Unit 5: Week 2: Connecting to the Internet

Unit 5: Week 2: Connecting to the Internet

Essential Questions

  • What would your life be like if you couldn’t access the Internet? Ever? How much do you, your family, and your friends rely on the Internet at home, school, or work? What do you do when you can’t access it?
  • What can you do to make your own Internet experience, as well as the experiences of those you might ultimately work with, better? What has to be in place to make the most of the Internet?
  • What do you mean there are other number systems? Why do I need to know Base 2 and Base 16? 1 through 10 has worked for me for years!

Big Ideas

Having access to a LAN can be helpful, like connecting all your devices at home to a local network. Some businesses create private LANs to keep information and data safe and secure from people outside of their business. But the real power of networks is when they are connected to the Internet and you can find and share information with others across the globe.

There are different ways to connect to the Internet, and sometimes even some slower methods, like dial-up, satellite, and Line of Sight Internet, may still be used in some places. Being able to connect to the Internet has become so important, that people are willing to do so even under challenging situations.

The Internet requires hardware devices, like routers and modems switches, as well as different protocols to transfer information from one device to another, or to many. The TCP/IP suite is the workhorse protocol that is the foundation of transferring information across the Internet. Within that protocol the IP part of the protocol is the Internet Protocol which describes how information is transferred using specific components with strict structures. The older version of IPv4 is being replaced by IPv6 (there is no IPv5), but you will still need to understand the components of each IP version because you may run into networks that use either one.

Note: If covering dotted decimal notation and hexadecimal numbers in the same week is confusing to students, consider moving IPv6 and hexadecimal numbers to week 3 and replacing it with some topics about Network Services.

Connection to Student Lives

Can you imagine a day when you haven’t connected to the Internet…at least once? It’s pretty rare, right? The Internet has become a ubiquitous part of our lives. That just means that so many people use it so often that we kind of take it for granted that it will always be there wherever we are.

For that to happen, however, someone has to take the steps to set up opportunities to connect to the Internet. We usually connect to the Internet at large through a local network, like one at school, home, or even when you’re picking up a coffee or hamburger at your favorite restaurant. All the settings have to be correct on your device, the local network, and the Internet Service Providers that connect your LAN to the World-Wide Web. In order to support networks, you need to understand how they work and what decisions a network administrator or technician has in setting up and maintaining a network.

We’ve all heard that computing devices talk to each other using binary code–a system of 1s and 0s. Binary is one type of number system, like the common Base 10 number system (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) we all use every day and are most familiar with. But there are different number systems besides these two and IPv4 and IPv6 convert binary signals into different notation and number systems. It may take a little practice, but you will have to get used to the dotted decimal notation (that relies on Base 10) used by IPv4 and the hexadecimal (Base 16) number system used by IPv6. If you’ve done any coding of web pages or created graphics for websites you may be familiar with hexadecimal numbers. You don’t have to become a math whiz in Base 16, but you should at least be able to recognize and use important numbers, like IP addresses, that use these systems. All it takes is some practice.

Framing Problem

Students will work throughout the module to ultimately install and configure a SOHO (Small Office Home Office) network in week 4. They should capture decision points for their network solutions during the first three weeks, practicing relevant skills they will apply in week 4.

Cornerstone Assessment

Explore the capabilities of a router and compare them to modems. If possible, have students set up a router for different purposes, perhaps dividing a network into multiple networks or joining a LAN to a WAN, such as connecting to the Internet. Students should be able to accurately describe how IP addresses function in the networks they explore.

DPI Standards

  • 2.07 Compare Internet connection types
  • and their features.
  • NCCTE.2020.II21.02.02 - Compare common networking hardware devices.
  • NCCTE.2020.II21.02.04 - Compare wireless networking protocols.
  • NCCTE.2020.II21.02.06 - Explain common network configuration concepts.
  • NCCTE.2020.II21.02.07 - Compare Internet connection types, network types, and their features.

A+ Standards

Topic 8D

1001-2.2 Compare and contrast common networking hardware devices.
1001-2.4 Compare and contrast wireless networking protocols.
1001-2.7 Compare and contrast Internet connection types, network types, and their features.

TOPIC 8E: Network Configuration Concepts

1001-2.2 Compare and contrast common networking hardware devices.
1001-2.6 Explain common network configuration concepts


  • Different methods of Internet access, especially for typical SOHO networks
  • The basic components that make up a network
  • That modems and network link types must be matched
  • Why knowing about dial-up, satellite, and Line of Sight Internet access may still be relevant in some situations and the general characteristics of each
  • What makes ISDN integrated and its’ common uses
  • The similarities and differences between GSM- and CDMA-based cellular radio access
  • The separate functions of routers versus modems
  • Identify the properties and characteristics of TCP/IP, it’s layers, and how protocols work together and with network hardware to support TCP/IP
  • How to identify IPv4 addresses in dotted decimal notation
  • The function of Host IP Configurations
  • When and why a network administrator may use a static versus dynamic IP address and what each may be used for
  • When APIPA (link local) is used in a Host IP Configuration and be able to identify an APIPA address
  • Private Addresses
  • When Network Address Translation is used and why
  • The difference between the older IPv4 and newer IPv6 addressing scheme
  • How to identify validly constructed IPv6 addresses and identify link-local addresses used by IPv6


  • Compare and contrast methods of Internet access, especially for typical SOHO networks
  • Convert between binary and dotted decimal notation and between binary and hexadecimal format
  • Identify IPv4 addresses in dotted decimal notation
  • Recognize an IPv4 APIPA address
  • Identify validly constructed IPv6 addresses
  • Recognize an IPv6 link-local address
  • List well-known port numbers and their descriptions


Internet Connection Types


  • Internet Backbone
  • Internet eXchange Points (IXPs)
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)
    • Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
    • Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)
    • Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)
  • Point of Presence (PoP)
  • Backhaul link

Broadband Internet Access

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
    • DSL Access Multiplier (SDLAM)
    • PPP over ATM (PPPoA)
    • PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE)
    • Asymmetrical DSL (ADSL)
    • Symmetric DSL
    • Very High Bitrate DSL (VDSL)

Fiber Optic Internet Access

  • Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC)
    • Cable Access TV (CATV)
    • Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS)Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS)
  • Fiber to the Curb (FTTC)
    • Fiber to the Premises (FTTP); Fiber to the Home (FTTH)
    • Fiber to the Node (FTTN); Fiber to the Curb (FTTC)

Dial-up Internet Access

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) Access

  • Basic Rate Interface (BRI)
  • Primary Rate Interface (PRI)
  • Terminal Adapter (TA)

Fixed Wireless Internet Access

  • Satellite Internet Access
    • Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT)
    • Latency
  • Line of Sight (LoS) Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP)

Cellular Radio Networks

  • Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)-based phone
    • Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card
  • Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)

See also

  • Network types, Wireless Mesh Network (WMN), Personal Area Network (PAN) (all covered in week 1)

Network Configuration Concepts



Virtual LAN (VLAN)

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite

  • Protocol and Protocol suite
  • Link or Network Interface Layer
  • Internet Protocol (IP)
    • Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)
  • Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
  • User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
  • Application Protocols
  • Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)

Internet Protocol and IP Addressing

  • IPv4 packet structure and address format
    • Octets
    • Dotted decimal notation

Subnet Masks

  • Network ID
  • Host ID
  • Default mask
  • ANDing to Mask an IP Address

Host IP Configuration

  • Default gateway
  • Domain Name System (DNS)

Static and dynamic IP Addresses

  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)
  • Reserving an IP Address

Private IP Addresses (do not need to memorize the ranges)

Network Address Translation (NAT)

  • Network Address Port Translation (NAPT) or Port Address Translation (PAT, or NAT overloading

Virtual Private Networks (VPN)


  • Hexadecimal Notation
  • Global address
  • Link-local address

Weekly Map


Continued orientation to problem: Preparing to configure a SOHO Network by exploring routers

Online Pre-assessment  (available for student practice, as well)

Team meetings to review project plan and goals


Review content resources with whole group

Small group and independent exploration of resources: Internet Connection Types and Discussion Activity 8-4


Hands-on exploration: Routers

Small group and independent exploration of resources: Network Configuration Concepts, especially converting binary to dotted decimal notation


Hands-on exploration

Small group and independent exploration of resources: Network Configuration Concepts, especially converting binary to hexadecimal (or swap with Network Concepts from week 3)

Discussion Activity 8-5


Team progress check with supervisor; Monitor progress and adjust project plan as necessary

Time for extra practice with converting binary numbers

Online post-assessment

Lesson Ideas

Students may not be familiar with different methods for Internet access. Consider having teams create network diagrams for different situations, at least for a SOHO network that they might set up in the classroom.

Hands-on application for this week includes exploring routers and modems. The degree to which they can manipulate them depends on available hardware and access to a network, as some schools may limit or block that access to student groups.

As they are exploring routers, students should understand how the TCP/IP suite supports data transmission across networks. This will lead to exploring dotted decimal notation for IPv4 and the hexadecimal number system for IPv6. Students will need practice converting between binary and dotted decimal notation and between binary and hexadecimal numbers. They don’t need to become experts in solving math problems in hexadecimal numbers, just understand how to convert binary to both formats as they relate to understanding IP addresses. There are a number of websites and videos online that present these topics and provide opportunities to practice these skills.

Potential Resources

The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Instructor Guide for Exams 220-1001 and 220-1002

  • Topic 8D: Internet Connection Types (514-520)
    • Activity 8-4: Discussing Internet Connection Types (521)
  • Topic 8E: Network Configuration Concepts (522-534)
    • Activity 8-5: Discussing Internet Connection Types (535-536)

CompTIA also offers videos for purchase through their website or on ITPro.TV.

Professor Messer at and YouTube offers numerous free videos of various lengths for many of the topics for the CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Exam. They are easy to understand, narrated videos with visuals. If you are teaching a CompTIA course, the site notes “You’re welcome to use them as much as you’d like, provided you embed the videos with the associated YouTube link or link directly to my site. Please click the “Contact Us” link at the top of our web page and let me know how you’re using them.”

Entry Level I.T. Training from Technology Gee

  • Common Networking Hardware Devices (Article | Video – 19:35) introduced previously
  • Wireless Networking Protocols (Article | Video – 19:45) introduced previously
  • Internet Connections & Network Types (Article | Video – 23:52) introduced previously
  • Network Configuration Concepts (Article | Video – 24:07)

Khan Academy

PowerCert Animated Videos on YouTube

ITProTV (may include promotions for ITProTV courses)

Cloudflare, a global networking company, provides a wealth of information on topics related to networks in it’s Learning Center. Consider these and explore others

Networking Tutorials from Lantronix, a global provider of Software as a Service, connectivity, engineering, and IotT services. Some, but minimal, product promotion may appear in this resource.

How the Internet Works: Unit 4 from The Beauty of Computing

Tutorials from Cisco:

Articles and Other Resources:

Broadband Internet Access DSL, PPP

PPPoE vs DHCP: What is the difference? From

Fiber optic

A Complete Guide to Fiber Optic Internet. A mix of text and videos from Otelco, a telecommunications provider

Fiber optics by Chris Woodford for ExplainThatStuff!

How Fiber Internet Works. Short video (2:14) overviewing the use of fiber optic cables for Internet from the Shortcut Team.

What is Fiber Optic Cable? By Bradley Mitchell for Lifewire

Dial-up, satellite, and line of sight

Cable, fiber, 5G and more: The different Internet connection types and how they work by David Anders and Sean Jackson for CNet. Includes audio (7:29) option.

Types of Internet Access Technologies, Explained. Article by Ben Stegner with embedded videos on MUO.

GSM- and CDMA-based cellular radio

CDMA vs. GSM: Communication standards explained by Jackie Dove for digitaltrends

CDMA vs. GSM: What’s the Difference? Sascha Segan provides a thorough comparison on this article from PC Magazine with many advertisements.

Routers versus modems

Modem vs. Router: How do they differ? By Molly McLaughlin for Lifewire

Properties and characteristics of TCP/IP

What is TCP/IP by Danielle Bodnar for AVG, makers of antivirus software

What is a Transmission Control Protocol TCP/IP Model? Thorough explanation from Fortinet, an enterprise network security company

The Internet: IP Addresses & DNS video (6:44) from

IPv4 vs. IPv6

IPv4 vs IPv6: What’s the difference between IPv4 and IPv6? Simple explanation with clear examples by Lawrence Williams for Guru99.

IPv4 vs. IPv6: What’s the difference? In-depth article from Avast with a few product promotion ads.

What is IPv6 and why is it important? From

What is the difference between IPv4 and IPv6? By Anthony Freda for AVG, makers of antivirus software

Subnet Masks

Subnetting: What is Subnet Mask? Short overview by Lawrence Williams for Guru99

Understand TCP/IP addressing and subnetting basics from Microsoft

IP Addressing and Subnetting for New Users. Thorough information from Cisco

Subnet Mask Cheat Sheet from DNS Made Easy

Why static versus dynamic IP addresses

Static vs. Dynamic IP: What’s the difference? By Praharsha Anand for ITPro

Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses from Avast with a few product promotion ads.

When to use a static IP Address by Bradley Mitchell for Lifewire

Virtual private network

The ultimate guide to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) from AVG, makers of VPN software

What is a VPN, and why you need one by Max Eddy for PC Magazine

What is a VPN? Virtual Private Networks 101. Thorough article with opening animated video (1:29) from Surfshark, makers of VPN software. May include ads.

What is a VPN, what they do, VPN meaning and more explained by Adam Marshall for techradar, a consumer technology news and review site in the U.K., U.S., and Australia

Converting between binary and decimal format and hexadecimal numbers

Convert Decimal IP address in Binary and Binary in Decimal. Thorough explanation from ComputerNetworkingNotes

How to Convert IP Addresses to Decimal Format by Garrett Unglaub for ItStillWorks

IP Addressing & Converting from Binary to Decimal. Detailed explanation from Cisco

How to Convert Binary to Hexadecimal. Detailed step-by-step directions from WikiHow. Includes a link to an online converter

How to convert binary to hexadecimal? From tutorialspoint

Binary to IP Converter and IP to Binary Converter from Code Beautify which contains other online converters

Online Binary Tools provides many different online converters