The goal of this chapter is to introduce some fundamental concepts and terminology that are the foundation for the other material in the book. After a brief introduction to networks in general, we delve into the communication protocols that are used by network devices; this necessarily includes a discussion of the infamous Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. LANs and WANs are described, as are the various devices found in a network. This is followed by an introduction to TCP/IP, used extensively in the Internet. Routing and addressing, including IP addresses, are explored. The two types of switching—Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching—are described. Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and its operation are introduced, followed by a discussion of VLANs. The chapter concludes with a comprehensive example, tying together many of the concepts covered. You are encouraged to review any of the material in this chapter that you are not familiar with before reading the rest of the book, because these ideas are critical to understanding the more complex technologies covered in the other chapters.
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