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4.3 out of 5 stars
Networking All-in-One For Dummies
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Although I am a fan of Wiley's computing books, some are less useful than they appear to promise. This, as many other 'All-in-One' titles, is one that has some imperfections.

An author may be able to write upon some areas of computing use and have intensive knowledge on certain aspects but have little knowledge of others. For example, an author writing about Photoshop or MSWord would be expected to know about the software, its menus, settings etc and perhaps know a trick or two. Knowledge of the computer hardware and how it is to be configured would not be especially relevant and probably would not be expected to be found in such a book. Networking is far more complex and involves some elements of hardware knowledge and its configuration but also of software, much of which is an essential group of utilities and applets built into the operating system itself. Although Windows, MacOSX and Linux are very different operating systems, very similar functioning controls are built into each one. They may be accessed or used in different ways but, ultimately, they are intended to achieve either completely identical or very nearly identical results. If they did not, networking would be far more complex than it is. Unfortunately, authors' expertise of the different systems or certain aspects of them will vary.

Sometimes, a publisher may overcome these relative weaknesses by forcing a collaboration between two or more authors, making good use of their individual strengths. This series uses a different approach and takes individual chapters or groups of chapters from several existing publications and assembles them in a specific order to produce a book that supposedly answers everything. For the publisher there are some benefits as there are for the buyer, but the latter may not always be best served. It has something in common with a second-hand jigsaw puzzle bought at a sale; although it appears complete, there may be something missing.

As Windows is the predominant computer operating system, many books concentrate on its components and may mention the alternative approaches of MacOSX, Linux and other systems in less depth or, rarely, not at all. Furthermore, there will often be differences in the way that Windows 8 offers access to its Networking controls compared with the ways that Windows 7, Vista, XP etc undertook the same or similar tasks. Other operating systems may also alter their methods of using the available Networking controls in succeeding versions. For the end user and for the writer, this can be very confusing and may cause some sections to be effectively duplicated with portions relevant to each version of any one system. It may also lead to errors due to a reader choosing an invalid instruction set for their system.

If you consider the book as containing a little bit of everything, it will probably satisfy most of its buyers during their 'Getting Acquainted' period with Networking. Longer-term, you will need to look for something else whether from Wiley or another publisher.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2013
This is a great book if you want to expand your knowledge on the subject. It is written in plain English with tips and technical stuff pointed out clearly. I would say that it is not for complete dummies as some people with no computer knowledge at all may struggle to understand this book. However, anyone with some computing know-how who wants to learn about networking would find this an excellent reference choice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2013
I bought this book to help me understand and solve problems with my home network( windows ) as we have several computers some connecting wirelessly and other computers and devices connecting with ethernet cable. This book goes far beyond my requirements. It was difficult to find what I wanted because it's such a complicated subject and this book covers everything. I would not recommend buying this book if you are just working at a low level like me but if you love technology and getting right into the detail then go ahead.
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on 11 June 2014
Excellent book for getting to grips with the subject without going into the very technical stuff you need a degree to understand.
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"Dummy" is probably about right for me, and this book had a load of detail pitched at the right level for me personally.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2014
I brought this book to refresh my memory as I have been out of the industry for a while, very good book.
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Speedy delivery, intact package and good value for money.
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on 28 July 2015
as always good information in simple terms
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2014
Excellent reference book to supplement course son is undertaking. Good reference source and helps to improve knowledge of topics being covered in course.
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