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Computer Networking Fundamental

Pathway Assessment Blueprint

Specific Competencies and Skills Tested in this Assessment:

PC Principles

  • Identify physical and equipment safety and maintenance principles and practices
  • Demonstrate understanding of storage methods (e.g., external, network attached, cloud) 
  • Exhibit understanding of memory 
  • Demonstrate uses of eSATA, Bluetooth®, and USB 
  • Identify different types and standards of processors 
  • Develop an understanding of various client operating systems 


Network Connections

  • Demonstrate understanding of Network Interface Cards (NICs) 
  • Identify different physical and logical characteristics of network connections 
  • Demonstrate use of remote access (e.g., Windows® terminal services, terminal emulation software, VPN, telephony connections, SSH)  
  • Exhibit understanding of wired and wireless communications and standards


Physical Connection Types

  • Identify cable components and uses, including twisted pair and fiber 
  • Demonstrate understanding of signal characteristics and transmission among various media types


Network Standards and Devices

  • Demonstrate understanding of OSI model layers 
  • Demonstrate familiarity with TCP/IP model 
  • Identify IEEE, EIA/TIA standards  and common Port numbers
  • Distinguish various types and uses of wired network devices 
  • Distinguish various types and uses of wireless network devices


Network Troubleshooting

  • Utilize ping, ipconfig, tracert, and netstat commands 
  • Maintain and troubleshoot cabling 
  • Perform local and remote loopback 
  • Identify various troubleshooting methodologies (e.g., top-down, bottom-up, divide and conquer) 
  • Utilize, perform, and analyze a packet capture 


Routing and Switching

  • Explain the difference between static, dynamic, default, and gateway routes 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of WAN connection types 
  • Recognize and implement basic router operations and configurations
  • Demonstrate understanding of switch operations and configurations (e.g., VLAN, interVLAN)
  • Compare and contrast routed vs. routing protocols
  • Differentiate between a collision domain and a broadcast domain 


Network Terminology

  • Demonstrate familiarity with various protocols and architecture terminology
  • Demonstrate familiarity with DHCP and DNS 
  • Identify various network operating systems (e.g., Windows®, Linux®)
  • Identify various network types 


Network Architecture

  • Exhibit understanding of physical and logical networking topologies (e.g., access, core, distribution)
  • Exhibit understanding of various LAN, MAN, PAN, WLAN, and WAN topologies 


Network Addressing

  • Exhibit knowledge of IP network addressing (e.g., IPv4, IPv6) 
  • Differentiate between classful and classless IP addressing 
  • Demonstrate understanding of Media Access Control (MAC) addressing 
  • Convert binary, hexadecimal, and decimal numbering systems 
  • Create subnets from a network address  



  • Identify and troubleshoot basic organizational and acceptable use policies  
  • Implement and maintain device security procedures  
  • Explain the defense in-depth approach to security (e.g., DMZ, Bastion Host) 
  • Identify and troubleshoot network security attacks and breaches 
  • Identify and troubleshoot viruses, worms, and other forms of malware 
  • Install and maintain appropriate firewalls, including NAT
  • Explain general cryptography concepts


Network Planning and Design

  • Exhibit understanding of analysis and planning concepts 
  • Compare and contrast principles of logical and physical design 
  • Identify various forms of power protection, backups, and UPS  
  • Explain the appropriate use and benefits of thin clients 
  • Install, maintain, and troubleshoot physical and wireless networks according to design specifications 
  • Describe various access methods (e.g., ISP, DSL, broadband/cable, satellite, wireless, mobile) 
  • Explain the principles of virtualization 

Written Assessment: 

Administration Time: 3 hours   

Number of Questions: 194


Areas Covered:

PC Principals: 10%

Network Connections: 6%

Physical Connection Types: 7%

Network Standards: 11%

Network Troubleshooting: 10%

Routing and Switching: 12%

Network Terminology: 6%

Network Architecture: 5%

Network Addressing: 12%

Security: 11%

Network Planning and Design: 10%

Sample Questions:

Use _____ to achieve transfer rates much higher than those of USB 2.0 FireWire® 400.

  1. ATA
  2. SATA 150
  3. eSATA
  4. Flash


Ethernet uses _____ to ensure packet delivery. 

  1. token passing
  2. multicasting
  3. collision detection
  4. broadcasting


Performing a loopback test on a router will check the _____ first. 

  1. LAN routing tables
  2. total number of packets lost
  3. WAN interface operability
  4. IP address of the LAN interface


The purpose of the Domain Name Service (DNS) is to 

  1. supply valid IP addresses as requested by network hosts
  2. centrally manage the mapping of host names to IP addresses
  3. authenticate IP addresses before passing data packets to other network devices
  4. facilitate dynamic addressing


The NIC is installed on

  1. the system board
  2. a port in the modem
  3. the CPU
  4. a CD-ROM drive


User IDs, passwords, and access rights are all considered part of 

  1. physical security
  2. personal information
  3. login requirements
  4. logical security


The data-link layer uses _____ to organize, or group, bits of data.

  1. frames
  2. packets
  3. headers
  4. trailers

A common interior routing protocol is

  1. BGP
  2. UDP
  3. RIP
  4. VPN


Which best describes a hybrid topology?

  1. star
  2. bus
  3. extended star
  4. star-wired ring


The purpose of a surge protector is to protect computer equipment from

  1. sags
  2. blackouts
  3. brownouts
  4. spikes

Performance Assessment:

Administration Time: 2 hours  

Number of Jobs: 2


Areas Covered:

39% Select and Connect Equipment to Set Up a Simple LAN with Two Workstations 

Participant will select appropriate equipment, assign a private Class C address and subnet, record the results, verify IP connectivity, verify that the network was created, and leave the IP connectivity results on screen for evaluator review.


61% Set Up a Workgroup, Create Users, Create Shares and Install a Printer 

Participant will name the workstations, make each workstation a member of workgroup named NOCTI, create users, create folders/directories, create a share, grant control permission to folders/directories, attempt to access folders/directories, install printer, assign printer rights, and verify correct set- up/functionality.

Sample Job:

Wireless Configuration 

Maximum Time: 1 hour  

Participant Activity: Participant will name the workstations, make each workstation a member of workgroup named NOCTI, create two users, create two folders/directories, create a share, grant full control permission to folders/directories, log in and attempt to access folders/directories, install printer, assign printer rights, verify correct set-up/functionality and notify evaluator when finished.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the leading professional organization for career and technical educators, commends all students who participate in career and technical education programs and choose to validate their educational attainment through rigorous technical assessments. In taking this assessment you demonstrate to your school, your parents and guardians, your future employers and yourself that you understand the concepts and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace. Good Luck!