Continuing our review of “Networking for Systems Administrators” by Michael W. Lucas, we’ll roll right into Chapter 1.
This chapter focuses on thinking in layers. There are different network layer models, including the 7 layer OSI model, but Lucas says you really only need 5 layers to represent the network. There’s the 4 layers of the TCP/IP model, but he splits the lowest layer into the Physical and DataLink layers. This matches the OSI model’s way of presenting those layers.
The OSI Session, Presentation, and Application layers are all lumped under the TCP/IP “Application Layer.” Lucas calls this the “your stuff” layer, and it’s true. The Network Admins won’t really care much beyond the Transport Layer when troubleshooting.
Speaking of troubleshooting, identifying the lowest layer that is broken is crucial for this. Fix that layer first, and most (if not all) of the other layers will likely start working again. And those that don’t, go with the next lowest layer, and work your way up.
The rest of the chapter covers specific troubleshooting techniques for each of the lower layers, with a promise for more in depth troubleshooting discussion later in the book.
This chapter is short, but critical for laying the ground work. Understanding these layers is one of the most important things to know for network troubleshooting.