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Network Management Training Workshop Materials and Resources

By: INASP, published on Dec. 3, 2014

Countries: All countries

Tags: Bandwidth management, Network management,

A series of training workshop materials and accompanying learning resources have been developed by INASP, Africonnect and Aptivate to help IT staff to develop advanced, effective network management skills, including; network design, network administration and bandwidth management and optimisation.

Materials structure

These materials are divided into units. Each unit consists of a range of resources and these units should make sense individually, although they may occasionally refer to other units and overlapping resources. Each unit comprises: 

Presentations: these are intended to be shown on a projector to a large audience or act as a set of self-paced learning prompts. These presentations are provided as Microsoft PowerPoint slides. Many slides have individual speaker notes giving more details and references to help the presenter or with the general understanding of the issues being covered on each slide.

Notes: these are intended to be read, like chapters of a book, for self-study or assist a trainer when working with the slides. The notes include details of suggested practical activities such as hands on technical exercises, discussion and reflection individual and group activities. These notes are provided as PDF files. 

At the end of each unit, learners or trainers may want to reflect individually on what they have learned or encourage their learners to do so. Such a process of documenting learning and points to remember and/or follow up would make a useful standard exercise to accompany each unit and is recommended for trainers and self-paced learners.

In these materials we may use terms that are new or unfamiliar. We have not been able to provide a glossary of such terms. Defining such unknown or new terms can be an important part of learning and can either be led by the trainer or undertaken by the self-paced learner. A standard process of doing this is suggested to help embed learning and understanding of the subject matter. General Web searching can be a quick and effective way of doing this or by using an online community such as submitting questions to the Server Fault website, a free "question and answer site for professional system and network administrators".

Licensing

All of these materials are licensed as CC-BY-SA and your contributions or adaptations must be done on the same basis.

Suggestion for usage

A self-paced learner can obviously just select those materials and subject areas that they feel are most appropriate for their personal learning objectives. An outline of the units that are available is given below to help with that. But what about a trainer who would like to use some or all of these materials as part of a formal or informal training activity they have planned? The materials are written with this in mind and should allow easy re-use and adaptation. The materials can be edited and combined in any structure or format that is required.

Defining what is required is an important first step in designing and delivering any effective training or skills development. Understanding what the starting level of the learners is, what their learning objectives are and then preparing content and resources that meet these requirements. As a trainer there is no substitute for this understanding of YOUR learners. Some possible short training workshop outlines are presented as suggestions for a variety of circumstances and learning scenarios but those circumstances and learning scenarios do need to be checked as being appropriate before they are used.

Effective network management: managing an academic network for the benefit of end users

This workshop would take at least 5 days and would include the following aims and objectives;

  • Design and build a good network, and improve an existing one
  • Troubleshoot network problems effectively
  • Understand traffic on an Internet connection
  • Solve various common network problems
  • Monitor and manage the network quality of service
  • Confidently change and manage network configuration

The materials for this workshop can be taken by combing a number of different modules, either complete or in part, depending on the experience and needs of participants. The key units are;

  • Unit 2: Why network management.
  • Unit 3: Network design.
  • Unit 4: Network management basics.
  • Unit 6: Solving network problems.
  • Unit 11: Technical measures.

Bandwidth management and optimisation: network caching

This workshop would take 2-3 days, depending on the starting level of participants’ technical skills and familiarity with network traffic management. The workshop would include the following aims and objectives;

  • Understand traffic on an Internet connection
  • Monitor and manage the network quality of service
  • Prioritise and restrict certain types of traffic
  • Encourage organisational behaviour change

The materials for this workshop can be taken by combing a number of different modules, either complete or in part, depending on the experience and needs of participants. The key units are;

  • Unit 4: Network management basics.
  • Unit 5: The bandwidth challenge.
  • Unit 6: Solving network problems.
  • Unit 7: Network monitoring.

Bandwidth management and optimisation: policy implications

This workshop would take 3 days and is considered a non-technical training workshop. It is aimed at bringing network managers and organisational policy makers together to look at how a network can support the strategic objectives of a university or similar institution. As such it looks at agreeing what those objectives mean for network management policy and, by extension, network management technical solutions. For this workshop to be successful it must be a collaboration between network managers and network end users from a policy and strategic perspective.

The workshop would include the following aims and objectives;

  • Bandwidth management and optimisation (BMO) challenges and solutions overview
  • User authentication requirements and features to support effective policy
  • The role of a supportive policy environment within BMO and institutional success
  • Why policies often fail and characteristics of unsuccessful policy development
  • Developing appropriate policies for use in BMO
  • Sample policy review and development
  • Planning an effective policy development process
  • Writing an effective policy
  • Implementing policy
  • Policy implications and applications in bandwidth management and optimisation

The materials for this workshop are complete and comprise a set of stand-alone materials. They are available from:

  • Unit 9: Making a difference.
  • Unit 10: Policy development.

Unit outlines

Unit 1: Introductions

  • Introduce yourself to the participants
  • Introduce them to each other
  • Set some ground rules
  • Review the timetable
  • Familiarisation with the Linux command line

Unit 2: Why network management

  • What do you want to get from this course?
  • What do we want you to do with it?
  • Importance of the network to academic institutions
  • Benefits of good network management

Unit 3: Network design

  • Importance of good design in network management
  • Network design goals
  • Complexity versus simplicity
  • Hierarchical design building blocks
  • Network addressing strategies
  • Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • Network topologies
  • Virtual LANs (VLANs)
  • Fault Tolerance
  • Switching and security considerations (e.g. Rogue DHCP server and ARP spoofing prevention)

Unit 4: Network management basics

  • Introduction 
  • What is network management? 
  • Fault management 
  • Remote diagnosis 
  • Early detection 
  • Automation 
  • Fault mitigation 
  • Configuration management 
  • Performance management 
  • Security management 
  • Disaster response planning 
  • Policy 
  • Conclusion 

Unit 5: The bandwidth challenge

  • Importance of Internet in network management
  • Why is Internet bandwidth particularly scarce?
  • Why is that a problem?
  • How does it relate to IT/network management?
  • How can we fix it? What can we change?

Unit 6: Solving network problems

  • Importance of troubleshooting in network management
  • Good troubleshooting technique
  • Example: Rogue DHCP server
  • Example: Internet connection is slow

Unit 7: Network monitoring

  • Importance of monitoring in network management
  • What problem do we want to solve?
  • What questions do we want to answer?
  • How do we answer them?
  • What tools are available?

Unit 8: Hands-on practical experience

  • Use common inbuilt network monitoring tools for simple network checks
  • Install / use a typical more complex monitoring tool on a Linux system.
  • Explore the facilities available on a Linux-based self-contained monitoring toolkit.

Unit 9: Making a difference

  • Importance of user behaviour in network management
  • Changing user behaviour
  • The role of policy

Unit 10: Policy development

  • Pre-workshop instructions
  • Unit 0 - Introduction
  • Unit 1 - Overview of Challenges and Solutions 
  • Unit 2 - Characteristics of Good Policy 
  • Unit 3 - Creating the Policy 
  • Unit 4 - Action Planning and Post-workshop activities

Unit 11: Technical measures

  • Importance of technical measures in network management
  • Network monitoring
  • Firewalls
  • Antivirus
  • Proxy caches
  • Intrusion Detection
  • Penetration/scanning (Nessus, Inprotect, NMap)
  • Bandwidth Management

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