Discuss Learning CISCO in the Networking Help forum on Dev Shed. Learning CISCO Networking Help forum discussing issues such as routers, switches, small networks, file sharing etc. Find information for both wired and wireless networks.
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Networking is networking, of which Cisco is a vendor of networking equipment. They have some things they like to do their own proprietary way, but otherwise participate in global* standards.
Windows is a product offered by Microsoft, an Operating System to be specific. It has interfaces that interact with a network, as well as some protocols that utilize said network, but in and of itself is not "networking".
A good start is actually Wikipedia. They have some really fantastic articles detailing how a lot of things are put together. But, if you have really no knowledge of networking and the terms used, it could be very overwhelming. Cisco Press (a subsidiary of Cisco) has a series of "Networking Academy" books; they are what many colleges and universities use as textbooks. These would make a great starting place for any beginner as they focus on the right way to do things, not *just* the Cisco way. Try looking up some of these and reading them.
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AdamPI is a great resource, I picked his brain a time or two studying for my CCNA. Personally I used the ICND press books from Cisco and GNS3 to setup virtual environments. I did get lucky and already have access to cisco ISO images. If you don't have access to those, you can try Boson Netsim. Of course shelling out cash for the real equipment (maybe Ebay) is always best.