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Static Routing

Article | July 14, 2009

You may have noticed that it’s the dynamic routing protocols that get all the glory. Since I like rooting (routing?) for the underdog, let’s talk about static routes! As you may recall, a router has three methods for learning a route. A route can appear in the routi...

13 Skills Every IT Pro Should Know

Article | Nov. 12, 2010

No matter which IT field you're working in, there are several skills that are useful for every IT professional to know. Here, seven experienced IT professionals working in the networking, programming, project management, and security fields, share what they believe a...

Are Production Server Reboots Standard Changes?

Article | April 27, 2011

I attended a meeting this week with a customer of mine and a potential new vendor. The new vendor was there to pitch his configuration and setup service offerings for a specific ITSM toolset. My customer has already had one bad experience with an ITSM tool configuration vendor who promised one thing and delivered much less. He ended up with a tool that’s minimally used and not configured to match his business needs. He’s looking for a vendor that can understand his business needs and priorities and quickly help him get his tool configured and working in a short time frame. Then the topic of standard changes came up. My customer asked for examples of standard changes. The vendor responded, “Server reboots are an example of standard changes.”

DHCP for Wireless LAN Clients

Article | Jan. 31, 2012

For us wireless folks that aren’t stellar routing and switching guys, one of the most daunting network tasks is integrating our WLAN infrastructure with the existing wired infrastructure and its services. Understanding wired design topics is pretty fundamental to installing or managing any network, so it really should be on our priority list to spruce up those skills. To give you a nudge on your journey, let’s talk about DHCP for wireless clients.

What Kind of Network Am I On?

Article | March 01, 2012

Good question! There are lots of networks, so I’m sorry to say that it depends. Let me explain. The smallest computer-based networks are usually PANs or Personal Area Networks. They can connect a wireless keyboard, mouse, or other devices to a computer. You may find them wirelessly linking a printer to your computer. You may have noticed these all include wireless connections. A PAN most often uses wireless technologies like infrared and Bluetooth, so it is really a WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network).

What is Twisted Pair and Does It Work?

Article | June 12, 2012

“Twisted Pair” is another way to identify a network cabling solution that’s also called Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881. Indoor business telephone applications use them in 25-pair bundles. In homes, they were down to four wires, but in networking we use them in 8-wire cables. By twisting the pairs at different rates (twists per foot), cable manufacturers can reduce the electromagnetic pulses coming from the cable while improving the cable’s ability to reject common electronic noise from the environment.

Does a MAC Address Mean Apple Invented It?

Article | July 12, 2012

While Apple has created many fine things, they were yet to be created themselves when Xerox PARC scientists created Media Access Control addresses. These MAC addresses are 48 bits or 6 bytes long, so they are also known as MAC-48 or EUI-48. EUI stands for Extended Unique Identifier. It is written in hexadecimal characters as shown below:

What is the Difference Between Bridges, Hubs, and Switches?

Article | Aug. 14, 2012

The most obvious difference is that hubs operate at Layer 1 of the OSI model while bridges and switches work with MAC addresses at Layer 2 of the OSI model. Hubs are really just multi-port repeaters. They ignore the content of an Ethernet frame and simply resend every frame they receive out every interface on the hub. The challenge is that the Ethernet frames will show up at every device attached to a hub instead of just the intended destination (a security gap), and inbound frames often collide with outbound frames (a performance issue).

Which ITIL Processes Relate to a Data Center Operations Group?

Article | Sep. 19, 2012

I recently responded to a message on LinkedIn from a regular reader of this blog. He asked several questions which I will answer over the course of several posts. As part of his first question, he described a strategy report that his group is producing. The audience for this strategy report considers ITIL important to the future of their business, and so he must describe which ITIL processes his data center operations group works most closely with.

What Happens If I Have More Than One Switch With Redundant Links?

Article | Oct. 11, 2012

That depends on their configurations. For example: While it makes very good sense to include redundant physical links in a network, connecting switches in loops, without taking the appropriate measures, will cause havoc on a network. Without the correct measures, a switch floods broadcast frames out all of its ports, causing serious problems for the network devices. The main problem is a broadcast storm where broadcast frames are flooded through every switch until all available bandwidth is used and all network devices have more inbound frames than they can process.