Chapter 6

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave: Cables, Switches, and Routers


Getting a whiff of Ethernet

Checking out the different types of network cable

Installing twisted-pair cable

Working with hubs and switches

Examining routers

Cable is the plumbing of your network. In fact, working with network cable is a lot like working with pipe: You have to use the right pipe (cable), the right valves and connectors (switches and routers), and the right fixtures (network interface cards).

And network cables have an advantage over pipes: You don’t get wet when they leak.

This chapter tells you far more about network cables than you probably need to know. I introduce you to Ethernet, the most common system of network cabling for small networks. Then you find out how to work with the cables used to wire an Ethernet network. You also find out how to install a network interface card (NIC), which enables you to connect the cables to your computer.

What Is Ethernet?

Ethernet is a standardized way of connecting computers to create a network.

You can think of Ethernet as a kind of municipal building code for networks: It specifies what kind of cables to use, how to connect the cables, how long the cables can be, how computers transmit data to one another by using the cables, and more.

technicalstuff Although Ethernet is now the overwhelming choice for networking, that wasn’t always the case. ...

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