How To Terminate UTP cable to Modular Jack

It's easy to do your own home networking, if you want to run your cables in your walls you're going to need the tools shown in the left picture.

Of course for the cable you need to run it down first in your walls, I only use that short cable for this tutorial.

Words of note, do not cut your cables too short when terminating them to the modular jacks. In case you need to change the jacks later or you terminate them wrong then you don't have to worry having too short cables.

Step One:

Strip your cable jacket using the cable stripper.

Step Two:

Prepare your modular jack, you can see the jack has printed color codes for terminating the UTP cable. It is really up to you which color codes you choose for terminating the cables, the important thing is to keep it uniform in your project.

Personally I like to use the T568B color codes for my projects.

Step Three:

Position your cable and the jack like the following position, and arrange the cables according to the color codes you'd like to use.

Step Four:
Now it's time to use the Punch Down Impact Tool, if you look closely at the tool, you'd see different tips at it, you have to remember to position the sharp tip on the outer side of the jack.

This tool has two functions, first it push the cables in to the slots on the jack, and the sharp tip is used to cut the excess cables.

As its name, the tool would have an impact when used, so you might want to put the jack on the floor and put something beneath it like carton or anything else to reduce the impact of the tool.

In a project where you have to terminate many jacks, it would just hurt your hand or back to terminate these things, you can use tools such as this EZ Grip Puck.

On the left is the result when you finish using the punch down impact tool.

This is not recommended but if you don't have impact tools, you can use anything that has slim shape to insert cables into the slots of the jack and then you can use scissors or cutters to cut the excess cables.

Step Five: 

Prepare your wallplate, you can see on the backside of it, it has a place where you can plug your jack.

Insert your jack at the area shown in the picture above, be careful if you put the jack wrong, you cant insert the cable for your computers in it. Make sure you position the jack as the following pictures:

Happy trying.

First Steps in Home Network Troubleshooting

When you realized there's something wrong with your home network, you need to do first steps of troubleshooting using this tool I show on the left picture.

Isn't that windows command prompt? you bet it is, you don't need some kick ass software just to find out your home network problems.
I usually jump right to command prompt to find out what happen on my network.

Step One:
You need to type in this command at the command prompt:


What this does is pinging your own network card, if you get reply then there's nothing wrong with it, if no reply this means there's a problem with your TCP/IP stack.
There is a question related to TCP/IP stack in the CCNA exam.
You can use the following commands to reset your TCP/IP stack:

netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt

netsh winsock reset catalog

Step Two:
No problem with your TCP/IP stack but still no connection, try pinging other devices in the network.
Say you know your router has IP address of then type the following:


If there's replies then you know there's no problem within your internal network, if not type the following to find out whether you got IP from the router if you use DHCP:

ipconfig /all

If you don't get IP from the router do the following to renew your IP

ipconfig /release

ipconfig /renew

Step Three:
Hmmm... you can connect to other devices in your network but can't get to the internet. Try to ping google using:


If you find no replies, try to ping using IP address of external site, for example I know that has IP address then I ping it:


If it works out then there's a problem with your ISP's DNS servers, try to contact your ISP about this.
If you still can't get to the internet, try turn off all the devices in your network for about 10 minutes and turn them on again using the following order:

Modem - Router - Switch - Your computer

You need also check your firewall settings, the easy way but not recommended is to shut down your firewall just for a moment and try connecting to the internet while the firewall down. This is to find out if your firewall is blocking your access to the internet.

Now the above steps are only the first steps you need to take if you have problem with your network, there are way too much problems that can happen in a network but you can use these steps for your guidelines in troubleshooting network.

How Network Weavers Use Twitter

Okay, so how do Network Weavers use Twitter to enhance not just their personal networks but community or common interest networks? I started trying to figure this out by watching myself, being pretty much a compulsive Network Weaver. First, I had heard about Twitter but couldn't figure out how to use it so the last time I was in Cleveland I forced Valdis and Jack to show me how to get on and away I went. Network Weavers are ruthless in searching out and learning great Web 2.0 tools to support their networks.

Last night, I ran into Michelle at the Village Bakery (one of the world's great networking hubs!). She and her partner are the leading edge of the Athens locivare network and are now growing quinoa, amaranth, corn and buckwheat for local markets (They already have all this year's crops sold because they have a great network). I asked her if she was on Twitter. She said "No, but I've heard of it. I'll try it." (She joined the next morning.) My next steps are to model clever use of Twitter and suggest she get the "growing local grain" folks she hangs around with on as well. Network Weavers encourage and coach folks to try new tools.

I used Twitter to ask my twpel how they thought Twitter could be useful. George Nemeth of the fab Brewed Fresh Daily suggested as a way to track your geographic community. Network Weavers ask and learn from others.

OSI Layers in CCNA Exam

Is it really necessary to learn about the OSI layers? yes I'm afraid it is. I know it's a boring theory type, but they really useful for troubleshooting network and there can be a lot of questions in the CCNA exam related to OSI Layers.

OSI layers is a conceptual thing that urge all vendors for network devices to follow their concept so all devices from different vendors can communicate. Long time ago before this concept exist, the devices from one vendor can't communicate with other vendors'.

Basically they say that some functions should exist only on a certain layer and a change in one layer would not affect other layers' functions.
This is how you use OSI layers as troubleshooting tool. You first find out which function of the layer having error, then you can concentrate on that layer's devices to do troubleshooting.
I know it sounds simple, but it does cut your time a lot in troubleshooting.

The OSI Layers are counted from bottom up, starting from layer 1 which is the Physical Layer to layer 7 which is the Application Layer.
The whole seven layers are then divided into two different groups.
Layer 7 to 5 which are the top layers focus on the users of the networks, while the bottom layers 4 to 1 are for the network it self.

In my opinion, the bottom 4 layers are the ones that you as a network engineer or as CCNA candidates should focus more. In case of CCNA, there are many questions related to these bottom 4 layers and some quite easy questions for the upper layers.

Here are the brief descriptions of the functions that each layers do:

Application Layer
It provides the User Interface for the users, in this layer you can find stuffs like database, HTTP, Telnet, FTP, TFTP, etc.
Some questions regarding this layer should be some kind like matching question, to match which items go to which layer, or HTTP belongs to which layer, etc.

Presentation Layer
This layer deals with the presentation of data, encryption, etc.
For CCNA exam, I have never found question related to this layer and also the session layer, but just to be safe, you need to at least understand the function of each layer.

Session Layer
Session Layer handles the data so data on one application won't go to other applications.

Transport Layer
Now from here to bottom layer, are the layers you need to focus on, you need to remember which bottom layers handle which type of transmission unit.
For Transport Layer, it divides data from the upper layers into segments.
Transport layer performs acknowledgement of transmissions to ensure reliable end-to-end transmission (used for WAN connection), sequencing, flow control functions, and error correction before transmission.
The protocols deal with this layer are protocols like TCP and UDP.
In CCNA exam you'd likely get questions like which layer handles WAN, the functions that Transport Layer do, the data structure of TCP or UDP, etc.

Network Layer
This layer handles packet to do logical path selection/logical addressing for your network, this is where you can find IP address as in logical address.
If you know there's a problem related to IP address, you know you should focus on this layer's devices.
The protocols exist in this layer are IP, IPX, etc.
Remember the devices related to this layer such as routers and layer 3 switches.
Related to CCNA, you can find questions like which layer deals with packets or logical address, if you can't ping your network at which layer this problem associated with, etc.

Data Link Layer
Data Link Layer deals with frames as the transmission unit. This layer also handles the physical addressing of your network i.e. MAC Address.
It performs error detection but not error correction, remember this, you can sometime switch this with the function of Transport Layer.
The devices related to this layer are switches and bridges.
You might just find questions for frame, the functions of this layer, MAC address in CCNA exam.

Physical Layer
This layer handles the transmission of bits in network, meaning this is the closest you can get to the physical wiring in your network.
The devices related to this layer? Your NIC, cables, repeaters and hubs. Yes, hubs basically only retransmit bits so they belong in physical layer.

Another thing to note about CCNA question for OSI Layer is that you have to remember how the layers handle data.
From the top to bottom it would be like this.
Data - Segment - Packet - Frame - Bit

There you have it, OSI Layers, some people would just pass on this topic (because it's so boring) and find out later the exam has many questions related to it.
But if you know a little bit about OSI layers, you surely can troubleshoot your network faster.
Just remember not to underestimate any topic for the exam.

More Twitter...

Actually, you can follow all three of us -- Jack, June and Valdis -- on Twitter!

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform -- one and two sentence posts -- which allows you to quickly share ideas and discoveries on the WWW.

Twitter's original idea was that people post answers to "What are you doing?" I like to answer the questions "What are you interested in?" and "What are you paying attention to?" I tend to follow people that answer similar interest/attention questions in their tweets [posts to Twitter].

Here is a quick intro to Twitter and some musings about network mapping of Twitter data. The graphic below shows part of my Twitter graph in the first month of use -- who follows whom.


I'm exploring Twitteras a Network Weaver tool for building relationships. The Twitterers I most admire offer a combination of personal observations with "caught in the moment" flashes of insight and links to cool sites. If you Twitter, and want to get Twittered when I post something new on the blog, check me out at juneholley.


The Plexus Institute has a self-organized group that is reading the book Panarchy edited by Lance Gunderson and C.S.Holling.

You can dowload a chapter of their book at the Resilience Alliance web site or purchase the book and join us at our next call on September 10th at 11 AM Eastern. Check the Plexus website for call-in number.

The book is about ecosystems and humans, but I found it incredibly provocative about transformation in any sphere. One of the most interesting new ideas I gained was the concept of nested cycles--that some aspects of social systems work on very short timeframes--say a microprocess in a meeting--and some things work on very long timeframes--for example, deep structures that program how we see the world. They point out that small changes or shifts at one scale can trigger rapid shifts in other scales.

This made me think that an effective Network Weaver strategy could be to have people practice listening to another person quite different from themselves followed by a quick reflection on their internal reaction. Could this move them from a reactive stance to one of much-increased awareness? Done well and repeated several times, could such quick cycling activity trigger an important shift in deep structures from a we/they rigidity to an appreciation of networked diversity as the provoker of breakthroughs?

Nice Big N Network Paper

Nice new site for networking efforts in Maine. Includes case studies of several networks--what I call big "N" networks to emphasize that they are intentional and at least somewhat formally organized and to differentiate them from small "n" networks which is the lens that looks at all relationships among people, not just those in the formal network.

Of course, we need to be very aware of both lens when we are interested in transformation. And Network Weavers are important in any case. I'd love to see a Community of Practice around network enhancement. Anyone have any ideas about how we could get this going?

Weaving the Electric Grid

It is amazing how many of our current problems come down to the realization that it's the network, the connectivity, that matters. In most situations we know how to fix and enhance the nodes in the network. The links, and their patterns and structure, are the hard problem. How do you weave a better network, regardless of what is being distributed -- knowledge or electricity?

We are making progress in alternative energy production, but we still fail at energy distribution. Windmills and solar energy collectors have made great progress -- we just can't get the energy from where the wind blows and the sun shines to where the great population centers are. To do that requires a well-designed power distribution grid. Many critics of the current grid describe it as "third world" in design, quality and capability. Today's New York Times describes the power distribution problem well.

Above is a network map of a portion of the US electric grid. Life is great if you live in one of the densely connected clusters using electricity generated nearby. Things start to get real complicated if energy needs to transferred from one cluster to another cluster in grid. Distance destroys. Electricity does not flow like information or water or oil. It is not easy to direct, and much electricity is lost to heat when transferred over long distances. On the internet, 100 packets sent from Cleveland all arrive in New York wholly intact -- not so with a 100 MW of electricity generated in Cleveland and sold to NY. Even more electricity would be lost going to Miami, and forget about LA. It makes no sense to transfer electricity made in Cleveland to Los Angeles -- most of it would be lost during the trip.

Not only does physics get in the way, so do local interests. Then you have another power problem -- that of political power. Doing a social network analysis of the electric grid quickly points out key nodes and links that are highly between transfer points on the grid. They become gatekeepers/bottlenecks and either extract a toll for the transfer, or refuse transfer and require the buyer and seller to find a longer route to get from point of generation to point of consumption. And remember -- distance destroys.

Energy independence will take a lot more than just new technology at the point of generation. It will take the design of a much smarter network of distribution. On the other hand, just like we are learning about food production/distribution -- produce & buy local -- we may need to apply that rule to electrcity also.

Scan for Network Vulnerabilities

Tenable Nessus from is the tool of my choice if I want to scan my network for vulnerabilities.

Say like this, I want to know if my network is safe from dangerous people that want to mess up my network, I need to know are there any "holes" that can be an advantage to those people. So I run my tenable nessus from my PC, scan all computers in my network, and the nessus will provide me details of all vulnerabilities.
They'll also give you the details of each vulnerabilities, which ports are currently open, what's the meaning of it, is it dangerous, the links to the description, etc.

To start trying nessus is very easy, first you can download it for free from, get your activation code free for home usage, and start installing it.

This is the look of your nessus once installed, you can start by clicking on the "Start Scan Task" button to start scanning vulnerabilities.
Enter the hostname or the IP address of the computer you want to scan.
The above information will be given to show you the status of the scan.
And last you will be given the result of the scan in html format, below is the example of the report:
I highly recommend that you use nessus to scan for vulnerabilities in your network, it also gives you some info about the network, for newbies, you can learn about ports, which port is used for what.
Happy scanning. 

Weaving Journalists

The New York Times publishes an interesting story about "investigative journalists for hire". Via the concept of crowdfunding, a community that wants something investigated, will raise money from many local citizens, each contributing a small amount. This will allow journalists to self-organize around stories that are both interesting and have local grass-roots support.

Cleveland and NE Ohio have a big corruption story brewing, but the local paper -- The Plain Dealer -- is in the middle of offering hundreds of buyouts to reporters and staff. The PD has done a good job of reporting the beginning of the investigation -- rumor had it that 22 reporters were on the case -- but will probably have to reduce their focus as they downsize.

A local grass-roots effort -- Map the Mess -- has sprung up to gather public information about the Cuyahoga County Corruption Scandal. They are a group of local citizens that have day jobs and families that prevent them from fully diving into this intricate story. The effort appears to need some experienced investigative journalists willing to take the reigns and lead. Maybe a triangle needs to be closed between the local MtM folks and the Spot Us community in the NYT article?

Below is one of the early maps of the mess using the "indirect quid pro quo" concept. This map was published by one of the volunteer journalists on the MtM project. The red arrows show "flow of benefit". The diagram uses data taken directly from this Plain Dealer article.

Cable Testing and Certification

Without any doubt, the first thing you do after you finish crimping your cables is to test them.
You can test them by plugging them to your NIC and see if they work, or you can use one of these LAN tester like the one I show you on the left picture.

They are easy to use, and a must have for network installers. But the one I show you is just for home usage or not intended for heavy usage.
What I mean is these LAN tester are used only to test whether you use the right color codes, to find out if there any cable cut in the middle, and some other basic things.

There are other tester type, the Tone Generator. These devices are useful if you have so many cables in your network but you didn't properly labeled them.

If you didn't label your cables properly, at some points if there's a problem on a cable you won't know which cable to check on.

What you can do is plug one end with the tone generator - the one with cables sticking out from it - this generator will send a signal through your cable.

Then you go to the other end of the cable, say, in the IDF room. There are plenty of cables there. You don't know which cable is connected to the end connected with your tone generator.

Here you grab the other tool, the one with pencil shaped and has some speaker in it. You just point the tip of the tool and when the sounds get clearer, then you know which cable you're searching for. Cool.

If you are involved in a big network project, you definitely want your hands on some more advanced testers. In a project, you are required to do cable certification on each cable you installed.
What I mean by certification is not some exam test or anything, but you must provide proof that the cables you installed are properly working without any defect.

The only tools that I can think of for cable certifications are the ones from Fluke. These tools are awesome, but they cost a fortune.

With these tools you can do any testing you can think of on a cable, you can see which wiring scheme you used on them, are there any crosstalk, if there's a cable cut in the middle you can find at what distance the cable is cut, etc.

One time I saw a cable certifier do their job. They certified on every cable we installed. One person in the IDF room and another in the work area. With the fluke plugged on each end, they can verify the cable and listen to this, they actually can talk to each other using the fluke device despite they are far apart!!!
Wow, they use the network cables as communication media, awesome.

You can generate report on each cable you tested, this report is the one you use as cable certification.
In a project you can have thousands of pages just for certifications. Usually one page represents certification for one cable you installed.

There are many parameters that you can see in a cable certification, the length of the cable, the wiring scheme, whether the cable passed the testing done by the tester, etc.
Here I show you a minimal report on a cable certification:

How To Crimp UTP cable to RJ45 Connector

I posted about the tools and the color codes for crimping UTP cable to RJ45 before, now I'd like to share step by step of how to crimp the cable to the connector.

You can see on the left picture how the end result will look like.

I want to review again on the tools that I usually use to crimp my cables. Here are the tools:

They are the same from my previous post about the tools, I use additional tools such as the cable stripper for stripping the cable jacket, and boots just to cover the RJ45 connector making the crimped cables look more attractive and more professional.

Here are the steps to start crimping the cables:


Slide in the boots to your UTP cable, if you don't want to use the boots, you can skip this step.


Strip the cable jacket using the cable stripper, then untwist the cables and arrange them according to the color code.


After you arrange the cables, make the cables look like the below picture and cut them to match the size of the RJ45 connector.
You have to cut the cables so they are aligned.

Most mistakes that people do is to cut the cables too short or too long, it takes time to practice. I found this connector from to ease people crimping cables.

With this connector you don't need to worry cutting the cables too short/long, you can just slide in the cables through the connector and cut them afterward.


Slide in your cables to the connector, be careful not to change the cables arrangement.

A word of note, sometimes people neglect the importance of connectors positioning. You have to slide in the connectors all the way in. If you look at the connectors carefully, you can see as the picture on the left.

That part is used to hold your cable, when you crimp the connector, that part will squeeze a little bit to the cable and hold it firm.
This is useful so your connector won't easily come off when pulled.


Insert your connector to the crimper thoroughly and then crimp it until you here some noise.

After that check if all the copper parts of the connector are properly in. You can see the difference below between the un-crimped connector and the crimped connector:

Why I mention this is that sometimes when you crimp using not so good crimper, you'd get some of the copper still sticking out from the connector.
There you have it, slide the boot to the RJ45 and crimp the other side of the cable so you have your own network cable.

I hope this is useful, happy trying.

My Home Network

I know, before you say anything, my home network has very "common" network devices and they're all messed up.
I'm all talking about this and that about networking and this is what I have in my home? yes,  I don't have a lot to spend on my network, time and money, but I'm telling you it's a great pleasure to connect all these things together and see them working.

The device that I'm most proud of is that Cisco Access Point 1242AG. This baby rocks, if only I have more than one of this thing, I can have a roaming connection all over my house. And not like any average AP, I can adjust the strength of the signal and many other parameters.

This is how the diagram for my home network looks like:
I'm using internet cable for my connection, you can see the cable modem there connected to the router. From the router I connect my Access Point and the switch to connect other devices.
The switch used to connect 3 workstations on the first floor for my office, and 2 other workstations for the family.
The Access Point connects my laptop and my lovely Sony PSP. Oh I love my PSP, with the AP I can connect to the internet and get my news feeds and update of the newest games.

After saving for some time I finally get to upgrade my network devices, I'm looking for some Cisco devices to help me on my CCNP exam studying later.
No, they're not expensive, if you buy the used ones, you can get pretty cheap price in or other places. I've set my eyes on some of the devices, I already ordered some items and now waiting for the shipments to arrive, yayy.

I think I need the Cisco devices so I can do anything I like with them, do some crazy configurations and all. I've been working using Cisco for quite some time but I can't do anything I like in a production network (the term that is used to call a network that's already established and is serving an organization).

And I certainly hope that I can share my knowledge to help people get their CCNA title, cheers.

Stay tuned

Stay tuned for our 9 months of workshops on network weaving, sponsored by E4S.

CCNA Exam Overview

This is the image I got from, it basically shows how the certifications levels in Cisco. Starting with the entry levels which are the ICND1 and ICND2.
But if you got both ICND1 and 2 exams, you also get the CCNA certification which belongs to the associate level.
Next one is the professional level, and the last one is expert level.

As the pyramid shows, the higher the level, the fewer they are, and the best ones in salary.

Cisco likes to give numbers as their exam code, for example for the CCNA they give #640-802 exam number. This numbers are changed if they have new standards or exam subjects are modified.

I took the course with exam code of 640-801, and after I passed the course I didn't take the exam because I had to go abroad to work. After a year I decided to take the exam, but lucky me, the exam number just changed to be 640-802. In this exam they added the subjects of network security and wireless. I had to learn some more but I was lucky to get passed in just one shot.

For this 640-802 exam they will test subjects as Cisco noted in

Describe how a network works

  • Describe the purpose and functions of various network devices
  • Select the components required to meet a network specification
  • Use the OSI and TCP/IP models and their associated protocols to explain how data flows in a network
  • Describe common networked applications including web applications
  • Describe the purpose and basic operation of the protocols in the OSI and TCP models
  • Describe the impact of applications (Voice Over IP and Video Over IP) on a network
  • Interpret network diagrams
  • Determine the path between two hosts across a network
  • Describe the components required for network and Internet communications
  • Identify and correct common network problems at layers 1, 2, 3 and 7 using a layered model approach
  • Differentiate between LAN/WAN operation and features

Configure, verify and troubleshoot a switch with VLANs and interswitch communications

  • Select the appropriate media, cables, ports, and connectors to connect switches to other network devices and hosts
  • Explain the technology and media access control method for Ethernet networks
  • Explain network segmentation and basic traffic management concepts
  • Explain basic switching concepts and the operation of Cisco switches
  • Perform and verify initial switch configuration tasks including remote access management
  • Verify network status and switch operation using basic utilities (including: ping, traceroute, telnet, SSH, arp, ipconfig), SHOW & DEBUG commands
  • Identify, prescribe, and resolve common switched network media issues, configuration issues, auto negotiation, and switch hardware failures
  • Describe enhanced switching technologies (including: VTP, RSTP, VLAN, PVSTP, 802.1q)
  • Describe how VLANs create logically separate networks and the need for routing between them
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot trunking on Cisco switches
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot interVLAN routing
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VTP
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RSTP operation
  • Interpret the output of various show and debug commands to verify the operational status of a Cisco switched network.
  • Implement basic switch security (including: port security, trunk access, management vlan other than vlan1, etc.)

Implement an IP addressing scheme and IP Services to meet network requirements in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network.

  • Describe the operation and benefits of using private and public IP addressing
  • Explain the operation and benefits of using DHCP and DNS
  • Configure, verify and troubleshoot DHCP and DNS operation on a router.(including: CLI/SDM)
  • Implement static and dynamic addressing services for hosts in a LAN environment
  • Calculate and apply an addressing scheme including VLSM IP addressing design to a network
  • Determine the appropriate classless addressing scheme using VLSM and summarization to satisfy addressing requirements in a LAN/WAN environment
  • Describe the technological requirements for running IPv6 in conjunction with IPv4 (including: protocols, dual stack, tunneling, etc).
  • Describe IPv6 addresses
  • Identify and correct common problems associated with IP addressing and host configurations

Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic router operation and routing on Cisco devices

  • Describe basic routing concepts (including: packet forwarding, router lookup process)
  • Describe the operation of Cisco routers (including: router bootup process, POST, router components)
  • Select the appropriate media, cables, ports, and connectors to connect routers to other network devices and hosts
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot RIPv2
  • Access and utilize the router to set basic parameters.(including: CLI/SDM)
  • Connect, configure, and verify operation status of a device interface
  • Verify device configuration and network connectivity using ping, traceroute, telnet, SSH or other utilities
  • Perform and verify routing configuration tasks for a static or default route given specific routing requirements
  • Manage IOS configuration files. (including: save, edit, upgrade, restore)
  • Manage Cisco IOS.
  • Compare and contrast methods of routing and routing protocols
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot OSPF
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot EIGRP
  • Verify network connectivity (including: using ping, traceroute, and telnet or SSH)
  • Troubleshoot routing issues
  • Verify router hardware and software operation using SHOW & DEBUG commands.
  • Implement basic router security

Explain and select the appropriate administrative tasks required for a WLAN

  • Describe standards associated with wireless media (including: IEEE WI-FI Alliance, ITU/FCC)
  • Identify and describe the purpose of the components in a small wireless network. (Including: SSID, BSS, ESS)
  • Identify the basic parameters to configure on a wireless network to ensure that devices connect to the correct access point
  • Compare and contrast wireless security features and capabilities of WPA security (including: open, WEP, WPA-1/2)
  • Identify common issues with implementing wireless networks. (Including: Interface, missconfiguration)

Identify security threats to a network and describe general methods to mitigate those threats

  • Describe today's increasing network security threats and explain the need to implement a comprehensive security policy to mitigate the threats
  • Explain general methods to mitigate common security threats to network devices, hosts, and applications
  • Describe the functions of common security appliances and applications
  • Describe security recommended practices including initial steps to secure network devices

Implement, verify, and troubleshoot NAT and ACLs in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network.

  • Describe the purpose and types of ACLs
  • Configure and apply ACLs based on network filtering requirements.(including: CLI/SDM)
  • Configure and apply an ACLs to limit telnet and SSH access to the router using (including: SDM/CLI)
  • Verify and monitor ACLs in a network environment
  • Troubleshoot ACL issues
  • Explain the basic operation of NAT
  • Configure NAT for given network requirements using (including: CLI/SDM)
  • Troubleshoot NAT issues

Implement and verify WAN links

  • Describe different methods for connecting to a WAN
  • Configure and verify a basic WAN serial connection
  • Configure and verify Frame Relay on Cisco routers
  • Troubleshoot WAN implementation issues
  • Describe VPN technology (including: importance, benefits, role, impact, components)
  • Configure and verify a PPP connection between Cisco routers
I know, it looks too much to learn but trust me, but it doesn't look that bad, if I can then anybody can do it. If you invest enough time and practice I'm sure you can pass the CCNA exam. And of course look to this blog a lot, because I like to share my knowledge on each of the subject they test.

The duration of the test would be 90 minutes, but if you in a non native English speaking country then you'd get additional 30 minutes to do the test.

There should be 50-60 questions in the test, the amount will vary and you can't tell what question they will ask each time because they use some random algorithm to choose the questions.
Some people say that the test will count what question that you're weak at, and they will post more questions on it. I don't know the truth in that but better be safe then sorry.

Most of the questions will be multiple choice type of questions, some will be drag and drop questions, and some simulations to test your ability in configurations.
What tricks people most, is that they will test you on very basic things in networking, so make sure you don't miss any subject in the test. Some people get cocky to thing they know everything about OSI layers, yet they failed the test on it.

In the test you won't be allowed to back on the questions that you have answered, so you need to be certain of an answer before you go to the next question.

I hope I can help people in understanding Cisco and pass the test, so I'll give you my best.

The Power of Cisco

Talking about networking I think is not far from talking about Cisco, even for newbies. The reason is Cisco since a long long time ago has been a leader in the industry, the people in Cisco created standards for networking which are widely accepted by the networking world.

They even take some major network vendors under their wing, some vendors like linksys and others. I like how the Cisco guys print their labels in linksys devices - Linksys, a division of Cisco.

The networking devices they offer are man, I get excited talking about this. I mean they have expensive devices, but they have things from home networking to enterprise networking. From switches to firewalls.
I'm talking about few hundreds dollars to hundred thousands dollars.

One time I took out a module and they told me it costs about 10-20,000 US$. Just for the module!!!

They do cost a lot, but in term of reliability, there's no question about the power of Cisco.
And to manage devices like Cisco's you need some really trained staffs.
Over the years Cisco has released numbers of certifications like CCNA to CCIE, CCDA, etc. even certifications for network security and VOIP.

Gaining these certifications is not easy task, even for taking the CCNA exam - entry level - you need a broad understanding about networking. Luckily Cisco has many learning partners all over the world to aid you achieving this goal. For some certifications, they don't come cheap, for taking a CCNA exam alone you need to provide about US$ 150.

The networking people holding these certifications are highly paid, I don't know the exact numbers right now, but I just got email from Cisco asking the certified people to take the survey about how much they got paid. Hoping to see the result later. From what I heard, the CCIE guys - holding the ultimate certification in networking - get paid in 5 digits number per month!!! wow, talking bout a dream job.

Well, I'm only a CCNA now, and pursuing the CCNP in near future. I hope to share my knowledge in the exam. CCNA exam is not the kind of exam where you cram yourselves in the weekend and hope to pass in next Monday. But there are things you can do to pass them of course.

I've been planning this blog to be a physical networking blog, but it's not complete without talking about Cisco. So, now and then I want to share what I know about the exam, hope you learn somethings from here.

Managing Cables in Racks

You typically find bulks of cables like the left picture shows in a project. It's not strange to have a project with 2000 clients to be connected in a network.

To arrange cables like these is a nightmare for network installers if you don't provide yourselves with cable managers.

Usually the cable managers also provided by the racks vendors. You can ask them if they have it, or use cable managers from other vendors if you don't like the way it looks.

Different cable managers have different ways to manage cables, so it's better to consult the vendors on how to install the cables according their products.

I need to remind you that some cable managers make the look of your racks neater but if you don't install them accordingly, they will make your future improvement harder. What I mean is that you have to design also how the cables run inside your rack should be. You don't want the outer look of your rack looks neat while you have spaghetti cables inside.

This is how one of the cable manager from ADC Krone looks like

And me and my team manage to make the upper picture look like this

Well it looks better then the last picture at least.
Like I said vendors develop their own cable managers, another example is from Systimax down here

The vendors  even develop many cable managers for desktop computers/end users. You can find many of them out there, so, start browse for cable managers to manage your cabling, don't let the cables to be an eyesore.

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