Help! Network Newb

I’ve done networking in the past, and was even the network administrator in a couple past lives.

The thing is, I didn’t really learn anything or at least retain much of it. I’d like to change that. I would like to understand networking from a Linux point of view and from the ground up.

I have all the computers in the house running Linux. I have a clean slate, a blank canvas, I know where all my files are, so I want to take some time to get serious.

Could this group point me to what they think would be the best resource to get started on the basics. I want to understand Port forwarding, router configuration, SSID, MACID, WAPK, WPS, SSH, Samba, all the nuts and bolts.

My problem is that I find myself talking to intermediate and advanced folks, and when we get to this stuff, I absorb just enough to be dangerous.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.



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I’m going to ditto this… I’m sitting here with 3 Linux computers, a newly reconfigured FreeNAS drive, a Windows (work) computer - and nothing talks to each other… I want to set up shares and such on the FreeNAS but I’m in an analysis paralysis and questioning where I should be going with things…

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There are a lot of good Linux network videos on the CWNE88 YouTube channel.

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Excellent channel, Ken.


Like most things linux, all the information is available to everybody. Short of becoming a sys admin, it’s hard for a user level person to sort through the most important networking info to get simple file sharing going.

Along with some other found resources, I found this helpful in countless ways, including networking:

I won’t be satisfied until I SSH something.

I guess I need to rephrase my question/request… I’m not looking for a how to on click this, enter this here type stuff… more of a how to on the concept… setting up shares so that I can read/write everywhere, my wife can read/write her stuff, and read other stuff, and not access 3rd stuff… my kids to read some stuff and not access a bunch of stuff…

I don’t use FreeNAS so I can’t give you detailed directions but if you want to share files between Linux and Windows computers you’ll probably end up using Samba. The FreeNAS documentation covering SMB shares looks complete and fairly easy to follow.

Hey brotha, sorry for the late reply but we brought this up on BDLL last night and there was some great tips given.

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Your list is a lot to digest all at once. I highly recommend starting with a topic and learning it and then moving on to the next. Hands-on learning is the best way to actually retain the knowledge in my opinion. Speaking as a network administrator, it takes years to obtain overall learning here and a great deal is done by practicing what you learn. I’ve done several classes and none of them were without some sort of lab component. Having an isolated lab is great for experimentation and reduces the worry of having important information lost.

Where to begin right?

  1. Set some goals. Prioritize the information you want to learn. Identifying some outcomes can help determine your learning path. For example, you mention port forwarding. There are many reasons to investigate that. If you pick an outcome like setting up a webserver you can pick up port forwarding, ssh, and others along the way. Having a purpose helps with retention and it isn’t just learning buzzwords.
  2. Find reputable resources. That was really the point of your post, I get it. Some of the answer depends on the method that enables you to learn best. Are you a visual learner with videos? YouTube is great but it can send you in the weeds pretty quick. If you go this route I suggest finding a channel that has a series of videos for a topic rather than trying to cram it all in a single video. A couple of suggestions along those lines; , Lawrence tech systems , Crosstalk Solutions , Network Chuck , Willie Howe I’m sure there are more. My YouTube list is as long as my Telegram/IRC list :crazy_face: Maybe reading text documents/books work better? I like the O’Reilly books, you can find them on Amazon but maybe there is a public library near you that you can find some. The online subscription is pretty awesome but not cheap. You mention ssh, I highly recommend the Michael W Lucas book, SSH Mastery, his other books are great too. Perhaps enrolling in a class works better? Structured learning never hurts in my opinion. To learn a single topic something like Udemy , Linux Academy , Pluralsight , all come to mind. For a more encompassing approach sometimes it is possible to “audit” a course at a local college, often at no cost. You won’t get any credit for the class but if you are just after the information it can be a good way to go.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice. Even though I already mentioned it, I can’t stress this enough. Setting up a test/lab environment doesn’t always have to cost money. Use what you have, maybe that is an old laptop (they can act as servers too), wireless router, etc. Applying what you learn brings purpose and reinforces your learning in a practical way. Make mistakes, learn how to recover, rinse, repeat. If you are willing to invest a little on equipment, you can find used enterprise gear that is a little older. It might not have the most current specs but for learning how it all fits together it should work fine. The concepts will carry over no matter the generation of equipment. If you want to take it a step further and purchase newer network equipment the Ubiquiti products are pretty great and they get recommended often so the resource library is large. MikroTik and Grandstream should go on the list too.
  4. Ask questions. When you get stuck on something specific, reach out. We all started somewhere, don’t be afraid to ask. There are some pretty great forums out there. Most of those YouTube channels I mentioned have a community surrounding them, that is what makes them great. Oh hey, we’ve got some pretty great folks here too. Many of them smarter than me, I’ve learned a lot from them.

It sounds like you have a great start on setting yourself up for learning, your home machines are running Linux :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. Seriously though, Linux and networking go hand-in-hand. I wish you luck on your quest, it is always good to have that on your side :laughing:.

Thanks, kc2bez

Your exposition is exactly what I need. I’m a reader, so I’ll start with the Lucas book.

Thanks a million!!

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Thanks, Rocco

I just listened to the 7/25 program, and appreciate the feedback. You read my email!! Online!! Aside from how starstruck I am, I’m sure I’m not alone in tackling this problem.

And thanks to the BDLL community! I have heard and will heed your counsel. Most of the feedback addresses my central problem, which is figuring out where to start.

I aim to start with SSH, as I believe it is at the core of what I would like to do most. I have heard SSH mentioned for years, and dropped casually in discussions like it is the easiest thing to use in order to transfer files from one machine to another,

Thanks to you all for your help. It reminds me of a saying that came to me years ago - probably a corollary of a corollary - “Everything is the enemy of anything


SSH and SFTP are two big ones I used literally every day. SSH for remote shell and SCP/SFTP for file transfers. Good place to start! Take some time to understand keys and passwordless authentication.

A good follow up for this, especially for remote servers, is understanding firewalls. UFW is pretty common and fairly straightforward. iptables is another common one but a bit more involved.

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