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Past Articles

  • Nov

    by Morph Sun (From

    A common network patch cable consists of eight wires with four twisted pairs. In the each side, the cable features RJ45 connectors, for instance the Enhanced Category5 (CAT5e) patch cable. It’s accustomed to develop connection with or between network devices and applications. This particular Ethernet cable is mainly used for connecting computers with devices such as routers, hubs or switches.

    However, so far as the utility of a CAT5e is concerned, it is chiefly used in Ethernet connection where one should join a host of the computing devices for enhanced connectivity. In fact, this cable supports connection on some sophisticated telecommunication platforms for example ATM. High-speed data transmission is its USP also it meets the cabling requirements of most from the Ethernet environments.

    One of the key reasons for the usability of this enhanced version of the CAT5 cable is it has a fair run length 100 meter that is enough for cabling in a small and medium-size Ethernet environment. Though within the recent years, CAT6 and CAT6e has been designed to offer run period of 550 meters and 1000 meters respectively, these products aren’t compatible with most of the network devices a sophisticated network uses. These are vendor-specific and also you need install just those hardware and software products which are fine with them. This unsuitability of latest category cables has occasioned such wide utilization of CAT5e which is universally accepted.

    Moreover, CAT5e patch cables are available in both unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (STP) configurations. Though it holds true the UTP patch cables are comparatively more frequent, certain specific network applications demand the STP because the later is greatly useful in preventing transmission disturbances brought on by Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI).

    Network patch cables can be found in the stranded and solid variety too. Within the former, the primary cable consists of a cluster of thin cables in a metallic jacket, while the eight wires inside the cover are solid copper wires within the later. However, both in of these categories, the wires are coupled to create four pairs. Despite the fact that each of them offer seamless link with Internet, the stranded cable includes a greater degree of usability because of its interference and noise-canceling capability. The stranded variety is preferred to the solid category also since it involves lesser amount of risk in the process of unplugging.

    Crossover cable also operates as Ethernet patch cable and may connect two PCs together. While such an array of network patch cables is available in the marketplace, you have to consult a network engineer to know which will suit your Ethernet network the most.

    However, apart from the common four-pair patch cable, engineers may also opt for a fiber optic patch cable. Though the utility of CAT5e network cable has never been questioned, fiber patch cables are extensively used too. This variety is made of fiber optic material and also the connectors at the two different ends are also available in the fiber optic.

    About the author:

    Morph has been writing many articles and blogs online related to fiber optic networking. He is a specialist from FiberStore, a number one supplier company of optical patch cords, including MTP trunk cable and LC pigtail etc. It provides quality fiber optic products, services and solutions to a large number of customers worldwide.

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  • Aug

    CIT 105 (CCNA1) will be offered Spring 2010. Normally we do not offer this course in the spring but due to the record enrollment we will offer it. The second in the Cisco Networking Academy series, CIT 106 (CCNA2) will be offered summer of 2010 in order to allow the spring semester CIT 105 students to get in sync with the regular series. This means that Fall of 2010 CIT 106 (CCNA2) students will be able to continue in CIT 205 (CCNA3).

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  • Jun

    WVU-Parkersburg’s Workforce and Community Education division now has both the Pearson/VUE testing and Prometric testing center online.  This means you can now take all of your certifications on campus!  Which one should you take first?  If you have finished CIT 106 (INTRO) or CIT 206 (ICND), I would recommend you take the Cisco CCNA exams.  According to the May Global Academy Update, we received the following notice:

    “The INTRO (640-821), ICND (640-811), and CCNA (640-801) certification exams (all language versions) will be available to Networking Academy students until July 31, 2009. After July 31, 2009 vouchers for these exams will no longer be accepted.”

    If you take the exam after July 31st, you will need to take the newest version of the exam, which is more difficult and covers topics that may not have been taught in your original class unless you took the CCNA Version 4 (Exploration) curriclum.

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  • Mar

    By Tom Weekley

    There is a program available called GNS3 (Graphical Network Simulator) that allows a user to experiment with features of the Cisco IOS or check configurations before deploying them on real routers.  It is similar to Packet Tracer except it provides a hardware platform (like VMWare) and runs software (the Cisco IOS) on the virtual hardware.  This gives you the full functionality of the Cisco IOS instead of trying to emulate the expected output.  The program is open source and free for download from for Windows and Linux.  I’ve gotten it to work under Fedora 10 and have seen snapshots of it running on Ubuntu 8.04.

    I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with the software and have found it to be very useful.  The software will max out the CPU and eat up available memory with just a couple routers running.  There are tweaks in the configuration menus that allow you to manage your system resources.  A setting called ‘IdlePC’ lets you set a value for the CPU to use when running a certain hardware platform.  This lets the CPU share cycles with other hardware platforms and software programs on your desktop.  A ‘ghost ios’ setting allows you keep one copy of the IOS in memory and share it among multiple routers using the same hardware platform.  Documentation on how to configure these settings are available in a pdf tutorial on the website.  The program ran okay on my 939 desktop with 4 gigs of memory, but other programs were somewhat slow to respond to input.  It ran better on my dual-core laptop with 2 gigs.  I would recommend keeping the amount of running routers around 6 to 8 unless you have a beefier system (which I’m sure most of you gamers do).

    The program only provides hardware platforms for Cisco routers and PIXs.  There is an 8-port fastethernet switch available, but it is unmanaged.  One hardware platform I noticed was missing was the 1800 series, but there are other common platforms available: 1700, 2600, 3600, and a 7200!  To console to the routers, an integrated program called Dynamips provides telnet ports for you connect to.  Simply right-click a router, select Console, and the Windows telnet program will start.  You can configure the software to use Putty telnet instead of Windows telnet if you wish.  I would recommend downloading WinTabber which allows you to consolidate your telnet windows into tabs in one window (similar to Konsole).

    The one sweet thing about this program is you can connect your configured topology to a live network.  Download Virtual PC Simulator from and follow the configuration documentation.  Essentially, you’ll configure a computer icon as a cloud, map the cloud to your NIC, and when you connect a router’s interface to the computer icon, you now have network connectivity to your topology.  I tested this with a Windows Server on my network issuing certificates to routers for IPsec.  It worked fairly well.

    It is also possible to perform a packet capture on an interface between two devices.  Simply right-click a link and select capture.  This will open Wireshark and display the captured output.  You will have to click refresh in Wireshark because the program actually writes to a capture file instead of Wireshark directly.

    It is possible to save and restore topologies but it seems to be a little buggy on some platforms.  Another nice perk is when you save, the program will export your running and saved configured to a directory.  This seems to spit out errors if you have a router in the topology that you haven’t saved the running-config to nvram yet.

    The program will crash at different points.  Most of mine seemed to happen when I used a compressed image on some of the routers or if I had an ethernet switch in the topology.  One minor bug I noticed was between two routers with a serial connection.  If I ran ‘show controllers serial’ on the routers, both routers stated that they had the DCE end connected.  I set a clock rate on each end and it worked fine.

    Overall, GNS3 is a nice program.  It’s only on version 0.6 so expect to see bugs here and there.  The advantages and features available with this program make a worthwhile download and a must-have if you are learning Cisco or networking.  All you need is the GNS3 installation files, a couple third-party programs mentioned above for full functionality, and an IOS image for a given router platform.

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  • Mar

    True, it is a month away, but just so you know, the Cisco Academy Connection will be unavailable for several hours on Friday, April 3, 2009 for quarterly system enhancements. The outage will begin at 3 p.m. PST (22:00 GMT).

    The following enhancements are included in this release:
    * Upgrading search and membership directory functionalities with FAST search technology
    * Improving post-login Academy/Class Locator tool
    * Adding optional academy URL and public email alias fields
    * Adding RSS feeds for Academy Connection

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