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Protocol Analysis: Troubleshooting a School Network

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Laura Chappell

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Posted: 13 May 2002

Packet-Level guru, Laura Chappell taught us a lot about network protocols in her previous Novell Connection article, "Protocol Filtering: Creating Cool Filters". This time she takes us on the ultimate troubleshooting challenge -- a school network.

Here's where you can dig into the full article:

Here's an excerpt:

I have been asked to analyze networks for numerous organizations, but I have found that one of the most difficult types of networks to manage, troubleshoot, and protect is a school network. The equipment is often sub par with donations, hand-me-downs, and just plain junk.
School networks may include portable networks that travel the hallways from one computer lab to another. They may also include complete classrooms without a single mouse ball in sight. Not surprisingly, school networks may also be riddled with viruses and worms. (These viruses and worms may have even been developed in the school's computer labs, only to be tested on the school's network itself.)
Of course, the IS team is handed this network of aging equipment and chaotic layout and is then charged with setting up security. Not only does the IS team have to protect the network from outside hackers, the team must pay particular attention to inside hackers (uh, er--I mean the students). Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to present several Cybercrime and Advanced Networking seminars for Classroom Connect ( During that time, I have heard some wicked stories of what students do on school networks.
School networks are truly unlike any other network in the world. The typical rules of network development and protection don't apply directly to school networks.

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