16.1. Requirements and Notes
Successful completion of this primer requires two Microsoft Windows 9x/Me Workstations as well as two Microsoft Windows XP Professional Workstations, each equipped with an Ethernet card connected using a hub. Also required is one additional server (either Windows NT4 Server, Windows 2000 Server, or a Samba-3 on UNIX/Linux server) running a network sniffer and analysis application (ethereal is a good choice). All work should be undertaken on a quiet network where there is no other traffic. It is best to use a dedicated hub with only the machines under test connected at the time of the exercises.
Ethereal has become the network protocol analyzer of choice for many network administrators. You may find more information regarding this tool from the Ethereal Web site. Ethereal installation files for Windows may be obtained from the Ethereal Web site. Ethereal is provided with SUSE and Red Hat Linux distributions, as well as with many other Linux distributions. It may not be installed on your system by default. If it is not installed, you may also need to install the libpcap software before you can install or use Ethereal. Please refer to the instructions for your operating system or to the Ethereal Web site for information regarding the installation and operation of Ethereal.
To obtain ethereal for your system, please visit the Ethereal download site.
Do not worry too much if you do not have access to all this equipment; network captures from the exercises are provided on the enclosed CD-ROM. This makes it possible to dive directly into the analytical part of the exercises if you so desire.
Please do not be alarmed at the use of a high-powered analysis tool (Ethereal) in this primer. We expose you only to a minimum of detail necessary to complete the exercises. If you choose to use any other network sniffer and protocol analysis tool, be advised that it may not allow you to examine the contents of recently added security protocols used by Windows 200x/XP.
You could just skim through the exercises and try to absorb the key points made. The exercises provide all the information necessary to convince the die-hard network engineer. You possibly do not require so much convincing and may just want to move on, in which case you should at least read Section 16.4.
Section 16.5 also provides useful information that may help you to avoid significantly time-consuming networking problems.