In this tutorial, you will be introduced to the basics of
computer networks and details regarding the networks
our school is part of. Topics will include:
Why Learn About Networks?
What is a Network?
Components of a Network
Types of Networks
Workspace Networking Info
3. Why Learn About Networks?
All technology within our school is networked in some
way. This tutorial
provides an overview of computer networks, which will help build
an understanding of how our own school network operates.
provides school-specific examples, which are real-life illustrations
of broader topics.
presents information which will enable users to take full
advantage of the capabilities that are available in our network.
will help build an understanding of network components which
will streamline troubleshooting: network administration
(outsourced - Net56), equipment (outsourced - Chuck), and
everything else (in-house - Casey).
4. What is a Network?
In this section, we will discuss:
Benefits and Disadvantages
How Networks Work
Examples of Networks
Characteristics Common to Networks
A network consists of
two or more computers
that are linked in order
to share resources (such
as printers), exchange
files, or allow electronic
6. Benefits of Networks:
Connectivity and Communication: Electronic
communication (e-mail) is more efficient and less
expensive than without the network.
Sharing Data – Data can be easily shared. No more
“sneakernet” needed to transfer files!
Sharing Hardware – Sharing a printer, for example, is
a cost effective way to manage equipment use.
Sharing Internet Access – Multiple users can share an
7. Disadvantages of Networks:
Cost – Investment in hardware and software can be
costly for initial set-up and administration costs will
be ongoing. It is recommended that there be one
network administrator for every 50-70 users.
Undesirable Sharing – Viruses.
Security – Without proper security precautions in
place, like firewalls and file encryption, data will be at
While some components of the network design are
expected to last for many years (life-span on some
cables can be up to 20 years), others will become
obsolete or malfunction and need to be replaced.
8. How Networks Work:
Universal models for
communication allow data to
be sent and received by all
computers and related
The OSI Networking Model
(Open System Interconnection)
is the most common model
currently in use. Functions are
divided into 7 layers and the
model specifies what each layer
does and how they interact.
9. How Networks Work:
Within the OSI Model,
standards and protocols
control how equipment
and software must
behave. TCP/IP (a suite of
protocols) controls the
Internet – it spans many
layers of the OSI model
and provides the
for the WWW to work.
10. Examples of Networks:
Peer-to-Peer: A circuit is formed by connecting two
computers with a copper cable. This is the smallest,
simplest and cheapest type of network.
Client/Server: Servers are powerful computers that
serve many smaller computers (clients). They have
lots of memory and storage space. This is the most
commonly used type of network.
Internet (short for “Interconnected networks”):
Connect all of the individual networks together and
you have the Internet (capital “I” since it is a name).
11. Common Characteristics:
One of two categories: enterprise network or home
Home network set-up – phone jack, cable, satellite feed,
perhaps connects to a router or modem.
Kipling is part of the District 109 enterprise network. The
network is set up for communication within and between
schools and to the Internet.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) is needed to connect
the Internet. Our ISP is Net56.
Combination of computer hardware (including
Network Interface Card), cables, networking devices,
and computer software.
12. Components of a Network
In this section, we will discuss:
13. Computer Hardware:
NIC: The Network Interface Card is
inside the computer and is standard
equipment on newer computers.
Older equipment may have a separate
card in the expansion slot, but is now
integrated into the motherboard (houses processors,
and other electronics needed to run the machine).
RJ-45 Jack for Ethernet connector cable - it looks like a
large phone jack. If your classroom has a wired
connection/drop this is where you plug in the blue
The type of cable used affects its
performance, durability and
Regardless of what’s inside (shielded/
unshielded, number twisted pairs), for the
cables we see in our classrooms, we
just call them all Ethernet cables. You
can recognize your Ethernet cable by
the RJ45 connector and it’s probably
blue. This is the cable that comes out of
the drop in your workspace.
Deerfield schools are connected to the Internet
via fiber optic cables that are leased as part of our
outsourcing contract with Net56. The
“guts” of our network is
in Palatine and fiber optic
cables gets all the data back
The cable sends data at the
rate of 44.6 Mbps - that’s
44,600,000 bits per second!
16. Networking Devices:
Hardware specifically designed for creating networks.
Router: A “smart” device which sends info to the
correct destination. Routers send info/data long
distances. Kipling’s router is in a box in the Project
Switch: Repeats the signals to data packets along over
short distances. We have switches throughout the
building (above the drop ceiling).
A combination of switches and cables connect
networked equipment to the router, and router
connects you to the world.
17. Computer Software:
Web-browser software is one of many softwares that
allow your computer to communicate with others’,
via networking devices.
HTTP is the standard software for the Internet.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the “http://” part of the
website address tells the computer how to read the
data that is sent and received.
This is software that runs in the background - you will
never have to open/close programs or install
anything. It’s just there.
18. Network Design
Network designs are represented by graphics
called “topography” which shows hardware,
devices and cabling of the network’s design
represented by icons:
Deerfield schools use the hierarchical
extended star. The top of the hierarchy is
Net56. The fiber optic cable sends data to
Kipling’s router and a series of cables and
switches carry/repeat signals throughout our
building, eventually ending up the computer
in your workspace and the nearby wireless
19. Types of Networks:
In this section, we will discuss:
Local Area Network (LAN)
Wide Area Network (WAN)
Other types of Networks (PAN, CAN, MAN,
Virtual Personal Network (VPN)
20. Local Area Network (LAN):
LAN/WLAN: This type of network operates in a limited
geographic area. It connects devices and equipment
that is close together and multiple devices access
media. Unlike a dial-up modem connection, it is
always on. A Wireless Local Area Connection (WLAN)
can be completely wireless but most are a
combination of wired and wireless.
Kipling’s network is not a LAN because the
geographic distance to our servers is too great. We
are however, a WLAN since there is a wireless local
network within our building.
21. Wide Area Network (WAN):
Wide Area Networks provide coverage between sites,
and connecting technology (cables) is owned by a
third party - phone lines, cable TV, T3 lines, etc.
Like many businesses, district 109 uses a WAN. Ours
is supported by Net56 with a connection to the server
farm in Palatine.
22. Other Types of Networks:
CANs (campus) - Bigger than a LAN as multiple
buildings are connected. Most schools are part of
CANs but ours is not.
MANs (Metropolitan area) – Created by ISPs; shorter
cables, less expense, high speeds for less than what a
WAN would cost.
SANs (Storage) – The purpose to communicate with
storage devices – huge databases (like Amazon).
Concurrent access to data enhances performance.
Our district has entered into a contract to outsource
storage and reporting of student data.
So far, we have a WLAN, a WAN and a SAN.
23. Personal Area Network:
This is the smallest type of network. This is the area
immediately surrounding your computer.
Connecting peripherals - like a document camera,
Promethean Board, digital camera, video camera, or
printer – to a single computer creates a PAN.
Your classroom is a PAN within the district’s WAN.
Troubleshooting PANs is much simpler than larger
networks – this is something that coworkers and/or
Casey would be able to help with should trouble
24. Virtual Personal Networks:
A VPN enables you to connect to another computer
remotely, via your normal Internet Service Provider.
Because data travels through unprotected space the
data packets are encrypted so that only the intended
recipient can read them.
District 109 has a VPN - Thin Client. Install Remote
Access software on your desktop and then access your
work files by typing www.thin.dps109.org. You can
access your Z: drive files from any location that has an
Did you keep track? Here at Kipling we have a WLAN,
a WAN, a SAN, a PAN and a VPN.
26. Getting Connected:
If your workspace has a desktop computer, connect
the blue/Ethernet cable to the tower. One end goes in
the drop and the other into your computer.
If you use a school laptop, check that the wireless
network is found (icon in lower right corner).
Connect any peripherals: Promethean Board, printer,
document camera, DVD player, etc. If you are in the
same workspace as last year, everything you need is
in your room.
Set up network printing: This will allow you to print
to the copy machines (secure print feature is
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is the
reason you have a phone in your room.
Telephone signals go through the same wireless
that provides Internet connectivity for our computers.
Voicemail messages can be accessed through your
Cisco phone and will also appear in your e-mail as
That adds one more acronym to our collection: We
have a WLAN, a WAN, a SAN, a PAN, a VPN and VOIP.
In addition to all the Internet-related networks,
Deerfield schools also have Intranet.
Intranet is the name for a private network, typically
one that operates within a business or organization.
Our Intranet is accessed through the district website:
www.dsp109.org. Mouseover “staff” in the
navigation bar then select “Intranet (Staff only) from
the drop-down menu. The Intranet is protected, so
you will have type in your login and password
information (same one you use for e-mail).
There is a wealth of information on the Intranet and is
well worth the time you spend exploring!
Turn on the computer and log on.
If previous user didn’t log out properly,
at this point you will need to do a hard
shut down (press the power key until the
screen goes black) then start over.
If you’re not getting an Internet connection, check
the wireless network icon. If you see the red “X” you
will need to change the settings – select wireless
network from the drop-down menu.
If it still doesn’t work, send it to Casey. He will
determine if the problem is fixable in-house or if
Net56 is called to re-image the computer.
If something doesn’t work, check the
obvious things first: make sure it’s
plugged in, turned on, and all cables
are firmly connected.
Remember the rule in your classroom: “Ask three
before me.” Try asking a colleague to help with basic
connections before looking further afield. Grade level
teammates may be able to provide very timely
The next tier of support is Casey, our tech
If the problem is related to the network (Internet
connection, e-mail, etc.), check with co-workers to
see if it is a system-wide problem.
If the problem is not network-wide, contact the Net56
help desk via e-mail.
Net56 has two engineers on-site and their office
happens to be right across the parking lot in the
Administration Building. Although Net56 offices are
about 15 miles away, help is just next door.
Kozierok, C. M., (2005). TCP/IP guide. http://
Odom, W., & Knott, T., (2006). Networking basics:
CCNA 1 companion guide. Cisco Press: Indianapolis,