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Requesting advice on starting point for first ever network.
I've built systems for almost 20 years now. I had a little side business doing it back in the early '90s, before Dell and Gateway came along and put me out of business. It let me play with toys that I couldn't afford to pay for myself. I'd take my clients down to a trade show, hand pick every component from the MoBo to the software, take it all home and assemble and config everything for them. My two specialities were highend AV and highend gaming rigs. My thing now is building systems for myself that meet or exceed publicly published DoD security specs.
But, I've never had the time or money to play with more than one machine at a time. So for the sake of sec / perfomance when I build anything I completely gut all of the networking capabilites on the box. And I get deep, deep in to it. Not only do I uninstall networking protocols I hack the registry all to bits, get in to the systems processes, custom config nearly every setting on the system, install custom templates for new types of system settings, and on and one. (All of this is on doze.)
By the time I'm done the box is 3x faster and 10x more secure. But it's locked down so tight that it won't talk to anything that's not on port80; period.
Unfortunately that particular skill set will not help me get a yaob!
So I went and got a bunch of "beginners" books on tons of stuff so that I can eventually (one of these days) end up with an MS / Info Sec.
My plan is to build a network on open source / *nix software. I've got a shiny new box that will run the host and maybe as many as 7 VMs at the same time (at least 4 no sweat). I also have two old boxes to play with. I'm planning on using CentOS as the base for the network (to get somewhat familiar with REHL for yaobs.) And the various components of the network will be mixed architechture: W7, XP, *nix, BSD, ect. Once I build and configure the first one I'm figuring it'll get easier after that.
There's just one little glitch in the hitch: The "beginner" books really aint so "beginner" after all. After 20 years of ripping this stuff out I need to take a step back from "for dummies" to like "for retards", because none of this stuff is making any sense to me.
So I'm hoping that maybe you guys know where I can find some ref materials on the web where it is literally broken down to the level of "click here, change this setting to this, insert tab A in to slot B".
I know that's kind of cheating, but I learned how to rip all of that stuff out by trial and error over a period of several years back when the included documentation looked like it had been hand cranked on an old memeograph machine and said "Beware the electricty demon" when talking about static discharge.
I'm not a young pup anymore and I really don't have that kind of time to spend acquiring a new basic skill set this time around.
Any help greatly appreciated!
Last edited by Steven_G; 07-06-2012 at 08:44 PM. Reason: typos
Maybe it's a good thing that you haven't messed with networking. Your mind
will be a blank slate. A lot of Microsoft networking experts may eventually
need to unlearn a lot of what they know, if Microsoft eventually abandons
its legacy netbios protocol and goes with a pure tcp/ip type system.
If you are like me, you probably have internet access over the cable company,
or maybe DSL. Anyway, you have, or get a small office/home type router
and plug it into your cable/dsl modem and plug computers into the router
and you get internet access. What you also get as a side effect is networking
between the computers you connect to the router.
By default, the router will assign an IP address and give connectivity
to computers by a protocol called DHCP, dynamic host control protocol.
When you install an OS, it will usually default to DHCP. Buy a new
box at Walmart ant plug it in. It will connect automatically,
If you hav nothing but UNIX/Linux and Apple Mac OSX type systems.
all you need to learn is TCP/IP.
Introduction to TCP/IP
but if you add Microsoft computers to your network, you will find it necessary
to understand NETBIOS.
NetBIOS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What's really driving me nuts is stuff like IP Tables, Port Forwarding, Local Network addresses, Loop Backs, Local Hosts, mixed architecture administration, file sharing, set up a server and even just getting the different components of the network to even frigging talking to each other. In other words, pretty much everything "networking" related.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the links. But it's the same kind of stuff I keep finding; namely, mostly theory. What I really need is a good pocket guide / cheat sheet for newtwork admin that breaks it down to the level of "click here, input adress XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX / go to the next machine, click there, input address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX" now the two machines will talk to each other.
When I was first working on getting my book list together I found a book that was from the "For Dummies" series that was supposed to be either 7 / 9 or 10 mini-books in one that covered mixed network adminstration. Supposedly it was exactly what I looking for. But, it took me a couple of months to compile the exact list of the books I wanted before I actually bought them. Somewhere along the way the link for that particular book got lost and now no matter how much Googling I do I can't find the stupid thing again. It was something along the lines of "small office network admin for dummies". The basic premise was that you could walk in to a mom and pop business with a hodge-podge of whatever kind of cobbled together stuff and have a handy (if you call like 800 pages handy) refference to almost anything you'd find in there and how to get it all talking to each other. And how to do basic admin stuff like install a printer to a server and get it working with all of the terminals on the network.
Does anybody know where I can find something like that for free on the web, or the exact name of that book so I can go buy it?
Maybe I have lost what your actual question is, but if you would rephrase a concrete question in a few words we may be able to answer it. Otherwise I would point you to your favorite search engine that produces good search results for "howto home network". I for instance found this in a jiffy.
For example answering a question like
I’ll dig through the provided link and see how much practical stuff is in it.
Basically what I'm looking for is a comprehensive cheat sheet. The “For Dummies” book that I was looking at was an out of print edition. I’ve purchased a newer version; it's not the same thing. The first 300 pages of the new version is theory. At this point I don't need an explanation of how a packet travels across the internet.
The out of print book that I was looking at before (and lost the link to) was broken down by OS and cross referenced by task. It covered several versions of windows and several versions of *nix. It was ~80-100 pages per OS and covered like 8 or 10 different versions of doze and *nix. It was mostly screen shots: For this task, in this OS, click here, input X. It was a compilation of a bunch of previously published pocket guides. And they all focused only on network related tasks.
In other words it was an 800 page “pocket guide” for just about anything you would find in a cobbled together “mom and pop” network. Even though I’ve only been a hobbyist I’ve noticed that places where I’ve worked with ~25-50 employees will slap just about any version of just about anything on their networks. Evidently I’m not the only one to notice this. So the publisher compiled a whole bunch of different pocket guides and marketed it as admining the mom and pop network. And then added a little new material that covered how to get all the different versions of different stuff to play nice together. Now it’s out of print and I can’t find a link to it again.
At this point I’d even be willing to buy all of the pocket guides individually, but I haven’t had any luck tracking down what I need. So far all the pocket guides I’ve been able to find are like “these are all the admin commands that will work for all versions of *nix” (that one was pretty small) or “this is everything you could ever hope to do with windows 7” (and it’s about 800 of nothing but W7). And none of that is what I’m looking for.
I need cliff notes, crib sheets, pockets guides that say: “Hey, retard! Click here. Can you compare a picture? It should look like this. Input X!” And focus on nothing but networking related tasks.
OK, I think the real problem here is that I need a better search engine. I "dumbed down" my search string to about the level of something a 3rd grader would write and found a bunch stuff that is exactly what I'm looking for. And it's all way above the level of any 3rd grader I know.