BASIC NETWORK TECHNOLOGY, STRUCTURE, AND PROTOCOLS
This module is about what networks do by, with, to or for organizations, public and private. The bottom line is that information technology ultimately is used by people, and computer networks, whatever their technical complexity, are ultimately about the networking of people, particularly people in their organizational settings. Part of the problem, unfortunately, is that a lot of people are not particularly smart when it comes to understanding information technology. Like most things in life, IT knowledge tends to follow what is called a "Pareto distribution"—that is, about 80% of the knowledge is concentrated in about 20% of the people, while the other 80% of the people possess only about 20% of the total knowledge. Inevitably, this means that a lot of the demands made upon IT personnel, particularly those supervising networks and network-based applications, reflect a relatively high level of ignorance about how systems work and even about the basic technology. The case for this module explores this issue, and while part of it is pretty funny, the underlying problems are pretty serious.
Please start by reviewing the following three articles discussing some of the stranger requests for help received by IT personnel:
Chris Peters (2011), techsoup.org, Networking 101: concepts and Definitions, Retrieved November 21, 2012 from http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/networks/page4774.cfm
Rinkworks.com (2012) Computer Stupidities. Retrieved May 6, 2012, from http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/ (pay particular attention to the tech support stories)
Cisco (2012), Basic Networking: What you need to know, Retrieved from http://www.cisco.com/cisco/web/solutions/small_business/resource_center/articles/connect_employees_and_offices/basic_networking/index.html
Also read the following article:
Notalwaysright.com (2012) Retrieved May 6, 2012, from http://notalwaysright.com/
While humorous, the level of ignorance revealed in these anecdotes costs organizations substantial amounts of money, time, and expertise. Figuring out what to do about this situation is a major challenge to IT personnel. As your case assignment for this module, you are to distill from the anecdotes presented and other sources what seem to you to be critical training needs -- that is, the kinds of recurring ignorance reflected in the anecdotes that could be reduced with a little basic training.
Specifically, when you have reviewed this material, any items from the background information that seem helpful, and any other sources that you care to draw upon, please prepare a 3-5 page paper on the topic:
Evaluate five to seven most important things about computer networks that should be understood by everyone who uses one
For each of your items, please identify
What you think people should know and why they should know it
What you think is the best way to teach people about it
Your paper should be between three and five pages. Take a definite stand on the issues, and develop your supporting argument carefully. Using material from the background information and any other sources you can find to support specific points in your argument is highly recommended; try to avoid making assertions for which you can find no support other than your own opinion.
Basic Network Technology, Structure and Protocols
The internet and the concept of network connectivity trace its roots to very humble beginnings. Starting with a connection of just a few computers, it has grown to connect millions more. There are various factors that determine the most important aspects that need to be understood by users. The most crucial ones are defined by the type of network and nature of connectivity. Additionally, there is the functionality or task bestowed upon each computer in the network, which can also be a significant determinant. However, with these factors notwithstanding, there are some concepts or aspects that everyone needs to know. In the long run, everyone needs to know since it affects more or less, every aspect of life, as far as technological and internet connectivity is concerned.