Unit 4: Week 2: Understanding Basic Networking and the Internet

Unit 4: Week 2: Understanding Basic Networking and the Internet

Essential Questions

  • How do I know the networks I’m using are safe?
  • What can I do to make sure others who use the school and district network are safe?

Big Ideas

The ability for people to communicate and share information on local networks and across the globe via the Internet have increased the power of computing devices. Hardly a day goes by when most people don’t access a network in some way for some purpose. Even on days when you might not access the Internet, others still do and post and share information and data that you might use later. In order for networks to remain an effective contribution to work, school, entertainment, and other areas of our lives, we have to know that they are safe for our devices and for those of us who use them.

Networks are created for different purposes. School and district networks are intended to support student learning and to ensure those who work in schools can do their jobs in support of student learning and school management. Verified users rely on accessing school and district networks, but there are those that might want to access the network for reasons the network is not designed, like obtaining personal information or installing malicious software.

As a Help Desk representative you need to know how to install and maintain a secure network and ensure it is being used properly. You have to model appropriate use and help when things go wrong.

Connection to Student Lives

Many people rely on their data plans when using their phones or other mobile devices, but we all know that if you connect to a wireless network you can save your data for when you really need it. How do you know when you connect your phone to a public wireless network, like at a restaurant, that it’s safe? Sometimes we see messages about “unsecured network.” What does that mean and what should you do about it? In the Help Desk, you might be required to set up and maintain a wireless network so that people who connect to it don’t have to worry whether it is unsecured or not. Part of your job will include making sure it is secure.

Framing Problem

How do you create a wireless network that will be secure for the people and devices that use it?

Cornerstone Assessment

Students will install, configure and secure a basic wireless network and create documentation for the Help Desk knowledge base.

DPI Standards

  • 4.01 Understand network characteristics
  • 4.02 Understand how to install and configure a SOHO router
  • and storage methods
  • data sharing

CompTIA Standards

  • 2.4 Compare and contrast common Internet service types
  • 2.7 Explain basic networking concepts
  • 2.8 Given a scenario
  • configure and secure a basic wireless network
  • install


  • What network clients and servers are and do
  • The difference between a WAN and a LAN
  • Addressing protocols
  • The components of an IP address
  • The key features of a packet switching network
  • How a DNS query works
  • The parts of a URL
  • How HTTP and HTML work together
  • The importance of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the importance of a digital certificate
  • Email protocols and how to configure an email account
  • Components of a Small Office Home Office (SOHO)
  • Internet service types
  • How to verify a wired connection
  • How cellular data connections work, not necessarily all of the standards and service types
  • How to set up a wireless network and configure wireless security
  • How to configure a wireless client (connect a device to a wireless network)


  • Describe the components and functions of computer networks.
  • List the protocols and technologies used for addressing on computer networks.
  • Connect a computer to a wired or wireless network.
  • Describe the uses of common application protocols.
  • Identify the roles of different network devices in providing local and Internet network connectivity.
  • Distinguish the advantages and disadvantages of Internet connection types.
  • Connect a computer to a wired or wireless network.


  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (Older vs. newer standards, Speed limitations, Interference and attenuation factors) -
  • Basic protocols (HTTP/S, POP3, IMAP, SMTP) -
  • Basics of network communication (Basics of packet transmission, DNS or Domain Name System, URL-to-IP translation, LAN vs. WAN) -
  • Best practices (Change SSID, Change default password, Encrypted vs. unencrypted [Open, Captive portal, WEP, WPA, WPA2]) -
  • Cable (Cable Access TV, Hybrid Fiber Coax -
  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) -
  • Device addresses (IP address, MAC address or hardware address) -
  • Devices (Modem, Router, Switch, Access point) -
  • Fiber optic (Fiber to the Home [FTTH], Fiber to the Curb [FTTC]) -
  • Wireless (Radio frequency, Satellite, Cellular) -

Supporting Vocabulary

  • Access point
  • Attenuation
  • Cipher and key
  • Datagram
  • Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS)
  • Digital certificate and Certificate Authority
  • Dotted decimal notation
  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • Dynamic Range Switching/Selection (DRS)
  • Email and Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) and MAPI (Message Application Programming Interface), MX (Mail Exchanger),
  • F-connector
  • Header and payload
  • Hostname and Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)
  • Hyperlinks
  • HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
  • Interference
  • Internet Service Providers (ISP)
  • Intranets and extranets
  • Latency problems
  • Multifunction device (switch, access point, Internet router/modem)
  • Network clients and servers
  • Network Components: Router, Subnets, Switch, Nodes, and Segment
  • Network prefix length or Subnet mask
  • Nodes or hosts
  • Packet switching network
  • Router and default gateway
  • Router and forwarding
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
  • Service provider
  • SOHO (Small Office Home Office)
  • Telecommunications companies or telcos
  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and its four layers [1. LInk or Network Interface layer (frame), 2. Internet layer (Internet Protocol, Address Resolution Protocol, Internet Control Message Protocol), 3. Transport layer (Transport Control Protocol, User Datagram Protocol, 4. Application layer]
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and its parts: Protocol, Host location, File path
  • Very High Bit Rate DSL (VDSL)
  • Wi-Fi

Weekly Map


Introduction to problem: Setting up and connecting to a secure wireless network


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


Team meetings to develop project plan and goals


Review content resources with whole group

Small group and independent exploration of resources

Contribute to team project


Hands-on exploration with IT professionals: Setting up a wireless network

Team progress check with supervisor (using project plan)


Hands-on exploration with IT professionals: Setting up a wireless network

Small group and independent exploration of resources

Contribute to team project


Team sharing of progress with whole group


Online post-assessment


If necessary, network configuration can continue in week 3

Lesson Ideas

Students work in teams to review Units 4.1 and 4.2 in their textbook. The students collaborate on adding to their Frayer-type digital presentation or other documentation that records and illustrates key vocabulary and concepts in the Units. Students contribute to these files throughout the semester to prepare for the CompTIA certification exam and to contribute to the Help Desk knowledge base.

Student teams work together to create a SOHO network and configure it so it is secure. Anyone on the Help Desk team should be able to connect devices to the network to confirm it works correctly. This project could take one or two weeks. Students should document the steps they took to create the network, identify difficulties or issues that arise, and add that information to the Help Desk knowledge base.

Technicians guide students through setting up and securing a SOHO network.

Potential Resources

The Official CompTIA ITF+ Instructor’s Manual and Student Guide: Units 4.1 and 4.2

Frayer Diagram Template (slide deck, document, or other)

Set up a Wireless Network using a Wireless Access Point (WAP) from Cisco

How to set up a Wi-Fi Network from GCFGlobal


Khan Academy

  • How the Internet works. A short course that covers wired and wireless networks; IP addresses and DNS; packets, routers, and reliability; HTTP and HTML; Encryption and public keys; and cybersecurity
  • Computer networks. A mini course covering physical network connections; and bit rate, bandwidth, and latency

  • How the Internet Works is a playlist of fairly short (approximately 5-7 minutes) videos on a variety of topics related to the operations of the Internet and services it supports


Technology Gee