Introduction

The CompTIA Network+ exam is composed of five Domains of knowledge that you need to traverse to earn a passing score, and ultimately, the Network+ certification. This article will detail Domain #2, Infrastructure.

As you will see, it is one of the most physically-focused of all the Domains. If you are an information security or IT professional that lives for the physical end job, such as cable and networking device placement, this will be your favorite Domain.

Please note: 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.

Infrastructure Outline

2.1 Deploying the appropriate cabling solution

2.2 Determining networking device placement and how to install/configure

2.3 Advanced networking device purposes and use cases

2.4 The purposes of network storage technologies and virtualization

2.5 Compare and contrast different WAN technologies

2.1 Deploying the Appropriate Cabling Solution

Everyone knows that every organization is different, and this is demonstrated by the wide array of different cabling solutions covered by this Domain. This objective will cover media types, connector types, copper cable and termination standards and more. Hardware fans will quickly take to this objective.

Media Types

  • Copper
    • UTP
    • STP
    • Coaxial
  • Fiber
    • Single-mode
    • Multi-mode

Connector Types

  • Copper
    • RJ-45
    • RJ-11
    • DB-9
    • DB-25
    • BNC
    • F-Type
  • Fiber
    • LC
    • ST
    • SC (APC, UPC and MTRJ)

Transceivers

  • SFP
  • GBIC
  • SFP+
  • QSFP
  • Characteristics of fiber transceivers
    • Bidirectional
    • Duplex

Termination Points

  • 66 block
  • 110 block
  • Fiber distribution panel
  • Patch panel

Copper Cable Standards

  • Cat 3
  • Cat 5
  • Cat 5e
  • Cat 6
  • Cat 6a
  • Cat 7
  • RG-6
  • RG-59

Copper Termination Standards

  • TIA/EIA 568a
  • TIA/EIA 568b
  • Straight-through
  • Crossover

Ethernet Deployment Standards

  • 100BaseT
  • 1000BaseT
  • 1000BaseLX
  • 1000BaseSX
  • 10GBaseT

2.2 Determining Networking Device Placement and How to Install/Configure

Network infrastructure is comprised of various devices that perform vital functions including moving, distributing, controlling and protecting data. These devices perform distinct, specific functions, and candidates are expected to explain their network placement and how to install/configure the devices. Below are the basic networking devices this objective covers:

  • Firewall
  • Switch
  • Router
  • Hub
  • Bridge
  • Modems
  • Wireless access point
  • Wireless range extender
  • Media converter
  • VoIP endpoint

2.3 Advanced Networking Device Purposes and Use Cases

Don’t worry — the Network+ exam writers did not limit the fun to basic devices. This objective covers the purposes and use cases of advanced network devices. Following in the footsteps of the last objective, this objective requires an understanding of the network placement, purpose and use of these more advanced devices. Candidates are expected to explain:

  • Multilayer switch
  • Load balancer
  • Wireless controller
  • IDS/IPS
  • VPN concentrator
  • Proxy server
  • AAA/RADIUS server
  • UTM appliance
  • NGFW/Layer 7 firewall
  • VoIP PBX
  • VoIP gateway
  • Content filter

2.4 The Purposes of Virtualization and Network Storage Technologies

The rise of virtualization has fundamentally changed the information security and IT landscape worldwide. In fact, virtualization has changed the way that we approach acquisition of new applications. Before virtualization, new servers would need to be purchased for the new application, and the resources on those servers were rarely used; rather, they just housed the application. Virtualization changed all that, and now information security and IT professionals use virtual machines and hypervisors.

Virtual Networking Components

  • Virtual switch
  • Virtual firewall
  • Virtual router
  • Virtual NIC
  • Hypervisor
    • Type 1
    • Type 2
    • Hybrid

Network Storage

All this virtualization is far more economical and practical than the old approach described above, but it takes storage to make the virtualization approach work. There are two main storage types for hypervisors, SAN (Storage Area Network) and DAS (Direct Attached Storage), as well as a third type which is a cross between the two.

Network Storage Types

  • NAS
  • SAN
  • Hyper-converged (a cross between SAN and DAS)

Connection Type

  • FCoE
  • iSCSI
  • Fibre Channel
  • InfiniBand

Jumbo Frames

  • 9000 bytes (whereas the maximum size of an Ethernet frame is 1500 bytes)
  • All network equipment in switching path must support the larger size (called maximum transmission unit, or MTU)

2.5 Compare and Contrast Different WAN Technologies

Unlike other networking infrastructure technologies, WAN is generally used where it is available as opposed to being used for functionality and price. Candidates will need to explain the benefits and characteristics of:

Service Type

  • ISDN
  • T1/T3
  • E1/E3
  • OC-3 – OC-192
  • Metropolitan Ethernet
  • Cable broadband
  • DSL
  • Dial-up
  • PRI

Transmission Mediums

  • Satellite
  • Copper
  • Fiber
  • Wireless

Characteristics of Service

  • MPLS
  • ATM
  • Frame relay
  • PPPoE
  • PPP
  • SIP trunk
  • DMVPN

Termination

  • Demarcation point
  • CSU/DSU
  • Smart jack

Conclusion

The CompTIA Network+ exam is made up of five Domains. One of the most fundamental to the understanding of this material is the Infrastructure domain. To understand networking you need to understand the infrastructure, which includes device placement, technologies used, what different media materials are best used for (such as copper) and more.

The amount of information involved may seem intimidating, but do not let this dissuade you from earning this sought-after certification. Rather, combine the information in this article with your own study notes or use it as a foundation for your Network+ study outline, and you will be in a stronger position to pass the exam and add Network+ to your quiver of certifications.

 

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

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