Network engineers are responsible for installing, maintaining and supporting computer communication networks within an organization or between organizations. Their goal is to ensure the smooth operation of communication networks in order to provide maximum performance and availability for their users (staff, clients, customers, suppliers, etc.).
Network engineers may work internally as part of an organization’s IT support team or externally as part of an IT networking consultancy firm working with a number of clients.
Other job titles used to refer to this kind of work include: network support, support engineer, IT support engineer, helpdesk support, network administrator, Novell support engineer, first line support, second line support, security engineer and network architect.
Typical work activities usually include:
- installing, supporting and maintaining new server hardware and software infrastructure;
- managing email, anti spam and virus protection;
- setting up user accounts, permissions and passwords;
- monitoring network usage;
- ensuring the most cost-effective and efficient use of servers;
- suggesting and providing IT solutions to business and management problems;
- ensuring that all IT equipment complies with industry standards;
- analyzing and resolving faults, ranging from a major system crash to a forgotten password;
- undertaking routine preventative measures and implementing, maintaining and monitoring network security, particularly if the network connects to the internet;
- providing training and technical support for users with varying levels of IT knowledge and competence;
- supervising other staff, such as help desk technicians;
- working closely with other departments/organizations and collaborating with other IT staff;
- planning and implementing future IT developments and undertaking project work;
- managing the website and keeping internal networks running;
- Monitoring the use of the web by employees.
Tips and Tricks to Master the Web
1. Receipt notification If you have a really important message and need to know if it’s been received, use a feature called Read Receipt in Outlook Express. This feature is available on most e-mail clients and requests the recipient to confirm that he has received the message by a return e-mail. To do this while composing a mail in Outlook Express, click on Tools > Request Read Receipt in your message window. If you desire, you can have all your outgoing messages sent with the Read Receipt notification. For this, go to Tools > Options, click on the Receipts tab and tick ‘Request a read receipt for all sent messages’. Remember, the read receipt confirmation is dependent on the e-mail client the recipient is using and also whether he wants to send the confirmation.
2. Adding signatures to your e-mail If you send a lot of mail each day, then a repetitive task like signing your name at the end of each mail can be quite tedious. It’s easier to create a signature and attach it automatically to every mail that’s sent. To do this in Outlook Express, go to Tools > Options > Signatures. Then go to New and add the contents of the signature in the Edit Text field. Also select the option of sending the signature automatically with all outgoing messages. In case you don’t want to send this with replies or forwards, enable the option, ‘Don’t add signatures to Replies and Forward’. For creative signatures, use the option to append a file that contains the signature you have created. If you happen to have multiple e-mail accounts, select the account with which you want to send the signature. To do this, go to Tools > Options > Signatures and click on the Advanced button near the Edit Signature tab. A new box will appear saying ‘Advanced Signature Settings’ where you can select the account with which the signature should be automatically added.
3. Auto-respond facility Won’t be checking mail for some time? Activate a feature called ‘vacation reply’ (if you are using a Web-based service). Most e-mail services such as Indiatimes provide this feature which can be activated through the options menu. You can type a short message which will be sent to all who e-mail you while you are away. In Outlook Express, you can do this from Tools > Message Rules > Mail and clicking on the New Rule option. Select the ‘For all Messages’ options from the condition for your rule field and in the Action select Reply with a message. You will have to select a message that you have already created and saved.
4. Keep a copy of the message If you are on a trip and want to access your e-mail from another machine, keep a copy of your messages on the server of your e-mail service provider. Go to Tools > Accounts and select the account (if you have multiple accounts), then go to Properties > Advanced. Check ‘Leave a copy on server’. This has one more advantage: if you’ve formatted your machine without taking a backup of your mail, you can retrieve the mail as a stored copy.
5. Disable MSN Messenger from auto-starting Whenever one opens Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook XP, MSN Messenger loads automatically. To disable it, go to Tools > Options in Outlook Express and uncheck ‘Automatically log on to MSN Messenger Service’. Then go to View > Layout and uncheck the option of Contacts. In Microsoft Outlook XP, go to Tools > Options > Other and uncheck ‘Enable MSN Messenger’. The over-eager Messenger won’t be so eager now! 6. Optimising your Inbox A three-step process to ensure that your Inbox never looks cluttered. 1. Organising: Outlook Express allows you to create folders within which mail can be organised. To create a new folder in Outlook Express, go to File > Folder > New. This will display the directory tree of your Inbox. Just select the location (say Inbox) where you want to create a folder and enter the Folder Name. Or, you could use the shortcut [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [E] and enter the Folder Name. You can also drag and drop folders to change their location. Folders can be quite useful, especially if you have multiple accounts configured on the same identity or to sort out e-mail messages on the basis of sender, subject, etc.
2. Filtering: Message Rules can automatically sort your mail into the appropriate folder as soon as it is downloaded. Specify the folders where you want the messages to be downloaded based on names in the From address, names in the To address, certain words in the Subject line or in the message body. Go to Message > Create Rule From Message. Create a rule selecting the appropriate options offered, and the next time you download your mail, it will be sorted according to the rules created. You can also sort your existing messages based on the message rules created. In Outlook Express, go to Tools > Message Rules and click on Mail. You will get a list of the message rules you have created. Click on ‘Apply Now...’, select the rules to apply, and click on Apply to filter your existing folder.
3. Grouping: Outlook Express allows you to group e-mail messages on the basis of the conversation carried. To enable this, go to View > Current View and click ‘Group Messages by Conversation’ (In Outlook, this option is available from View > Current View > Conversation Topic). With this feature, all e-mail messages are sorted on the basis of the subject line and the messages that are a reply to that particular subject are grouped together. A ‘+’ sign next to a message indicates responses based on that subject.
7. Download Mail to your PC If you use a Web-based e-mail service, such as those run by Yahoo! and MSN, download a copy of your mail directly to your browser. This is much quicker than using the bandwidth-hungry Web interface and also allows you to access your mail without having to be connected to the Internet. To do this first add a new account by going to Tools > Accounts > Add and select the Mail option. You will be prompted for personal details and account information. Select the POP3 server option in the screen that asks you for your e-mail server information and enter the appropriate POP3 server address for incoming mail.
8. Browsing offline Quite often you may want to refer to a page that you have visited at some point in time. While finding the link in your browser’s History is not too difficult, you can view the site without actually logging on to the Internet by going to File > Work Offline. Then just click on a link in your History folder to view the complete page from your hard disk.
9. PC-to-PC calls Buddy Phone, Yahoo! and MSN Messenger allow users to make phone calls from one computer to another, provided both computers are online. If you would like to use this facility in MSN Messenger, select your friend’s name from the list and go to Actions > Start a voice conversation. This can also be done by right-clicking on the person’s name and selecting the option of ‘Start a Voice Conversation’. After the opposite person has accepted your request, you can start talking into the microphone.
10. Split files Splitting files can increase download speeds tremendously in FlashGet. Usually, splitting the file in three or five segments is sufficient. However, if you are downloading a particularly large file which is available from several servers, you could get better speeds by increasing the number of segments being downloaded simultaneously. The number of segments that you want the file in can be set in the option box that pops up when a download begins. Just set the option for the number of segments that you want the file to be split into.
20 things you didn't know about Windows XP
You've read the reviews and digested the key feature enhancements and operational changes. Now it's time to delve a bit deeper and uncover some of Windows XP's secrets. 1. It boasts how long it can stay up. Whereas previous versions of Windows were coy about how long they went between boots, XP is positively proud of its stamina. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and then type 'systeminfo'. The computer will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type 'systeminfo > info.txt'. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).
2. You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run... and type 'gpedit.msc'; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care -- some may stop your computer behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only).
3. You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter 'rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation' in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That's it -- just double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that's not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.
4. XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge everything. Using Notepad or Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word 'hide' and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.
5. For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include 'eventcreate' and 'eventtriggers' for creating and watching system events, 'typeperf' for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and 'schtasks' for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options -- they're all far too baroque to go into here.
6. XP has IP version 6 support -- the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type 'ipv6 install' into Run... (it's OK, it won't ruin your existing network setup) and then 'ipv6 /?' at the command line to find out more. If you don't know what IPv6 is, don't worry and don't bother.
7. You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using 'taskkill /pid' and the task number, or just 'tskill' and the process number. Find that out by typing 'tasklist', which will also tell you a lot about what's going on in your system.
8. XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you've got a fast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files well alone by typing 'regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll' at the command line. If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing 'regsvr32 zipfldr.dll'.
9. XP has ClearType -- Microsoft's anti-aliasing font display technology -- but doesn't have it enabled by default. It's well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.
10. You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who's using network address translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Get your pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file. Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like 192.168.1.10. Replace this with your chum's real IP address -- they can find this out by going to www.whatismyip.com -- and get them to make sure that they've got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.
11. You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As... and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.
12. Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might slip the bonds of sanity before that point, run Regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/Advanced and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.
13. You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password. Select Run... from the start menu and type 'control userpasswords2', which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.
14. Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options... and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.
15. XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can't see the LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check the Show icon in notification area when connected box. You'll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.
16. The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.
17. You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By... Show In Groups.
18. Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks -- if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn't, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.
19. Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box; Windows key + D brings up the desktop; Windows key + Tab moves through the taskbar buttons.
20. The next release of Windows XP, codenamed Longhorn, is due out late next year or early 2003 and won't be much to write home about. The next big release is codenamed Blackcomb and will be out in 2003/2004.
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