware datastore. If the guest
operating system download already exists on the host computer as an image
file, then choosing this option is very convenient, and means you don’t need
Figure 23-11.
Setting CD/DVD drive access
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Introduction to Virtualization
to burn the image file to a piece of optical media. If you are installing a guest
operating system that you have on a CD or DVD, then you should create a new
virtual CD or DVD drive by choosing Use a Physical Disk. For this example,
since you’re probably installing Ubuntu Linux from a downloaded image file,
you should choose Use an ISO Image. Once Ubuntu is fully installed, you can
change this to give the virtual machine access to the host computer’s CD or
DVD drives, if you wish.
11. When you choose Use an ISO Image, you see the Properties page for the
CD/DVD drive, as shown in Figure 23-12. Click Browse, and select the ISO file
that you placed in the VMware datastore. Make sure that the Connect at Power
On option is selected, so that the new virtual machine will be able to boot from
the image file, which it will need to do to install the guest operating system.
Click Next to continue.
Figure 23-12.
Setting the CD/DVD drive properties
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Figure 23-13.
Setting floppy drive access
12. On the Floppy Drive page, shown in Figure 23-13, you can choose how to access the floppy drive. If you need to run a legacy program that needs to make
use of a diskette drive installed on the host system or use a diskette image file
(.FLP), you can create a virtual floppy drive (the process is similar to creating
a CD/DVD drive). Since diskette drives are increasingly rare and are unlikely
to be needed for this virtual machine, you can click Don’t Add a Floppy Drive
and then Next to continue.
13. On the USB Controller page, shown in Figure 23-14, you can choose whether
or not to add a USB controller. If you would like the virtual machine to be able
to read and write to USB devices connected to the host computer, select Add a
USB Controller. There are no further options to configure if you choose to add a
USB controller. Click Next to move to the final page of the virtual disk creation
14. You will see the confirmatory page shown in Figure 23-15. If any choices need to
be changed, you can click Back and revise your answers. Otherwise, click Finish
to create the virtual machine. Provided that you did not choose to allocate all
disk space immediately, the virtual machine should be created within a minute
or so, and you will return to the VMware Server management console.
Chapter 23:
Figure 23-14.
Choosing whether or not to add a USB controller
Figure 23-15.
Completing the virtual machine creation
Introduction to Virtualization
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Running Ubuntu Linux in the Virtual Machine
Now that you’ve created the Ubuntu virtual machine, from the main VMware
management console, click the virtual machine in the Inventory pane, which will
then display the details of the virtual machine, as shown in Figure 23-16.
If you made any mistakes, you can change the virtual machine parameters in the
Hardware pane by clicking the various drop-down boxes. Otherwise, all you need to
do is power on the virtual machine by clicking the Power On link in the Commands
pane. Doing this starts the virtual machine, but you will not automatically see what
is happening in the virtual machine. To do that, click the Console tab, and then click
within the Console pane to open the console window.
Since the virtual machine’s virtual hard disk is blank, and since you’ve connected
the Ubuntu image file to the virtual machine, the virtual machine will boot from that
image file, just as any computer would under those circumstances (bootable CD or
DVD inserted, and blank hard disk). The Ubuntu image file is what is known as a live
CD. It boots up a functional copy of Ubuntu, which you will see in the VMware console
window, as shown in Figure 23-17.
Figure 23-16.
Viewing the details of the Ubuntu virtual machine
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Introduction to Virtualization
Figure 23-17. The Ubuntu live CD running in a virtual machine
Ubuntu is not yet “installed” into the virtual machine. The live CD version is
instead running purely from the virtual CD-ROM. Accordingly, any files you create,
applications you install, or changes you make to Ubuntu will not be saved. In order
to make the virtual machine contain a fully functioning copy of Ubuntu, you need to
run the Ubuntu installation process. On the live CD desktop is a shortcut called Install.
Double-clicking it will begin the Ubuntu installation procedure. The detailed Ubuntu
installation procedure is not covered here, but it is similar to the installation of Fedora
Linux, which was discussed in Chapter 20.
NOTE When you install a guest operating system into a virtual machine, it’s just like installing it
onto a bare-metal computer. You will need to partition and format the hard disk for the virtual machine
during its installation, because the virtual hard disk starts out completely blank. The first time you
install a guest operating system into a virtual machine, you might be concerned that all of the typical
warnings about deleting the hard disk’s contents might possibly affect the host computer. However,
as long as you’re running in the virtual machine, only the virtual hard disk can be partitioned and
formatted by the guest operating system; your host system is completely insulated from the virtual
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
At this point, there are some particulars you should know about interacting with
the VMware virtual machine console. When you click in the console, the console
“owns” the host computer’s mouse and keyboard. To release the mouse and keyboard
so that you can interact with the host system, press CTRL+ALT. When you want to return
to the console, just click in it again. Also, rather than press CTRL+ALT+DELETE for a virtual
machine, you press CTRL+ALT+INSERT. CTRL+ALT+DELETE is always interpreted by VMware
as being intended for the host operating system.
Installing VMware Tools
After creating a virtual machine and installing the guest operating system into it, one
of the first things you should do is to install VMware Tools into the virtual machine.
The VMware Tools set helps make the virtual machines operate much more efficiently
(especially for graphics operations).
The VMware Tools package is part of VMware Server, and installing it is fairly
easy. To do so, when the virtual machine is running, navigate to the virtual machine’s
Summary tab, as shown in Figure 23-18. In the Status pane, you will see a link labeled
Figure 23-18.
Choose the Install VMware Tools link on the virtual machine’s Summary tab.
Chapter 23:
Introduction to Virtualization
Install VMware Tools. Selecting this link immediately mounts a virtual CD-ROM into
the virtual machine, which contains the software that you need to install.
The VMware Tools virtual CD contains versions for Windows and Linux guest
operating systems, both of which typically will automatically display the virtual CD’s
contents. For example, Figure 23-19 shows the result in the Ubuntu virtual machine of
selecting the Install VMware Tools option from the VMware management console.
TIP When you install VMware Tools, you no longer need to press CTRL+ALT to release your mouse
and keyboard from the virtual machine console. Instead, you can interact with the console and the
guest operating system as if it were another window on the host computer’s desktop.
Figure 23-19.
VMware Tools in the Ubuntu virtual machine
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Backing Up Virtual Machine Data
In a production environment, you need to consider how you intend to back up the data
on your virtual machines. There are several approaches:
You can shut down or suspend the virtual machines, and copy the entire virtual
machine file from its location in your datastore to some sort of backup media.
If the virtual machine contains a number of installed applications but little
changing data, then this can be a good backup strategy. (Note also that virtual
machines can be moved between computers, so to recover a virtual machine,
all you need to do is move it to a computer running a compatible version of
VMware Server, and then import the virtual machine file and start it up.)
From within the virtual machine, you can set up a process to copy its data files
to another location on your network, which in turn might be backed up onto
a tape drive or other backup media.
Most of the higher-end backup software solutions sell add-on products that let
you back up files from within VMware virtual machines.
Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned the essentials of virtualization, and the benefits it can bring
to networks. You learned about inexpensive virtualization solutions from Microsoft and
VMware, and you learned how to set up a virtual machine in VMware Server running
Ubuntu Linux.
Virtualization has become very important in business networking, because ultimately
it helps companies do more with less (a common corporate mantra). Accordingly, it is
important that people working in the networking field understand virtualization, the
benefits it can bring, and how to work with it. If you didn’t actually set up a VMware
Server system as outlined in this chapter, I strongly recommend that you do so at some
point. There’s no substitute for actually experiencing how powerful and useful virtual
machines can be.
Understanding the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
uring 2001 and 2002, a number of large accounting scandals—involving
companies like Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and Tyco—rocked the
business world. These various scandals, which substantially reduced investor
confidence in the U.S. equity markets, resulted in Congress passing a law called the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, also known as SarbOx
or SOX, establishes a framework that governs the accuracy and fairness of financial
reporting for publicly traded companies in the United States, and implements a
number of rules to help reduce the potential for accounting fraud.
Because information technology (IT) systems and processes play an important role
in a company’s accounting and reporting duties, the IT department is a critical part of
a company achieving SOX compliance. Almost all of the impact from SOX that affects
IT departments comes from a single section of SOX, called Section 404. However,
before exploring the effects of Section 404 on IT departments, it is helpful for you to
understand the basic contents of SOX.
This appendix begins with a summary of SOX, and then covers key procedures for
an IT internal control system, including compliance testing. The final section presents
some examples of IT standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Sarbanes-Oxley Act Summary
SOX is divided into 11 main parts called titles, each further broken down into a number
of sections. Each title contains between one and nine sections.
NOTE You can download the entire text of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 from the Public
Company Accounting Oversight Board web site ( On the home page
is a link to a PDF containing the full text of SOX. You can also use a search engine to look for
“Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002,” which should provide some alternative links from which you can
download SOX.
Title I: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
Title I mandates that a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) be
established. The PCAOB oversees the auditing of public companies. This includes
setting up rules that control the auditing, quality control, ethics, independence, and
other standards relating to audit reports.
Under Title I, all public accounting firms must register with the PCAOB. Each
accounting firm must provide the PCAOB with details on which public companies
it audits, the fees it earns, and any complaints or adverse actions against the public
accounting firm. Title I also includes a number of administrative details about the
PCAOB, such as the composition of the board, how long the members serve, and so
Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Title II: Auditor Independence
Title II specifies rules that are designed to increase the independence of public
accounting firms and help ensure that their audit opinions are not clouded by other
business dealings they may have with the company being audited. It includes the
following rules:
The accounting firm may not provide, at the same time as its audit, any
bookkeeping, computer system design or implementation, valuation services,
actuarial services, or other nonaudit services for the company being audited.
The accounting firm may provide some nonaudit services that are not
specifically prohibited for the company being audited, provided the company’s
audit committee expressly approves such engagements.
The accounting firm’s partner that is engaged with the company being audited
must be rotated to another partner every five years.
The key financial executives (CEO, CFO, and Controller) of the company being
audited cannot have worked for the accounting firm for a one-year period
prior to the audit.
Title III: Corporate Responsibility
Title III of SOX sets a number of rules regarding corporate responsibility. These rules, if
they are not followed, can result in a public company’s stock being removed from the
relevant stock exchange (such as NYSE or NASDAQ).
Section 301 covers public company audit committees, as follows:
Audit committees are directly responsible for the appointment, compensation,
and oversight of the accounting firm providing audit services, and for
resolving any differences in opinion between the audit firm and the
management of the company regarding accounting treatments and
Accounting firms that are providing audit services to a company must report
directly to the audit committee of the board of directors.
Members of an audit committee cannot accept any nonboard fees from the
company for which they serve on the board of directors, and they cannot be
“an affiliated person” of the company or any of its subsidiaries.
The audit committee must set up procedures for the receipt, retention, and
treatment of complaints received by the company regarding accounting,
internal accounting controls, or auditing matters. This is sometimes called a
“whistleblower” system.
NOTE An audit committee is a subset of a company’s board of directors. This committee is
charged with ensuring the accuracy of the company’s financial reports and for reviewing key
accounting and financial policies.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Section 302 mandates that the principal executive officer (usually the CEO) and the
principal financial officer (usually the CFO) certify each annual or quarterly report that
is filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These certifications
must state the following:
The certifying officer has reviewed the report.
Based on the officer's knowledge, the report does not contain any untrue
statement of material facts, and does not fail to state any material facts that
could result in the report being misleading.
The officer has evaluated the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls
within 90 days of the report’s date.
The officers have presented in the periodic report their conclusions about the
effectiveness of the internal controls of the company.
The officers have disclosed to the audit committee and to the auditors all
significant deficiencies regarding the operation of the company’s internal
controls, which could adversely affect the company’s ability to record, process,
summarize, and report financial data, and that they have disclosed any
fraud, material or not, that involves management or employees who have a
significant role in the company’s internal controls.
The officers have disclosed any significant changes to the system of internal
controls used by the company, including any corrective actions that were taken
to address any weaknesses.
NOTE For public companies, a periodic report is their annual report on SEC form 10-K and their
quarterly reports on SEC form 10-Q.
Section 303 makes illegal any improper influence on the conduct of audits.
Specifically, it applies to any officer or director of the company, or any other person acting
under the direction of an officer or director, to take any action that fraudulently influences,
coerces, manipulates, or misleads the firm performing the audit of the company. I’ve
emphasized the words in the preceding sentence because this rule applies to anyone
who works with or provides information to the auditors, including IT personnel who
are involved in the company’s internal controls.
Section 304 states that the CEO and CFO must reimburse the company for any
bonus they have received, including equity-based compensation, if the company is
required to restate its financial reports as a result of any misconduct. (You can now see
why CEOs and CFOs take SOX compliance very seriously!)
Section 305 modifies the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to decrease the level of
unfitness of an officer or director that could bar that individual from serving as an
officer or director of a public company.
Section 306 bars directors and officers of a company from trading in the company’s
stock or stock options during times when a pension fund blackout is in effect.
Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Section 307 sets forth some professional obligations for any attorneys who represent
a company with the SEC. For example, they are required to report to the company’s
chief legal counsel or the CEO any evidence of a material violation of securities law or
breach of fiduciary duty. If those two individuals do not appropriately respond to the
evidence, then the attorney is required to report to the board of directors.
Section 308 discusses that any civil penalties that are obtained from a person be
added to any disgorgement of profits in a fund that is for the benefit of the victims of
the underlying violation.
Title IV: Enhanced Financial Disclosures
Title IV covers disclosures in periodic reports, and it includes the famous Section 404,
which impacts IT departments to a large extent.
Section 401 requires that financial statements include any material correcting
adjustments, that all material off-balance-sheet transactions be disclosed (Enron had a
number of very material off-balance-sheet transactions that were not disclosed), and
that any pro forma financial tables be presented in a way that is not misleading.
Section 402 prohibits public companies from making personal loans that are not a
routine part of the company’s business to any director or executive officer of a public
company. A bank, for instance, can make normal credit card, home, or auto loans to its
executives, provided that the terms are the same as it makes available to the general
Section 403 requires that all directors, officers, and principal stockholders report
any transactions in the company’s stock promptly.
Section 404, despite it being one of the shorter sections of SOX, has caused a lot of
headaches for accounting and IT departments. Because of its importance in these areas,
following is the entirety of Section 404.
(a) RULES REQUIRED.—The Commission shall prescribe rules requiring each annual report
required by section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C.
78m or 78o(d)) to contain an internal control report, which shall—
(1) state the responsibility of management for establishing and maintaining an adequate
internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting; and
(2) contain an assessment, as of the end of the most recent fiscal year of the issuer, of
the effectiveness of the internal control structure and procedures of the issuer for
financial reporting.
(b) INTERNAL CONTROL EVALUATION AND REPORTING.—With respect to the internal control
assessment required by subsection (a), each registered public accounting firm that prepares
or issues the audit report for the issuer shall attest to, and report on, the assessment made
by the management of the issuer. An attestation made under this subsection shall be made
in accordance with standards for attestation engagements issued or adopted by the Board.
Any such attestation shall not be the subject of a separate engagement.
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
In a nutshell, two items are mandated by Section 404:
The management of a company must set up an adequate system of internal
controls and regularly report its assessment of the effectiveness of the internal
controls in the company’s annual report.
The company’s auditors must examine the system of internal controls and
attest to their adequacy.
Later in this appendix, you’ll learn more about what Section 404 means in practice.
Section 405 exempts registered investment companies from Sections 401, 402, and 404.
Section 406 requires that a code of ethics be established for senior financial officers
of a company, and enumerates several items that must be part of the code of ethics.
Section 407 requires that each audit committee have at least one member who
qualifies as a “financial expert.”
Section 408 requires the SEC to review the disclosures made by public companies
and their financial statements.
Finally, Section 409 requires that any material financial changes be disclosed to the
public on a rapid and current basis, in plain English.
Titles V, VI, and VII
Titles V, VI, and VII are not applicable to most public companies. Title V, “Analyst
Conflicts of Interest,” concerns conflicts of interest for stock analysts. You may recall
that during the stock market bubble, stock analysts often spoke favorably about
offerings that were being handled by their firm, and in some cases received bonuses
based on how they moved the stock price. This, of course, is illegal besides being
Title VI, “Commission Resources and Authority,” discusses how the PCAOB is
Title VII, “Studies and Reports,” calls for a number of studies and reports of various
federal agencies, including the following:
The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) must conduct a study
examining the consolidation of public accounting firms.
The PCAOB must conduct a study regarding the role of credit rating agencies
and how they affect the stock market.
The PCAOB must study violations and violators of federal securities laws from
January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2001.
The PCAOB must study all SEC enforcement actions involving reporting
The GAO must conduct a study of investment banks and financial advisors,
and whether those parties helped companies manipulate their earnings and
hide their true financial condition.
Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Titles VIII, IX, X, and XI
The final titles of SOX do concern most companies, but probably won’t concern IT
personnel directly. Title VIII, “Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of
2002,” discusses audit document retention and penalties for destroying or altering
important documents. It also enhances federal sentencing guidelines for fraud and
obstruction of justice sentences. Finally, it protects “whistleblowers” of potential
violations of securities laws.
Title IX, “White-Collar Crime Penalty Enhancements,” does exactly as its name
suggests: increases penalties for a number of white-collar crimes.
Title X, “Corporate Tax Returns,” states that company tax returns should be signed
by the company’s CEO.
Title XI, “Corporate Fraud Accountability,” increases some other criminal penalties,
and allows the SEC to ban anyone found to have violated the securities laws from
serving as a director or officer of a public company, for as long as it determines.
About Internal Controls
Section 404 of SOX requires that public companies establish and evaluate a system
of internal controls. Internal controls consist of procedures the company uses to help
ensure the accuracy of financial reporting and minimize the chance of undetected
Most companies start with an existing framework of internal controls and then
modify it to better suit their particular needs and business. The most commonly used
framework for SOX compliance, and the one the SEC recommends, is one provided
by COSO, which stands for Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway
Commission (
COSO defines internal controls as a process, driven by a company’s board of
directors, management, and other professionals. The internal control process provides
reasonable assurance that the operation is efficient and effective, that financial reporting
is reliable, and that the company is complying with all applicable laws and regulations.
It’s important to note that any internal control process can provide only reasonable
assurances, not absolute assurances.
The team setting up a system of internal controls will examine all of the different
business process areas, such as the accounts payable (AP) process, the general ledger
process, or the IT process. Each of the processes will be analyzed to determine what
risks to inaccurate financial reporting exist, including the probability and impact of
each risk. From these risks will be generated a set of control objectives, which are
designed to avoid or prevent the risks, or to detect when a risk has occurred and reduce
its impact. For example, an AP process might have some of the following control
Invoices cannot be entered when they exceed 110 percent of the amount
entered by the purchasing department, without controller approval.
All invoices are charged to valid account numbers in the general ledger.
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An AP operator cannot release checks to vendors that have a “hold” status on
their account.
Uninvoiced receipts are reconciled every month.
Only authorized AP operators can access the AP functions in the accounting
The complexity of the business and the analysis by the people implementing the
internal control system will determine how many control objectives are put in place
for each process area. Even for a small public company, there may be 20 to 50 control
objectives for each business process. For a large enterprise, many more controls might
be in place.
NOTE Internal controls affect nearly every area of a business. Effective internal controls are
the responsibility of the managers of each process area (“process owners”), not the accounting or
internal audit department. A company's CEO and CFO are ultimately responsible for the adequacy
of the systems.
Key Procedures for an IT Internal Control System
An IT department’s internal control system should minimally consist of various
controls that support, either directly or indirectly, the controls of the areas involved in
financial reporting. Accordingly, once the control objectives are known for the other
areas of the business, the IT department can, with the assistance of the accounting or
internal audit function, design these supporting controls. An IT department can also
implement internal controls that help the IT department to function more effectively,
and these can be included in the IT department’s system of internal controls.
IT Department Narrative
One of the first documents that an IT department should write is a narrative that
overviews the IT department’s operations. This document is updated periodically,
and it is used by the external and internal auditors to quickly understand the overall
structure and operations of the IT department.
The narrative should contain enough information to allow the readers to quickly
familiarize themselves with the IT department and to understand its overall system of
controls. Suggested contents include the following:
IT organization chart, including a breakdown of key responsibilities of the
How duties are segregated
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A description of the computer systems in place, including servers, type of
network installed, and network operating systems used
A diagram of the network showing key equipment and the overall connection
scheme, and in particular, all routes into or out of the network such as primary
and backup Internet connections or private wide area network (WAN) links
How the network authenticates users, how permissions are managed, and how
users are created and terminated from the system
An overview of the disaster recovery capabilities of the IT department and any
business continuity plans
A description of the systems that are within the scope of the audit, such as the
accounting system, any payroll system, stock administration system, and so
Any custom software or modifications to in-scope systems
The logical access path from a user to the in-scope systems
A description of the change management process, including how changes are
authorized, documented, and tested
Disaster Recovery Plan
While not technically part of the system of internal controls, a disaster recovery plan
(also called a business continuity plan) is a document that a public company’s external
auditors will want to evaluate. They will be primarily concerned with details of how
the company’s critical business information is protected and how it could be accessed
in the event of a disaster. Accordingly, a disaster recovery plan should describe the
company’s backup systems in detail, including the following:
What sort of backup system is in use, in detail
If tapes are used, how they are rotated internally on a daily basis
What type of off-site secure storage is used, how tapes are rotated off-site, and
how rotations are documented
If a colocation scheme is in place, how it operates and how data is replicated
to the other location(s)
How the backup system is periodically tested to ensure that it is working as
designed, that it can restore data, and how the testing is documented
If backups are performed differently for in-scope systems, how they operate for
the in-scope systems (for example, general network backups are typically not
kept for extended periods of time, but backups of an enterprise resource planning
system might periodically make permanent tapes that are kept indefinitely)
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In addition to details of the backup and recovery systems, a disaster recovery plan
should also address more general factors, such as these:
What hardware and software would be needed to restore operations at a
temporary site in the event of a total loss
What the worst-case information loss would be if, for instance, the building
burned to the ground
How replacement software is obtained, and how much time and what skills
would be needed to restore computing operations
Any important software licenses or license keys that are needed and how they
would be accessed in case of a total loss
How communications are handled in the event of a disaster
How a detailed remediation plan is generated and implemented once the exact
details of the disaster are known
Access Management
An important procedure to carefully document is how the company manages access
to its various systems. This document should describe the properties of the access
management system and how the various steps are performed. One section should
describe how users are authenticated to the network generally, and to any in-scope
systems in particular, as follows:
The password policies in place, both for the network and any in-scope systems
How frequently passwords are to be changed, and whether this is enforced by
the system
How complex passwords must be, and whether this is enforced by the system
How users are instructed about the nonsystem aspects of the password policy
for which they are responsible (for example, that new users acknowledge
that they must not share their password with any other individual, what they
should do if they think their password has been compromised, and so on)
How the intruder lockout system functions when an incorrect password is tried
You also need to show how permissions to the various parts of the network are
approved and documented. One way to do this is to develop a form for the creation of
new users or modifications in permissions for existing users. This form should specify
which parts of the network and in-scope systems a user has access to, and it should be
approved by the person’s manager. For any access to in-scope systems, usually the system
is designed so that the corporate controller approves those permissions (or formally
delegates the approval to another person). Once a new user account is created based on
the form, the IT department files it and makes it available to auditors on request.
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Similarly, you will need to document employee terminations. Of particular concern
to the auditors is account termination for people who had access to financial systems,
and assurance that their access to financial systems was terminated at the same time as
their employment was terminated.
System Maintenance
Regular system maintenance of the in-scope systems should be defined and documented.
The actual maintenance activities that are performed should be spelled out in a procedural
document. For example, a Windows-based server might have the following maintenance
activities defined:
Examine event logs and note any serious problems.
Save the event log.
Apply any pending Microsoft patches through Windows Update.
Examine disk space to ensure that adequate free space is available.
Examine the backup system logs to ensure that backups are being performed
properly and that there are no unresolved errors.
Restart the system and ensure proper functioning after it restarts.
The performance of these tasks should be documented whenever they are done.
Depending on the preferences of the company’s auditors, this can be electronic or
through the use of a paper form developed for this purpose.
Change Control
A critical procedure to develop is one that governs how changes to any in-scope
systems are managed. This includes both changes to the in-scope software, such as
applying an update or upgrade to the application or modifying a program used by the
system, as well as changes to the operating system and hardware in a server that hosts
in-scope systems.
All changes to in-scope systems need to be documented, and where approvals are
required, they also need to be documented.
A general procedure for a routine change might be a request from a person in
the accounting department to modify a financial report to make it more useful, or to
develop a new report that will help the employees do their job better. In such a case,
the requestor might complete a form describing the desired change, which is submitted
to the IT department. The IT department then assesses the change to determine how it
can be accomplished and what resources (time and money) are required to make the
change. The IT department should also propose a way to test the change to ensure it
is working as designed. The IT department then forwards the request, along with this
assessment, to either the company’s controller or CFO, who must approve the change.
After the approval is granted, the IT department effects the change, performs the
testing, and usually has the original requestor also accept the result.
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Some routine changes may be initiated by the IT department. For instance, say
the IT department notices that the server hosting the company’s accounting system
is getting low on disk space. The IT department would recommend that additional
disk drives be installed in the server, the costs of doing so, and how any risks will be
managed. The controller or CFO then approves the change before it is effected.
The company should consider whether or not to allow emergency changes to the
in-scope systems. An emergency change would typically be a hardware failure that can be
quickly resolved, such as a failed disk drive in a RAID 5 array or a video card that simply
needs to be replaced. The change control procedure may allow the IT department to
make defined emergency changes to the system, and then document them immediately
after the fact. However, this would need to be negotiated and agreed upon by the IT
department and the finance or accounting department.
SOX Compliance Testing
Once a company’s system of internal controls is built and implemented, the job is far
from over. For one thing, most organizations find that they need to adjust their internal
controls after they have run them for a while. Perhaps the company decides to add
some new controls in response to an event that highlights a previously unrealized risk,
or maybe the company overdid its initial SOX compliance by implementing too many
controls and needs to slacken them a bit. However, the real work in maintaining a
system of internal controls is in auditing the controls.
Auditing Internal Controls
To show dilligence, companies must demonstrate that their controls are effective and
that they are being followed by their employees. This means that the controls need to
be tested on a periodic basis.
For each control in a system of internal controls, the company should develop a test
that verifies that the control is working. For example, say your company has a control
that mandates that users of the accounting system cannot access the AP functions unless
they are an AP operator or manager. A test for such a control might have two aspects:
A listing of the permissions in the accounting system should show which users
have which permissions, and an examination of this list should show that no
one who is not an AP employee has access to the AP system. The listing would
become part of the testing evidence file, and a manager in an appropriate
position in accounting or IT (or both) would review it and sign it to document
that he reviewed it and found no inappropriate permissions.
An auditor may ask one or two employees who do not work in AP to try to get
into the AP system. Most systems will produce some kind of error message if an
unauthorized access is attempted. The auditor would take a screenshot of the
“access denied” message, initial and date it, and include it within the test file.
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The frequency of the tests will vary depending on what is being tested. For
example, a test for a control that requires the IT department to follow the written
backup procedure regularly may be tested only annually, but a test that general ledger
accruals are being done properly might be conducted quarterly. It’s usually up to the
company’s controller and internal audit staff, perhaps with feedback from the external
auditors, to devise a schedule that makes the most sense.
Sometimes testing is done on all cases of a particular procedure, and sometimes
only a subset is tested. If there were only three changes to an accounting system
over the year, and the change control process is being tested, it would make sense
to examine each change control document. On the other hand, if a control applied
to every purchase order the company generated, and the company generates 10,000
purchase orders every year, then a subset would be tested. A testing subset may be
a random selection, or it may be only the most expensive orders. The auditors will
determine what sort of testing should be done.
Deviations from Internal Controls
Since we’re all human, and since the designers of internal controls cannot anticipate all
possible events that may impact a particular control, it is certain that occasionally there
will be deviations between written procedures and what was actually done. Perhaps
a key employee was sick, and her replacement didn’t realize that some particular
task needed to be performed, or perhaps an employee wasn’t properly trained on a
I like to say “there are only two kinds of people in a regulated company: those who
have deviated, and those who will deviate.” Deviations from management systems
such as internal controls should be expected. What is important is that the deviations
are detected (perhaps by a downstream control or from an audit), and that some form
of cause and risk analysis is performed, and that corrective action was taken and
The point is that a good system of internal controls should have as one of its
components a procedure for handling deviations and corrective actions.
Sample SOPs
Following are some examples of IT procedures that come from a small public company
that stood up to repeated testing by both large and small audit firms. Certainly, your
company’s procedures will and should be different, but the following examples should
give you a sense of effective IT procedures.
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Disaster Recovery Plan
IT Documentation
TITLE: Disaster Recovery Plan
Document #:
IT-002 v3
Effective Date:
Issued by:
IT Department
Page Number:
1 of 4
IT Department:
Controller or CFO:
a) This document describes the actions, resources, and priorities to pursue to
restore key IT services when a disaster causes the company’s computing
resources to become unavailable. The plan is intended to minimize further
losses and business impacts in the event of a disaster.
b) The objectives of the plan include:
i) Assist in maintaining business continuity during a disaster
ii) Protect data integrity and ensure system survivability
iii) Restore the data processing function as quickly as possible
iv) Satisfy audit and legal requirements
a) This Disaster Recovery Plan was written specifically for recovering the
IT infrastructure for which IT has primary responsibility, located at the
Generic Company headquarters building. It does not cover the recovery of
data processing infrastructure located at any other company location(s).
b) The plan covers the restoration of the software and historical data for
applications resident on servers for which IT has primary responsibility. This
does not include the business continuity or contingency plans for which the
business units are responsible. While IT is not responsible for the development
or implementation of these business continuity plans or contingency plans, IT
will assist with the implementation of these plans as required.
a) The IT department is responsible for issuing this document, reviewing it
annually, and issuing new versions as appropriate.
b) The Controller or CFO is responsible for reviewing and approving any new
versions of this document.
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a) Disaster: An event, whether man-made or natural, that unexpectedly inhibits the company’s ability to operate or deprives the company of access to its
key business systems.
b) Major disaster: An event that substantially destroys computing and data
infrastructure that the company requires to operate. Examples include a
fire in the server room, a large earthquake, a major structural failure of the
company’s building, flooding of interior spaces in the building that impact
IT resources, and so forth.
c) Minor disaster: A short-term disruption of the company’s ability to access
its key business systems. Examples include the loss of a critical data file
(whether through systems failure or accident), a power outage, or a temporary
operating problem in the computing chain of a key business system.
d) Remediation plan: A plan developed to remediate the key effects of a given
major disaster. The remediation plan includes necessary objectives, timelines, cost estimates, and acceptance criteria.
a) Pre-disaster planning:
i) The IT department will maintain a list of hardware resources on which
key business resources reside and their necessary configurations. This
list will be reviewed annually and updated as necessary, and is attached
to this document as Attachment IT-002-A.
ii) The IT department will maintain a list of software resources on which
key or important business processes rely, including vendor contact data,
account numbers, and any related serial or product ID numbers. This list
will be reviewed annually and updated as necessary, and is attached to
this document as Attachment IT-002-B.
iii) The IT department will set up a backup and off-site storage plan that
minimizes the risk of loss of data in the event of a disaster. The details
of the backup and off-site storage plan will be reviewed annually and
updated as necessary, and is attached to this document as Attachment
b) Testing:
i) The IT department will annually test the ability of all backup systems to
successfully restore data. The general procedure is as follows:
(1) Select a recently created piece of backup media.
(2) Using the backup software with which the media was created,
haphazardly select several files that are normally unchanging
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(such as program binary files) and restore those files to a test
directory on the system’s hard disk.
(a) If the backup software is unable to restore the selected files, this
constitutes a failure of this test.
(3) At the command prompt, use the FC.EXE program (file compare),
or any other program that can perform bitwise comparisons of files,
to compare the restored files to the on-disk live versions.
(a) Any bitwise errors encountered constitute a failure of this test.
(4) If any failures are encountered:
(a) The IT department will notify the relevant parties for the affected
server and backup system (for example, the Controller and
CFO if the error is on the server that holds the accounting
(b) The IT department will develop and implement a plan to repair
the error. This repair will be treated as an emergency and
resolved as quickly as possible. The IT department will work
with the server vendor, the maker of the tape drive, and/or the
provider of the backup software to assess and resolve the error,
as appropriate.
(5) The annual test and its outcome will be documented in each system’s
server log book.
c) Major disaster remediation:
i) In the event of a major disaster, the head of IT will be notified
ii) The head of IT will assess the scope and extent of the major disaster
as it pertains to the company’s key business systems and other important
computing resources.
iii) The head of IT will notify the following personnel of the initial IT
assessment, as appropriate:
(1) CEO
(2) CFO
(3) Controller
(4) Head of Research
(5) Head of Human Resources
(6) Head of Development
iv) The head of IT will develop a detailed remediation plan to address
the specific disaster conditions.
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(1) The remediation plan will prioritize recovery efforts in the
following order:
(a) Accounting system and data
(b) Payroll system and data
(c) Stock administration system and data
(d) Systems to support regulatory and development activities
(e) Systems to support research activities
(f) Systems to support corporate and general computing needs
(2) The remediation plan will include estimated timelines and costs.
(3) Each affected department will determine testing procedures
and acceptance criteria for the recovered operations, and is
responsible for testing recovered operations and accepting or
rejecting them.
d) The CEO is responsible for approving the remediation plan and ensuring
that appropriate resources are made available for carrying it out.
e) The head of IT will update the CEO and affected departments of the
status of the remediation efforts on a regular basis until the remediation
is complete.
a) Attachment IT-002-A: Hardware list and configurations
b) Attachment IT-002-B: Software license list
c) Attachment IT-002-C: Backup and off-site tape storage
Server Maintenance
IT Documentation
TITLE: Network Server Maintenance
Procedure #:
IT-003 V3
Effective Date:
Issued by:
IT Department
Page Number:
1 of 2
a) To define Generic’s procedure for performing regular maintenance on all
network servers and to document any problems or observations that may
arise in between regular maintenance visits.
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a) This procedure applies to the Generic network system server’s hardware
and software.
a) IT-001, IT Organization and Systems
b) IT-FR-003, Generic Network Server Maintenance Electronic Log form
a) Generic’s IT department is responsible for preparation of this SOP.
b) Generic’s IT department is responsible for the execution of the server maintenance plan.
c) Generic’s IT department is responsible for reviewing the server logs as part
of the regular maintenance.
d) Generic’s IT management is responsible for the approval of this plan and
annual review of the server log books.
a) Network server: Computer and its software serving as a file or print server,
or various other roles in the network, as documented in document IT-001.
Examples include mail server, database server, DHCP server, accounting
system server, etc.
a) Each month as soon as practicable on a weekend following the second
Tuesday of each month, maintenance tasks will be performed on each of the
network servers and the administration workstation.
b) The maintenance tasks will be documented on the electronic form IT-FR-003
as they are performed. This form is saved to the IT group folder on the
company network.
c) The following describes additional details used in the performance of the
tasks listed on form IT-FR-003.
i) Windows Update will be run on all servers and then the servers are
restarted to test functionality.
ii) All server event logs are reviewed for the prior month. Any errors that
indicate a problem that requires remediation are noted on form IT-FR-003.
iii) Each server (except server GCX) is configured to perform a disk defragmentation automatically on its main disk drive once a month. GCX is
manually defragmented as part of the monthly maintenance.
d) Any significant hardware or software errors will be documented on the ITFR-003 form and in the server’s log book. “Significant error” is nontransient
and is one that represents a problem that needs correcting.
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e) Each server will have a log book that will be used to document any reported
problems or adverse
f) event observations made during visits to the server room by any IT staff
member or system administrator. The log books are used to document errors that are discovered outside routine monthly maintenance, and for any
configuration changes to each server or its key applications.
g) The server log books will be reviewed annually by IT management.
a) Attachment IT-FR-003: “Generic Network Server Maintenance Electronic
Log Form”
System Account Management
IT Documentation
Document #:
IT-005 V4
Effective Date:
Issued by:
IT Department
Page Number:
1 of 5
a) To define Generic’s procedures regarding user account management for the
Generic network.
a) This procedure applies to the Generic computer system and administrative
and user accounts for use on that system.
a) Generic’s IT department is responsible for preparation of this SOP.
b) Generic’s IT department is responsible for administering the accounts for
the Generic computer system (i.e., system administrator).
c) Generic’s IT management is responsible for approving this procedure.
d) The relevant department manager is responsible for approval of access
and denial of access privileges, as indicated on the Employee Information
Profile form and the Employee Departure form.
e) The Controller or CFO is responsible for annually reviewing user access
within the accounting system.
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a) Employee Information Profile form
b) Employee Departure form
a) User account: An account on a computer or network server that authenticates a user to access certain resources on the computer or network server.
b) Administrative account: An account on a computer or network server,
similar to a user account, that authenticates the system’s administrator(s)
and gives them system permissions necessary to administer the system.
c) Username: The plain-text readable name of the account being used.
d) Password: A sequence of letters and/or numbers, determined by the user
and known only to that user, that is used to confirm the user’s identity to
the system.
e) Log in: The act of providing a username and password to an authenticating
computer system for the purpose of receiving system permission to access
f) Security groups: Collections of users grouped together to make the task of
administering the system’s security easier and more logical.
g) Secured resource: A resource located on a computer, such as a directory,
file, or printer, which can be accessed or used only by accounts or groups
authorized by the system administrator.
h) Nonobvious password: A password that cannot be readily guessed by
others. Common password components to avoid include the user’s name
or any portion thereof; family member, friend, or pet names or any portion
thereof; and any word, date, or number associated with the user and
potentially known to others.
i) Home directory: A private folder created for each user with a drive letter
designation of H:. This folder is for use by the system to hold system settings
for that user, as well as for the user to store documents that are accessible
only by that employee or the system administrators.
a) Every individual who accesses the Generic computer system will be given a
private account with which to access the system.
b) When a new account is needed for access to the system (either by a new
employee or any other party that needs to access the Generic computer
system), an Employee Profile form will be generated for that account.
c) The completed form is signed by the responsible manager and submitted to
the IT department.
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d) Significant changes in privileges (such as when an employee moves to a
different job within the company) must be initiated by the completion of
a new Employee Information Profile form and signed by the responsible
i) After the account is created, the Employee Information Profile form is
signed by the IT staff member who performed the changes.
ii) Completed Employee Information Profile forms will be maintained by
the IT department.
e) Accounts are created and maintained using standard administrative tools
on the system for which they are created. For example, creating a Windows
network account uses the standard programs and procedures specified by
Microsoft, creating an accounting system account follows the procedures
outlined by its vendor, and so forth.
f) Accounting system annual review
i) Once a year, the Controller or CFO will review all user accounts and
their access to accounting functions by reviewing a current printout of
user account information and menu security assignments prepared by
the IT department.
ii) The Controller or CFO will note any changes needed to user group
assignment or menu security and will forward a list of changes to the
IT department.
iii) The IT department will make the security changes in the accounting
system as indicated by the Controller or CFO.
iv) If no changes are necessary, the printout of the user accounts and
their access to the accounting system menu functions will be signed
and dated by the Controller or CFO and retained as internal control
a) The password policy for Generic is as follows:
i) For the Generic network:
(1) Must be no less than eight characters long.
(2) Passwords must conform to the Microsoft Windows Network
password “complexity rules.” The complexity rules state that a
password must include at least one character from three of the four
following groups:
(i) Uppercase alpha (A–Z)
(ii) Lowercase alpha (a–z)
(iii) Numeric (0–9)
(iv) Special characters ([email protected]#$, etc.)
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(3) The system will force a password change once per year automatically.
Users may change their passwords more frequently if required or
(4) The system maintains a password history and will not allow users
to use the same password for five changes.
(5) The system maintains an “account lockout policy” which will lock
any account after eight invalid attempts within any 30-minute period.
The account can be unlocked only by an IT system administrator.
(6) Special logins and passwords are set for certain computers in the
building. These logins are restricted to be usable only from those
computers, and are used for specific purposes (such as using a
computer connected to a laboratory instrument, or using one of the
presentation computers). These accounts are further secured with
limited access to the network. These accounts are not subject to the
normal password policy settings, but instead use a password assigned
by the IT department, and those passwords are known to a number of
employees and are not required to be changed.
ii) For the accounting system:
(1) Accounting system accounts are secured with an accounting
system-specific username and password.
(2) The accounting system will force a password change every 90 days
on all of its accounts. Users will be instructed to choose nonobvious
passwords, although the accounting system has no facility to ensure
the length or complexity of passwords.
b) User responsibilities:
i) All users must not share their passwords or security codes with anyone,
including with administrators of the system and their management.
ii) All users will make reasonable efforts to conceal their passwords or
security codes.
iii) All users will not ask others for the use of their password or security code.
iv) If users lose or forget their password, the administrator will assign a new,
temporary password for them, and will set their account so that they are
prompted to select a new private password at their first login.
v) Each user is responsible for logging off, shutting down or locking his or
her computer at the end of each business day.
c) When a user leaves the company:
i) Human Resources and the appropriate supervisor will complete the
Employee Departure form, indicating date of departure and any special
considerations as specified in the form.
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ii) In the case of a standard departure, Human Resources and will give
the completed Employee Departure form to the IT department. The IT
department will disable all appropriate accounts and handle any special
considerations, as specified on the form, at the close of business on the
last day of employment for that employee.
iii) In the case of a priority termination, all accounts held by the affected user
will be disabled immediately.
iv) Upon completion of the termination and prior to the deletion of accounts
or data, the Special Considerations section of the form will be reviewed
to see if prior approval of deletions is required.
v) Completed Employee Departure forms will be maintained by the IT
Change Control
IT Documentation
TITLE: Accounting System Change Control
Document #:
IT-006 v3
Effective Date:
Issued by:
IT Department
Page Number:
1 of 3
a) Sets forth policies relating to program or direct database changes to the
accounting system, its server, or its backup software used at Generic.
b) Sets forth procedures to follow to request, review, approve, and test changes
to the accounting system, its server, or its backup software at Generic.
a) This document applies to the accounting system installed at Generic’s
a) The IT department is responsible for generation and annual review and
update of this document.
b) The Controller or CFO is responsible for approving this document and any
subsequent changes.
c) Each requestor of a change is responsible for completing a change request
form and submitting it to the IT department.
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d) The IT department member responsible for maintenance of the accounting
system is responsible for reviewing change request forms, investigating
methods of making changes, estimating effort hours or direct costs involved
in making the proposed change, and proposing a test plan for the changes.
The IT department member will then forward the request with the completed
information to the Controller or CFO.
e) The Controller or CFO is responsible for reviewing each change request
form and approving it. The approved change request is then submitted to
the IT project manager for the change.
f) The IT project manager for the change informs the Controller or CFO and
the requestor once the change and any associated testing are complete.
g) The IT department is responsible for storing completed change request
forms and making them available as appropriate to auditors.
a) Program change: A change in a program that makes up the system. Program
changes can be vendor-supplied updates or fixes, or changes to programs
developed and maintained by Generic.
b) Emergency change: A change required to remediate a processing or reporting
error within any part of the system, or to remediate an error that makes the
system unavailable to users.
c) Direct database change: A programmatic change to the data within the accounting system database. Direct database changes bypass controls within
the accounting system.
d) Server change: A change to the server computer’s hardware, operating
system software, or backup software.
a) All changes to any of the programs that make up the accounting system
will be performed only within this document’s procedures.
b) Direct database changes must be performed within this document’s
c) Server changes must be performed within this document’s procedures,
except for routine maintenance changes. Routine maintenance changes
include application of patches for the operating system, review and saving of
server operating system log files, performance of routine changes using the
system’s built-in tools (such as adding a user or adjusting user permissions),
and so forth. Routine changes and activities are described in IT-003.
d) Emergency changes can be performed prior to documentation; however,
emergency changes must be documented afterwards using the Accounting
System Change Control form and signed off and stored. Documentation of
emergency changes must be completed within 30 days of the emergency
Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
a) A user of the accounting system who desires a change to the system will complete a copy of form IT-FR-006. This form should be submitted electronically.
(The IT department can also initiate change requests as appropriate.)
i) The user should clearly describe the change desired. When appropriate,
he or she should include mock-ups of the desired change. For example,
when requesting a new report, the requestor should mock up how the
report should look when done.
ii) The requestor then forwards the IT-FR-006 form to the IT department
member responsible for maintaining the accounting system.
b) An IT department Project Manager will be designated. Typically, this will
be the individual responsible for maintaining the accounting system.
c) The IT Project Manager will review the change request and any attached
examples or illustrations, and will analyze the requested change, including:
i) Viability
ii) Sources of appropriate existing data in the system
iii) Capability of in-house personnel to perform the change or availability of
external personnel to carry out the change
iv) Impacts to integrity of system data or other system programs
v) Impacts to system security
vi) Impacts to disaster recovery procedures
vii) Testing and acceptance procedure(s), including pseudocode when testing
will be primarily programmatic
viii) Estimating effort hours and/or direct costs to perform the change and
ix) Estimating available schedule
d) The IT Project Manager will then print the form and associated information,
sign it, and forward to the Controller or CFO.
e) The Controller or CFO is responsible for reviewing each change request
form and approving it. The approved change request is returned to the IT
Project Manager.
f) The IT Project Manager will then initiate the change and will oversee the
change through to completion, which includes testing and acceptance of the
change as described in the IT-FR-006 form. The IT-FR-006 change form is
then stored by the IT department along with any associated documentation.
This page intentionally left blank
access, 24. See also Client Access Licenses;
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol;
media access control sublayer;
multistation access unit; permissions;
remote access; wireless access point
Apache web server, 363
CD-DVD, 380, 380–381, 381
floppy drive, 382, 382
modem, 130
Account Is Disabled, 257, 262
Account Is Trusted for Delegation, 262
accounting, 8, 390, 391
accounts payable (AP) process, 395–396,
Active Directory, 113, 114, 116–117, 248,
248, 300–301
account, 143, 144, 146
Apache web server, 363–364
client/server network, 23
administrator, 6–7. See also administration
ADSL. See Asymmetric DSL
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), 179
AMD. See Advanced Micro Devices
analog signal, 82
annual report, 392
antivirus software, 154–155
AP. See accounts payable process
Apache HTTP Server Project, 360
Apache Software Foundation, 360
Apache web server, 360
administration of, 363–364
changing configuration of, 363–364
under Fedora Linux, 361, 363
installation of, 361–363
remote access to, 363
testing of, 362–363
web page publication with, 364
apachectl, 363
AppleTalk, 106, 107
application layer, 32
application-based firewall, 74
compatibility of, 202
by department, 213–214
monolithic, 122
network, 212–214
scaling, 218
sharing, 25
user-specific, 214
archive bit, 170
assigned permissions, 144
Asymmetric DSL (ADSL), 83, 85
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), 86
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
ATM. See Asynchronous Transfer Mode
attorneys, 393
attributes, 113, 118
audit, 8, 148
committee for, 391
by financial expert, 394
influence on, 392
oversight board for, 390
authentication, 118, 119, 137
automation, 5
backbone, 68–69, 219
backbone switch, 34
back-door threats, 149, 152
backticks, 333
backup, 6, 113
client/server network, 22
in disaster recovery plan, 166–171, 397
hardware for, 168, 169
with peer-to-peer network, 22
redundancy in, 168
restoration from, 167–168
rotation strategy for, 169–172
schedule of, 171
server, 188–189, 194–195
in SOHO networking, 60
tapes, 195
types of, 170–171
before upgrading, 231
virtual machine, 388
backup domain controller (BDC), 115, 230
bandwidth, 15–16, 27
low, 304
measurement of, 127, 127
network, 212, 215
plain old telephone service, 84
remote access, 126–127
shared, 41–42
speed by, 220
Token Ring network, 46–47
barrel connectors, 52
Base, 43
base-8 numbering system, 14
base-10 numbering system, 12–13
baseband, 43
bash shell, 332, 333
Basic Rate Interface (BRI), 82
B-channels. See bearer channels
BDC. See backup domain controller
bearer channels (B-channels), 82
billions of bits per second (Gbps), 15
binary digit, 12
binary numbering system, 13–14
biometrics, 146
bits per second (bps), 15
block devices, 338, 339
BNC connector, 39, 40, 40, 52, 53
bonding, 132
boot loader, 315–316, 316
BorderManager, 135
bps. See bits per second
brand loyalty, 200
breakout box, 75
BRI. See Basic Rate Interface
bridges, 66
hub, 68
with media access control sublayer, 71, 72
broad traveler, 123
broadband, 43
building, 219
bus topology, 39, 39, 40–41, 54
byte, 12
bytes per second, 15
cable plant, 36, 55
cable scanner, 57
breaks in, 56
Cat-5E, 35, 42, 47
Cat-6, 35
Category 3, 34–35, 42
Category 5, 34–35, 42
coaxial, 36, 48, 52, 53, 55, 56–57
contractor for, 54–55
crossover, 51
Ethernet, 49
fiber-optic, 48
installation of, 54
mapping out of, 57
network, 30
nonplenum, 53
patch, 49
plenum, 53
problems with, 55–57
RS-232C, 75
self-made, 51
shielded twisted-pair, 47, 48–49
for SOHO networking, 61
Token Ring network, 49
twisted-pair, 48, 48–50, 49, 51, 52
unshielded twisted-pair, 47, 48, 48–49
wiring of, 62
calculator, 14
CALs. See Client Access Licenses
capacity planning, 217–218
Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision
Detection (CSMA/CD), 46
cat command, 348
Cat-3. See Category 3 cable
Cat-5. See Category 5 twisted-pair cable
Cat-5E cable, 35, 42, 47
Cat-6 cable, 35
Category 3 (Cat-3) cable, 34–35, 42
Category 5 (Cat-5) twisted-pair cable, 34–35, 42
CD-DVD access, 380, 380–381, 381
CD-ROM, 311–312
central processing unit (CPU), 176–177
CERT. See Computer Emergency Response Team
certification, 7
of cable plant, 55
of company reports, 392
Dell, 190
server, 179
change, 147
change control system, 9, 399–400, 411–413
channel service unit/data service unit
(CSU/DSU), 28
character devices, 338, 339
characters, password, 145
chgrp, 339–340
chmode, 340
chown command, 339
Cisco, 7
Citrix, 26
civil penalties, 393
classes, 118
Client Access Licenses (CALs), 230–231
client/server database systems, 20
client/server network, 18, 19, 20
administration, 23
backup, 22
cons, 23
peer-to-peer network or, 20–23
pros, 22
clone chips, 179
clustering, 188
coax. See coaxial cable
coaxial cable (coax), 36, 48
with BNC connectors, 53
mixing cables with, 52
separation of, 55
troubleshooting, 56–57
code of ethics, 394
cold recovery site, 164
collision domain, 34, 69
collisions, 46, 219
command line, 331–333
command-line tools, 342–351
cat, 348
chown, 339
cp, 342
dd, 344, 344
df, 350
du, 349, 349
find, 343, 343–344
HELO, 103, 103
init, 354, 355
Is, 337, 337
kill, 354–355
ln, 342–343
location of, 350
mkdir, 346
mknod, 338, 346
more, 349
mv, 342
NET, 271
PING, 363
ps, 351, 351–352, 352, 353, 354, 362
pwd, 347
rmdir, 346–347
su, 356–357
sync, 350–351
tar, 347–348, 348
top, 354
type, 348
uname, 355, 355, 356
uptime, 310
whereis, 350
which, 349
who, 356
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the
Treadway Commission (COSO), 395
common bus multipoint topology, 39, 39, 40–41
communications. See also data
communications equipment
disaster recovery plan, 165
plan, 161
server, 219
compatibility, 199. See also Hardware
Compatibility List
application, 202
Fedora Linux, 308–309
server, 189–190
virtual private network, 133–134
Windows Server 2008, 225–226
compression, 345, 345
CompTIA. See Computing Technology
Industry Association
Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), 152
computer magazines, 62
Computing Technology Industry Association
(CompTIA), 7
concentrator. See hub
conductor, 36, 52
conduit piping, 53
configuration. See also Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol
Apache web server, 363–364
DNS, 330–331, 331
Fedora Linux, 316–318, 317
hardware, 226
hot-swap, 187
Primary Rate Interface, 83
redundant array of independent disks, 187
Windows Server 2008, 226, 236, 237–240, 241,
241–242, 242
DS0, 85
DS1, 85–86
loss of, 163
remote control, 128–129
remote node, 128, 129, 304
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
connection (continued)
sharing, 60
T-1, 85–86
traffic, 66–67
wide area network, 81–87
connection-based switched link, 79
container object, 112
contingency, 160
contractor, 54–55
control information, 32
COSO. See Committee of Sponsoring Organizations
of the Treadway Commission
analysis, 200
desktop computer, 202, 203
Ethernet, 61
of ISDN, 83
replacement, 202
upgrading, 203
virtual private network, 132
wide area network, 78
cp command, 342
CPU. See central processing unit
cracker, 143
create home directory, 346
create only, 147
crossover cable, 51
CSMA/CD. See Carrier Sense Multiple Access with
Collision Detection
CSU/DSU. See channel service
unit/data service unit
Custom Exchange Server Installation, 281
DAP. See X.500 Directory Access Protocol
data channels (D-channels), 82
data communications equipment (DCE), 50
data corruption, 172
data terminal equipment (DTE), 50
data transfer, synchronous, 79
client/server, 20
high-end, 167
datagram, 90
data-link layer, 30
DCE. See data communications equipment
D-channels. See data channels
dd command, 344, 344
decimal numbering system, 12, 13–14
decimal points, 13
dedicate print server, 25
dedicated computer, 19
dedicated remote access system, 26
default name, 143
Dell, 190
demilitarized zone (DMZ), 153
denial of service (DoS), 149, 153
Department of Defense (DoD), 254
desktop computer
choosing, 198
consistency with, 203
cost, 202, 203
network workstation for, 204–205
performance of, 203
platform, 198–200
reliability, 201
serviceability, 201–203
useful life of, 204
df command, 350
DHCP. See Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
dial-back, 151
differential backup, 170
digital linear tape (DLT), 168, 169
digital subscriber line (DSL), 83–84, 85
directory, 111. See also Active Directory; eDirectory;
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol; X.500
Directory Access Protocol
Apache web server, 363
create, 346
Linux, 338, 339
print, 347
remove, 346–347
security for, 147–148
shared, 213
show, 349
directory service, 110, 115
multimaster model, 113
partition by, 114
primary/backup model, 113
redundancy, 111, 113
tree-based organization of, 112, 112
disaster recovery plan
backups in, 166–171, 397
communications in, 165
definitions, 403
off-site storage in, 165–166, 168
replacement list in, 166, 398
sample, 402–405
scenarios for, 163–164
disclosure, 394
discovery, 72
cache, 350–351
controller, 191
display free space, 350
drives, 181–182
failure, 164
images, 203
independent mode, 377
interfaces, 181–182
size, 377
synchronization, 350–351
testing, 228
utilization, 349, 349
virtual, 376, 376–378, 377, 385
Windows Server 2008, 227, 229
distinguished names (DNs), 118
DLT. See digital linear tape
DMZ. See demilitarized zone
DNS. See Domain Name System
DNs. See distinguished names
DNS servers. See domain name servers
documentation, 9
Fedora Linux, 335–336
security, 148
DoD. See Department of Defense
domain controller, 229, 230
domain name servers (DNS servers), 100
Domain Name System (DNS), 98–100, 116, 299
with Active Directory, 300–301
configuration for, 330–331, 331
Microsoft Management Console, 300, 301
multiple, 300–301
with Windows Server 2008, 300–301
domains, 229. See also top-level domain names
collision, 34
models of, 116
new, 245–249
server controller, 230
types, 99
Windows NT, 115–116
Windows Server 2008, 240–241, 245–249
mkdir command with, 346
more command, 349
pwd command with, 347
rmdir command with, 346, 347
type command with, 348
wildcard expansion, 332
DoS. See denial of service
DS0 connection, 85
DS1 connection, 85–86
DSL. See digital subscriber line
DTE. See data terminal equipment
dual data guarding, 185
dual-boot system, 310–311
ducts, 53
duplexing, 183
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), 100
reservation with, 299
TCP/IP scope for, 298
earthquake, 158–160
ECC. See error checking and correction
echoing, 68
by switch, 70
eDirectory, 113, 114, 115
EIA. See Electronic Industries Alliance
802.11g, 63
802.11n, 63
Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), 51
e-mail, 26. See also Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
automated, 278
external, 26
file-based, 25
e-mail (continued)
gateway for, 73
patch notification through, 193
security, 153, 154
emergencies, 158–161, 400
Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 158–160, 161
enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, 27
entries, 118
environment variables, 332
clearing, 334
printing, 333–334
setting, 334
EOC. See Emergency Operations Center
EPIC. See Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing
ERP. See enterprise resource planning system
error checking and correction (ECC), 180, 181
/etc/hosts file, 329–330, 330
10 Gigabit, 42
10Base-T, 42–43, 46
100Base-T, 42, 43
1000Base-T, 43–44
cabling of, 49
capacity, 218
collision handling, 219
cost of, 61
Fedora Linux, 329, 329
Gigabit, 42
network, 217
scaling, 217
Thick, 48
Thin, 41, 48, 52, 66
wireless, 62–64
Ethernet Subnetworking Access Point (SNAP), 107
Event Viewer, 276
Exchange Server 2010, 278, 288
Customer Experience Improvement
Program, 282–283, 284
Exchange Management Console, 286–287
installation of, 279–286, 280, 281,
282, 283, 286, 287
mailboxes for, 286–294, 291, 292, 293
name for, 282
Outlook Web Access through, 291–293, 294
requirements for, 279, 280, 283–284, 285
exclusive OR (XOR) data, 184
Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC), 178
extender device, 85
F5 Networks, 136
failover services, 166
Fast SCSI, 181
FAT. See File Allocation Table
FDDI. See Fiber Distributed Data Interface
Fedora Linux
Apache web server under, 361, 363
boot loader, 315–316, 316
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Fedora Linux (continued)
CD-ROM installation, 312
command line in, 331–333
command-line tools, 342–351
compatibility, 308–309
documentation tools in, 335–336
dual-boot system, 310–311
environment variables with, 332, 333–334
/etc/hosts file, 329–330, 330
Ethernet, 329, 329
file management in, 337–342
graphical user interface (GUI), 310, 324
hardware compatibility with, 308–309
hosts in, 329, 330, 330, 331
initial configuration, 316–318, 317
installation method, 311–312
installation tools of, 308
IP address, 329, 329
kernel of, 310
in live mode, 312
log in, 319, 320
miscellaneous tools with, 355–357
naming, 313, 313
Network Configuration window, 328
partitioning, 310–311, 314–315, 315
password, 327, 328
permissions, 340, 340–341, 341
preloaded, 308
problems with, 320–321
process tools with, 351–355
root account, 313–314, 324, 327,
328, 355, 356–357
settings, 319
user account, 317, 318
User Manager program, 324–327, 325, 326, 327
Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), 44
fiber-optic cable, 48
Fibre Channel, 182
file. See also permissions
compression, 345, 345
concatenate, 348
conversion, 344, 344
copying, 342
create, 346
display, 349
Fedora Linux, 337–342
find, 343, 343–344
ISO, 371, 381
linking, 342–343
listing, 337
moving, 342
normal, 337
server, 24
File Allocation Table (FAT), 229
file sharing, 23
licenses for, 25
security with, 24
in SOHO networking, 60
wide area network, 78
File Transfer Program (FTP), 101
with IIS, 302
File Transfer Protocol (FTP), 101
filename expansion, 332
financial statements, 393
find command, 343, 343–344
fingerprint readers, 146
FirePass, 136
firewall, 28, 150
application-based, 74
virtual private network, 135
5-4-3 rule, 41
floods, 163
floppy drive access, 382, 382
fob, 146
forest, 112, 116–117
functional level, 247, 250
naming of, 246, 249
fractional T-1, 86
frame-relay signaling, 86
frames, 30, 90
front-door threats, 149, 150–152
FTP. See File Transfer Program;
File Transfer Protocol
full backup, 170
full control, 147
full-duplex transmissions, 30
functional model, 118
GAO. See U.S. Government
Accounting Office
gateway server, 25
gateways, 73
Gbps. See billions of bits per second
GFS. See grandfather-father-son
Gmail, 26
goals, 4
going zombie, 353
GoToMyPC, 26
grandfather-father-son (GFS), 171–172
granularity, 172
graphical user interface (GUI), 310, 311, 324
groups. See also security groups
changing of, 339
remote office, 124, 125
work, 229, 230
guest account, 143
guest operating system, 366, 374, 375, 385
GUI. See graphical user interface
gzip, 345, 345
half-duplex transmissions, 30
hangup (HUP) signal, 354
The Happy Hacker: A Guide to (Mostly) Harmless
Computer Hacking (Meinel), 156
hard links, 338
hardware, 7. See also Hardware
Compatibility List (HCL)
backup, 168, 169
client/server network, 23
compatibility, 225–226, 308–309
configuration, 226
with peer-to-peer network, 22
small office and home office networking, 61–62
testing, 227–228
Windows Server 2008, 225–226, 227–228
Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), 190, 225–226
Hare, Chris, 156
HCL. See Hardware Compatibility List
HDSL. See High-speed DSL
HELO command, 103, 103
hertz (Hz), 15
Hewlett Packard (HP), 228
hexadecimal numbering system, 14, 15
High-speed DSL (HDSL), 84
home appliances, 63
home-run wiring, 219
/etc/hosts file, 329–330, 330
Fedora Linux, 329–330, 330, 331
operating system, 366
RAM for, 374
in UNIX, 100, 311
host ID (hostid), 96
hostid. See host ID
HostOnly, 380
hot recovery site, 164
hot-swap components, 187
HP. See Hewlett Packard
HR. See human resources
HTML. See Hypertext Markup Language
HTTP. See Hypertext Transfer Protocol
HTTP Secure (HTTPS), 101
httpd, 360
httpd.conf, 363–364
HTTPS. See HTTP Secure
hub, 34, 35, 66, 69
bridges, 68
properties of, 68–69
for SOHO networking, 61
in star topology, 41
as switch, 68, 70, 70, 71
human resources (HR), 144
e-mail mailbox for, 278
HUP. See hangup signal
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), 101
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), 101
Hyper-V technology, 367
hypervisor, 366
Hz. See hertz
IBM, 47
ICANN. See Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers
ICMP. See Internet Control Message Protocol
IDSL. See ISDN-based DSL
IIS. See Internet Information Services
incompatibility, 199
incremental backup, 170
independent disk mode, 377
info pages, 336, 337
information model, 118
information technology (IT), 5
init command, 354, 355
i-node, 338
inputs, 5
Apache web server, 361–363
cable, 54
Exchange Server 2010, 279–286, 280,
281, 282, 283, 286, 287
Fedora Linux, 308, 311–312
network operation system, 192–193
point, 25
server, 192–193, 311
Ubuntu Linux, 385
Windows Server 2008, 231–250
installation point, shared, 25
Integrated Services Digital Network
(ISDN), 82–83, 132
Intel, 178
interface cards, 84–85
interfaces, 332. See also graphical user interface;
network interface card; Primary Rate Interface
disk, 181–182
virtual disk, 378
interference, wireless network, 63
internal controls, 395
deviations from, 401
IT department, 396–400
testing for, 400–401
International Standards Organization (ISO), 29, 117
International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 117
Internet, 27–28. See also Windows
Internet Name Service
Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), 153
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN), 95
Internet Explorer, 102
for VMware Server, 369
Internet Firewalls and Network Security
(Hare and Sayan), 156
Internet Information Services (IIS), 285
FTP, 302
Manager window of, 303, 303
NNTP in, 303
SMTP with, 303
web-hosting, 302
Internet Protocol (IP), 30, 31, 90
Internet Protocol Exchange (IPX), 30, 31
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), 134
Internet service provider (ISP), 95, 128, 130
internetworking device, 34
interrogation, 118
interviews, 4–5
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
intranet, 28
intruder detection, 145
IP. See Internet Protocol
IP address, 92, 93, 94–96
Fedora Linux, 329, 329
static, 299
with virtual machine, 379
with Windows Server 2008, 238–239, 243
IP Next Generation, 95
IP packet, 90, 92, 93, 94
with VoIP, 104–105
IPSec. See Internet Protocol Security
IPX. See Internet Protocol Exchange
IPX protocol, 106
Is commands, 337, 337
ISDN. See Integrated Services Digital Network
ISDN-based DSL (IDSL), 84
ISO. See International Standards Organization
ISP. See Internet service provider
IT. See information technology
IT department narrative, 396
access management, 398–399
change control in, 399–400, 411–413
disaster recovery plan, 397–398, 402–405
server maintenance, 405–407
system account management, 407–411
system maintenance, 399
terminations, 399
Itanium series, 178
ITU. See International Telecommunications Union
jobs, 8
Juniper Networks, 136
Kbps. See thousands of bits per second
kernel, 310
KHz. See thousands of hertz
kill program, 354–355
kilobit, 12
kilobyte, 12
L2TP. See Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol
LAN. See local area network
LAN Manager HOSTS (LMHOSTS), 107
laser printers, 24
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), 134
layers, 18
application, 32
data-link, 30
network, 30–31
Open Systems Interconnection model, 29, 30–32
seven-layer model, 28–32
sublayers, 30, 71, 72
LDAP. See Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
leaf object, 112
leases, 100
least-significant digit, 12
license, 25
per server, 230, 231
Windows Terminal Services, 305
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
(LDAP), 115, 117–119
Linear Tape-Open (LTO), 168, 169
Linux, 21. See also Fedora Linux
command line, 331–333
directory, 338, 339
host with, 100
SUSE, 308
live cd, 384, 385
LLC. See logical link control sublayer
ln command, 342–343
local area network (LAN), 27
packets on, 31
switches for, 71
LocalTalk, 106
log in
Fedora Linux, 319, 320
hours, 259, 261
security, 259–260, 261, 262
user list, 356
VMware Server, 370
Log On To feature, 260–262
logging, 311
logic bomb, 154
logical, 44
logical link control (LLC) sublayer, 30
logon name, 256
long-distance charge, 130
loopback address, 95–96
Lotus Notes, 26
LTO. See Linear Tape-Open
MAC. See media access control sublayer
platform, 200
protocols of, 105, 106
mailboxes, 26
e-mail, 278
Exchange Server 2010, 286–294, 291, 292, 293
in IT department narrative, 399
network, 6
server, 194, 405–407
system, 399
with virtualization, 367
Man pages, 335, 336
managers, 4
mapping, 271
MAU. See multistation access unit
Mbps. See millions of bits per second
McCool, Rob, 360
media access control (MAC) sublayer, 30
bridges with, 71, 72
Meinel, Carolyn P., 156
member server, 230
MHz. See millions of hertz
microprocessors, 72
Microsoft. See also Exchange Server 2010
Access, 199
Active Directory, 113, 114, 116–117,
248, 248, 300–301
Customer Experience Improvement
Program, 282–283, 284
Exchange, 26
Exchange Server, 129
Hardware Compatibility List of, 190, 225–226
Hyper-V, 367
LDAP terms, 118
Management Console, 300, 301
Novell and, 205
Outlook, 129
Outlook Web Access, 291–293, 294
protocols of, 105–106
Windows Small Business Server 2008, 26
millions of bits per second (Mbps), 15
millions of hertz (MHz), 15
MIME. See Multipurpose Internet Message Encoding
mirroring, 183
mkdir command, 346
mknod command, 338
modem, 82
international use of, 131
remote access with, 130
speed of, 131
modem farm, 130
monolithic application, 122
more command, 349
most-significant digit, 12
motherboards, 164
multimaster model, 113, 116
Multipurpose Internet Message
Encoding (MIME), 102
multistation access unit (MAU), 41
mv command, 342
named pipes, 338
naming, Fedora Linux, 313, 313
naming model, 118
narrative, 396–397
narrow traveler, 123–124, 124
NAT. See network address translation
National Center for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA), 360
NCSA. See National Center for Supercomputing
Neoteris, 136
NET command, 271
NetBEUI. See Network Basic Input/Output System
Extended User Interface
NetBIOS. See Network Basic Input/Output System
netid. See network ID
NetNews. See Usenet
NetScreen, 136
NetWare, 146, 180, 190, 191, 193, 205
NetWare 4.x, 115
applications, 212–214
backbone, 219
bandwidth for, 212, 215
capabilities, 5
design process, 210–211
diagram of, 397
equipment, 6
Ethernet, 217
experience with, 211
extension of, 67, 67
fallback plan for, 210–211
growth of, 217–218
maintenance, 6
needs assessment for, 211–218
safety, 216–217
security, 28, 216–217
services, 215–216
storage, 213, 215
structure, 218–220
support by, 6
type, 218
undersized, 5
unreliable, 5
users, 214–215
network adapter, 378, 378, 379
bridged, 379
NAT, 379–380
network address translation
(NAT), 74, 379–380
network architect/designer, 7
Network Basic Input/Output System
(NetBIOS), 106–107
Network Basic Input/Output System Extended
User Interface (NetBEUI), 106
Network Basic Input/Output System (NetBIOS)
Names, 106–107
network cable, 30
network clients, 36
network engineer, 7
Network File System (NFS), 350
network ID (netid), 96
network interface card (NIC), 24, 30, 49
consistency with, 203
for desktop computer, 204–205
for SOHO networking, 61
network layer, 30–31
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), 102
in IIS, 303
network operating system (NOS), 21, 176
installation of, 192–193
by network, 220
network printing, 272, 273
setup, 273–275
network relationships, 18
network segment, 38
network topology, 38
network workstation, 36
NIC for, 204–205
software, 205
network-based firewall, 74
NFS. See Network File System
nibble, 12
NIC. See network interface card
NNTP. See Network News Transfer Protocol
nonplenum cable, 53
normal files, 337
NOS. See network operating system
notification, 165
BorderManager, 135
eDirectory, 113, 114, 115
Microsoft and, 205
NetWare, 146, 180, 190, 191, 193, 205
protocols of, 105, 106
NT File System (NTFS), 229
NTFS. See NT File System
numbering systems, 12–14, 15
objectives, 4
octal numbering system, 14
off-site storage, 165–166, 168
Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, 16, 28–29
layers of, 29, 30–32
operating system
guest, 366, 374, 375, 385
host, 366
for SOHO networking, 61
Opteron, 179
Oracle, 20
OSI. See Open Systems Interconnection model
Outlook Web Access, 291–293, 294
outputs, 5
ownership, 339
packet, 90
packet filtering, 74, 150
packet layer, 31
packet protocols, 30–31
packet-switched link, 79–80
PAN. See personal area network
partition, 44
by directory service, 114
by hub, 68
Fedora Linux, 310–311, 314–315, 315
WAN, 114
password, 6
changing, 254, 257
definition, 408
Fedora Linux, 327, 328
in IT department narrative, 398
mixed-case, 145
options, 257–258
policy for, 409–410
security of, 144–146
strategies, 326
usability of, 146
Windows Server 2008, 240, 254, 257–258, 258
patch cable, 49
payment, 55
PC platform, 200–201
pcAnywhere, 26
PCAOB. See Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board
PDC. See primary domain controller
peer-to-peer network, 18, 19
client/server network or, 20–23
cons, 21–22
dedicated computer, 19
pros, 21
pension fund blackout, 392
performance, 130
client/server network, 22
periodic report, 392
permissions, 147–148
with AP process, 400–401
assigned, 144
form for, 398
Linux, 340, 340–341, 341
no access, 269
for Windows Server 2008, 269
per-seat licensing, 230, 231
per-server licensing, 230, 231
personal area network (PAN), 27
personal loans, 393
perspective, corporate, 4–6
phoneline networks, 62
physical, 44
physical layer, 30
PID. See process identification number
PING command, 363
pipes, named, 346
plain old telephone service (POTS), 81–82
bandwidth of, 84
choice of, 198–200
cost analysis for, 200
desktop computer, 198–200
Macintosh, 200
PC, 200–201
programming language by, 199
plenum cable, 53
plenum space, 53
plug and play (PnP), 228
PnP. See plug and play
Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), 133
Point-to-Point Tunneling
Protocol(PPTP), 134
ports, 91, 92
positions, of numbers, 12
POTS. See plain old telephone service
power, requirements, 366
powerline networks, 62
PowerPC, 179
PPP. See Point-to-Point Protocol
PPTP. See Point-to-Point
Tunneling Protocol
presentation layer, 31
PRI. See Primary Rate Interface
primary domain controller (PDC), 115, 230
Primary Rate Interface (PRI), 82, 83
primary/backup model, 113
print directory, 347
print driver, 272
print job, 272
print queue, 24, 272
print server, 24–25, 272
print working directory, 347
printer, 24
printer leaf object, 113
printer pooling, 275
printer sharing, 24, 274
in SOHO networking, 60
printf, 335
environment variables, 333–334
network, 272, 273, 273–275
private network, 81
process identification number (PID), 354
process manipulation, 351
listing of, 351, 351–352, 352, 353, 354
UNIX, 351
processing, server, 176–179
multiple, 176–178
speed of, 178
virtual machine, 375
Windows, 176, 177
Windows Server 2008, 226
productivity, 254
language, 199
router, 73
dialog box, 205, 206
hub, 68–69
virtual hard disk, 377, 385
protocol, 90. See also individual protocols
proprietary, 105–107
router and, 72
proxy server, 150
ps command, 351, 351–352, 352, 353, 354, 362
Public Company Accounting Oversight
Board (PCAOB), 390
public network, 81
pwd command, 347
QoS. See quality of service
quality of service (QoS), 105
RADSL. See Rate-adaptive DSL
RAID. See redundant array of independent disks
RAM. See random access memory
random access memory (RAM), 177
allocation of, 374, 375
error checking and correction, 180, 181
nonparity, 180
parity-based, 180–181
server, 180–181, 190–191
for virtual machine, 373, 374, 375
VMware Server, 374
Windows Server 2008, 226
RAS. See remote access service
Rate-adaptive DSL (RADSL), 84
RBOC. See regional Bell operating company
RDNs. See relative distinguished names
read only, 147, 148
rebuild kit, 195
Red Hat, 308, 309
reduced instruction set computer (RISC) type, 72
redundancy, 21
backup, 168
client/server network, 22
directory service, 111, 113
server, 33
of switches, 71
redundant array of independent disks
(RAID), 163, 168, 182
Raid 0, 183, 184
Raid 1, 183, 184, 184
Raid 2, 184
Raid 3, 184, 185, 185
Raid 4, 185
Raid 5, 185, 186
Raid 6, 185
hot-swap configuration of, 187
levels of, 183, 183–184, 184, 185, 185, 186, 186
reference count, 338
referral, 119
regional Bell operating company (RBOC), 83
registrars, 95
relative distinguished names (RDNs), 118
client/server network, 22
desktop computer, 201
network, 5
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Reliability and Performance Monitor, 276
remote access, 27. See also Windows
Apache web server, 363
bandwidth for, 126–127
dedicated, 26
modem use for, 130
with monolithic application, 122
needs, 126
security with, 151
session, 123
with short-haul modem, 75
virtual private network
for, 132, 132–134
remote access service (RAS), 26
remote control connection, 128–129
remote control program, 26
Remote Desktop, 242
remote node connection, 128, 129
Windows Terminal Services or, 304
remote office group, 124, 125
remote office user, 124, 125
remove directory, 346–347
repeaters, 41, 66, 67
cost of, 202
disaster recovery list, 166, 398
server, 193
replication, 113
Requests for Comments (RFCs), 118
resources, 111
in SOHO networking, 60
virtualization efficiency with, 366
Windows Terminal Services with, 304
RFCs. See Requests for Comments
RG-56, 36
RG-58, 36, 48
RG-58/U, 52
RG-58A/U, 52
ring topology, 44, 45
RISC. See reduced instruction set
computer type
RJ-45 connector, 49–50, 50, 51, 51
rmdir command, 346–347
roles, 147–148
root account, 313–314, 324, 327, 328
kill command from, 355
switching identity as, 356–357
root entry, 112
rotation, 169–172
router, 28, 31, 34, 66, 73
hub, 68
programming of, 73
protocol and, 72
wide area network, 72
Routing and Remote Access Service
(RRAS), 301, 302
row locking, 24
RS-232C device, 75
Ryan, Tony, 158
safety, 216–217
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), 8–9, 144
compliance testing, 400–401
download of, 390
sample procedures with, 400–413
Section 301, 391
Section 302, 392
Section 303, 392
Section 304, 392
Section 305, 392
Section 306, 392
Section 307, 393
Section 308, 393
Section 401, 393
Section 402, 393
Section 403, 393–394
Section 404, 8–9, 393, 395
Section 405, 394
Section 406, 394
Section 407, 394
Section 408, 394
Section 409, 394
Title I: Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board, 390
Title II: Auditor Independence, 391
Title III: Corporate Responsibility, 391–392
Title IV: Enhanced Financial Disclosures, 393
Title IX: White-Collar Crime Penalty
Enhancements, 395
Title V: Analyst Conflicts of Interest, 394
Title VI: Commission Resources and
Authority, 394
Title VII: Studies and Reports, 394
Title VIII: Corporate and Criminal Fraud
Accountability Act of 2002, 395
Title X: Corporate Tax Returns, 395
Title XI: Corporate Fraud Accountability, 395
SASL. See Simple Authentication
and Security Layer
SATA. See Serial Advanced Technology Attachment
Sayan, Karanjit, 156
scaling, 217–218
schema, 118
scope, 100
security group, 266–267
TCP/IP, 298, 299
SCSI. See Small Computer Systems Interface
SCSI controller, 378
SCSI-1, 181
SCSI-2, 181
SDSL. See Symmetric DSL
Seattle, City of, 158–160
SEC. See U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), 101, 135–136, 136,
137–138, 138, 139
Securities Act of 1934, 392
security, 6
account, 143–144
antivirus software for, 154–155
appropriate, 254–255
audit, 148
back-door threats, 149, 152
client/server network, 22
directory, 147–148
documentation, 148
e-mail, 153, 154
external, 149
with file sharing, 24
firewall as, 74
front-door threats, 149, 150–152
internal, 142–143
Internet, 28
log in restrictions, 259–260, 261, 262
network, 28, 216–217
non-password, 146
password, 144–146
peer-to-peer network, 21
physical, 22, 151
practices, 148–149
productivity and, 254
remote access, 151
shares, 269–270
user education, 148
with web servers, 152–153
Windows, 146
Windows Server 2008, 254
wireless network, 64
security groups
built-in, 265
creating, 264, 265, 266
membership in, 267, 267–268, 268
scope of, 266–267
Windows Server 2008, 263–268
security ID (SID), 255
security model, 119
segment, 38
Sequenced Packet Exchange (SPX), 31
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment
(SATA), 181–182, 191
server, 33
backups of, 188–189, 194–195
bus capabilities with, 179–180
central processing unit of, 176–178
certification for, 179
communications, 219
compatibility of, 189–190
data management by, 179–180
design of, 309
disk interfaces for, 181–182
domain controller for, 230
environment for, 309
error logs of, 194
hot-swap components for, 187
installation, 192–193, 311
leasing of, 192
maintenance, 194, 405–407
member, 230
name, 245
needs for, 187–189
processing by, 176–179
production, 226
purchase of, 191–192
RAID for, 182–186
RAM for, 180–181, 190–191
redundancy, 33
replacement of, 193
selection of, 220–221
self-monitoring of, 186–187
stand-alone, 230
storage for, 220
troubleshooting, 195
workstation and, 176
serviceability, 201–203
SERVICES file, 91–92
session layer, 31
sessions, 31, 123
seven-layer model, 28–32
shares, 268
creating, 270, 270, 271
mapping with, 271
security for, 269–270
shield, 36, 52
shielded twisted-pair (STP) cable, 47, 48–49
short-haul modem, 75, 76
SID. See security ID
signal handlers, 354
signals, 354
Simple Authentication and Security
Layer (SASL), 119
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), 103, 103
IIS with, 303
Small Computer Systems Interface
(SCSI), 181–182, 191
small office and home office (SOHO) networking
backup, 60
hardware for, 61–62
wireless networking for, 62–64
wiring of, 62
SmartStart, 228
SMTP. See Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
SNAP. See Ethernet Subnetworking Access Point
social engineering, 151–152
antivirus, 154–155
diagnostic, 192
going zombie, 353
network workstation, 205
platform-specific, 199, 200
server-testing, 228
virtual private network, 134
SOHO. See small office and home
office networking
SONET. See Synchronous Optical Network
SOX. See Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
SPX. See Sequenced Packet Exchange
SQL Server, 20
SSL. See Secure Sockets Layer
stand-alone server, 230
Standard 7498, 29
star topology, 41–42, 42, 47
expense of, 44
troubleshooting, 56
step-down modes, 82
stock transactions, 393
storage, 189
network, 214, 215
off-site, 165–166, 168
server, 220
STP. See shielded twisted-pair cable
structure, network, 218–220
su command, 356–357
subnet mask, 96–98
subnetting, 96–98
Sun Solaris, 335
switches, 35, 66, 69
backbone, 34
echoing by, 70
hub as, 68, 70, 70, 71
quantity of, 71
symbolic links, 338
Symmetric DSL (SDSL), 84
sync command, 350–351
Synchronous Optical Network (SONET), 44
syntax, 118
account management, 407–411
maintenance, 399
name, 355, 355, 356
T-1 connection, 85–86
tape archive, 347–348, 348
tar command, 347–348, 348
Task Scheduler, 276
TCP. See Transmission Control Protocol
TCP/IP, 90
leasing of, 298
manual addresses for, 298
scope of, 298, 299
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), 51
Telnet, 102–103
temperature monitor, 33
terminations, 399, 410–411
terminator, 56–57
Apache web server, 362–363
compliance, 400–401
hardware, 227–228
Thick Ethernet, 48
Thin Ethernet, 41, 48, 52, 66
thousands of bits per second (Kbps), 15
thousands of hertz (KHz), 15
thread, 177
TIA. See Telecommunications Industry Association
time zone, 237, 313, 314
TLDs. See top-level domain names
token passing, 46
Token Ring network, 41, 42, 44
bandwidth management in, 46–47
cabling of, 49
Tomcat web server, 369
command-line, 342–351
documentation, 335–336
Fedora Linux, 308, 335–336, 342–357
installation, 308
process, 351–355
VMware Server, 386, 386–387, 387
top command, 354
top-level domain names (TLDs), 99
bus, 39, 39, 40–41, 54
common bus multipoint, 39, 39, 40–41
network, 38
ring, 44, 45
star, 41–42, 42, 44, 47, 56
TRACERT command, 72
traffic, connection devices for, 66–67
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), 31, 90
transport layer, 31
Trojan horse, 153, 154
troubleshooting, 7
coaxial cable, 56–57
server, 195
star topology, 56
trust relationships, 116, 117
twisted-pair cabling, 48, 48–50, 49
ratings of, 51, 52
two-factor authentication system, 137
two-factor identification, 146
type command, 348
Ubuntu Linux, 364–369, 384
desktop version, 370–371
installation, 385
ISO file, 371, 381
live cd, 384, 385
run virtual machine, 384, 384–386
UDP. See User Datagram Protocol
Ultra SCSI, 182
Ultra2 SCSI, 182
Ultra160 SCSI, 182
Ultra320 SCSI, 182
Ultra640 SCSI, 182
uname command, 355, 355, 356
UNC. See Universal Naming Convention
Universal Naming Convention (UNC), 271
UNIX, 21, 33
command line of, 331–333
host with, 100, 311
processes in, 351
unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable, 47, 48, 48–49
updates, 118
backup before, 231
cost of, 203
Windows Server 2008 as, 228, 229, 231, 233, 236
uplinks, 68
uptime command, 310
U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO), 394
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 392
disclosure review by, 394
USB controller, 382, 383
useful life, 204
Usenet (NetNews), 102
user, 6
account, 6, 113, 255, 256 317, 318
education, 148
Fedora Linux, 317, 318
growth rate, 214
log in list, 356
network, 214–215
remote office, 124, 125
requirements by, 215
security, 148
switching, 356–357
Windows Server 2008, 255, 256, 256–257, 257,
258–259, 259, 260, 260, 261
user account leaf object, 113
User Datagram Protocol (UDP), 90–91
User Manager program, 324–327, 325, 326, 327
UTP. See unshielded twisted-pair cable
VDSL. See Very-high-speed DSL
version control, 22
Very-high-speed DSL (VDSL), 84
videoconferencing, 83
virtual device mode, 378
virtual disk, 376, 376–378, 377, 385
virtual machine, 366
backing up, 388
CD-DVD access, 380, 380–381, 381
creation of, 372–382, 373, 374, 375, 376, 377,
378, 379, 380, 381, 382, 383
floppy drive access, 382, 382
guest operating system for, 385
hard disk for, 376, 376–378, 377, 385
IP address with, 379
network adapter for, 378, 378–380, 379
processors, 375
RAM for, 373, 374, 375
Ubuntu Linux, 384, 384–386
USB controller, 382, 383
virtual private network (VPN), 26
compatibility with, 133–134
cost, 132
firewall, 135
for remote access, 132, 132–134
RRAS with, 301
sensitive data on, 133
software, 134
SSL, 135–136, 136, 137–138, 138, 139
types of, 134–136
WAN or, 78
virtualization, 366
virus, 153, 154–155
VMware ESXi, 367, 368
VMware Server, 367, 368
CD-DVD access, 380, 380–381, 381
datastore, 371, 372
downloading, 369
Internet Explorer, 369
log in, 370
management console, 369–370, 371, 371, 386
RAM suggested by, 374
Tools, 386, 386–387, 387
virtual disk interface type with, 378
virtual machine with, 372–382, 373, 374, 375,
376, 377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 382, 383, 386
Voice over IP (VoIP), 104
VoIP. See Voice over IP
VPN. See virtual private network
VT100-style terminals, 354
wall penetration, 53
WAN. See wide area network
WAP. See wireless access point
web page, 364
whereis command, 350
which command, 349
whistleblower system, 391
who command, 356
wide area network (WAN), 27
connection types for, 81–87
cost of, 78
dedicated, 80, 81
file sharing in, 78
partitioning with, 114
requirements of, 79
routers for, 72
SDSL for, 84
switched link, 79–80, 80
Wide SCSI, 181
wildcards, 332
Windows, 36, 61
deleting account on, 262, 263
disabling account on, 262
Performance Monitor, 180
processors with, 176, 177
Networking: A Beginner’s Guide
Windows (continued)
Remote Access Service of, 132
Routing and Remote Access Service of, 132, 134
security of, 146
servers, 190–191
System Monitor, 127, 127
Vista, 21, 61, 206, 369
Windows Internet Name Service (WINS), 107
Windows NT, 113, 114, 115–116
Windows Server 2008, 20. See also Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol
Active Directory, 248, 248, 300–301
Add Features Wizard, 244, 247
Add Roles Wizard, 243, 248
customizing, 242–244
Database Edition, 224–225
DHCP services with, 298
disk, 227, 229
disk format for, 229
Domain Name System with, 300–301
domain of, 240–241, 245–249
Enterprise Edition, 224
hardware compatibility with, 225–226
hardware configuration with, 226
hardware testing for, 227–228
Initial Configuration Tasks, 236, 237–240,
241, 241–242, 242
installation, 231–250
IP address with, 238–239, 243
Log On To feature, 260–262
new domain for, 245–249
partition for, 234, 237, 238
password, 240, 254, 257–258, 258
permissions, 269
plug and play devices for, 228
preferences for, 231, 232
pre-installation decisions for, 228–231
preparation for, 225–228
processor, 226
product key, 232, 234
RAM, 226
Reliability and Performance Monitor, 276
Remote Desktop, 242
security, 254
security groups on, 263–268
server management with, 230–231
server mode for, 229–230, 244
shares, 268–271
Standard Edition, 224
Task Scheduler, 276
trial mode, 232, 233, 235
updating, 241
as upgrade, 228, 229, 231, 233, 236
user accounts with, 255, 256
user adding with, 256–257, 257, 258
user modifications with, 258–259,
259, 260, 260, 261
Windows Terminal Services with, 304
Windows Web Server 2008, 225
Windows Terminal Services, 26
as adjunct, 305
licensing with, 305
remote node connection or, 304
resources with, 304
Windows Server 2008 with, 304
Windows Vista, 21, 61, 206, 369
Windows XP, 21, 61
WINS. See Windows Internet Name Service
wireless access point (WAP), 63
wireless networking, 62–64
by building, 219
cable, 62
closet, 56
home-run, 219
small office and home office networking, 62
word processing, 213
workgroup, 229, 230
workstation, 176
workstation-class computer, 36
World Trade Organization (WTO), 158
worm, 154
write caching, 378
WTO. See World Trade Organization
X.25, 86–87
X.500 Directory Access Protocol
(DAP), 114, 117
XenDesktop, 26
Xeon series, 178
Xerox Network Systems (XNS), 106
XNS. See Xerox Network Systems
XOR. See exclusive OR data
Y2K, 158–159
Yahoo! Mail, 26
zones, 300–301
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