Question:I want to study for the MCSE and I heard that I need 3 computers networked in order to study it by myself.
What I need is an explaination of how to get such a network (what is the relation between a KVM switch and Ethernet and NIC and hub switch - all these I heard of while asking about my network).
Answer: Ethernet is the most common low level protocol used for networking.
Each computer needs either a network Interface Card (NIC) or built-in networking in order to be networked together. All NICs must support the same protocol (usually Ethernet).With Ethernet you connect the computers in the network together in a star pattern with a hub or switch being the centre of the star. Each computer's NIC has a cable attached and the other end of the cable attaches to the hub or switch. Messages between the computers are passed via the hub or switch. The difference between a hub and a switch is that a hub just passed all messages to all computers on the network and lets them figure out which messages are for them while a switch (which looks similar to a hub) directs messages to the computer that they are intended for. With only a handful of computers on a network there is no real significant difference between a hub and a switch.
A KVM switch has nothing to do with networking. What it does is allows the same Keyboard, Video monitor, and Mouse (KVM) to be shared between multiple computers. Using one means that you only need one keyboard, mouse, and monitor for two, four, or even eight computers but that you can only interact with one computer at a time. Big neworks use them to save on resources on server computers that don't usually need anyone accessing them directly. Home networks use them to save space and cost where only one computer needs to be accessible at a time.
I recommend that anyone looking to study for an MCSE who does not understand how to set up their own three computer network look at first studying for and obtaining A+ and Network+ certifications. Obtaining these certifications will get you started in studying computers and will provide all of the knowledge you need to set up the network that you will require for subsequent computer study (eg. MCSE).
The Computer Institute offers a variety of flexible classes and programs.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.