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Computer Networking First-Step

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the three-blind-guys dept.

The Internet 114

Himanshu Rath writes "Computer Networking First-Step by Wendell Odom fills a long standing void for a truly introductory book which can be read and understood by anyone in less than a month. There are other excellent publications in Computer Networking (e.g. classics by Kurose and Ross, Stevens, Tannenbaum, Comer, and Cisco Press CCNA and CCNP companions, etc.) but they all embody different degrees of complexities and typically need at least one college semester to go over. What about those who do not have the time or inclination to spend a semester in a computer science class? Odom's book might be the answer." Read on for the rest of Rath's review.

When I am sitting in front of a computer in San Francisco and exchanging email with a friend in New Delhi, or we are chatting using MSN or the Yahoo! Messenger program, there is a mind-boggling array of data transformation between the sender and the receiver. All our analog data (speech, type face, etc) is transformed to digital data (binary digits of 0 and 1.) We are analog creatures, but the infrastructure for computer communication on which we are so hopelessly dependent is strictly digital. This infrastructure is responsible for various layers of encapsulation/decapsulations, encoding/decoding, etc to move the data through a 'cloud' of intermediary hubs, switches, and routers (the 'cloud' is a black box to us) and establish communication between the end users. The rules (or protocols) at different layers are complex enough, and to make matters worse, the rules inside a Telco network through which our data travels can be very different from the rules in our LAN data network (the Telco network is usually a black box to the data communication folks). Breaking this highly complex phenomenon into smaller, simpler constituent parts is what this book is about.

This book is 515 pages long and is divided into 18 chapters. Odom starts by defining a network in terms of its constituent elements, and goes on to explain how three blind guys -- the Server Guy, the Cabling Guy, and the Network Guy -- perceive the Network 'Elephant.' The authors and the editors have tried hard to explain abstract concepts with real life examples; for example, they tell us how to how to eat a dinosaur (OSI 7-layer model) versus how to eat an elephant (TCP/IP 4 layer model). The whole narration takes place in terms of the human experience of fictitious characters named Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Keith, Conner, Larry, Archie, Bob, Hannah (etc.), who internalize the electronic data communication protocols into their own behavioral model. This tactic makes for easy reading by helping us understand the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar. Many newcomers to networking get discouraged by the learning curves for OSI and TCP/IP, and quit before getting to LAN and WAN. The author addresses this concern by strictly focusing on the concepts and leaving the details out for another day.

Odom's description of LAN as roadway and sharing of the local roadway through hub to find destinations is easy to follow. The rules to follow on the roadway cover wrecks, and also how to recover from the wrecks. His description of WAN as leasing hundreds of miles of network cable drives home the basic concepts. The hosts file is explained as a phone book, and AAA as a means to allow the right people and keep out the wrong people. Under the veneer of lightheartedness Odom manages to sneak in the concepts ranging from 4-wire WAN circuit to 802.1Q trunking, VLAN to VPN.

This book introduces many contemporary networking concepts, and would have been more complete with a chapter on wireless networking and VOIP. The diagrams are uncluttered and easy to follow for reinforcing the concepts. The index is manageably short but to the point. The best thing going for the book is its relaxed, you-can-do-it tone. However, this is not for everyone, certainly not enough for anyone seeking IT certifications. If you are looking for a conceptual understanding of computer networking to untangle the underlying mystery, read this book. I think this is a great text for high school students, home computer users, and even computer professionals who do not deal with networking in their daily work. If you are looking for details about networking standards (necessary for any certification test), find a more advanced text.


You can purchase Computer Networking First-Step from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462528)

Re:gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462760)

Thanks for the invite.

Cheers.

Re:gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462915)

Hee hee hee. Good job!

PS. Don't click on those.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462537)

First Post

wait a second... (5, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462539)

" fills a long standing void for a truly introductory book which can be read and understood by anyone in less than a month."

The book is 515 pages?!

I'm certain that this review was read by someone who wasn't seeking a truly introductory book. If the reviewer knows anything about networking before he starts reading, I doubt that he's able to objectively make this claim.

Re:wait a second... (3, Interesting)

savagedome (742194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462652)

Its like one of those hour long instructional videos about "How to effectively say things in 2 minutes"

Re:wait a second... (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462841)

250 ways to simplify your life.

Re:wait a second... (3, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462891)

Now I am no expert, merely a hobbiest, but, for years I have tinkered with networking and written on the subject in various venues from ezines to newsgroups. And since I am NOT a networking expert/ professional, I think a lot of the concepts are better spelled out when expressed by someone who doesn't speak fluent "Geek". See the Feb 2002 issue of Digital Civilization Magazine (archive here: http://www.digitalcivilization.ca/ for one of my scribbles on this (also check the current issue) or Google for "Network from Heck". The problem with most writers (myself included) is their inability to speak ENGLISH when discussing this subject.

Re:wait a second... (1)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463183)

The book is 515 pages?!

No kidding. I could sum it up in one sentence:

Step 1: Call someone who knows what they are doing, or else Step 2 will kill you from sleep deprivation.

Anyone want to publish my book?

Computer science? (4, Insightful)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462541)

Speaking as someone who has taken four semesters of cisco classes, plugging in a router is a lot different than writting the firmware. CCNA is IT work not CS work.

Re:Computer science? (1)

spicyjeff (6305) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462800)

The best IT people understand why/how something works (or why/how it doesn't). These are generally not the IT people that just make it work by following the manual from their cert class.

Re:Computer science? (2, Insightful)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463065)

You are correct, however calling what I do "computer science" is an insult to coders everywhere. That doesn't make IT work easy, It's just not the same thing. It's similar calling a politician a "political scientist" which is not fair to real scientists like chemists and physicists.

Re:Computer science? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463128)

Political scientists are rarely also politicians. A political scientist would be someone working for the Economist or some political think-tank.

This world would be a wonderful place if all politicians were also political scientists. They would then be more concerned with the political process and its effects on their citizens, and less concerned with amassing more power.

Re:Computer science? (1)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463328)

Yeah, but who in their right mind would want to be president other than power hungry megalomaniac? Did you know that Bill Clinton admits to wanting to be president of the united states since he was a boy? That sound dangerouly ambitious to me.(sigh) What ever happened to Cincinnatus?

My favorite quote about power comes from Frank Herbert, (paraphrase) "'Absolute power corrupts absoultly'? I think absoulte power attracts the corruptable' is more accurate."

Re:Computer science? (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463907)

You're right on the money. IT work is critically important, but it's not CS.

In most of the companies I've worked in, several of my fellow software engineers believed most IT folks were incompetent. My assessment is that most hard-core software engineers wouldn't last a week in an IT job. They don't know as much about computer administration as they think they do and they have limited customer relation skills.

Of course, some IT folks think their job is to guard the treasure, but that's another discussion.

Re:Computer science? (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463880)

There is a difference between a machinist and a technologist.

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462542)

fp? eags

computer networking first step? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462547)

1. get an ethernet cable.

Re:computer networking first step? (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463206)

Ethernet cable? What is that?

Ethernet is a layer 2 protocol while cable is layer 1. There's no such thing as an ethernet cable.

-Nick

Re:computer networking first step? (4, Informative)

orac2 (88688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463512)

Actually, pedant boy, the IEEE 802.3 standard better known as Ethernet, specifies both the physical layer and the transport layer [wikipedia.org] . So to say "Ethernet cable" is perfectly correct, both from the standpoint of commonly accepted usage [google.com] and the standpoint of people who actually know what they're talking about.

Re:computer networking first step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10463615)

...people who actually know what they're talking about.

This is Slashdot, mind you.

Re:computer networking first step? (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463639)

Sorry, but that definition isn't correct. Ethernet has nothing to do with layer 1 (as it can run on any type of cable) and it has absolutely nothing to do with the transport layer (layer 4).

Ethernet is strictly a layer 2 protocol. It is a first come, first served protocol. Also known as CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection)

-Nick

Re:computer networking first step? (4, Informative)

orac2 (88688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463928)

Where are you getting your definition of Ethernet? You're not allowed to redefine it to "the definition that makes me right" The actual standard [ieee.org] includes the physical layer specifications.

Here's the abstract for 802.3 aka, Ethernet (if you care to bother, you can download the full standard for free, and I've added emphasis here):

IEEE Std 802.3: CSMA/CD Access Method and Physical Layer Specifications. Abstract: The media access control characteristics for the Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) access method for shared medium local area networks are described. The control characteristics for full duplex dedicated channel use are also described. Specifications are provided for MAU types 1BASE5 at 1 Mb/s; Attachment Unit Interface (AUI) and MAU types 10BASE5, 10BASE2, FOIRL (fiber optic inter-repeater link), 10BROAD36, 10BASE-T, 10BASE-FL, 10BASE-FB, and 10BASE-FP at 10 Mb/s; Media Independent Interface (MII) and PHY types 100BASE-T4, 100BASE-TX, 100BASE-FX, and 100BASE-T2 at 100 Mb/s; and the Gigabit MII (GMII) and 1000BASE-X PHY types, 1000BASE-SX, 1000BASE-LX, and 1000BASE-CX, which operate at 1000 Mb/s (Gigabit Ethernet) as well as PHY type 1000BASE-T. Repeater specifications are provided at each speed. Full duplex specifications are provided at the Physical Layer for 10BASE-T, 10BASE-FL, 100BASE-TX, 100BASE-FX, 100BASE-T2, and Gigabit Ethernet. System considerations for multisegment networks at each speed and management information base (MIB) specifications and additions to support Virtual Bridged Local Area Networks (VLANs) as specified in IEEE P802.1Q are also provided. Also specified is an optional Link Aggregation sublayer which multiple physical links to be aggregated together to form a single logical link.

Thus, just as a protocol which fits the specifications in 802.3 is known as an "Ethernet protocol", a physical cable which also meets the given specs is correctly known as an "Ethernet cable." Ethernet can not run on "any type of cable" and still be Ethernet. To quote the standard: communication by way of the ISO/IEC 8802-3 [IEEE Std 802.3] Local Area Network requires complete compatibility at the Physical Medium interface (that is, the physical cable interface). The standard describes a number of ways of physical cabling a network together (co-ax, twisted pair, fibre optic), but these must all meet the specs and so be "Ethernet cables."

Now, if you can quote something more authorative than the standard, I love to see it.

Re:computer networking first step? (1)

Peridriga (308995) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463396)

wrong.

1) Plan...

Re:computer networking first step? (3, Informative)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463603)

Since this is a modern book:
1. get a wireless lan cable

What about (1)

logic hack (800754) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463696)

Step 0: Get a computer.

Re:What about (1)

Fortress (763470) | more than 9 years ago | (#10465867)

Step 0.5: Get second computer.

Re:computer networking first step? (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463841)

No, it's possible to create a computer network wihout ethernet, or without cables. One of my professors told about how on a drunken networking team they sent ARCNET over a paperclip chain in place of coax.

It is not possible to create a computer network without at least one computer; trivial case being a PC with a loopback serial cable (or meticulously braided paperclips). I suppose someone could create one with a java-capable cell phone and a coathanger, if truly daft and determined.

Re:computer networking first step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10464650)

2. Get an ethernet card
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:computer networking first step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468611)

1) Get an ethernet cable. (?)

So, for an oldtimer like myself, should that
be a "thick" co-axial cable, a "thin" co-axial
cable, or a 10BaseT cable? And for the 10BaseT
cable, should I get a Cat-4 or a Cat-5 or a
Cat-5e version?

What about the "vampire taps" and "transceivers"
and "terminations"? And the single "heartbeat"?

Have you ever asked a dweeb salesperson for a
100BaseT or a 1000BaseT cable instead of the
10BaseT cable that they stock?

And these are only "copper" ethernet questions.
It gets way more interesting to talk about all
the "fiber" ethernet cables available.

All the joking about a 515 page book that could
have been reduced to a 10 page pamplet really
isn't fair. Although I might wait until this
book hits the shelves of my public library, it
could be a good read.

Hooked on networking worked for me! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462552)

But can you hack your Tivo? Free 40Hr Tivo http://c.qckjmp.com/az/ch.php?f=903&i=1492 [qckjmp.com]

Slashdot reviews (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462555)

I can't remember the last time slashdot reviewed a tech book I could possibly be interested in. "Networking First-Steps" "Dummies Guide to Intarweb", "Learn PHP in 21 days", etc.

Has this site shifted to a newbie-oriented focus or something?

The reviews used to be of really in-depth books that might be interesting, or of hardcore SF. Now it's "Total Dummies Guide To Turning Your Computer On" and "Choose Your Own Adventure" titles.

Re:Slashdot reviews (2, Funny)

Ben Brighton (808199) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462664)

I for one welcome our new newbie overlords.

I'm actually finding some of these to be useful now that I've started to work on a project of my own and need at least a basic understanding of many of the things that have been reviewed lately

Re:Slashdot reviews (4, Funny)

Draconix (653959) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462736)

It's so that the enlightened geeks of Slashdot can give these books to their not-so-geeky frie...

Never mind.

Re:Slashdot reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462854)

It is just playing to the fact that 90% of slashdotters have no real technical knowledge. They think that because they can type make install that they are programmers and because they are able to set up a wireless network that they are network engineers.

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

veg_all (22581) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463081)

(Speaking as a sober, reproving Frylock to your impertinent, ascerbic Master Shake)

If you want more esoteric books reviewed on slashdot, why don't you stop grousing and grab your copy of "Linux TCP/IP for Embedded Devices" (or whatever) and write your own review [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

hutchy (31659) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463099)

Pretty elitest comment. Everybody has to start somewhere. I`v been comming to this site since it started, and I remember when there were`nt as many "know it all`s" around

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463417)

Everybody has to start somewhere, somewhere else. Devry.com or something, there are plenty of web forums for newbies.

A forum for guitarists and luthiers wouldn't insult its readership by presenting them a review of "Guitar for Beginners: The C Chord".

What ever happened to "news for nerds"?

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 9 years ago | (#10466755)

when did a nerd become someone who knew it all?

a forum for guitarists should have information on everything about guitars... a forum for luthiers would have something about making/repairing guitars... they would have everything from stuff for newbies to stuff for the advanced users.

it's this elitist attitude on slashdot that makes slashdot suck. why should we not welcome newbies? should we just leave them? oh, but microsoft sucks, let the newbies read the fucking manual and learn linux on their own and have it never work, they get frustrated and they go back to microsoft. that's exactly what microsoft wants, but you're too thickheaded to realize that.

instead of being so elitist, we should welcome newbies. i, for one, am no expert on many of the things discussed on slashdot. i'm sure you don't think they should have information on evolution or other biological advances, do you? slashdot is for computer geeks. i bet i know a whole lot more about evolution than you (having a degree in evolutionary biology), but you probably know more about computers than i do. i happen to like the newbie books, but i can also do more with a computer than almost any newbie, however, i cannot program or code. i'm not a programmer, i'll admit to that. regardless.... we should welcome these people. if you don't like it, read a new technical book and write your own damn review and stop whining.

Re:Slashdot reviews (2, Interesting)

mo (2873) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463264)

I can't remember the last time I found a book that was more helpful than a handful of RFCs, man pages, mailing lists, and the source code to whatever I was trying to learn.

When I was first learning, I used to devour O'Reilly books like nobody's business. Lately it's just easier to use the resources at hand instead of struggling through a book that's too introductory.

Of course, there still are books that I dust off when I need them: Perl Cookbook, C++ ARM, Stephens' Network Programming. But it would seem a bit silly for slashdot to review these.

Re:Slashdot reviews (3, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463516)

Of course, there still are books that I dust off when I need them: Perl Cookbook, C++ ARM, Stephens' Network Programming. But it would seem a bit silly for slashdot to review these.

Raising aware of high quality and timeless technical books is a very worthy endeavor, IMHO. Many younger, less experienced geeks / technies / self professed network gods should be told about classics. Too many geeks in unnamed small town in Iowa need your help to know that The C Programming Language is a wise place to learn how to really program.

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

Ithika (703697) | more than 9 years ago | (#10465638)

Yep, I hear you on the last point.

Been doing a CS degree for three years before I decided that enough was enough and I needed to learn C (my uni's language of choice to teach with is Java).

My God is it a breath of fresh air. I don't know if there's an equivalent of The C Programming Language for Java -- but if there isn't then anyone who starts programming in a C-like language should read K&R. I feel like I've learned so much recently and I couldn't even tell you why.

Re:Slashdot reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10463870)

Why would it be silly for Slashdot to review those books? I know I remember reading a review of Unix Network Programming Vol. 1 here. There have also been plenty of more advanced books published in the last few years that cover topics you won't find in any RFCs, man pages, mailing lists, or source code. These certainly don't constitute a majority of published books, but they are out there.

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

Percy_Blakeney (542178) | more than 9 years ago | (#10465059)

I'm the same way with most computer books anymore; most seem too canned and simplistic. However, I've discovered that there is a word for the good stuff -- textbooks. The poster mentioned a couple of the truly great networking books that I've ever seen:

  • Computer Networks: A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet, Kurose and Ross
  • Computer Networks, Andrew Tanenbaum

Don't read these books for a flimsy introduction to networking, read them for a real knowledge how things work. My favorite is Tanenbaum, because he has that old UNIX-hacker-style humor intermixed with his writing that makes him so interesting and fun to read.

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463332)

Has this site shifted to a newbie-oriented focus or something?

That's the reason I blocked out Ask Slashdot.
"I'm looking for software that will let me execute jobs at regular intervals, but can't seem to find it. I want my computer to emit a loud beep every 20 minutes so that my boss thinks I'm actually working on code while I'm really reading slashdot. What are these manpages and HOWTOs everyone keeps shouting about?"

Maybe I miss something interesting every once in a while, but I save on the frustration of seeing the new users ask for droolproof paper instructions on setting up samba.

Now it's "Total Dummies Guide To Turning Your Computer On" and "Choose Your Own Adventure" titles.

You forgot "Blondes guide to breathing" and "Fixing computers with strange tools: the screwdriver explained". I commented on yesterdays book revision that hardly any books get the thumbs down signal. I'd actually give a book like this a thumbs down signal and feed it to the lions like the romans of old used to do with christians.

It's not that this sort of book shouldn't exist IMHO, because there is definatly demand for these kind of books for network enthusiasts, but honestly most people here (should) know how TCP/IP works in general, and a little in depth material (eg. firewalling, GRE, QOS, ...) would be more welcome every now and then.

Anyone serious about networking will go for a book that'll teach you these things without having to refer to a networking elephant or use "networking clouds".

Re:Slashdot reviews (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463528)

I can't remember the last time slashdot reviewed a tech book I could possibly be interested in.

Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering [slashdot.org] , August 30. It's rather more technical philosophy than pure technical. However, the really deep problems in computers have an extensive social component. It's important to think about WHY we approach problems the way we do, and what may or may not be right or wrong with them, if we want the solutions to be real-world useful ones, rather than stupid, ill-considered things [groklaw.net] that are equivalent to overclocking a 486 to 300MHz: vaguely interesting, but pointless. While you may be familiar with most of the issues covered in F&F, you might not think about them that often... and the issues Glass presents are a good thing to periodically reconsider.

The reviews used to be of really in-depth books that might be interesting, or of hardcore SF.

I can't answer as to the in-depth tech stuff. As far as "really" Hard SF goes, there really aren't many writers doing it these days. The field may be fading, for reasons that have been discussed [slashdot.org] . Of the living big names that spring to mind... Turtledove does alternate history. Niven is getting soft and lazy in his dotage; plus, his best pieces were always his short stories, rather than the his novels. Stephenson is on a historical SF jag... and has been reviewed anyway. Bujold does brilliant space opera, although she does glance at some of the social implications of apparently minor (to the first glance) future breakthroughs in biomedicine and other fields. Modesitt does interesting social SF with a fairly hard science (and social science) background, and is the best of a poor lot these days for hard SF; however, he spends more time on his fantasies, his characterization tends to be cardboard and dialog wooden (although he continues to improve over time), and I do not recommend his books to most freinds. Vernor Vinge is still ---ing brilliant... but publishes about as often as we change presidents.

If you think there's something out there that ought to be reviewed, buy it and review it. Those that can, do; those that can't, kvetch.

Nothing New? (1)

lgbarker (698397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463760)

This is a ridiculous statement. Technologies change so much and new ones emerge so regularly that anyone who moves out of their niche or investigates a new area of the business is going to be a newbie over and over in their career.

What's better? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462557)

This book or http://swam.ytmnd.com ??

Re:What's better? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462613)

Sex with a mare.

better review (-1, Troll)

GNN (817159) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462558)

here [snipurl.com] is a better non-biased review

Annoying stuff Volume #1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462568)


Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. Tom Clancy's this. Tom Clancy's that. Why the FUCK does his name have to be prefixed on every game/book title that he wrote. It is damn annoying. Just think of the huge number of redudant, wasted bytes of storage used up repeating his name in various databases (much like this post).

OK, that's my peeve for the day. Your turn.

Re:Annoying stuff Volume #1 (-1, Offtopic)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462587)

How about all of Todd MacFarlane's "Completely Run Of The Mill Generic Demon Bullshit".

Anything about wireless networks? (5, Insightful)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462577)

As popular as home wireless networks are becoming these days, did this book have any mention of at least some of the basics like security?

For that matter, did the book cover security at all? Teaching people networking basics without some basic security techniques is like teaching them how to load and fire a gun without mentioning the safety.

Re:Anything about wireless networks? (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462631)

Security is going to go straight over the head of someone who doesn't know the basics of the basics. You can't run before you can walk and you certainly can't learn "gun safety" if you don't know what a "gun" is.

Re:Anything about wireless networks? (1)

jmac880n (659699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462842)

Security is going to go straight over the head of someone who doesn't know the basics of the basics. You can't run before you can walk and you certainly can't learn "gun safety" if you don't know what a "gun" is.

All the more reason to cover it. The purpose of the book is to teach what you need to know for networking.

Security is definitely among the "needs" for any kind of networking in today's environment!

Re:Anything about wireless networks? (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463020)

Have you ever actually tried to make a non-networker a networker? It isn't easy stuff. The book would be twice its length if it touched on security in any meaningful way.

Re:Anything about wireless networks? (1)

jglen490 (718849) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463056)

The purpose of the book is to provide an understanding of "networks", not to provide what you need to know about "networking". Networking involves many topics such as purpose, components, processes, uses, etc.

Security is important to networking, just as an understanding of networks is important to networking. The simple fact is that good networking involves a lot of different processes, topics, and procedures each of which could fill their own 515 page book, and all of which together would make for a decent small library.

Lighten up, and press on.

The Net Effect.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462634)

Your boss is now the local "expert" on all things networking, and will challenge your every decision with obtuse, poorly chosen, off-topic comments that are only obliquely related to the topic at hand.

Re:The Net Effect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462669)


"...obtuse, poorly chosen, off-topic comments that are only obliquely related to the topic at hand."

Yup, that just about sums up most Timmy articles.

Re:The Net Effect.... (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462707)

You mean something like...

"I want you to look into implementing EIGRP on all of our Motorola Vanguard routers."

Re:The Net Effect.... (1)

Zeebs (577100) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462879)

My boss does not comment on slashdot!

Re:The Net Effect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462975)

That's what you think - you're fired.

Re:The Net Effect.... (3, Interesting)

Knightfall (558914) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462996)

Though modded funny, want to make a serious comment to this. The fact that reading these books will ead your boss to saying insane things like, "Why can't I packet shape the traffic going through my 5-port, $15 netgear switch?" is exactly why we of the "more enlightened" group SHOULD read these books. We need to know exactly what klind of information they are receiving and be able to converse with them on the level of the information they have been given. Picking up these lower level books and giving them a quick read will help you to understand better when a suer comes to you and makes what appear to be off the wall comments. I keep a small library of these book handy and visable for that reason and it gives the technophobes a little something to talk to me about without feeling overwhelmed. Also, just for the super smug, nobody knows everthing and you never know when one of these little books will hold a gem of knowledge.

Just a thought.

Re:The Net Effect.... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464190)

... while you vent your frustration in passive/agressive ways (posting messages about your boss on internet BBSs where s/he'll never read them) using verbose and redundant ('off-topic','obliquely related') language.

Just like Slashdot! (2, Funny)

musselm (209468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10465171)

"obtuse, poorly chosen, off-topic comments that are only obliquely related to the topic at hand."

Wait a minute.. are you talking about your boss or slashdot?

Re:The Net Effect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10467533)

like some slashdot comments I could think of...

My mother doesn't understand English... (-1, Offtopic)

hasdikarlsam (414514) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462665)

You insensitive foreigners!

Taking the time to learn is okay (4, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462667)

It is okay to take your time to learn how to become an expert. If you want to be proficent, do not expect to become an instant expert. Read Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years [norvig.com] to understand why we (IT professionals and IT fans) should remember to take the time to become good at what we do, rather than fall into the false trap of "Internet Time" for everything we do, and produce quick, (cheap) crap.

If you just want to be a network user, or are starting your learning of networking, this might be a useful book. But if you are going to be a System Administrator or Network Administrator go further.

Somehow I don't think that (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462783)

stating you have read this book is going to have a positive effect on your System Administrator resume.
So, in short, go further, or go the the back of the unemployment line.

Re:Somehow I don't think that (2, Insightful)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464783)

You must really get desperate to put every beginner-level book you ever read on your resumee.

The problem with "Dummies" books (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462675)

Is that they devalue the experience and skills necessary to do the job. You end up with a horde of PHBs who think that being a DBA or Unix admin is easy, since after all, they read a book on an airplane how to do it. Another consequence is that Management types tend to place less value on the advice and recommendations of their technical people, since they assume all the technical people did was read the cheesy book. Why do you think technical decisions get overriden by PHBs and Marketroids all the time? Because there is no longer the view/perception that being technical is actually hard to do. Since anyone can be an MCSE, who's to say that an MCSE's advice is better than anyone else's?

Re:The problem with "Dummies" books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10463044)

To play devil's advocate, though, there is a lot of witch-doctoring in what we do. There are some things that an end user can and should be aware of how to do but we tend to do it really quickly and with lots of shortcut keys to make it look a lot more complicated than it is.

Re:The problem with "Dummies" books (1)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463394)

lots of shortcut keys to make it look a lot more complicated than it is.

keyboard shortcuts? Pheeease. Try a network analyzer, Ethernet vampire taps, and a soldering iron to make a real impression.

Re:The problem with NON "Dummies" books (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463096)

Is that they devalue the experience and skills necessary to do the job.


What job?


Seriously. I was recently interviewing for a position that required "networking" skills. Uhh, OK. How do you prepare for that? That is like saying you need "Unix" skills. I know networking basics, have set up my own network at home - but that is a far far cry from being a network admin. I went to a bookstore to see if any of the networking books might help give me a good solid overview of things so I could brush up. There were a ton of books, and I couldn't find one I thought would fit. They were either too specific, or too "dummy".


I am not sure where this book fits, but I don't think you can just write off books that give overviews of complex topics. Now if all there were out there were "dummy" books, then I can see why the professionals should care. But there definitely aren't. I am very pleased with the growth I have seen in the computer section at the local bookstores. The Linux section has beefed up quite nicely. :-)

Re:The problem with NON "Dummies" books (1)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463791)

Seriously. I was recently interviewing for a position that required "networking" skills. Uhh, OK. How do you prepare for that?

Experience.

Re:The problem with "Dummies" books (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464290)

t first read I was inclined to agree with you, mostly. But the problem you are describing is a problem with applied management theory not with introductory broad stroke books. The problem you are complaining about is that managers are not required to understand what they are managing other that the budget and is an entirely different discussion other than the bit where these managers seem to use such books to garner some understanding of their responsibilities so they don't feel at the mercy of the technically competent. Yes it almost always fails and causes endless grief unless the manager uses it to develop a learning relationship with his technical staff. I think that books of this nature can be of a great deal of use. First they must be accurate presentations of the subject and forthcoming about the areas where the information is less than complete for practical application. Secondly, if they are applied as I would expect they are intended to be, as an introduction to a subject so persons who intend to pursue the subject more deeply can pick up more detailed references without being lost. The books aren't the problem. The people are the problem. Any thing can be misused.

A month? (3, Funny)

Ghostgate (800445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462766)

book which can be read and understood by anyone in less than a month

Unless, of course, you're Johnny 5.

tanenbaum (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462772)

That's Tanenbaum [cs.vu.nl] . No "nn".

Not even one semester? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462784)

You can't even spend 4 months learning a skill, and you wonder why your job is being outsourced, eh?

Grow up.

*sigh* (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462848)

Great.. a whole bunch more people who think they are now "networking experts"

Until the first spanning tree problem arises..

or something simple like a duplex mismatch drags the server offline..

which will prompt the usual.. reboot.. or unplug and replug.. which probably wont solve the problem.

and a CCNA shouldn't take a semester.. if it does.. you don't have what it takes to learn it properly in the first place.. The CCNA covers "simple" networking concepts.. i can't imagine how long it would take to cover more complex stuff..

This is why they don't generally teach IT in CS courses..

Re:*sigh* (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463255)

"CCNA shouldn't take a semester"

In Cisco's NetAcads the CCNA program is 4 semesters.

-Nick

Re:*sigh* (1)

JoeZeppy (715167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463633)

Great.. a whole bunch more people who think they are now "networking experts" Until the first spanning tree problem arises.. or something simple like a duplex mismatch drags the server offline.. which will prompt the usual.. reboot.. or unplug and replug.. which probably wont solve the problem.

I read this review thinking of my dad, a retired Bell Atlantic/Verizon worker, who spent his last days installing and troubleshooting T1 circuits for businesses, and is just now learning to use an Internet connected PC for entertainment. I thought he might be interested in a fresh look at how his small piece of "networking" fits into the larger picture of Internet connectivity, with the added perspective of actually owning a PC and DSL connection.

I really don't expect him to be working on spanning tree problems or duplex mismatches. Some people just want a 30,000 foot view of something, for their own curiosity. I read In Search of Schrodinger's Cat [amazon.co.uk] once, that doesn't qualify me to hang out with Stephen Hawking, nor would I assume that it does.

Re:*sigh* (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463987)

you are saying a rookie should be able to swallow the CCNA in under a month? You are rediculous.

Most colleges teach it in a 9-month break neck course. Going from nothing, to lan/wan configurations, troubleshooting, router configuration, routing protocols(RIP(2) to (E)IGRP, etc), switching configuration, ACLs, STP, VLANs, VLSM / subnetting, PPP and ISDN/DDR...

Some of those, very basic, subnetting, RIP, LANs, fairly straightfoward. But learning, building/deploying and working on the equipment does actually take time, you can't just read the book as homework and take a test.

Do I think the CCNA is an end-all be-all test? Heck no. But it does have a wide range of technology covered, and is a pretty broad and eye-openning course to take. Don't bash it out of hand.

New concepts take time to learn (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462946)

Don't be fooled by the title of the book.

On a related note, on several occasions I have seen a book in the computer section that has a title of "learn unix in 10 minutes." That title makes me laugh, so I do what any sentient human would and promptly relocate that book to the humor section.

That's an IT book for you. (1)

ezweave (584517) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462948)

Any book that spends much time on the 7-layer model is more of an IT book. Most ABET CS programs I know of or have taken feature communications courses that spend about a week talking about what IT books will spend chapters going over.

What is more interesting are the algorithms behind error correction, genetic ad-hoc nodal networking, bind revision... well do they ever review serious books anymore?

Wendell Odom needs a better tech writer first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10462976)

Not too long ago, I taught the CCNA class, more or less unofficially. The CCNA book he wrote under Cisco press had so many errata in it, it was practically impossible for my students to study with it. Fortunately They eventually became able to recognize the numerous errors, and that skill served better than practice exams at knowing thier knowledge level! BTW: That book had the most erata published on Cisco Presses website of any book I have ever seen from them.

Re:Wendell Odom needs a better tech writer first (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463011)

Isn't that the beginning of a recursive function?The author of a book for dummies needs to read his own book for dummies before writing his book for dummies?

The Network Elephant (3, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10462990)

Odom starts by defining a network in terms of its constituent elements, and goes on to explain how three blind guys -- the Server Guy, the Cabling Guy, and the Network Guy -- perceive the Network 'Elephant.'

So three blind guys, a server-administrator, a cablelayer and a network-administrator go into this bar, and there's this elephant sitting there with a UTP socket in it's snout...

I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist

Re:The Network Elephant (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463278)

His name is Fred, and he wants them to serve his friend, who's a frayed knot...

Learn by Doing (2, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463448)

I learned a lot more about networking by setting up a few myself and writing a few servers than I did in college CS classes. Maybe a better approach to teaching networking would include setting up some test networks and playing around with routing and writing some TCP/IP socket code before you start going on about the OSI reference model and the theoretical limit of bits per second that can be sent over any given pipe. The latter information might be absorbed later if the students have some hands-on context about what's going on. Just a thought...

Re:Learn by Doing (1)

VP (32928) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463837)

I learned a lot more about networking by setting up a few myself and writing a few servers than I did in college CS classes.

You didn't write servers in you college CS classes? I hope you can get some of your money back...

Re:Learn by Doing (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464112)

That was in the late 80's. They covered a lot of communications theory, jabbered on a bit about the OSI reference model and left it at that. Of course, I didn't finish (The lure of easy money was too strong) so maybe the'd have covered that in the senior level classes. This is the same college that subjected me to 2 semesters of COBOL though, so I doubt it. Come to think of it, I would have HAD to take another semester of COBOL if I'd hung around... coincidence?

Re:Learn by Doing (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464337)

I was fortunate enough to take one of Jim Kurose's networking classes about a decade ago at UMass Amherst. It was very hands on - one early project was a simple C program to send an email using SMTP using sockets. Another was a DNS routing simulation, if I recall correctly. His teaching style was very pragmatic and engaging without completely avoiding theroetical discussions. The large room in which the class was taught was always standing room only.

I didn't realize Kurose's book (which we were given early printouts of while I was there) had become a "classic", but I'm not suprised. I guess it just goes to show that the professor can make a huge difference in what you learn in a given course.

don't have the inclination to spend the time? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10463899)

Don't want to spend the time? Then "don't do the crime." In this case, the "crime" is being involved with computers in a higher capacity than advanced user.

If you're working with computers and can't do even the basics, why are you in the field? A hobbist probably wouldn't mind spending the time to learn it "right". However, for a 'professional' you've got to know things properly and thoroughly so as to not be an idiot about things.

The intro just smacks of a pre-dotcom bomb mentality. There are many, many people with quite indepth resumes and experience, many of them looking for jobs and willing to take menial tech jobs just to remain in what they love.

I can't believe there are still people getting into IT at 40 for a career change and "good jobs". Where have they been for the last 4 years? (yes, I know of quite a few people)

I am the target market for this book.. (5, Insightful)

DeepFried (644194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464135)

I am suprised to read the angry comments about how this book shouldn't be reviewed here or how your boss is going to read it and "no wonder why we're all getting outsourced"....the sky is falling and we are all going to hell.

I understand you guys are hard core. That's what is great about /. but ease up on the fundamentalism. Make room for those bringing up the rear or those trying to join in. You were all learning once too.

I am, by Slashdot standards, a newbie. I only understand 30-50% of the article topics discussed here. I lurk in the forums piecing together concepts with the help of the insightful and funny comments posted by all of you. This book sounds like a great tool for me to further develop an understanding about networking basics.

You champion open standards..how about being open people..

Thanks for posting this review. I will definitely order the book.

Deep

Re:I am the target market for this book.. (1)

Fus (809178) | more than 9 years ago | (#10466228)

Mod Parent higher! I too am a relative newbie on Slashdot. Not everyone here is a computer genius; with Slashdot's help, I am beginning to learn Linux and programming.

Someone needs help (3, Funny)

thicke (462572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464460)

It sounds like this book would really helpful to the guys in the networking group where I work....

As usual, it's cheaper at Amazon (1, Informative)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10464907)

Why does /. link to B&N? It's always cheaper [amazon.com] at Amazon.com!

Yeah Verily!! (A pretty good book at last) (1)

ej0c (320280) | more than 9 years ago | (#10465587)

I first heard of TCP/IP somewhere in 1981. Since then I've looked at many books, all of which start with the obligatory chapter on the OSI model, followed by a lot of gibberish which furhter confuses things. To be honest, I never got it.

This book broke the mold. Yeah, I could do without the post office pictures, but otherwise, Thank You!

When the author immediatly dismisses the OSI model as academic gibberish, I knew we had a start, and was greatly pleased thereafter!

The LAST step... (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 9 years ago | (#10466523)

(page 515)....and after you joyfully watch your computer crash into the pavement far below, you can breathe a sigh of relief, as since we have destroyed the computer, you no longer have anything left in which to network and you can forget everything you just read. Now go watch TV.
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