Networking Concepts (FBLA)

Category: Objective Test
Type: Individual


60-minute test administered during the NLC.

Objective Test Competencies: General Network Terminology and Concepts; Network Operating System Concepts; Network Security; Equipment for Network Access (Wi-Fi, wireless); OSI Model Functionality; Network Topologies & Connectivity

Skills: Acquiring a high level of familiarization and proficiency in working with networks is essential in today’s connected workplace. This event provides recognition for FBLA members who have an understanding of network technologies.


Objective Test

Objective Test Guidelines

  • No materials may be brought to the testing site.
  • Electronic devices must be turned off and out of sight.
  • No calculators may be brought into the testing site; calculators will be provided.
  • Bring a writing instrument.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 1 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit four (4) entries in all events except LifeSmarts, Virtual Business Finance Challenge, and Virtual Business Management Challenge.
  • Each competitor can only compete in one (1) individual/ team event and one (1) chapter event.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.
  • All members of a team must consist of individuals from the same chapter.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, and Partnership with Business Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project).

Additional Materials

Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials

Format Guide

Website Resources
General Network Terminology and Concepts
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the purposes, benefits, and risks for installing a network
2. Identify types of networks (e.g., LAN, WAN, MAN) and their features and applications.
3. Interpret basic networking terminology and concepts.
4. Identify various network operating systems (i.e., Novell, Linux, Apple, Mac)
5. Identify the relationship between computer networks and other communications networks (i.e., telephone system).
6. Understand the differences between various network environments (e.g., peer-to-peer, client-server, thin client, ntier, Internetworks, intranets, and extranets).
7. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of peer-to-peer and client/server networks
8. Identify services delivered by a server, such as application server, communication server, domain/directory server, fax server, file and print server, mail server, and Web server.
9. Identify applications and server services, including printer, DNS, DHCP and Internet services.
10. Know the functions of common help-desk tools and resources such as incident tracking, knowledge database, and staffing.
11. Describe the role of the ISP.
12. Define and explain the function of DNS, DHCP, WINS and host files
13. Differentiate between various current protocols (e.g., AppleTalk, TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NETBEUI, DHCP)
14. Explain current network standards and pseudo-standards (e.g., IEEE, RFCs, ISO).
15. Describe the role of the NIC (Network Interface Card) including explanation of the MAC (Media Access Control) address and its uses
16. Define terms related to network media (e.g., shielding, crosstalk, attenuation
17. Identify standard high-speed networks (e.g., broadband, ISDN, SMDS, ATM, FDDI)
18. Identify names, purposes, and characteristics of network connectors (e.g. RJ45 and RJ11, ST/SC/LC, MT-RJ, USB).
19. Identify tools, diagnostic procedures, and troubleshooting techniques for networks.
Network Operating System Concepts
1. Identify the general characteristics and functions of network operating systems (i.e., window NT, LINUX, UNIX, etc.).
2. Lists and describe the function of the system files for major operating systems.
3. Navigate the desktop operating system environment by using system utilities, system administrative tools, filestructure tools, and hardware-management tools
4. Identify tools, diagnostic procedures, and troubleshooting techniques for operating systems
5. Properly setup protocols, clients, and adapters on a network operating system.
6. Identify major considerations faced when installing a network operating system.
Network Security
1. Identify security requirements and the need for data protection.
2. Develop, document, and implement a network security plan (install, configure, upgrade and optimize security).
3. Perform preventative maintenance for computer and network security.
4. Demonstrate understanding of physical and logical security issues and solutions
5. Understand the security procedures and policies necessary to maintain, monitor, and support a network
6. Know common potential risks and entrance points, including internal and external risks and the tools used to neutralize them (e.g. firewalls, monitoring, antivirus, spyware, and spam protection).
7. Know common techniques for disaster prevention and recovery (backup and restore).
8. Explain principles of basic network security (e.g., IP spoofing, packet sniffing, password compromise, encryption).
9. Describe the importance and demonstrate forms of network security (e.g., password strategies, user accounts).
10. Explore the characteristics, uses, and benefits of software firewalls and hardware firewalls.
11. Illustrate what fundamental legal issues involved with security management.
12. Identify various security, video, building utility monitoring systems and how they link to the network
13. Describe and implement various forms of malware protection for servers, including antivirus software; spam, adware, and spyware filtering; and patch management
Equipment for Network Access (Wi-Fi, wireless)
1. Explain different functions of network communications equipment (e.g., modems, DSL/CSU, NIC, bridges, switches, routers, hubs.)
2. Discuss various types of network adapters.
3. Install and configure necessary hardware and software for a basic network installation, including the creation of a shared resource.
4. Explain the uses of current and emerging specialized server hardware, including RAID, blades, SMP, storage devices ultra SCSI, and hot-swappable technologies.
5. Identify the types of wireless network media (e.g., Wi-Fi, WiMax, GSM)
6. Differentiate between broadband and baseband.
7. Describe types of modems (e.g., analog, cable, DSL) and standards.
8. Identify uses of virtual machines
OSI Model Functionality
1. Demonstrate knowledge and identify the properties of the open system interconnection (OSI) standard.
2. Describe the evolution of OSI from its inception to the present and into the future
3. Describe the primary function of each layer of the OSI model and the way each relates to networking activities
4. Describe devices in a network environment and their place in the OSI model.
5. Describe the network processes that use protocols and map these to the appropriate OSI levels
6. Identify the OSI layers at which the following network components operate: Hubs, Switches, bridges, routers, NICs and WAPs.
Network Topologies & Connectivity
1. Explain network topologies (e.g., star, bus, ring, broadband, baseband).
2. List advantages and disadvantages and distinguish between the topologies and protocols of local area networks and those of wide area networks.
3. Compare and contrast wireless networking to wired networking.
4. Explain advantages and disadvantages of wireless technologies.
5. Explore the concept of broadband and various incarnations, including DSL, cable, and high-speed wireless (e.g. satellite, Wi-Fi, WiMax, GSM).
6. Identify components and features of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802 Networking Specifications.
7. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and operation of fiber optics, analog and digital circuits
8. Identify the principles and operation of wire (coaxial, fiber optics, etc.) and wireless systems and install.
9. Identify different types of network cabling such as CAT5, Coax, fiber, and select the appropriate type of connectors for each.
10. Install and configure network cards (physical address).
11. Identify names, purposes, and characteristics (e.g. definition, speed and connections) of technologies for establishing connectivity
12. Demonstrate the use of connectivity methods (cable modem, DSL, T1, dial-up, Wi-Fi) and peripheral equipment (e.g., portable storage devices, printers, cable modem and wireless technologies).
13. Specify the general characteristics (e.g., carrier speed, frequency, transmission type and topology) of the following wireless technologies: 802.ll, 802.11x, infrared, and Bluetooth.
14. Identify factors which affect the range and speed of wireless service (e.g., interference, antenna type and environmental factors).
15. Test, validate, and troubleshoot IP connectivity using TCP/IP utilities.
16. Demonstrate use of remote access (VPN, teleconferencing, etc.)


NBEA Standards
  • Information Technology
  • Management
Career Clusters
  • Arts, A/V Technology, & Communication
  • Information Techology


States may submit up to 4 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 1.


Test: 1 hour