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About Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a technical trainer, consultant, author, and the managing editor of the free IT learning web site 2000Trainers.com. When he's not busy traveling the world as an IT volunteer with organizations like Geekcorps, Dan makes his home in the snowy northern backwoods of Canada.
Moving Back in Time

If you’ve owned a PC for anywhere longer than a few weeks, chances are that you’ve quickly learned that hindsight is indeed always 20/20.

Network Security and Cisco SAFE

While implementing a functional network design that meets an organization’s business and technical goals is critical, it is imperative that the design is properly secured.

Memories of a Cisco Router

It may often seem like nothing more than a sleek metal box on the outside, but the internal memory components of a Cisco router represent where much of the real magic takes place.

Securely Erasing Data
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If you’re planning on recycling, donating, or even scrapping your old PC, it’s important to ensure that you’ve securely erased all data from your hard drives. Too

Switching Your Way to Better Network Performance

Any look at network switching concepts will ultimately lead to a discussion about network bridging, and vice versa.

Layer 2 Switching and Bridging

Any look at network switching concepts will ultimately lead to a discussion about network bridging, and vice versa. At the end of the day, the roles played by a bridge and a switch are more or less identical – they help to break a network up into a number of smaller collision domains. Recall from earlier in the series that a collision domain is simply a group of computers amongst which data collisions can occur. For example, when connecting systems using a hub, all systems are considered to be part of the same collision domain, since the hub will simply forward data out all ports, with no regard for where the actual destination host is located.

Essential Network Concepts Part 2

In this article we’ll walk through the essentials of network transmissions and network cabling. This includes a look at the various cable types commonly found on LANs and their properties, as well as the methods for properly wiring devices and creating Category 5 cables.

Essential Network Concepts Part 1

Welcome to article number 4 in my Cisco CCNA in 15 minutes a week series. This week’s article begins the move beyond network models and into actual networking concepts. Prior to getting into the details of Cisco devices and their configuration, you’ll need a solid fundamental understanding of not only network concepts, but also technologies, protocols, and equipment. This article will be the first of a few that will begin covering some of these critical areas; this particular article provides an overview of basic network equipment.

Understanding Network Models – The Cisco Network Design Model
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This article focuses on another important network model, the Cisco hierarchical network design model. Very different that the OSI model, this model is used as the basis for designing Cisco networks for security and performance. The article provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of each of the model’s 3 layers.

Understanding Network Models – The OSI Model

I have to assume that after reading the title to this week’s article you probably let out a low, discerning groan of displeasure. Of all the networking topics that I’ve ever taught, the OSI model is the one that will generate looks of angst and torture on the faces of students. Some simply tune out and play solitaire, while others shake their heads in the familiar “not this thing again”. Still others pretend that there’s no time like right now to catch a half-hour of shut-eye. One thing that has never happened is someone’s eyes lighting up and them shouting “I love the OSI model!”. The reason for this is simple. This is often the first thing that people are ever taught when it comes to networking, and it was probably explained in such a way that they didn’t understand it to begin with. A theoretical model is a terrible introduction to the world of networking. The good news for me is that most of you probably already have experience in the field, and will hopefully be able to appreciate how important network models really are.

Windows XP System Restore Tool

Needless to say, just about every system administrator has come across a situation where they installed a patch or application and then had to deal with a system that didn’t work as it was supposed to. To that end, you may also have some trigger-happy user on your network who managed to install an application that later caused you grief. Windows XP helps you better deal with these problems through a great feature called System Restore – a utility that literally takes your desktop back to a previous point in time.

Windows XP Program Compatibility Wizard

While Windows XP provides a new interface and a number of new features that are easy to get excited about, there are a number of stumbling blocks associated with deployment. Beyond the increased hardware and memory requirements now dictated by Microsoft, the single biggest issue is still the one that seems to forever haunt Windows operating systems – application compatibility. Whether it’s an older version of your office productivity package or some legacy application, at some point you’re still likely to run into issues.

Windows XP Remote Desktop

Since I’ve been spending the last few articles looking at cool new features in Windows XP Professional, I decided to continue in this article by looking at something whose time has come – the inclusion of something called Remote Desktop in Windows XP.

Using Windows XP: Windows XP System Configuration Utility

One of the tools included with Windows XP is the System Configuration Utility, a diagnostic program that automates routine troubleshooting tasks. This is the same tool that Microsoft Technical Support engineers will use when walking you through a system with problems. Giving it a look might save you a great deal of time and effort when attempting to solve system issues.

VLAN Trunking Protocol (VTP)
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In this article well be taking a look at another Layer 2 concept, the VLAN Trunking Protocol (VTP). In this article well explore the basic operation and elements of VTP, including the benefits that it provides from network traffic and configuration perspective.

Windows 2000 ICS, NAT, and IAS

A service first provided by Microsoft in its Windows 98 operating system, Internet Connection sharing is meant to allow a single Internet connection to be shared amongst multiple computers on a small network with minimal configuration. In Windows 2000, ICS is implemented via the actual sharing of a network interface, which has a real’ IP address, either via a dial-up or fixed network connection. It is important to remember that ICS (which is available in both Windows 2000 Professional and Server) is mainly meant as a solution for small and home offices, and not larger enterprise environments.

Introduction to VLANs

I’m always amazed how people get themselves all tied in a knot when the topic of VLANs comes up. At the most basic level, a VLAN is nothing more than a broadcast domain. The only difference between a traditional broadcast domain and one defined by a VLAN is that traditionally a broadcast domain has been seen as a distinct physical entity whose boundaries consist of a router. In fact, VLANs are very similar – their boundaries are also defined by a routing device, just like any broadcast domain. However, a VLAN is a logical construct, meaning that hosts are not necessarily groups within the physical confines of a traditional broadcast domain.