CompTIA’s Network+ 2009 (N10-004): Finding References

February 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Posted in CompTIA, Study hints | 6 Comments
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Update: There is a follow-up post on finding more Network+ references here:

CompTIA has released the newest version of the Network+ exam. I took the exam the first week of February, and I can honestly see the changes. While the exam is still knowledge based, I could see where CompTIA has tried to be more task-focused in the exam design. I also saw that CompTIA has revised the exam sufficiently to include new technologies.

Immediately after taking the exam, I started to develop Transcender’s N10-004 practice test. Over the past few weeks, I had been doing groundwork to prepare for writing the test. Part of this preliminary work includes locating, and sometimes purchasing, references for the test.

To find references, my first step is always to check the CompTIA certification site to see what is listed. Usually CompTIA releases their official CompTIA Press books around the same time as the exam. Unfortunately, as of this post, none of the book references they list are for the 2009 version of the test.

Not finding any official CompTIA references listed, I decided to search I got all excited when several books came up….only to realize that none of them are slated for release until April/May 2009. My, that doesn’t really help me now, does it?

At this point I decided I must come up with preliminary online references that could jump-start my practice test development. (A few years ago, I used the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking to help with the development of N10-003. I still have this book. But Transcender is trying to work toward using mostly online references to help our customers during the studying process. Nothing is more frustrating than having to purchase several books on top of purchasing your practice test, right?) (Oh, my, focus Robin. You are starting to chase a rabbit!)

I decided to search for generic online networking references, like encyclopedias, glossaries, and tutorials. I found the following references that could be a great starting place for those preparing for the 2009 Network+:

Computer Network Tutorials –

Computer and Wireless Networking Basics –

Networking Glossary –

The Network Encyclopedia –

Now these four references will by no means cover all of the topics in the Network+ exam, but they will serve to get you on your way.

What do you do about the topics that are not covered here? One word – GOOGLE. But be smart with your Google search. If searching for a particular term like 568A, enter “What is 568A in computer networking” in the search string. You would be surprised at the number of terms and acronyms that mean different things depending on the industry you are in. And personally, I don’t want to wade through several pages of unneeded search results pertaining to conservation, engineering, stimulus plans, or anything else. I hear enough about that on TV.

Be careful which result you use for your primary research. Know where you information is coming from. For example, I know that most of us use as a general source of information. However, the information on is not always accurate. So make sure to corroborate any information from a reputable company or organization, such as Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, or an educational institution. An inaccurate reference can cause you to memorize the wrong facts and miss exam questions.

I guess that’s enough about this for now. I’ll post an update if I find anything interesting over the next few days.

To find out more about what CompTIA says about Network+, go to One reminder: the current version of Network+ (N10-003) will be retired July 31, 2009. If you are currently Network+ certified, you are not required to upgrade your certification. But my personal opinion is that it never hurts…and besides, it adds to your list of designations in your signature line (something that we techies seem to enjoy).

-Robin Abernathy


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  1. I have been googling new terms to put together information for a class on the new materials covered in the exam. Here is what I have put together on new material so far. This comes from a variety of web sources which I have not sited.
    All information is on changes from the old to the new exam.
    Sorry but bolding and paragraph information is stripped out here.
    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks like the Internet. VoIP converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and supports real-time, two-way transmission of conversations using Internet Protocol (IP). VoIP calls can be made on the Internet using a VoIP service provider and standard computer audio systems. Alternatively, some service providers support VoIP through ordinary telephones that use special adapters to connect to a home computer network. VoIP offers a substantial cost savings over traditional long distance telephone calls. The main disadvantage of VoIP is, like cell phones, a greater potential for dropped calls and generally lesser voice quality. Many VoIP implementations are based on the H.323 technology standard.
    Actual voice packets are sent using RTP/RTCP for SIP VOIP calls. RTP is able to carry media identified by parameters registred by the Internet assigned numbers authority, IANA. These are also used for SDP descriptions in SIP and MGCP messages.
    RTP opens two ports for communication. One for the media stream (an even port number) and one for control (QoS feedback and media control) – RTCP. The port numbers are not hard defined, it depends very much upon the application.
    • RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol)
    • RTCP (Real-time Control Protocol)
    SIP, the session initiation protocol, is the IETF protocol for VOIP and other text and multimedia sessions, like instant messaging, video, online games and other services. SIP, the session initiation protocol, is the IETF protocol for VOIP and other text and multimedia sessions, like instant messaging, video, online games and other services. SIP is text based very much like HTTP, the Web protocol, or SMTP. Messages consist of headers and a message body. SIP message bodies for phone calls are defined in SDP -the session description protocol. SIP can be regarded as the enabler protocol for telephony and voice over IP (VoIP) services.
    The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a protocol for synchronizing the clocks of computer systems over packet-switched, variable-latency data networks. NTP uses UDP on port 123 as its transport layer.
    Interior Gateway Protocols (IGP) handle routing within an Autonomous System. In plain English, IGP’s figure out how to get from place to place between the routers you own.
    Exterior Gateway Protocols (EGP) handle routing outside an Autonomous System and get you from your network, through your Internet provider’s network and onto any other network. To get from place to place outside your network(s), i.e. on the Internet, you must use an Exterior Gateway Protocol.
    A standard CAT 5-e patch cable (also called a straight through cable) is configured with all 8 wires in the same order on both ends of the cable. There are two standard wiring configurations used for patch cables. They are 568A and 568B. Either configuration can be used, so long as the same configuration is used at both ends of the cable.

    A cross over cable is configured with 4 of the wires in the same order on each end. The other four wires are crossed (hence the same). One end gets wired with the 568A configuration, while the other gets wired with the 568B configuration. Wires 1-3 and 2-6

    A rollover cable is wired with each pin on one end of the cable connected to the reverse pin on the other end. So the cable on Pin 1 on one end of the cable connects to Pin 8 at the other end, etc. Rollover cables are used to connect the serial port of a computer to the serial port of a network switch so that you can configure the network switch. These cables are not used for network connectivity.
    10 Gigabit Ethernet supports only full duplex links which can be connected by switches. 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard encompasses a number of different physical layer (PHY) standards.
    There are two classifications for optical fiber single-mode (SMF) and multi-mode (MMF). In SMF light follows a single path through the fiber while in MMF it takes multiple paths resulting in differential mode delay (DMD). SMF is used for long distance communication and MMF is used for distances of less than 300 m. To distinguish SMF from MMF cables, SMF cables are usually yellow, while MMF cables are orange.
    MMF has a wider core (50 or 62.5 µm) and is more expensive than SMF. The advantage of MMF for short distances is that because of its wider core (optical conductor) it can be driven by lower cost lasers and its connectors are cheaper and more reliable. Its disadvantage is that due to DMD it can work only over short distances 26-300 Meters. 10GBASE-SR (“short range”)
    SMF has a narrower core (8.3 µm) which makes connecting fibers more difficult. 10GBASE-LR (“long range”) has a specified reach of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), but 10GBASE-LR optical modules can often manage distances of up to 25 kilometres (16 mi) with no data loss.
    Main distribution frame (MDF), a cable rack that interconnects and manages the telecommunications wiring between itself and any number of IDFs. Unlike an Intermediate distribution frame (IDF), which connects internal lines to the MDF, the MDF connects private or public lines coming into a building with the internal network. For example, an enterprise that encompasses a building with several floors may have one centralized MDF on the first floor and one IDF on each of the floors that is connected to the MDF.
    Smart Jack – network interface, also commonly referred to as a smart jack, is a device that serves as the demarcation point between the end user’s inside wiring and local access carriers’ facilities. In telecommunications, the term network interface device (NID) is a device that serves as the demarcation point between the carrier’s local loop and the customer’s network. The terms network interface unit (NIU) and smartjack are interchangeable with network interface device (NID).
    If the terminating router of the T1 is not housed in the same room as the MPOE, then an extended DMARC will be needed. The LEC will typically make a judgment call on whether or not to extend the DMARC at no cost, based on the complexity of the extension and will often extend a DMARC to a suite if the work is not too complicated.
    Traffic shaping (also known as “packet shaping”) is the control of computer network traffic in order to optimize or guarantee performance, lower latency, and/or increase usable bandwidth by delaying packets that meet certain criteria.
    Firewalls are physical devices that exist between network segments, typically in a routed design. They perform stateful inspection of sessions going through them from one segment to the other. Firewalls block or permit sessions based on configured security policies and rules. A firewall has limited resources in terms of link speed, memory, and processor power. These factors determine the capacity and capability of the device in terms of session scalability and raw packet-switching performance.
    There are several motivations behind load-balancing firewalls, the key ones being scalability, redundancy, and manageability. FWLB is necessary when multiple parallel firewalls are deployed to overcome performance limitations in terms of throughput, session rate, and session capacity. FWLB allows you to scale firewall protection by distributing traffic across multiple firewalls. In a load-balanced solution, all packets between a pair of IP addresses for a particular session, in either direction, traverse the same firewall. The firewall then allows or denies transmission of individual packets across its interfaces. One of the primary reasons for FWLB is high availability, by load balancing traffic to a group of active and functional firewalls. A firewall failure is detected within seconds by the load balancer, which takes that specific firewall out of rotation.
    Traffic shaping (also known as “packet shaping”) is the control and management of computer network traffic in order to optimize or guarantee performance, lower latency, and/or increase usable bandwidth by delaying packets that meet certain criteria. Traffic shaping is any action on a set of packets (often called a stream or a flow) which imposes additional delay on those packets such that they conform to some predetermined constraint (a contract or traffic profile). Traffic shaping provides a means to control the volume of traffic being sent into a network in a specified period (bandwidth throttling), or the maximum rate at which the traffic is sent (rate limiting).
    You can use a Bandwidth Limiter / Bandwidth Shaper to set download or upload transfer rate limits for applications, connections or groups of them. By setting limits you can easily manage your internet connection’s bandwidth.
    An application-level caching device—referred to herein as a “cache”—is an intermediary device located between a client and an origin server. It is deployed on the principle that multiple users request overlapping subsets of available content.
    In a forward proxy deployment, a “service provider” (e.g., traditional ISP or IT group in an enterprise environment) places a cache close to its end users with the goal of providing improvements in bandwidth utilization and response times. The cache retrieves content from many origin servers. In forward proxy mode a client makes a request that is explicitly targeted at an origin server. The cache is deployed as a “middleware” device and handles the request on behalf of the client. This cache is capable of determining the source of the content by examining information in the client’s request.
    In a standard reverse proxy deployment, a content owner places a cache close to its origin servers with the goal of reducing the load upon them. The cache retrieves content only from these select origin servers. In a “distributed” reverse proxy deployment—aka content delivery network (CDN)—multiple caches are placed at various locations close to different groups of end users. In reverse proxy mode the cache presents itself as the origin server—i.e., the client believes the cache is the source of the content. A key point about this method of deployment is that the client request does not contain enough information for the cache to determine the actual origin server. A reverse proxy configuration, therefore, must contain a set of rules that describe to the cache where to retrieve content from when it receives a request in reverse proxy mode.
    Transparent redirection refers to a configuration whereby a networking element located in the path of the client-server traffic flow intercepts all—or some portion of—that traffic and sends it to another device; in this case, a cache. The client is unaware of the existence of the cache and believes it is sending packets directly to the server. The cache can use the destination IP address of the client’s packets or the application-level headers (e.g., Host header in HTTP) to determine the source of the content.
    Caching Engine – IP based authentication will fail when there is a Cache Engine (or any other Proxy web server) between the customer and them. The Cisco Cache Engine sits next to (mostly) Cisco routers and receives and transparently redirected HTTP requests.
    In structured cabling, crosstalk can refer to electromagnetic interference (EMI) from one unshielded twisted pair to another twisted pair, normally running in parallel. Near End Crosstalk (NEXT) is interference between two pairs of a cable measured at the same end of the cable as the transmitter (NIC). Far end crosstalk (FEXT) is interference between two pairs of a cable measured at the other end of the cable from the transmitter (switch). This causes error in data transmission and is usually caused by bad RJ-45 plug installations.
    In Ethernet, a duplex mismatch is a condition where two connected devices operate in different duplex modes, that is, one operates in half duplex while the other one operates in full duplex. The effect of a duplex mismatch is a network that works but is often much slower than its nominal (full duplex) speed. Duplex mismatch commonly derive from manually setting network interfaces instead of configuring for auto negotiation.
    Reflecting a signal is sometimes referred to as bouncing a signal and/or scattering a signal. Bouncing can degrade the performance of some systems and enhance the performance of others. Both technology and physical conditions play a factor in whether a specific application makes use of or is hindered by bouncing.
    Domain Information Groper (dig) gives DNS lookup and information command line utility in UNIX.
    mtr is a UNIX command line network diagnostic tool that combines ping and traceroute into one program.
    A handheld Voltage Event recorder records a comprehensive range of power quality parameters including voltage, harmonics, dips and swells, transients, harmonics, frequency and flicker all in a package that fits in your hand.

  2. I’m Taking the test in a few hours… We’ll see how it goes.

    • has anyone taken the new Networking + n10-004? how was it? and what threw you off guard? i just took the A+ and they had weird questions about wireless routers and one that threw me WAAYY off guard was asking about **REDACTED**…eghh!?! wtf? so I expect this test to be the same or even a lot more surprises. Im thinking on taking the MSCA after this …thats my goal.

      • Hey, Carlos – Sorry about the delay publishing your comment. We had to edit out the part that described a specific question, since that’s a violation of the NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

        Regarding the topic you asked about, it’s a part of Objective 7.2, Identify potential hazards and implement proper safety procedures including ESD precautions and procedures, safe work environment and equipment handling.

    • Hi Erik – How did your exam go?

  3. Wonderful post however I was wanting to know if you could
    write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!

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