Most helpful positive review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive but more depth here and there would be nice?
on 23 February 2013
I bought this because although I have over 30 years of software development experience, my networking knowledge was almost non-existent. I also wanted something that would cover home and work networks and both Windows- and Unix-based networks - I chose this over the equivalent SAMS offering because it appeared to be a bit wider in scope, although I have been put off other "...for Dummies" books because of that title - I don't consider myself a dummy, even if lacking knowledge in particular areas of IT. To start with, this book is wide-ranging, appears to cover all the bases and has a lot of quite of practical help and technical information - real dummies would struggle. However, for someone who wants a theoretical basis, much of the practical help is surplus to requirements. It is, I suppose, worth pointing out that cables should have a bit of spare length, and that trouble-shooting needs to start with checking the computer is connected and powered-up, and so on, but I felt the book depended to much on this sort of detail and things like FTP commands, which are described more than adequately elsewhere. It's difficult for a networking tyro to say exacly where the information is too sparse but there were several areas where I felt that detail was lacking. For instance, for VPN it's not mentioned that, depending on setup, the remote user can find they have no normal internet access while using it. Presumably a VPN server might need a separate IP address from the normal gateway, but how does that affect using a subdomain of the normal site name - a little more guidance would be useful. The advice on setting up a network firewall is sparse and would leave the fledgeling network administator floundering. I'm reserving judgement on the troubleshooting chapter - I still haven't got my Windows 7 machine to see the printer attached to my XP machine, linked via a common router, but a re-read showed I hadn't followed all the guidance given. This chapter comes far too early, before a good deal of technical detail that would need to be read before setting up the network in the first place. The descriptions of some of the 'net' commands are just a tease - a hint of the sort of things that can be done but not exactly how, and where they would be valid. FTP is covered more thoroughly but this sort of material should be in appendices on a CD, to allow space for more technical advice. Overall, a good intro to topics like DNS, DHCP, subnets, file shares and many others and, on a practical level, useful command-line functions, why you should use cat 5E cable, and how to wire connectors, but too light in specific areas. The book may seem long at 876 pages but this is meant to be a comprehensive technical manual and even with another 100 pages it would still be outweighed by many bulkier manuals. I found the attempts at humour to be most annoying in the glossary.