August 2008 Reader Challenge Winner

Congratulations to the winner of our August 2008 Reader Challenge. Mark Latham of Colorado wins a copy of “Windows Vista in a Nutshell,” from O'Reilly Media (

September 2008 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to by September 15, 2008. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct.

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on September 16, 2008.

The Challenge

 This month's challenge is inspired by email from users. According to the messages I receive, many IT pros who work in large corporations are doing part-time consulting for small businesses. The questions I get reflect the fact that the hardware and network set-up tasks for small peer-to-peer networks are foreign territory to people who are used to administering large domains. Your challenge is to answer some of the common questions I'm asked.

Question #1: The difference between a hub and a switch is:

A. A switch tracks MAC addresses of connected devices and sends received data only to the port connected to the target device.

B. A switch tracks IP addresses of connected devices and sends received data only to the port connected to the target device.

C. A hub sends all received data to all connected devices, leaving it to the target device to accept or reject the data.

D. A hub sends all received data to the connected device with the unique computer name in the data header.

Question #2: Routers used in small networks are:

A. Switches

B. Hubs

C. Neither a switch nor a hub; you must connect a switch or hub to the router.

Question #3: A residential gateway is:

 A. Another term for a shared modem (either DSL or Cable) that's connected to a router.

 B. A router that includes DHCP services.

 C. A router that includes DNS services.

The ANSWERS, Please:

Question #1: Both A and C.
Question #2: A.
Question #3: B.