- What’s the best way to configure a network?
- How do different settings and user profiles influence my network design?
Most networks have similar components, including modems, routers, and devices, but networks have to be designed to meet the specific needs of the users it serves. Some networks may be relatively open to users for casual use such as checking email and surfing the Web. Others may need heightened security or greater bandwidth to support bandwidth-hogging activities like supporting multiple users in video conferencing or multiplayer games. The decisions a network administrator makes to design and configure a network are influenced by how it will be used and by whom.
Connection to Student Lives
It’s finally time for you to design and configure your network! You’ve been using different networks most of your life and during this module you’ve been working through the nitty-gritty details of how they work. Now you get to make the decisions about how to set up a network. You may want to consider networks for different types of users and how their needs may influence your decisions. Or you may want to look at different settings for networks, like a secure LAN for the Help Desk versus a more open network in a cafeteria or commons space where students meet less formally. How might these or other settings impact your network design?
Given a user scenario, design and configure a wireless network that best meets the needs of the users and justify your decisions.
Install and configure a SOHO network, including configuring a DSL or cable modem and configuring or adjusting wireless settings. See Activity 9-4: Installing and Configuring SOHO Networks in The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Instructor Guide and its associated links to emulators for detailed steps for one scenario for completing the task. Consider beginning by having the students create at least a rough site diagram that identifies all devices and justify placement of access points, perhaps by completing a site survey. They should also configure or adjust firewall settings, including setting up a personal firewall on a (Windows) device. If possible, connect at least one IoT device to the network.
- NCCTE.2020.II21.02.02 - Compare common networking hardware devices.
- NCCTE.2020.II21.02.03 - Install and configure a basic wired/wireless SOHO network.
- NCCTE.2020.II21.02.04 - Compare wireless networking protocols.
- NCCTE.2020.II22.01.05 - Use Microsoft operating system features and tools.
- NCCTE.2020.II22.01.06 - Use Microsoft Windows control panel utilities.
- NCCTE.2020.II22.01.08 - Configure Microsoft Windows networking on a client or desktop.
- NCCTE.2020.II22.02.03 - Compare wireless security protocols and authentication methods.
- NCCTE.2020.II22.02.10 - Configure security on SOHO wireless and wired networks.
TOPIC 9B: Install and Configure SOHO Networks
TOPIC 9C: Configure SOHO Network Security
TOPIC 9F: Install and Configure IoT Devices
- The needs and complexities of SOHO wired and wireless networks, regardless of their size
- The functions of the separate device types bundled within a DSL/cable modem: Modem, Router, Switch, Access point
- How to configure a DSL or cable modem for a SOHO network, including configuring Internet access and wireless settings
- How to create a strong password and/or passphrase
- How to use Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) for supported devices
- The strengths and weaknesses of Wi-Fi security protocols: WEP, WPA, WPA2
- Methods for authenticating users on a Wi-Fi network, and which authentication is appropriate for different security protocols
- How to generate an SSID that is recognizable but does not reveal personal or confidential information
- How to conduct a firmware and driver update for an Internet appliance
- How different types of data transfer can impact Quality of Service and how QoS can be adjusted for certain types of traffic
- Types of network and host firewalls and the decision points for using one or more of them
- What it means to use a DMZ on an enterprise network
- How and why the Universal Plug-and-Play framework might be used or NOT used
- The main types of devices and networking standards for a smart hub
- Basic procedures for setting up a smart hub and connecting devices to it
- Examples of IoT devices
- Types of IoT networking technologies and situations in which they might be used, considering devices that they are compatible with
- Connect and configure a DSL or cable modem to a provider network
- Configure Internet access
- Configure and adjust wireless settings, and alternately, use a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), if available
- Review DHCP and IP Address configuration and explain why you may not want to configure them manually
- Use, or explain, Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) to connect a device to a network wirelessly
- Complete a site survey to determine and justify the antenna and access point placement
- Adjust firewall settings and justify your decisions for doing so
- Configure and adjust a personal (Windows) firewall on a device
- Optional: Configure a browser with appropriate settings and plug-ins
- Configure IoT devices to a network
Install and Configure SOHO Networks
SOHO (Small Office Home Office) Network
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)
Radio Power Levels
- War Driving
- Evil Twin Attacks
Wi-Fi Security Protocols
- Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
- Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
- Temporal Key Integrity Protocol
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
- Personal Authentication Mode
- Pre-Shared Key (PSK)
- Enterprise Authentication Mode
- Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS)
SOHO Security Issues
- Service Set ID (SSID)
Quality of Service (QoS)
- IP Addressing, NIC Configuration, End-user Device Configuration (covered previously in module 5-3)
- IoT Device Configuration, Firewall Settings (covered later in this module)
Configure SOHO Network Security
- Network Firewall
- Host Firewall
- Packet Filtering Firewall
- Access control List (ACL)
- Host (or Software or Personal) Firewall
- Whitelists and Blacklists
Network Address Translation (NAT)
- Network Address Port Translation (NAPT) (also called NAT overloading or Port Address Translation (PAT))
- Port Forwarding or Port Mapping
- Port Triggering
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP)
Install and Configure IoT Devices
Internet of Things (IoT) and examples of IoT devices
- Machine to Machine (M2M) Communication
IoT Wireless and Networking Technologies
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- Radio Frequency ID (RFID)
- Near Field Communications (NFC)
IoT Device Configuration
- Endpoint Device and some examples
- Smartphone Control
- Smart Hub and Smart Speaker Control
Digital Assistant or Virtual Assistant
Review problem: Install and Configure SOHO Networks
Discussion Activity 9-3
Team meetings to review and confirm project plan and goals
Small group and independent exploration of resources: Activity 9-4: Installing and Configuring SOHO Networks
Contribute to team project
Hands-on exploration: Review Activity 9-4
If time allows: Activity 9-5: Installing and Configuring SOHO Networks
Team progress check with supervisor (using project plan)
Hands-on exploration: Activity 9-5
Install and Configure IoT Devices and Activity 9-9
Contribute to team project
Teams share networks and artifacts with others
With the focus of the week being designing and configuring a network–either simulated or actual–much of the week should be set aside for this activity. Students may draw upon information from the previous topics in the module. Students can complete the activity independently using an emulator or may want to work in teams if enough hardware, cabling, and devices are available for their use. The size of the teams, perhaps even including the whole class, may be dependent upon available supplies. Experienced student teams may be able to complete both activities.
Firewalls and browser configurations are not Core 1 objectives but can be addressed if students have some experience in network configuration or maintenance already. Students should spend some time reviewing concepts related to network security as well as exploring types of networking for IoT devices and connecting at least one IoT device to their network, or perhaps a network from another team.
The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Instructor Guide for Exams 220-1001 and 220-1002
- Topic 9B: Install and Configure SOHO Networks (575-586)
- Activity 9-3: Discussing SOHO Network Installation and Configuration (587-588)
- Activity 9-4: Installing and Configuring SOHO Networks (589-595)
- Topic 9C: Configure SOHO Network Security (596-601; optional 602-612)
- Activity 9-5: Discussing SOHO Network Security (613-614)
- Topic 9F: Install and Configure IoT Devices (639-642)
- Activity 9-9: Discussing IoT Devices (643)
CompTIA also offers videos for purchase through their website or on ITPro.TV.
Professor Messer at ProfessorMesser.com 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.”
- Professor Messer’s 220-1001 Core 1 CompTIA A+ Training Course videos on ProfessorMesser.com. Search or scroll to find the topics you’re interested in.
- Professor Messer’s CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Training Course playlist on YouTube
Entry Level I.T. Training from Technology Gee
- Basic Wired/Wireless SOHO Networks (Article | Video – 25:46) introduced previously
- Wireless Security Protocols & Authentication (Article | Video – 8:38) optional
- Security on SOHO Networks (Article | Video – 13:26) optional
- Common Networking Hardware Devices (Article | Video – 19:35) introduced previously
- Microsoft Operating System Features (Article | Video – 20:22) optional
- Microsoft Windows control Panel (Article | Video – 8:27) optional
- Microsoft Windows Networking (Article | Video – 17:29) optional
- Wireless Networking Protocols (Article | Video – 19:45) introduced previously
PowerCert Animated Videos on YouTube
- What is a Firewall? (6:26)
- Port Forwarding Explained (9:04)
- What is a DMZ? (Demilitarized Zone) (6:14)
ITProTV (may include promotions for ITProTV courses)
- SOHO Router Setup – CompTIA A+ (13:18)
Articles and Other Resources:
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
- What is DNS? | How DNS works from Cloudflare
Tutorials from Cisco:
- Network Address Translation (NAT)
- Wireless Networks
How to set up a web server
How to set up a server for a small or mid-sized business from Avast, an online security company
Set up your very own Web server! Detailed, step-by-step directions from CalcProgramme1 for instructables circuits. Also downloadable in PDF.
How to File and Printer Sharing
How to Build a Fileserver on wikiHow
Install a New File Server as a Content Server from Microsoft
How to Set Up a Shared Network Printer in Windows 7, 8, or 10 by Walter Glenn for How-To Geek
How to Share a Printer in Windows 10. Article with screen capture images by Andre Da Costa for groovypost
Share your network printer in Windows 10 from Microsoft
Internet Security appliances and software
Educational Targets Hit by Rising Cyberattacks in 2021 by Louis Columbus on VentureBeat
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and Intrusion Detection System (IDS): What is the Difference? By Lauren Abshire for US Cybersecurity Magazine
Network Intrusion: How to Detect and Prevent It by Isabell Gaylord for US Cybersecurity Magazine
What is an Intrusion Detection System? Short article from Palo Alto Networks with summary table
What is Unified Threat Management (UTM)? Detailed description of UTM components from cybersecurity company Fortinet. Some product promotion at the end of the article.
Find Proxy Settings on Your Computer (for Local Testing Parameters). Directions for Windows, OSX, and Linux from BrowserStack, a software testing platform
How to Create a Proxy Server (2001) for Windows and OSX by Jessie Richardson for alphr
How to Set Up a Proxy Server on Your PC, Mac, or Web Browser. Directions for multiple browsers and versions from Avast
What is a Proxy Server? Detailed description of various types of proxy servers from cybersecurity company Fortinet. Some product promotion at the end of the article.