This book is organized almost as if it were a novel, intended to be read the first time cover to cover. This is not saying that you cannot jump right to a particular chapter of interest, far from it; I encourage you to read what is of interest here, keeping in mind that each chapter builds on discussions from previous chapters.
The chapters cover the following topics:
Chapter 1, Networking Basics? This chapter introduces you to the concepts of a network?what it is and what it's made of, such as the physical and logical pieces of a network.
Chapter 2, Network Models and Standards? This chapter discusses network models and network standards. Models are guidelines subject to vendor interpretation and application, often leading to proprietary protocols and the like. Standards are "laws" that all vendors must adhere to if they want their products to interoperate and be useful in a network implementation.
Chapter 3, Local-Area Networking Introduction? This chapter discusses the evolution of local-area networking and its prevalence today in places as varied as the small home local network to the large corporate LAN.
Chapter 4, Traditional LAN Architecture? This chapter discusses the components and infrastructure of a LAN from the ground up, including types of cabling and interfaces, termination points, and the differences of each regarding Token Ring and Ethernet LANs.
Chapter 5, Ethernet LANs? This chapter builds on Chapter 4, applying the Chapter 4 concepts to real-life situations.
Chapter 6, How a Switch Works? This chapter discusses the functions of a switch: what happens inside the switch and how a switch works within a network.
Chapter 7, Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)? This chapter discusses what the Spanning Tree Protocol is and how it works within the LAN environment.
Chapter 8, Virtual LANs (VLANs)? This chapter takes the concept of a physical LAN, throws it against the wall, and puts it back together to look like something a bit different. You are introduced to the "virtual" concept and how to make LANs do some interesting things, such as sharing.
Chapter 9, Switching Security? This chapter discusses how you can put your guard dog Patches to work to guard a network and revisits some of the discussions from Chapter 6. In taking things a step further, the chapter discusses how to restrict access to a switch.
Chapter 10, LAN Switched Network Design? This chapter pulls all the pieces together from the previous chapters and discusses what a switched Ethernet LAN might look like and how it operates in an internetwork. Although there are no case studies here, there are plenty of examples and figures, at least two examples for Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching. The chapter briefly revisits the OSI model discussions from Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. The OSI discussion here sets the stage for the discussions of Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching.
Chapter 11, Switch Network Management? This chapter discusses the monitoring, management, and maintenance of a switched LAN. The OSI model from Chapter 2 is revisited and the FCAPS model is introduced, with an emphasis on the FCAPS model.
Chapter 12, Switching Case Studies? This chapter reviews some LAN switching real-world implementations. One case study here is a typical home network: one (or more) PC(s), DSL/cable modem, and a small Ethernet switch.
After you've finished reading this book, you will know the answer to this question: Should you use a hub, bridge, or a switch? (The answer might surprise you.)