Top 10 networking tips of 2007

The most popular networking tips from all our technical tip categories -- engineering, management, wide area networks and wireless networks.

Before we count down the seconds until 2008, we're counting down the most popular tips from all our tech tip categories -- engineering, management, wide area networks and wireless networks.

  1. Top 5 WAN tips
  2. Top 5 wireless tips
  3. Top 10 network engineering tips
  4. Top 10 network management tips

Top 5 WAN tips

1. MPLS technology overview by
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) can speed up the flow of network traffic and make it easier to manage. Get a head start with our technology overview.

2. IP network design: Step-by-step guide by Cormac Long and
This four part guide by Cormac Long offers you a comprehensive roadmap to designing IP-based networks, from the basic principles involved to the more complex finishing touches.

3. Screencast: Configuring VLANs by David Davis
VLANs are a convenient way to connect ports from different switches and different buildings onto the same network and broadcast domain, preventing the need for a complex system of subnets. Learn how to configure a VLAN in this step-by-step, automated, 15-minute demo.

4. Cisco CCIP MPLS certification (series) by Robbie Harrell, with an introduction by Ed Tittel
A deep understanding of backbone routing, especially for the Internet, is incomplete nowadays without a working knowledge of MPLS. This collection of tips will help you understand MPLS theory and practice in preparation for the Cisco exam 642-611.

5. Network design: Five ways to lower your costs by Tom Lancaster
Learn how to lower network operating costs without sacrificing utility in this tip on designing a low-cost network.

Top 5 wireless tips

1. Wireless network troubleshooting: Connectivity by Lisa Phifer
When you have trouble connecting a wireless client (a desktop, laptop, PDA, or phone) to an office network, these step-by-step debugging tips can help.

2. Cisco wireless access point configuration from scratch by David Davis
Learn what the Cisco 1242 wireless access point can do for you and how to configure one from scratch.

3. Wireless Internet access -- 3G vs. Wi-Fi by Lisa Phifer
Most road warriors have just two truly viable alternatives for wireless Internet access: 3G and Wi-Fi. In this tip, Lisa Phifer covers the pros and cons of 3G and Wi-Fi for coverage, convenience, capacity, control and cost.

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4. Configure Cisco wireless bridges for point-to-point networking by David Davis
Point-to-point wireless bridging is ideal for many business networks. In this tip, learn how point-to-point wireless bridging can help you, the pros and cons of using it, and the configuration of the Cisco wireless bridges that make it work.

5. Wireless WAN technologies -- an overview for network pros by David B. Jacobs
In this overview, learn about the latest developments in the three major families of wireless WAN technology: GSM/UMTS, cdmaOne/CDMA2000 and WiMAX.

Top 10 engineering tips

1. How routers work by David Davis
Learn how routers use routing tables to direct IP packets, find the best route to a destination, modify Ethernet packets with their MAC addresses, and perform encapsulation, or convert protocols, to route traffic through your network.

2. Certifications for networking professionals by Ed Tittel
Despite ups and downs in the economy, the job market and IT professional confidence levels, certain certifications keep going strong, and remain highly sought-after by IT professionals and highly valued by IT employers.

3. Network summarization -- Supernetting and wildcard masks by David Davis
Network engineers need to understand supernetting, how to read routes received from other providers and how to create an access list that references these multiple networks in a single summarized statement. In this tip, you'll learn more about the IP addressing-related topics of network summarization, supernetting and wildcard masks.

4. Routing: Five common, easily avoided errors by Tom Lancaster
Router configuration errors don't have to take down your network. Learn five common routing mistakes -- and how to avoid them -- in this tip.

5. Disabling IPv6 in Windows Vista -- Pros and cons by Brien Posey
Windows Vista features a dual stack, running IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously. If your organization is still using only IPv4, there are performance and security problems that can be countered by simply turning off IPv6. But there are also reasons why that may not be such a good idea. In this tip, find out the pros and cons of disabling IPv6 in Windows Vista.

6. USB storage devices: Stop the threat to network security (series) by Brien Posey
USB storage devices pose a significant threat to network security. Brien Posey explains some benefits and drawbacks of physically blocking USB device use and how to use Windows Vista group policy to prevent unauthorized USB device use in this two-part series.

7. ISDN implementation (series) by Chris Partsenidis
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) provides digital transmission of both voice and data, resulting in better quality and speeds above those of Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) systems. In this three-part series, learn about the history of ISDN and its protocols and components, and how to configure your Cisco router to work with ISDN.

8. OSI: Securing the Stack, Layer 7 -- Applications by Michael Gregg
Domain Name System (DNS) wasn't designed to handle today's security threats, making it a prime target at Layer 7 -- the application layer -- of the OSI model. In this tip, learn how DNS works and some of the ways hackers attack it, including exploiting zone transfers, DNS cache poisoning, DNS cache snooping, and man-in-the-middle attacks. Finally, learn how to harden your DNS defenses.

9. Screencast: Hardening your router -- Increasing security with ACLs by David Davis
Learn how to harden your router in this step-by-step, automated, ten-minute demo. Expert David Davis walks you through the steps you'll need to take to use Cisco IOS access control lists (ACLs) to define and filter traffic for increased network security.

10. Troubleshooting a DHCP server by Brien Posey
Learn how to troubleshoot a DHCP server to discover why it might fail to lease IP addresses and the solutions to those problems in this tip.

Top 10 network management tips

1. TCP/IP troubleshooting: A structured approach (series) by Mitch Tulloch
This series from describes a structured approach for troubleshooting connectivity problems with TCP/IP networks.

2. Managing Windows networks using scripts (series) by Mitch Tulloch
Learning to use scripts can make the life of a network administrator a lot easier by allowing you to automate daily administration tasks.

3. New tools help to diagnose LAN application problems by Eric Siegel
New tools are available to assist in the diagnosis of problems in complex network-based applications running over the LAN. These tools are much easier to use than old-style sniffers and guesswork, and they're much easier to explain to applications developers. Read this tip to learn about them and to decrease the time that your network staff has to invest in application diagnosis.

4. Windows Vista, IPv6 lead to network performance problems by Brien Posey
Windows Vista, which runs on parallel IPv6 and IPv4 protocol stacks, can create network performance problems when used with older routers.

5. Virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) extends virtual networks by David B. Jacobs
Virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) technology enables the creation of a single virtual system containing components spread across multiple locations. In this tip, learn how VRF divides a router or Layer 3 switch into multiple independent virtual devices, how VRF-equipped routers provide gateways to MPLS, and where VRF fits in with secure tunnelling.

6. Managing streaming protocols on your network by David B. Jacobs
To manage user access to streaming media, you first must understand the protocols that deliver streaming media across the network. Learn more about RTP, RTSP, RTCP and other protocols in this tip -- and find out why merely blocking access may not keep unwanted streaming applications off your network.

7. Configure network monitoring for optimal performance by David Davis
Learn how to optimize network performance monitoring settings so that the monitoring system conserves bandwidth and takes into account the optimal performance of the network.

8. Using VMware to test open source network analysis tools by David Davis
Find out how open source network analysis tools can be beneficial to your network monitoring strategy, and learn how you can try out the open source network protocol analyzer Wireshark inside a VMware Player Guest OS.

9. ITIL -- What network managers need to know by Ron Potter
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is an IT service management framework surrounded by industry best practices. This tip answers questions that network managers may have about implementing ITIL and explains how it can be beneficial to networking.

10. Application performance management: How to prepare for new applications with an impact analysis by Robbie Harrell
Application impact analysis prior to application deployment is critical for successful performance management. In this tip, find out how to perform an impact analysis to ensure that your network is ready for new applications.

This was last published in December 2007

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