Employers prefer to hire computer networking professionals with specific qualifications, skills and experiences. During the interview process, they ask questions to test their technical knowledge, personality and ability to fit in with the company culture. By understanding the type of networking questions asked at job interviews, you can prepare well-thought-out responses, impress the interviewers and improve your chances of getting a job offer. In this article, Pritish Kumar Halder compiles a list of frequently asked networking interview questions and reviews some sample answers that you can use to prepare your responses.
You can use the following sample answers to network interview questions as a reference to formulate your responses:
1. Can you briefly explain networking?
Many interviewers may ask you this question to assess how well you understand the basics. You can briefly define what computer networking is and give examples of networks.
Example: “Networking is the process of establishing connections between numerous independent computing devices and peripherals to exchange data and resources. By using a system of communications protocols or rules, the networked devices allow users to transmit information via networks of wired cables or wireless links. Each computer network consists of nodes such as servers, personal computers and networking hardware. Aside from wired and wireless networks, the different types of networks include the Local Area Network (LAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Point To Point networks, Broadcast networks, and P2P networks, Client-server networks and Hybrid networks.”
2. What do you know about clustering support?
The interviewer may ask you this question to find out if you know how to prevent a network operating system from failing. You can explain what a cluster is and the purpose of clustering support in networking.
Example: “A network of multiple computers or servers that work together to perform the same tasks and support applications and middleware software is known as a cluster. The network operating system that connects these multiple computers can continue its operations uninterrupted even if one or more devices fail. Since they perform the same tasks, the system can continue processing with the next server when one fails. That is known as clustering support.”
3. What are the functions of a network administrator?
If you are applying for the role of a network administrator, it is essential to be familiar with the work duties of the job. Expect to get this question during interviews and prepare well. You can explain what a network administrator is and list the main functions of the job.
Example: “Aside from installing the network, the main functions of a network administrator include configuring the settings of the servers, routers, switches and other network hardware and maintaining, securing and troubleshooting the network. They ensure that the different systems remain well-connected and coordinated.”
4. What is DHCP and what is its purpose?
Interviewers can ask this question to test your understanding of client/server protocols. You can give the full form of DHCP and briefly explain its purpose in the network system.
Example: “The full-form of DHCP is Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. It is a client/server protocol or communication mechanism that enables computers in a network to communicate with one another, exchange information and react instantly to any network changes. The DHCP automatically assigns Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to the computers in the network after first ensuring that the network devices have not already taken those IPs.”
5. Can you list the network defects caused by software problems?
It is necessary for network administrators to know how software problems can lead to network defects. If you get this question during a job interview, you can give a few examples of the issues that can arise when the software that clients and servers use to communicate fails.
Example: “Software issues in a network can give rise to configuration errors, security risks, protocol mismatch or failure, slow server performance, application conflicts, issues with user rights and problems with resource sharing or accessing.”
6. Can you explain the advantages of fibre optics over other media?
As a network administrator, it is essential for you to know about the technologies associated with data transmission. If you get this interview question, you can briefly explain the fibre optics technology and list its advantages.
Example: “Fibre optics, also known as optical fibres, is a data transmission technology. It makes use of long and thin strands of glass for transmitting data over long distances in the form of light pulses. A single optical fibre consists of a hairlike thin glass core surrounded by an optical glass layer known as cladding and a protective plastic tube layer known as buffer coating. For data transmission purposes, you can bundle any number of these optical fibres to form an optical cable and protect it with a jacket layer.
Fibre optics are more advantageous than metal cables since they offer higher bandwidths and faster transmission speeds for the Internet and other telecommunication services. They can transmit and receive more data over long distances with minimal signal degradation. They are also more secure, less expensive and longer-lasting.”
7. Can you explain the difference between a hub and a switch?
This is a common question in interviews for computer networking jobs, and the purpose is to gauge your knowledge of the equipment used for interconnecting the computers in a network. You can briefly explain what a hub and a switch are and list the major differences between them.
Example: “Hubs and switches are both networking devices, but there are several key differences between them. Operating on the physical layer and using a half-duplex cable for transmission, a hub can be an active or a passive device that connects a network of multiple personal computers. A switch, which operates on the data link layer and can transmit with a half or a full-duplex cable, is an active device that lets you connect multiple devices and ports on the same network.
A hub does not require software for its operation, while a switch uses software for its administration. You can use a hub and a switch in the Local Area Network (LAN). However, you cannot create a virtual LAN with a hub, but you can do so with a switch. A hub does not support the Spanning Tree Protocol to prevent data looping within a network, while a switch can support the Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol.”