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DragonDaddyBear
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Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:23 am

I'm a little out of date here. My CCNA expired last year, but I potential gig teaching some kids networking basics. I was encouraged to keep the class "interactive" and let them go off on their own if I can. If I were to teach a bunch of teens to network what is a good, cheap, but still relevant switch for them to use? Any gotcha's on IOS versions these days? I know IOS15 has all sorts of licencing quirks, how can I make sure I get IP features for routing? Specific links to excess hardware on any site would be appreciated.
 
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:57 am

Anything on a newer version of IOS 12 should be good for your use case. Something like 12.2(50)+ for switches or 12.4(20)+ for routers.

I'd check on Ebay or Craigslist for older gear, there's a large cottage industry of thirdhand Cisco gear trading for people looking for various certifications.

I'd try to find a bunch of 2940/2960 switches, and maybe a few 1800-series routers - all these are 10/100 devices and useless for modern use, but should be feature-complete and likely would have good code versions on them already.
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:08 am

If I were to look for a more "modern" switch with 1Gbps copper, what would I look for? It would be nice to let these kids keep the switch and use it. I saw the 2960's for about $50 after shipping. I know it's a bit more money to get 1Gbps but I'm not looking to make a bunch of cash off these kids. I recently bought a 3750G for $80 after shipping. But I'm not sure it's the best switch or even what IOS version I got.
 
SecretSquirrel
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:30 pm

Define networking basics.... In my book, networking basics does not involve using anything running IOS, or any other managed switch/router. It is IPs, subnets, default routes, etc. You might have a switch or two, capable of L3 routing, so that you can actually demonstrate the default route, but other than that, I wouldn't expect anyone to touch a switch config until they had progressed well past "networking for kids".

But, I may just be mis-interpreting what you are trying to teach.

--SS
 
Vhalidictes
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:37 pm

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
If I were to look for a more "modern" switch with 1Gbps copper, what would I look for? It would be nice to let these kids keep the switch and use it. I saw the 2960's for about $50 after shipping. I know it's a bit more money to get 1Gbps but I'm not looking to make a bunch of cash off these kids. I recently bought a 3750G for $80 after shipping. But I'm not sure it's the best switch or even what IOS version I got.


A 3750G is a perfectly good L3 switch for teaching the basics, but I agree with other posters, it would be really helpful to know what the curriculum was/is.

Also, gig networking generally raises the cost, if that's what you're looking for I'd go with the 37xx switch series or 2800 series routers are going to be the most available (older) native gig devices.

EDIT: I wouldn't worry about the IOS version. Cisco put downloads behind a pay-wall years ago (2007 or so) so there's going to be no easy way for you to get an IOS update for any gear you have.
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:29 pm

Thanks for all of the help.

Let me start with a little background. My wife and I received an email to see if we knew anyone that knew programming or game development. I've done some college classes on Java and a little toying in C#. I'm not really up to speed any more and don't think I could quite teach a class. I'm probably going to do something in Python and follow a book if they still need someone since I've done that too. They have lots of Python stuff for kids. I've not done any game development but they have had a hit with Unity in the past. All that said, I can probably reteach myself enough to be dangerous in time. For now, though, I wanted to stick to my strengths and proposed a networking class since that's something I've actually done and held my CCNA for a while (expired a year ago).

The curriculum is whatever I want to propose. Right now the group is just pitching ideas for classes. I'm still looking for a good outline to follow. I think the class would start as a "how does my computer get to Google" and move to networking basics. Kinda Networking + or CCNA lite. I have to fill 1.5 hours for 12 weeks. The switches is to give them something to do other than Wire Shark stuff.

It's at a support group for home school families. They operate differently than a co-op. Now, normally I wouldn't be worried about getting into switching and the like until much later, but these kids are purportedly gifted. So I'm genuinely afraid these kids will soak up base 2,16 and subnetting rather quickly and I'm going to run out of material. It's 12 weeks of stuff that I have to come up with. There's lots you can do in terms of actual teaching with creating broadcast storms, STP, trunking, routing basics. I was advised to keep it "hands on" because it goes over better with the kids.

I'm not worried about IOS updates, more missing features.

I hope that helps.
 
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:07 pm

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
It's at a support group for home school families. They operate differently than a co-op. Now, normally I wouldn't be worried about getting into switching and the like until much later, but these kids are purportedly gifted.


I'm not sure I would worry about that quite so much. Any kid who is both interested in computer networking and gifted, any any real way in that area, will likely already know more than you could ever teach them. Some simple Googling would provide a cornucopia of information. If they are very intelligent, but have no real interest in computer networking, then your likely going to have the same problem as any other teacher would -- keeping a bunch of bright, bored, kids focused on something they don't care about.

Just as likely, you will get a set of special kids, or more specifically kids with "special parents", in which case, I wish you the best of luck. I'll leave it at that unless you want to split off a parallel thread for R&P.

My thought would be to focus on the "why" behind things and relate them to real world examples. Why is a broadcast packet like yelling in a crowded room? Why is an ARP like asking every person in the room if their name is "Fred". Why are subnets like people being in different rooms. Stuff like that. Its easy to look up the commands to do something on Google, or even a old school dead-tree book. Understanding the concepts so you know what you need to do in the first place is more key.

--SS
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:52 pm

I guess that's the plan. I don't plan on doing any real switching unless I need to. I'm over planning in case things go wrong.

I think I'm just going to plan on the 2960 and the router if i need it. They are crazy cheap. I can budget that if needed.

Thanks for the advice everyone. If you have any other tips I'm open to suggestions.
 
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:16 pm

Probably more useful to them than Layer-3 switching is going to be everyday troubleshooting like share permissions between Windows/OSX/SMB shares, UNC pathing done properly, routing, Layers 1 and 2, DNS, DHCP etc.

I find that the stuff I learned from MSCE is far more valuable to the real world that switch configuration. CCNA was far from useless, but it's not anywhere near as relevant or useful to your average kid who will continue to learn through applying and building on practical experience with the MSCE-like knowledge through common friends+family troubleshooting.
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:07 pm

For kids I would stick to the semi-applicable. In our homeschooling circle, kids love sharing what they’ve learned with parents. Low level networking is going to cause many a glazed-eye response. Being able to show Hello World on a screen is much more relatable (and more practical to the vast majority of people later in life). How about VBA programming?
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Networking for Kids

Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:21 pm

I don't know VBA.

Ok. I'll stick to "How the Internet Works." That's great advice.

I would like to start with scripting before programming. I can teach that and basic object oriented stuff in PowerShell. Maybe later.
 
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Re: Networking for Kids

Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:57 am

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
I think the class would start as a "how does my computer get to Google" and move to networking basics. Kinda Networking + or CCNA lite. I have to fill 1.5 hours for 12 weeks. The switches is to give them something to do other than Wire Shark stuff.
That's a massive topic and if you include turning the computer on you can cover so much stuff - DHCP (request vs renew), ARP, DNS, routing, NAT, TCP, HTTP. If you have a dual stack connection then you get all the IPv6 stuff with SLAAC and NDP, if you don't then even more to cover with bringing up a 6-in-4 tunnel from https://tunnelbroker.net/

I know you said something other than wireshark, but you can get a lot of understanding looking at wireshark. There's also http://ostinato.org/ that lets you build packets up (very much based on an Ixia GUI).
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Networking for Kids

Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:09 am

That packet builder looks awesome. I've used Scapy but I think kids might like the GUI a bit more, if we even get there. There's enough to do with just walking through a packet getting to Google. I'll probably do some basic web stuff, too. That's more interesting for the kids.

Thanks for the advice!
 
notfred
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Re: Networking for Kids

Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:59 am

If you can get hold of some props, you can do the story of Ethernet starting with Thicknet and Vampire Taps, then Thinnet with coax T's and cable termination, and finally going to UTP. This leads in to why there are things like min packet size / max length (propagation delay down coax to see collisions), preamble and SFD for sync to remote Tx clock and all the other gubbins that is still in the latest 100Gig specs but is meaningless. You can compare how copper cabling had separate PHY boxes that are now integrated and how that repeated with optical e.g. XENPAK->XFP/SFP+

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