Frequently Asked Questions
Why did we create this site?
We realized that existing online educational resources were not purpose-built for a topic such as computer networking. Networking is best learned in an environment which allows us to visualize the behavior of network devices and provides an opportunity for hands-on practice. Memorization becomes irrelevant if we are able to accurately visualize concepts.
How do we provide an optimal environment for learning computer networking?
We provide a unique learning environment custom-designed for computer networking. The best way to describe our learning content is to think of each lesson, lab, exercise or activity as an individual software application - instead of static text or video.
This allows us to provide a hands-on learning environment where we can provide a student the opportunity to
- perform hands-on device configuration
- view data packets travel through a network
- visualize the internal processes that occur when data arrives at a network device
- confirm her or his comprehension of the concept being covered
- perform live troubleshooting to identify and correct his or her own configuration mistakes
The best way to understand what we mean is to follow the first lesson in the first course - Course 1: Switching Basics . Once you complete this lesson, it will give you a good idea of how our learning content works.
How are our courses organized?
Our courses are organized from a functional point of view. Our approach is to start with a simple LAN and build up towards more complex network architectures. Starting with a switched network consisting of a single network segment, we move on to cover logical network segments and how traffic is routed between network segments. We proceed progressively from connected network segments to statically routed networks.
Our content reflects real-life scenarios - the initial series of courses build up progressively towards deploying a medium-sized office network with Internet connectivity. As we develop more content we will be covering more complex scenarios such as routing between multiple corporate sites using dynamic routing protocols, providing secure site-to-site connectivity using IPSEC tunnels or VPNs and protecting corporate traffic using stateful firewalls.
As we proceed, we highlight the processes that occur when traffic enters a network device such as a switch or a router. By approaching processes from a network device's point of view rather than a device administrator's point of view, we demonstrate how to simplify the troubleshooting process and easily identify and correct our own configuration mistakes.
Where should I start?
If you are a beginner and new to computer networking, we recommend that you start with Course 1 and follow the courses in order. Each course builds on the previous one and the courses follow a logical progression.
If you already have some knowledge of computer networking and have an idea of where you would like to start, you can start with any course. The material becomes more hands-on starting with Course 3.
How long does it take to complete each course?
Most of our courses can be completed within one week, spending 2-3 hours per day. Course 2 - IP Addressing and Subnetting may take a few days more.
How much do the courses cost?
All of the learning content available on this site is available for free.
What is the Visualization Tool?
The Visualization Tool is our signature tool that allows you to observe data units as they move through a network. In addition, it includes a Troubleshooting Output Window that prints out a detailed outline of the events that occur as a data unit arrives at each network device.
What features do our device emulators support?
Our custom network device emulators are entirely browser based. You do not need to install any client software (such as Cisco Packet Tracer or GNS3) in order to use our device emulators. There is no wait time for devices to become available.
Our device emulators are constantly being updated. For a list of currently supported features, please consult this page: Connected Dots Device Emulators
What if I still have more questions?
If you still have any questions, you can email us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.