Introduction

The CompTIA Network+ certification can help launch your career to the next level and is a strong professional asset to have on your side. To earn this certification, you are required to earn a passing score on the Network+ certification exam.

This exam is composed of five different Domains of knowledge that certification candidates will need to master. This article will detail Domain 1.0 — Networking Concepts, complete with its different objectives and what you will need to cover. This article should not serve as your sole means of preparing for the Network+ certification exam, but rather as a general review or an outline foundation.

Networking Concepts Outline

The following objectives can be expected to be tested in the Network Concepts section of the Network+ exam:

  • 1.1 Ports and protocols — their purposes and uses
  • 1.2 Devices, applications, services and protocols at appropriate OSI layers
  • 1.3 Concepts and characteristics of switching and routing
  • 1.4 Scenario-specific configuration of appropriate IP addressing components
  • 1.5 Comparing and contrasting characteristics of network topologies, technologies and types
  • 1.6 Scenario-specific implementation and configuration of appropriate wireless technologies
  • 1.7 Cloud concepts
  • 1.8 Functions of network services

1.1 Ports and Protocols — Their Purposes and Uses

Knowing the meaning of the seemingly countless acronyms in Networking Concepts is only the beginning. Candidates are expected to fully understand the purpose and use of all ports and protocols covered.

Protocol Types

This objective covers the types of protocols most commonly encountered — you will be expected to understand their different uses. Types covered include:

  • ICMP
  • TCP
  • UDP
  • IP

Protocols and Ports

The meat of this objective is really in this subtopic. Protocols and their related ports covered include:

  • DNS 53
  • SSH22
  • SMTP 25
  • SFTP 22
  • FTP 20, 21
  • TELNET 23
  • TFTP 69
  • DHCP 67, 68
  • HTTP 80
  • HTTPS 443
  • RDP 3389
  • SNMP 161
  • NTP 123
  • SIP 5060, 5061
  • POP 110
  • SMB 445
  • IMAP 143
  • LDAP 389
  • LDAPS 636
  • H.323 1720

Connection-Oriented vs. Connectionless

You will be expected to explain the differences between TCP and UDP protocols.

1.2 Devices, Applications, Services and Protocols at Appropriate OSI Layers

Candidates will be responsible to know the seven different OSI layers inside and out. The individual layers are

  • Layer 1 — Physical
  • Layer 2 — Data Link
  • Layer 3 — Network
  • Layer 4 — Transport
  • Layer 5 — Session
  • Layer 6 — Presentation
  • Layer 7 — Application

Aside from knowing the individual layers and their related devices, applications, services and protocols, candidates will also be expected to know the macro groupings of these layers. These macro groupings are:

  • Layers 1 and 2: Where connectivity technology operates
  • Layers 3 and 4: Where TCP/IP operates
  • Layers 5, 6 and 7: Where applications operate

1.3 Concepts and Characteristics of Switching and Routing

This is the largest of this objective’s subtopics and covers an enormous amount of material.

Properties of Network Traffic

  • Broadcast domains
  • CSMA/CA
  • CSMA/CD
  • Protocol data units
  • Collision domains
  • MTU
  • Broadcast
  • Multicast
  • Unicast

Segmentation and Interface Properties

  • VLANs
  • Trunking
  • Port mirroring
  • Port tagging and untagging
  • Switching loops/spanning tree
  • PoE and PoE+ (802.3af, 802.3at)
  • DMZ
  • ARP table
  • MAC address table

Routing

  • Routing protocols (IPv4 and IPv6)
    • Distance-vector routing protocols
    • Link-state routing protocols
    • Hybrid
  • Routing types
    • Static
    • Dynamic
    • Default

IPv6 Concepts

  • Addressing
  • Tunneling
  • Router advertisement
  • Dual stack
  • Neighbor discovery

Performance Concepts

  • Traffic shaping
  • QoS
  • CoS
  • Diffserv

Other switching and routing concepts and characteristics covered include:

  • NAT/PAT
  • Port forwarding
  • Distributed switching
  • Access control list
  • Packet-switched versus circuit-switched network
  • Software-defined networking

1.4 Scenario-Specific Configuration of Appropriate IP Addressing Components

Subnetting

  • Classful
    • Classes A, B, C, D and E
  • Classless
    • VLSM
    • CIDR notation (IPv4 versus IPv6)

Address Assignments

  • DHCP
  • DHCPv6
  • APIPA
  • Static
  • EU164
  • IP reservations

Other related IP addressing components and concepts covered include:

  • Private versus public
  • Loopback and reserved
  • Virtual IP
  • Default gateway
  • Subnet mask

1.5 Network Topologies, Technologies and Types

Candidates will be expected to successfully compare and contrast all major network topologies, technologies and their types. These include:

Wired Topologies

  • Physical versus logical
  • Star
  • Mesh
  • Ring
  • Bus

Wireless Topologies

  • Mesh
  • Infrastructure
  • Ad hoc

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is facilitated by certain technologies that are covered by this subtopic. These technologies include:

  • Z-Wave
  • Bluetooth
  • Ant+
  • IR
  • NFC
  • RFID
  • 802.11

Network Types

  • LAN
  • WLAN
  • WAN
  • MAN
  • SAN
  • CAN
  • PAN

1.6 Scenario-Specific Implementation and Configuration of Wireless Technologies

Given the increasing importance of wireless technologies, Network+ has given wireless technology implementation and configuration its own in-depth objective. Covered material includes:

802.11 Standards

  • a
  • b
  • g
  • n
  • ac

Cellular Technologies

  • GSM
  • TDMA
  • CDMA

Frequencies

  • 2.4 GHz
  • 5.0 GHz

Other related subtopics covered include:

  • Speed and distance requirements
  • Channel bandwidth
  • Channel bonding
  • Unidirectional and omnidirectional
  • MIMO/MU-MIMO
  • Site surveys

1.7 Cloud Concepts

Types of Cloud Services

  • SaaS
  • PaaS
  • IaaS

Cloud Delivery Models

  • Private
  • Public
  • Hybrid

Other cloud concepts covered include:

  • Connectivity methods
  • Security implications/considerations
  • The relationship between cloud resources and local resources

1.8 Functions of Network Services

DNS Service

  • Record types
    • A, AAA
    • SRV
    • TXT (SPF, DKIM)
    • MX
    • CNAME
    • PTR
    • NS
  • Internal versus external DNS
  • Third-party and cloud-hosted DNS
  • Forward versus reverse zone
  • Hierarchy

DHCP Service

  • MAC reservations
  • Pools
  • IP exclusions
  • Lease time
  • Scope options
  • TTL
  • DHCP relay/IP helper

Other covered concepts include:

  • NTP
  • IPAM

Conclusion

The CompTIA Network+ exam covers five Domains of knowledge, one of which is Networking Concepts. This Domain is foundational for the Network+ exam in that it covers the underlying knowledge base underpinning the other Domains.

Use this article and the others in this series as a general review and outline builder for your Network+ study regimen. It will provide you with a solid review of what the exam will cover and will put you in a better position to pass the exam and earn the sought-after CompTIA Network+ certification.

 

Sources

  1. CompTIA Network+ Certification Exam Objectives, CompTIA
  2. Buhagiar, Jon. “CompTIA Network+ Review Guide: Exam N10-007,” Sybex, 2018
  3. Weissman, Jonathan S., Meyers, Mike. “Mike Meyers’ CompTIA Network+ Certification Passport, Sixth Edition (Exam N10-007) (Mike Meyers’ Certification Passport),” McGraw-Hill Education, 2018

Be Safe

Section Guide

Greg
Belding

View more articles from Greg

Earn your Network+ the first time with Infosec and pass your exam, GUARANTEED!

Section Guide

Greg
Belding

View more articles from Greg