Developing networking experience?

Bob Proulx bob at
Mon May 2 15:53:18 MDT 2022

Hello Curtis,

Apparently no one had any ideas.  :-(  Let me add something.

Curtis Brown wrote:
> Hi everyone! Someone came to me asking about real-world volunteer
> opportunities in developing their computer networking skills, as
> they were just getting started in that field.

Fun stuff!

> I going to suggest perhaps reaching out to the Front Range PC Users
> Group, because they hosted a 'help clinic' to the general public,
> and I thought helping people with their Internet connection issues
> might be a good start. But as I was trying to look up that group
> (, it looks like they have disbanded. Is there a
> similar group like them around in this area?

I am unaware of most of the groups in the area that would be most
related to real world networking.  There are several groups that do
what I might call "social networking" which are good for that
purpose.  But there just are not that many hard core technical

> I tried looking for something relevant in, but I hadn't
> found anything.

On the bad news side we are not that densely urban that every topic is
well covered.  On the good news side we are not that densely urban.

> This person is taking computer classes at Front Range Community
> College, but is hoping to do more outside of a classroom setting.

I don't even know what classes are available in this area. :-(

> Thanks to everybody offering suggestions.

Obviously the best way to learn is by a combination of academic
studying and practical hands on doing.  For someone interested in
networking they would be hard to go wrong with "The TCP/IP Guide by
Charles M. Kozierok No Starch Press 2005".  Or any of the many other
fine tomes of wisdom that are available.

For practical hands on one needs to "do".  I'll suggest putting
together a Raspberry Pi WiFi Access Point.  It's a useful project in
and of itself.  Doing so will cover many of the parts of networking.
It doesn't even need to be a Raspberry Pi as one can use a laptop or a
desktop.  Almost any old cast off obsolete computer is perfect!
Install an OS of which many are suitable such as Debian, Ubuntu, Void,
Fedora, Alma, FreeBSD, and the list goes on.  Though perhaps Ubuntu
would be the most popular for this task and would have the most help
from the web articles for doing so.

Then install and configure all of the software components.  WPA
Supplicant software for the WiFi connection.  A DHCP client for the
system itself.  A DHCP server for the WiFi LAN being created.  I use
"hostapd" a free software WiFi driver for the Access Point.  Then
Linux netfilter iptables rules to route and set up NAT for the LAN.

It's a good exercise to learn a lot of parts.  It is useful to have
that kit available for other network projects.  It is only the tip of
the iceberg though and there is always more to learn.

And then at NCLUG we love it when people show-n-tell their projects.
See one.  Do one.  Teach one!  Put together something fun.  Come and
show it off to the group!  Also come and see other people's projects
and get inspired to do something! :-)


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