I’d like to start by thanking everyone who was involved with the second edition of this book, especially project editor Christopher Morris, who heeded the Hitchhiker’s Guide creed (“Don’t panic!”) when I was occasionally late with submissions and who did a great job following through on all the little editorial details needed to put a book of this scope together on time. Thanks also to Dan DiNicolo, who gave the manuscript a thorough review and offered many excellent suggestions for improvements, and to copy editors Jean Rogers and Andy Hollandbeck, who whipped my prose into shape, crossing all the i’s and dotting all the t’s, or something like that. And, as always, thanks to all the behind-the-scenes people who chipped in with help I’m not even aware of.
Welcome to the second edition of Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, the one networking book that’s designed to replace an entire shelf full of the dull and tedious networking books you’d otherwise have to buy. This book contains all the basic and not-so-basic information you need to know to get a network up and running and to stay on top of the network as it grows, develops problems, and encounters trouble.
If you’re just getting started as a network administrator, this book is ideal. As a network administrator, you have to know about a lot of different topics: installing and configuring network hardware, installing and configuring network operating systems, planning a network, working with TCP/IP, securing your network, working with wireless devices, backing up your data, and many others.
You can, and probably eventually will, buy separate books on each of these topics. It won’t take long before your bookshelf is bulging with 10,000 or more pages of detailed information about every imaginable nuance of networking. But before you’re ready to tackle each of those topics in depth, you need to get a birds-eye picture. This book is the ideal way to do that.
And if you already own 10,000 pages or more of network information, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of detail and wonder, “Do I really need to read 1,000 pages about Bind to set up a simple DNS server?” or “Do I really need a six-pound book to show me how to install Linux?” Truth is, most 1,000-page networking books have about 100 or so pages of really useful information — the kind you use every day — and about 900 pages of excruciating details that apply mostly to networks at places like NASA and the CIA.
The basic idea of this book is that I’ve tried to wring out the 100 or so most useful pages of information on nine different networking topics: network basics, building a network, network administration and security, troubleshooting and disaster planning, working with TCP/IP, home networking, wireless networking, Windows server operating systems, and Linux.
So whether you’ve just been put in charge of your first network or you’re a seasoned pro, you’ve found the right book.
About This Book
Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, 2nd Edition, is intended to be a reference for all the great things (and maybe a few not-so-great things) that you may need to know when you’re setting up and managing a network. You can, of course, buy a huge 1,000-page book on each of the networking topics covered in this book. But then, who would you get to carry them home from the bookstore for you? And where would you find the shelf space to store them? In this book, you get the information you need all conveniently packaged for you in between one set of covers.
This book doesn’t pretend to be a comprehensive reference for every detail of these topics. Instead, this book shows you how to get up and running fast so that you have more time to do the things you really want to do. Designed using the easy-to-follow For Dummies format, this book helps you get the information you need without laboring to find it.
Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, 2nd Edition, is a big book made up of several smaller books — minibooks, if you will. Each of these minibooks covers the basics of one key element of network management, such as setting up network hardware, installing a network operating system, or troubleshooting network problems. Whenever one big thing is made up of several smaller things, confusion is always a possibility. That’s why Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, 2nd Edition, is designed to have multiple access points (I hear an acronym coming on — MAP!) to help you find what you want. At the beginning of the book is a detailed table of contents that covers the entire book. Then, each minibook begins with a minitable of contents that shows you at a glance what chapters are included in that minibook. Useful running heads appear at the top of each page to point out the topic discussed on that page. And handy thumb tabs run down the side of the pages to help you quickly find each minibook. Finally, a comprehensive index lets you find information anywhere in the entire book.
This isn’t the kind of book you pick up and read from start to finish, as if it were a cheap novel. If I ever see you reading it at the beach, I’ll kick sand in your face. This book is more like a reference, the kind of book you can pick up, turn to just about any page, and start reading. You don’t have to memorize anything in this book. It’s a “need-to-know” book: You pick it up when you need to know something. Need to know how to set up a DHCP server in Windows? Pick up the book. Need to know how to create a user account in Linux? Pick up the book. Otherwise, put it down and get on with your life.
How to Use This Book
This book works like a reference. Start with the topic you want to find out about. Look for it in the table of contents or in the index to get going. The table of contents is detailed enough that you should be able to find most of the topics you’re looking for. If not, turn to the index, where you can find even more detail.
Of course, the book is loaded with information, so if you want to take a brief excursion into your topic, you’re more than welcome. If you want to know the big security picture, read the whole chapter on security. If you just want to know how to make a decent password, read just the section on passwords. You get the idea.
Whenever I describe a message or information that you see on the screen, I present it as follows:
A message from your friendly network
If you need to type something, you’ll see the text you need to type like this: Type this stuff. In this example, you type Type this stuff at the keyboard and press Enter. An explanation usually follows, just in case you’re scratching your head and grunting, “Huh?”
How This Book Is Organized
Each of the nine minibooks contained in Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, 2nd Edition, can stand by themselves. The first minibook covers the networking basics that you should know to help you understand the rest of the stuff in this book. Of course, if you’ve been managing a network for awhile already, you probably know all this stuff, so you can probably skip Book I or just skim it over quickly for laughs. The remaining minibooks cover a variety of networking topics that you would normally find covered in separate books. Here is a brief description of what you find in each minibook.
Book I: Networking Basics
This minibook covers the networking basics that you need to understand to get going. You find out what a network is, how networking standards work, what hardware components are required to make up a network, and what network operating systems do. You discover the difference between peer-to-peer networking and client-server networking. And you also get a comparison of the most popular network operating systems, including Windows NT Server, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, Novell’s NetWare, and Linux.
Book II: Building a Network
In this minibook, you find out the ins and outs of building a network. First, you see how to create a plan for your network. After all, planning is the first step of any great endeavor. Then, you discover how to install network hardware such as network interface cards and how to work with various types of networking cable. You receive some general pointers about installing a network server operating system. And finally, you gain insight into how to configure various versions of Windows to access a network.
Book III: Network Administration and Security
In this minibook, you discover what it means to be a network administrator, with an emphasis on how to secure your network so that it’s safe from intruders, but at the same time allows your network’s users access to everything they need. In the real world, this responsibility isn’t as easy as it sounds. This minibook begins with an overview of what network administrators do. Then, it describes some of the basic practices of good network security, such as using strong passwords and providing physical security for your servers. Then, it presents an overview of setting up network user accounts. And it concludes with some additional security techniques, such as using virus scanners and setting up firewalls.
Book IV: Network Troubleshooting and Disaster Planning
When something goes wrong with your network, you can turn to this mini-book for guidance on isolating the problem and determining how to correct it. This minibook covers not only major network problems (“my network’s dead,”) but also those insidious performance problems (“I can get to the server, but it’s ess-el-oh-double-ewe”). And you find help for one of the most common network complaints: e-mail that doesn’t get through.
Before something goes wrong with your network, I hope you turn to this minibook for guidance on how to protect your network through a good, comprehensive backup scheme, and how to create a disaster recovery plan (known now by the trendy term, Business Continuity Planning).
Book V: TCP/IP and the Internet
This minibook is devoted to the most popular network technology on the planet: TCP/IP. (Actually, it may be the most popular protocol in the universe. The aliens in Independence Day had a TCP/IP network on their spaceship, enabling Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to hack their way in. The aliens should have read the section on firewalls in Book III.)
In this minibook, you discover the various protocols that make up the entire TCP/IP suite. You find out all about IP addresses, subnetting, routing, and all that good stuff. You encounter DHCP and DNS. And you discover how to use those handy TCP/IP troubleshooting tools like Ping and Tracert.
Book VI: Home Networking
This minibook covers the information you need to know to install a network at home. You discover how to set up a basic Windows network, the various options for networking your home (including wireless, phone networks, and PowerLine networks), and how to incorporate other gadgets into your network. You also find out about VoIP, which lets you replace your telephone service with Internet-based phone service.
Book VII: Wireless Networking
In this minibook, you discover the ins and outs of setting up and securing a wireless network.
Book VIII: Windows Server 2003 Reference
This minibook describes the basics of setting up and administering a server using the latest version of Windows Server 2003. You also find helpful information about its predecessor, Windows 2000 Server. You find chapters on installing a Windows server, managing user accounts, setting up a file server, and securing a Windows server. Plus, you find a handy reference to the many Windows networking commands that you can use from a command prompt.
Book IX: Linux Networking Reference
Linux has fast become an inexpensive alternative to Windows or NetWare. In this minibook, you discover the basics of installing and managing Fedora Core 3 Linux, the current version of the most popular Linux distribution. You find out how to install Fedora, work with Linux commands and GNOME (a popular graphical interface for Linux), configure Linux for networking, set up a Windows-compatible file server using Samba, and run popular Internet servers such as DHCP, Bind, and Sendmail. Plus, you get a concise Linux command reference that will turn you into a Linux command line junkie in no time.