hi, at the moment I have basic networks theory and practical understanding. I want to take myself to an intermediate/advanced level with networks but dont know how. could someone suggest any sites/book or whatever plz?? for both theory and practical
Look at the cisco certification path. You can use the same study material even if you do not actually attempt to the tests. The study stuff for comptia is ok also but it does not go nowhere near the level of cisco. The key with the certifications is not so much getting the certification it is that it provides a structure to making sure you get a full understanding.
You do not want the braindump stuff. That is for people that want to get a cert by memorizing the test questions not by learning the material. Most the books from cisco press are very useful but you will find lots of stuff for free if you search for the topic CCNA.
You don't really get hands on till you reach Cisco's professional level certifications like the CCNP, and I believe that is true for most vendor certifications. Some, like the CompTIA Network+ are entirely theory.