networking/windows server 2003 n00blet needs reading material
June 23, 2006 7:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm the new networking/windows servers 2003 administrator at school. Only problem is i know jack about networking! Looking for something I can pick up at the bookstore to give me a good introduction into the subject.

Starting August 1, I will be the new networking/computer technician for a small school district (<1000 students). While I am very comfprtable with indivudal computer problems and can fix virtually any Windows-based problem, my experience with networking and servers amounts to setting up the apartment wireless network and running an FTP server from my laptop.

We run Windows Server 2003 and right now, everything on the network is running smoothly so no major overhauls/intallation/etc is needed at the moment. I'm looking for something to read which will a) give me a good overview of networking as a whole with explanation of hardware and how information gets passed along (we have a cable running out of the wall from the cable company...and the wire goes into some box, and into another box, and into another...what the heck is the point of all the re-routnig of wiring??? What, specifically, does all the hardware do? etc etc etc) and b) an introduction into Windows Server 2003 so I actually know how to run the server.
Websites are welcome as they'd be a good resource for keeping up-to-date with the material, but I'm more interested in something I can buy from B&N and sit down with to read.

Lastly, I'm working with the current networking guy for the next week- anything specific I should ask him before he leaves? Stuff that is so simple to him that he wouldn't think of telling me, yet if I run across it, I would be uterly confused.
posted by jmd82 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Have the current guy make you a network diagram. A real one, done in software- not some doodle on a piece of paper. Do you have a catalog of all the equipment (makes, models, service contracts)?
posted by mkultra at 7:46 AM on June 23, 2006

Make sure to get the current networking guy's contact information - odds are you'll eventually require a username and/or password that he forgot to write down.
posted by Meagan at 7:56 AM on June 23, 2006

Do you have a catalog of all the equipment (makes, models, service contracts)?
Nope. Should I throw one together, or would that be better off with the diagram?

re: Meagan
So far, administrator has got into every computer I've tried, but will still keep him on a contact list.
posted by jmd82 at 8:56 AM on June 23, 2006

The network diagram should identify makes and models. Service contracts should be kept elsewhere, as you'll generally have no more than a handful (and, hopefully only 1).
posted by mkultra at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2006

So far, administrator has got into every computer I've tried, but will still keep him on a contact list.

Speaking as someone who is on his second contract taking over from sysadmins who don't leave notes - this is not the only think you have to worry about.

WiFi routers
Machines not on your Domain

Those are the big 4 I would get logins for as well - or learn how to break into them ]:)
posted by jimmy0x52 at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2006

I feel bad saying this, but "Networking for Dummies" was a great book for me. I had already known quite a bit about networks, but it solidified a lot of what I knew and got me through network topology, administration and even things like backups. A good book.

Also - you will need a username and password sometime in the future, guaranteed, so good advise up above.
posted by hoborg at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2006

Windows Server 2003 is far more complex than you can imagine at this point. As long as everything is running smoothly, you're OK. But the moment something breaks, you'll quickly learn what I mean.

I highly recommend following the Windows Server 2003 MCSE training course, even if you don't plan to get the certification. Start with the "Mastering Windows Server 2003" book from Sybex, written by Mark Minasi. It's an excellent introduction, and very easy to read.

It does assume that you have a basic knowlege of networking. This is something that will be essential for you to have anyway. I don't know of any all-encompassing guides, but start by learning what all of these terms mean and how they're used: Ethernet, Cat5, TCP/IP, Subnet, Default Gateway, DHCP, DNS, Hub, Switch, Router, Firewall.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2006

Umm... not to be snarky or anything, but how did you get a job as a network admin for a school district if you know nothing about network administration? Even at <1000 students, you're in a position to deal with some seriously important stuff.
posted by friezer at 10:56 AM on June 23, 2006

I have people I can report to when something goes wrong. I should rephrase in that I am not the head networking guy around here- but I will pretty much become the immediate response person to problems. For the immediate future, I am not on my own when it comes to networking problems, but I would like to learn how to run the network and fix problems on my own.
posted by jmd82 at 12:26 PM on June 23, 2006

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