Network Management Workshops

This is a series of workshops by INASP, Africonnect and Aptivate to help IT staff to develop advanced, effective network management skills, including Bandwidth Management and Optimisation.

Study Guide

The series is divided into workshop units. The units should make sense individually, although they may occasionally refer to other units. Each unit is available in several formats, for different learning approaches. All formats are automatically generated from the same source code, written in ReStructuredText.

  • Presentations are intended to be shown on a projector to a large audience.

    We provide them as OpenOffice Impress-compatible ODP files, which you can use with Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, or older versions with a plugin. Many slides have speaker notes giving more details and references to help the presenter. In future we might provide Slidy or similar HTML presentations as well. PDF does not appear to properly support speaker notes, losing much of the value of the presentations.

  • Chapters are intended to be read, like chapters of a book, for self-study. Presenters might also prefer them over the presenter notes embedded in the ODP files.

    We provide them as PDF files, and HTML rendered by Github.

Please submit comments on our website, or create issues, or fork and modify these resources on Github, to help us improve them for future participants. Thank you! These materials are licensed as CC-BY-SA and your contributions must be as well.

At the end of each unit, participants may want to reflect individually on what they have learned so far and document any point to remember and/or follow up (expected time: 5 minutes).

In these workshops we may use terms that are unfamiliar to you. If you are unsure of anything, please ask a facilitator, or if you are studying alone, please try searching the Internet or asking a question on the Server Fault website, a free "question and answer site for professional system and network administrators".

One Week Training Course

A one-week training course with timetable, drawing on and extracting parts of the individual workshop units, can be found here:

Workshop Units

  1. Introductions (online HTML | download PDF | presentation)
    • Introduce yourself to the participants
    • Introduce them to each other
    • Set some ground rules
    • Review the timetable
    • Familiarisation with the Linux command line (online HTML | download PDF)
  2. Why network management (online HTML | download PDF | presentation)
    • What do you want to get from this course?
    • What do we want you to do with it?
    • Importance of the network to academic institutions
    • Benefits of good network management
  3. Network design (NSRC website)
    • Importance of good design in network management
    • Network design goals
    • Complexity versus simplicity
    • Hierarchical design building blocks
    • Network addressing strategies
    • Quality of Service (QoS)
    • Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
    • Network topologies
    • Virtual LANs (VLANs)
    • Fault Tolerance
    • Switching and security considerations (e.g. Rogue DHCP server and ARP spoofing prevention)
  4. Network management basics
  5. The bandwidth challenge (online HTML | download PDF | presentation)
    • Importance of Internet in network management
    • Why is Internet bandwidth particularly scarce?
    • Why is that a problem?
    • How does it relate to IT/network management?
    • How can we fix it? What can we change?
  6. Solving network problems (online HTML | download PDF | presentation)
    • Importance of troubleshooting in network management
    • Good troubleshooting technique
    • Example: Rogue DHCP server
    • Example: Internet connection is slow
  7. Network monitoring (online HTML | download PDF | presentation)
    • Importance of monitoring in network management
    • What problem do we want to solve?
    • What questions do we want to answer?
    • How do we answer them?
    • What tools are available?
  8. Hands-on practical experience (online HTML | presentation)
    • Use common inbuilt network monitoring tools for simple network checks
    • Install / use a typical more complex monitoring tool on a Linux system.
    • Explore the facilities available on a Linux-based self-contained monitoring toolkit.
  9. Making a difference (online HTML | presentation)
    • Importance of user behaviour in network management
    • Changing user behaviour
    • The role of policy
  10. Policy development
    • Download all (look in the PDW subdirectory inside the ZIP file)
    • Pre-workshop instructions (browse)
    • Unit 0 - Introduction (browse)
    • Unit 1 - Overview of Challenges and Solutions (browse)
    • Unit 2 - Characteristics of Good Policy (browse)
    • Unit 3 - Creating the Policy (browse)
    • Unit 4 - Action Planning and Post-workshop activities (browse)
  11. Technical measures (download PDF)
    • Importance of technical measures in network management
    • Network monitoring
    • Firewalls
    • Antivirus
    • Proxy caches (online HTML | presentation)
    • Intrusion Detection
    • Penetration/scanning (Nessus, Inprotect, NMap)
    • Bandwidth Management (online HTML | presentation)
    • Helpdesk Management: setting up an internal ticket system and Q&A forum, troubleshooting tools
  12. Making it happen (not written yet)
    • Why does it not happen already?
    • Aligning incentives
    • Propaganda and persuasion
    • Justifying budget increases
    • Keep your best people