How Networks Really Work

Video description

7+ Hours of Video Instruction

There are many elements to a networking system, including hosts, virtual hosts, routers, virtual routers, routing protocols, discovery protocols, etc. Each protocol and device (whether virtual or physical) is generally studied as an individual “thing.” It is not common to consider all these parts as components of a system that works together to carry traffic through a network. To show how all these components work together to form a complete system, this video course presents a series of walk throughs showing the processing involved in various kinds of network events, and how control planes use those events to build the information needed to carry traffic through a network.

One of the foremost internetworking experts, Russ White leverages his decades of experience in building and troubleshooting large scale networks at the likes of Cisco, LinkedIn, and Juniper to present you with a proven methodology that will help you understand why and how networking technologies work. You will learn to consider the specific problems being solved, why specific solutions are chosen, and how solutions relate to one another. In addition to providing a solid overview of many common protocols and solutions, this valuable insight helps you develop the ability to understand why you should make particular implementation decisions and what the tradeoffs are in each situation, enhance your troubleshooting skills by understanding how each technology works and what problems might arise with any solution, and finally to quickly understand new technologies as they are released by relating them to previously developed technologies.

The course begins with the discovery of the information a host needs to send traffic and the forwarding process within a network device. The first walk through is simple, but they will build in complexity until traffic carried in an overlay through a hardware optimized forwarding plane is explained. Along the way, the four problems a control plane must solve will be exposed along with the solutions commonly used to solve these problems. After this basic information is covered, more advanced situations will be considered, including network resilience from a control plane perspective and fast reroute techniques.

About the Instructor

Russ White began working with computers in the mid-1980s, and computer networks in 1990. He has experience in designing, deploying, breaking, and troubleshooting large scale networks, and is a strong communicator from the white board to the board room. Across that time, he has co-authored more than forty software patents, participated in the development of several Internet standards, helped develop the CCDE and the CCAr, and worked in Internet governance with the Internet Society. Russ has a background covering a broad spectrum of topics, including radio frequency engineering and graphic design, and is an active student of philosophy and culture.

Russ is a co-host at the Network Collective, serves on the Routing Area Directorate at the IETF, co-chairs the BABEL working group, and serves on the Technical Services Council as a maintainer on the open source FR Routing project. His most recent works are Computer Networking Problems and Solutions, The Art of Network Architecture, Navigating Network Complexity, and Intermediate System to Intermediate System LiveLessons.

Skill Level

Beginner to Intermediate

Learn the problems and solutions associated with transporting packets through networks, including:
  • Transport solutions
  • Routing protocol basics
  • Abstraction
  • Control plane examples and convergence
  • Control plane resilience
Who Should Take This Course

This video course addresses fundamental concepts in a way that is applicable for many kinds of students in a wide variety of learning situations, including:
  • Beginning learners just starting a career in network engineering
  • Intermediate level network engineers who have some experience, and perhaps an associates or professional level certification, who would like to take their career to the next level
  • Experienced network engineers who would like to fill in their knowledge, or understand why things work the way they do, rather than simply how they work
  • Programmers who would like to understand the operation of networks in order to improve their ability to write network-based applications
  • Development operations engineers who would like to understand why networks operate the way they do, and possibly migrate into full time network engineering roles
  • College students who are taking courses in or majoring in information technology who would like to supplement their learning in the network engineering space
  • College students taking a course that uses the Problems and Solutions in Network Engineering book as course material, and would like additional knowledge to help them to better understand the material
Course Requirements

This video course requires no previous knowledge or experience, although a basic understanding of IP addressing and network operation will help the candidate absorb this information.

Lesson Descriptions

Lesson 1: Transport

Networks are primarily designed to do one thing—transport data, in the form of packets, from one device to another. This lesson covers the process, beginning with information starting within the host and carrying that data across the network. Basic concepts such as multiplexing, marshaling, error control, and flow control will be covered.

Lesson 2: Routing Protocol Basics

Carrying information across a network requires there to be a path through the network—but not just “any old path” will do. Instead, the path chosen must be loop-free, so traffic is delivered quickly, in order, and without loss. This lesson will explore the concept of a loop-free path, and explain several methods used in computer networks for computing loop-free paths.

Lesson 3: Abstraction

Networks contain a lot of information about each destination that can be reached (devices attached to the network), links between network devices, metrics, topology changes, etc. The amount of information in a network can quickly overwhelm network devices, causing them to fail, or simply making the network run inefficiently. This lesson will explore the concept of abstraction in network control planes. Two specific kinds of abstraction will be considered, summarization and aggregation, and the tradeoffs involved in removing information through abstraction thought through.

Lesson 4: Control Plane Examples

Understanding the theory behind how to discover the network’s topology and reachable destinations is important, but how are these things implemented in real protocols? This lesson uses widely deployed protocols as an example, showing how the theory in the last three lessons is used to implement real-world solutions.

Lesson 5: Control Plane Convergence

Control planes must not only discover the network topology and compute loop-free paths through the network, they must also react to changes in the topology of the network quickly and efficiently. This lesson considers the convergence properties of the three major kinds of control planes: distance-vector, path-vector, and link-state.

Lesson 6: Control Plane Resilience

Faster convergence is often better. The fewer packets a network drops in response to link or device failures, the more reliable the network will be for the applications and services relying on it. This lesson will explore fast convergence technologies in relation to network control planes.

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Product information

  • Title: How Networks Really Work
  • Author(s): Russ White
  • Release date: March 2021
  • Publisher(s): Pearson
  • ISBN: 0136886280