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Introduction to Switches and Routers

Duration: 5 Days

Course Background

Over the last decade or so traditional approaches to realising large networks using combinations of switches and routers are evolving into more sophisticated and complex technologies. At a higher level of abstraction networks are being analysed from the perspective of data planes, control planes and management planes. The traditional LAN deployment based on switches and the spanning tree protocol is, in some cases, being migrated to e.g. TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) and RBridges (TRILL Switches) or Shortest Path Bridging.

Traditionally routers usd microprocessors to make forwarding decisions, and the switches performed only hardware-based packet switching. Some of the processing involved in making forwarding decisions can be delegated to application specific hardware and combined with switchin hardware. These Layer 3 switches implement all hardware-based packet forwarding, and all the packet forwarding is handled by hardware ASICs. Layer 3 switches really are no different functionally than a traditional router.

This course builds on the traditional approach to networking based on classical switches and routers and then moves on to explore the newer developments in this field. Finally it introduces the concept of Software Defined Networking and discusses the implications of SDN for cloud infrastructure deployment in which the network is conceived of as yet another kind of service.

Course Prerequisites and Target Audience

Attendees are assumed to have a basic knowledge of computer networking and TCP/IP and basic PC configuration. No detailed knowledge of routers and switches is required.

Course Outline

  • The construction and engineering of computer networks
    • Computer networks exist so that computer programs can communicate with one another
    • Growth of the size of computer networks drives the evolution of new networking technologies
    • Managing very large networks requires that they be structured
    • Varieties of network
      • Small business and branch office networks
      • Large corporate networks
      • Very large data center networks
      • Metropolitan area networks
      • Global networks
      • Mobile networks
  • The Key LAN standards
    • Overview of the IEEE 802 family of standards
    • 802.3 and 802.2
    • 80-2.11 Wireless LAN standards
  • Ethernet - The Great Survivor
    • Origins - DEC, Intel and Xerox
    • Hubs, Bridges and Switches
    • From Coax to twisted pair and optical fiber
    • Duplex and half duplex operation
    • Types of ethernet frame format
    • Ethernet workgroup architectures - 10 and 100 Mbit/s
    • Ethernet backbone technologies - 1 to 100 Gbit/s
  • Wireless LAN Technologies
    • The various typew of WLAN - a,b,g,n
    • Deployment and configuration of WLANs
    • Wireless bridges, routers and access points
    • Securing WLANs
  • Basic LAN Switching
    • From simple bridges to switches
    • Switches as transparent devices that learn and adapt
    • Recovery and redundancy - Spanning Tree and Rapid Spanning Tree
    • Switches and VLANs - concepts and design
  • Advanced Switching
    • IEEE 802.1Q tag-based VLANs
    • QoS and the IEEE 802.1p priority scheme
    • Multilayer switching - an Introduction
    • High performance access LANs
    • Emerging switch technolgies - TRILL, DCB (Data Centre Bridging) , SPB (Shortest Path Bridge)
  • WAN Technologies
    • Leased lines
    • Metropolitan Ethernet
    • Ethernet Fabric
  • Routers and Routing
    • Static vs. Dynamic routing
    • Routing protocols - principles and strategies - Distance Vector, Link State, Link Path Vector
    • OSPF
    • BGP
    • Security aspects of routing protocols
  • IPv4 and IPv6
    • IPv4 and IPv6 compared
    • Mixed IPv4 and IPv6 networks
    • IPv4 to IPv6 migration strategies
    • IPv6 and 6lowPAN connectivity