Learning about Networks Security

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Out of pure desire, I want to learn about Networks. I am basically a
beginning network programmer and I have this network at my disposal:

       Netgear Router/Modem as FIREWALL
                     ADSL Modem
               /  /  /  /  /   |   \   \   \   \   \
              /  /  /  /  /    |    \   \   \   \   \
             /  /  /  /  /     |     \   \   \   \   \
            /  /  /  /  /      |      \   \   \   \   \
           /  /  /  /  /       |       \   \   \   \   \
                ALL   COMPUTERS

I want to break-into the Firewall and I think I need to do so through
Modem and Switch. I have Googled for "How routers work" and I get one
quality link for a beginner:


Nearly all of the other links are not that good compared to this
article. I want some quality content, something real and solid base of
information because my experience says fundamentals are what that
separate the Hackers from morons. I am doing this just because I love
to explore the networks. I have just started a new job as a
programmer.  Some time ago, with the help of some folk at IRC, I was
able to connect to my friend's computer 100 KM away from my place,
those were the happier moments. He was using Windows and I was using
Linux. After login into my machine, we started to chat using the talk
and write commands :)

So, any quality links of information on exploring and exploiting
networks ? I do not want to remain an average programmer for next 10
years. I have a desire to master network security. I  somehow get
amazed at when I hear that two computers can talk to each other and
the language they use is called TCP/IP like we use English here to
communicate. As a matter of fact, to me,  Its really amazing  to hear
that two computers can talk to each other and it is much more
surprising that internet is just a whole monstrous collection of such


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