Further Resources

Basic Networking Resources

  • Novices to the network world should check out the educational animated movie at the Warriors of the Net site. The Computer Networking section of WebJunction has many resources dedicated to understanding computer networks in libraries.

  • Along with TCP/IP, Ethernet is the dominant technology in wired local area networks (LANs). Lantronix has a good Ethernet Tutorial, though the third part of it includes too many sales pitches. This tutorial has some information about the different types of cables commonly used in local area networks, but for more in-depth information, see Ethernet Cable Identification and this FAQ on CAT-5, CAT-6 and other cabling standards.

  • If you’re interested in TCP/IP, the Learn Networking site has an introduction, and they also have a tutorial about subnetting. You can calculate subnets by hand, but a lot of administrators just use a calculator. Microsoft also has some information about IP addressing. If you need to do some basic connection troubleshooting, TCP/IP Troubleshooting at the Microsoft site will teach you to use some basic tools such as ping and ipconfig.

  • For definitions of basic networking equipment, see Network Gear at About.com or search for individual terms (e.g., switch, router, firewall) at Webopedia and Wikipedia.

  • For more information about wireless networking, see Recipes for a 5-Star Library.

  • The FCC’s article, What is Broadband? defines broadband and discusses its importance and the different types. Our article on Internet Access and ISPs also has information on this subject.

Basic Security Information

    The SANS Institute creates an annual list of the Top 20 Security Risks. While this list may go beyond the scope of the small to medium-sized library, it represents the most accurate compilation of malicious activity on the Internet. Microsoft’s Security Guide for Small Business provides an excellent overview of establishing a secure network.

Network Diagramming Software

    Microsoft Visio is often used for network diagrams, and libraries can buy it at a discount from TechSoup. Gliffy is an easy-to-use online program with a free and a paid version. Dia and Networknotepad are two free, open-source diagramming programs. Also, most network monitoring programs can automatically create a map of your local area network and/or your wide area network.

Identifying Vulnerabilities and Risks in Your Network

Creating Security Policies

Selecting a Firewall

Search Security’s Firewall Architecture Tutorial tells you how to choose firewalls and where to place them on your network. Windows Networking also has an article on Choosing a Firewall. It’s a few years old now but still has relevant advice. A Guide to Unified Threat Management has advice on researching and testing these devices. A Unified Threat Management (UTM) system is a hardware appliance that has firewall capabilities as well other security features (e.g. spam filtering, antivirus filtering, and intrusion detection functionality). Network World’s Firewall Buyer’s Guide is a good resource for comparing specifications, but since it relies on manufacturers to submit information, there are currently no Cisco products listed.

Network Performance Metrics

Connectivity Troubleshooting from WebJunction and How to Troubleshoot TCP/IP in Windows XP both explain ping, traceroute and other basic troubleshooting tools. A Survey of Network Monitoring Tools from WebJunction and ABC: An Introduction to Network Monitoring from CIO.com both explain the different functions performed by this type of tool. Stanford Linear Accelerator Center has an exhaustive list of free and commercial solutions.

Bandwidth Management

For advice from the library community, see this thread on Bandwidth Limiting (aka traffic shaping) at WebJunction.

The QoS article on the Gentoo Wiki server tells you how to build your own packet shaper using open-source software, but it also explains the concepts that underlie packet shaping and Quality of Service.

What Is Web Caching? on the WebJunction site offers a good introduction to this topic. For a more detailed explanation, check out the Caching Tutorial for Web Authors and Web Masters.

The Options for Network Optimization gives a quick overview of the various techniques used to speed up a WAN link or an Internet connection. WAN Optimization Appliances at the Network Computing site offers a review of four popular optimization tools.