I am Computer and Communication Engineer, and I read many books about data communication and networking, all discussing basic concepts like OSI Model, topology in general, multiplexing, etc., but I still have a question which cable type is used with each topology. That's a general question. To be specific:

  1. Do I need to read TIA-568 to know cable types and attenuation versus distance and Frequency?
  2. Do I need to purchase IEEE 802 to know the details of what actually happens in the lower layers? Will that be a benefit?

Otherwise, which Documents or standards do I still need? Should I know how each layer in the OSI Model Works?

I am asking these questions because I am not sure what should I do to have practical experience in addition to general concepts (above mentioned) in books.

  • I wrote a blog series that covers a good cross section of how the Internet works and how data moves through a network. Recommend it to all my students. It might also give you a place to start exploring networking.
    – Eddie
    Mar 28, 2016 at 4:52
  • 1
    Eddie ... the blog was helpful .. i love simulations by animation
    – Eng_Boody
    Mar 28, 2016 at 6:41
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you can post and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 31, 2020 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


It is a very good idea to have a general understanding of everything you can get your hands on, but what you really need to be an expert in depends on the job.

  1. I used to be heavily involved in designing and overseeing cable plant implementations, and I studied and earned the RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) and the RCDD/NTS (Network Transport Systems) certifications (both require at least two years of experience and strong references, so they are not just paper certifications), but I haven't worked on cabling itself for a long time. On the other hand, if you need to order transceiver modules for your equipment, it is quite helpful to know about different cable media, and which standards apply to each.
  2. You should clearly understand the most common IEEE 802 standards (you can get most for free), although it is unlikely that you will need to know much about Token Bus, Token Ring, FDDI, etc. You will need to be able to troubleshoot things, and if you don't understand how this stuff works, you are at a big disadvantage.
  3. Understanding the way ethernet, IP (both IPv4 and IPv6), TCP, UDP, switching (including the related 802 standards for thing like VLANs), routing (especially OSPF and BGP) all work are the absolute minimums. You should be familiar with the ethernet, IP (both IPv4 and IPv6), and transport (TCP and UDP) header fields, and the functions of each field. Depending on the job, you may need more specialized knowledge, like the various Wi-Fi (802.11) standards and headers, firewall technologies, data center technologies, etc.
  • Ron Maupin .... thanx for your answer .... i need to know everything beggining with cable types to ethernet headers and media access methods ...etc i need to purchase 802.3 .... but sincerly i want to make sure all the information i need like headers of ethernet .. role of each field different devices involved.. will be in the ieee 802.3 before purchase and paying in it ... thanks
    – Eng_Boody
    Mar 28, 2016 at 6:30
  • IP and TCP are free to get but the lowest two layer physical and data link layers .. needs ieee 802 .. am i correct ?
    – Eng_Boody
    Mar 28, 2016 at 6:43
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    @Eng_Boody Did you check IEEE's website? Most of IEEE 802 series is actually FREE. Here's Ethernet for example. Also don't just start reading everything, focus first on things that are currently of interest to you. Otherwise, there's just too much to understand.
    – AndrejaKo
    Mar 28, 2016 at 8:39
  • AndrejaKo thnx for your comment but what's free is the first section only......most of the details in the rest which needs to be purchased..............check this : techstreet.com/ieee/products/1893299#5215417
    – Eng_Boody
    Mar 28, 2016 at 9:12
  • @Eng_Boody, all the RFCs are available for free, just search for things like rfc tcp, or whatever you want to learn about. Read the RFC headings very carefully since some have been obsoleted by later RFCs, and be aware of the status. This answer provides a good idea of what each status means.
    – Ron Maupin
    Mar 29, 2016 at 21:40

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