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Home Networking Simplified

timothy posted about 9 years ago | from the real-simplified dept.

Networking 149

honestpuck writes "It might seem a little strange to associate Cisco Press with a book for newcomers to home networking but Cisco are now the proud owners of Linksys and have a large place in this market. Therefore a book like this may not seem so out of place." Read on for the rest of honestpuck's review.

When reviewing this book, the first argument you might have with the authors is exactly where to start. The authors have decided to start earlier than I feel necessary, with hooking your computer up with a dial-up ISP, something most ISPs already provide with more specific detail than can be given in this volume. There are strong arguments for having it all in one place, though, and I have to allow for that in this review.

That said, there are some simplifications and throwaway lines toward the book's beginning that I did feel were unnecessary. A good example is the discussion of bits, bytes, megabytes and gigabytes. Having defined a kilobyte as 1024 bytes, the authors then define a megabyte as 1000 kilobytes. They also claim not to understand why it is 1024 rather than 1000. Either our authors are lying, attempting a poor joke, or they are betraying an unforgivable ignorance of the binary number system. In any case it is a poor choice of throwaway line.

Once over that, there is a lot to like about this book. While it is entirely Windows-centered, so middle of the road it might well be the white line, and reliant on such routine applications as Outlook Express for its examples, it is incredibly detailed on not just what to do but why you do it.

It also has a huge number of screenshots, mainly showing the various dialog boxes and the options you need to set. Given the overabundance of dialogs in most Windows wizards, the screenshot barrage is probably overkill for many readers. Taken together with the highly approachable language and writing style, though, this makes for a book that is perfect for the absolute beginner to networking.

The drawback of the routine, middle-of-the-road approach is that the average person will quickly outgrow this book. Once you decide to use Firefox instead of Explorer and Eudora instead of Outlook, or perhaps integrate a Linux box or Mac into your home network, then this book is much less helpful.

Within its own limits though, it does cover all the bases in home networking, from connecting via dial-up or through broadband connections to building a wireless home network with shared files and printers. The authors do it in a slow, methodical manner with lots of screen shots and a great deal of explanation.

Part I covers the basics; terminology and connecting to the net. Part II covers a simple home network and file and printer sharing before finishing with broadband connections. Part III takes the network wireless. Part IV covers network security, before the final part covers more esoteric network issues such as IP telephony, media nets and gaming.

The book features frequent interjections from the computer help guys at Geek Squad. While most of these are simplistic, they often contain good advice for the uninitiated. This is a pretty good idea; it allows for some external expertise and works well quite a lot of the time, though some of the interjections came across as a little trite.

If you go to the book page at Cisco Press (which isn't, by the way, at the URL the authors give in the Introduction of the book) you can see a table of contents and an example chapter. The authors have also provided four appendices online; one devoted to binary and hexadecimal numbers, one on MAC address locking for wireless, a shameless plug for the Linksys product line, and a final one devoted to some fairly useless prognostication called "Future Stuff." All in all, I'm not sure they are a totally worthwhile addition to the book; the second on MAC address locking could have been easily added to the book if the editing had been a little tighter.

This is an almost perfect book on home networking for the person who has a Windows computer or two (and nothing else) and knows nothing. It pains me to admit that I have a number of friends who fall into this category and I would have no hesitation in lending them a copy of this book. Given the cost, I'm not sure I'd recommend this book to everyone, but I do feel that it is the perfect volume for the local library; borrowing it for two weeks while setting up the home net would be the ideal solution for people like my mate Tim, who (while a pediatric specialist) has trouble hooking up a router, or the neighbours downstairs who can't properly secure a wireless network.

I give this book a nine out of ten for its target audience, the absolute newcomer, but take off two points for the error in the URL given in the introduction and the middle-of-the-road outlook.


You can purchase Home Networking Simplified 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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149 comments

asdfasdf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12894727)

omg suck it

from tfa (in case of slashdotting (1)

sakura the mc (795726) | about 9 years ago | (#12894739)

Book Description

An illustrated home networking handbook for the everyday user

Building a network doesn't have to be all work and no play--it can actually be fun! Home Networking Simplified is an illustrated home-networking book for everyone from Grandma Mary to your tech-savvy teenage neighbor.

Home Networking Simplified gives you the most basic need-to-know info and then teaches you how to get the most out of your home network:

* Learn the basics of home networking, from connecting to the Internet to connecting your computers
* Create a basic home network
* Grow and update your network with confidence
* Secure your home network and protect yourself from hackers and viruses
* Go wireless to put your computers where you want them--not just where cables reach
* Learn about the latest technologies, emerging trends, and coolest toys

Whether you're a newbie, a geek, or someone in-between, Home Networking Simplified helps you harness the power of home networking.

Debugged by The Geek Squad

This book is part of the Networking Technology Series from Cisco Press®, the only authorized publisher for Cisco Systems®.

Stoooopid (3, Interesting)

QMO (836285) | about 9 years ago | (#12895829)

From the review: "Having defined a kilobyte as 1024 bytes, the authors then define a megabyte as 1000 kilobytes. They also claim not to understand why it is 1024 rather than 1000."

The authors don't understand that both 1024 and 1000 are used, but never (by knowledgeable people), and claim not to understand why 1024?

The reviewer also noted that the URL given in the intro isn't accurate.

To check a little on my own, I clicked on the link to Cisco Press and skimmed through the sample chapter. They mentioned http://www.scopes.com/ [scopes.com] as a urban legend debunking site. (instead of http://www.snopes.com/ [snopes.com] )

Not only would I not check it out of the library, but if they mailed me a free copy I'd probably chuck it in the trash.

Better Idea (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 years ago | (#12894745)

Home lusers dont need a 'home network' anyway.

Actually, they dont need a computer either and only serve to screw things up for the rest of us that already know what to do.

Re:Better Idea (2, Funny)

debilo (612116) | about 9 years ago | (#12894946)

I can't believe I actually browsed your comment history to so see whether you were a troll or not!

Re:Better Idea (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 years ago | (#12895157)

And the point?

Re:Better Idea (1)

XFilesFMDS1013 (830724) | about 9 years ago | (#12895490)

That wasn't really a troll, I'd say you were going for Funny, but I'd mod it Insightful. Except for the fact that you spelled it luser, but I suspect you were being ironic.

Geek Squad (0, Flamebait)

scottinflorida (727786) | about 9 years ago | (#12894752)

They should change their name to Retarded Squad. Seems more appropriate. S>

Re:Geek Squad (2, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 9 years ago | (#12894962)

Hell yeah, I work for geek squad, and get paid 10 dollars an hour to make corparate millions, and make the managers there thousands, I hate it. I'm starting my own local computer repair place and quitting. All this agent and precinct talk is making me sick. Computer and networking support should be left to the strong mom and pop shops.

Re:Geek Squad (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | about 9 years ago | (#12896532)

Computer and networking support should be left to the strong mom and pop shops.

You need to read a book.

Re:Geek Squad (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 9 years ago | (#12896784)

The worst part of it is if you know what you are doing (assumes my local BB is typical) you could count 3-5 serious to "deadly" errors in about 5 minutes of listening to them talk. That and i am certain that you need to be way to PC to actually solve the problems (and besides why would the door guard be wearing a GS shirt?)

Re:Geek Squad (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12894992)

No, the army is retarded. The geek squad is dumb.

Re:Geek Squad (1)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | about 9 years ago | (#12895464)

The geek squad is dumb.

How do they talk with customers then?

Simple home networking (5, Funny)

Scott Swezey (678347) | about 9 years ago | (#12894767)

Instead of buying a book, trying to do your own network, buying the wrong crap that you don't need, and getting no where, pay someone from slashdot to do it. How much simpler can it get?

Re:Simple home networking (1)

debilo (612116) | about 9 years ago | (#12894905)

And pay again when something stops working. And again when they get a new computer that needs to be connected to the network. Oh, and then there's also the disadvantage of having to associate with the likes of us and to invite fat and sweaty geeks to do things for you. What will the neighbors say?

Re:Simple home networking (0, Troll)

Gerald (9696) | about 9 years ago | (#12895039)

The average Slashdot poster isn't diligent enough to RTFA or use proper spelling and grammar. You think I'd trust them to properly install and lock down a home network?

Re:Simple home networking (1)

iraqicabbages.co.uk (892156) | about 9 years ago | (#12895311)

Let's just consider that if Slashdot was around before the network, a Slashdotter would have invented the network and then written this book on it. And yes, your computer may be turned into a giant penguin and/or coffee machine via a "Slashdotbodge" if you let them install a network, you've gotta love these guys' efforts. And as for speelling, the average Slashdotter has too much on their mind to consider spelling and grammar.

Re:Simple home networking (1)

HeliumHigh (773838) | about 9 years ago | (#12895524)

Yes, exactly! I have all the training to do home networking, and have set up three of my own, my neighbors... its easy stuff for me! I even have a simple step-by-step plan!

1. Advertise on slashdot
2. Get customer that is rolling in disposible income
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:Simple home networking (1)

Ravatar (891374) | about 9 years ago | (#12895533)

So what does the slashdot effect look like IRL?

Re:Simple home networking (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 9 years ago | (#12895555)

Instead of buying a book, trying to do your own network, buying the wrong crap that you don't need, and getting no where, pay someone from slashdot to do it. How much simpler can it get?

Well, since we're talking about 'Linksys', *this* simple; tell them not to bother buying or setting up a router, just slap a wireless card in their PC and connect to the nearest unprotected network named 'linksys' (the two are pretty much synonymous).

Has the added bonus that they don't have to pay for Internet access (although if you're a clever geek, and they aren't, you'll fiddle them into paying for this "free.... er, I meant half price!" wireless broadband Internet access).

Linksys Cheapass Routers in association with Your Friends and Neighbours: Providing free wireless access since.... everyone started jumping on the bandwagon (TM)

Linksys (4, Insightful)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 9 years ago | (#12894772)

Linksys make great routers, they run linux, you can flash them and use them for a variety of things. Likewise I also love Cisco products, very reliable, always great performance. To hear that they put out a book on home networking makes me want to go buy a copy to stick on my shelf, just to show a little support for their book, and to lend out to people who need a little help setting it up.

Re:Linksys (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12894892)

Linksys routers are far from great. They frequently have major stability issues - try reading the lists at dlsreports.com. Random crashes are the norm, and certain features being completely broken is common. Expect a loooong time between updates as well, which is frustrating when your router keeps crashing.

For what you pay they aren't bad, but overall I feel netgear to be more solid (they have issues too, but seemingly not as many).

Try looking up the various linksys routers on dslreports.com - you'll see alot of problems.

Re:Linksys (1)

ettlz (639203) | about 9 years ago | (#12895072)

...try reading the lists at dlsreports.com...

Is this [broadbandreports.com] what you meant? ;)

Re:Linksys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895299)

Did you try going to dslreports.com ? It goes to the same place, so there's no point in correcting it is there?

Re:Linksys (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 9 years ago | (#12894957)

Cisco is the same company that tours different universities and convince EE majors that only hardware like theirs are optimized to do networking.

There are plenty of software routing solution that can do that same thing as their overpriced routers. Their products might be good, but this is really not the crew of people I want to learn from.

Re:Linksys (1)

winkydink (650484) | about 9 years ago | (#12895055)

If Cisco is able to convice EE majors of this, then I'd say the University has a whole lot more to be accountable for than Cisco, because theiur students are idiots.

Also, you realize that you can route faster in hw than sw, right?

Re:Linksys (3, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 9 years ago | (#12897346)

Sounds like you already took the Cisco bait. A $25,000 hw router will not route any faster than $25,000 worth of PC software routing.

Of course if you think $25,000 in hw routes faster than $100 software PC, then you are correct. Cisco don't want you to trust any software alternative, surprise!

Re:Linksys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895083)

Have you ever used a cisco 675 dsl router? Apperantly not.

Re:Linksys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895216)

"... also love Cisco products, very reliable, always great performance."

Anyone that has used Cisco and Juniper will tell you that Juniper smacks Cisco around.

You get what you pay for.

Re:Linksys (1, Flamebait)

suitepotato (863945) | about 9 years ago | (#12895249)

Linksys make great routers, they run linux, you can flash them and use them for a variety of things. Likewise I also love Cisco products, very reliable, always great performance.

The number one name that comes up when problems with customer owned equipment past my ISP's equipment occur, is the word Linksys. I've had people with $3000 T1 CSU/DSU/routers hook $199 Linksys pieces of **** to them and then wonder why it doesn't work and why we won't support their equipment.

Similarly, in my time in broadband and telecom, the number one name that comes up in failed major communications equipment is far and away without a close second, Cisco.

As I like to say, you don't need a certification in a given hardware platform if it is truly easy to use and reliable. I use to spend about 75% of my co-location repair work fixing Cisco issues.

I'd really like to know which planet Stinksys and Crisco are selling good stable equipment so I can have some imported here to replace the junk they sell on this planet. Really, I would. It would save me hours and hours of hassles.

Re:Linksys (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | about 9 years ago | (#12895270)

So who makes good routers? You failed to mention that in your post. Perhaps because it's just a troll/flamebait?

Re:Linksys (1)

emandres (857332) | about 9 years ago | (#12895477)

I use to spend about 75% of my co-location repair work fixing Cisco issues.
Could the reason you spent 75% of your time fixing them be because 75% or more of routers are made by Cisco or Linksys? I have no idea what the numbers are, but off the top of my head I can't think of another company that makes large network routers 'n such.

Re:Linksys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12897020)

Have you ever thought that maybe the reason why 75% of the problems with Linksys and Cisco are because Linksys and Cisco (really just Cisco) own about 75% of their respective markets?

Re:Linksys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895273)

It's funny because until they released opensource firmware for one of their routers EVERYONE hated them. Now suddenly the entire slashbot crowd thinks they're the best company in the networking business.

Re:Linksys (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 9 years ago | (#12895428)

Just picking on you cause you were last... WHAT IS IT WITH AC's? I mean... if you''re gonna flame something, do it logged in. If you're afraid for your karma, maybe there's a good reason people will mod you down. Like not supporting your facts... or just being a troll in general. Sorry for this OT, but I had 4 AC's flame me... and only one person logged in.
And for the record IIRC they opened their code shortly after being bought by cisco, and cisco runs +/-90% of the major backbones. I would think they would've been replaced if they were unreliable.

Re:Linksys (2, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | about 9 years ago | (#12895321)

I can say that after having tried a new Netgear RT614 firewall router I wouldagree with you. At the advice of some friends when my old router died I bought one as a replacement... I should have paid more attention to the reviews. Most of the reviews I read reported at least one crash with this router. Anyway, I could not keep the router alive more than 30 minutes without it locking up.

I quickly replaced it with a more expensive Linksys RV042 which runs Openrp Linux [openrp.com] . Though sadly nobody appears to have bothered hacking this like the wireless router.

The Linksys has been rock solid and had a lot more functionality, like true ACLs with logging (the ACL rules in the Netgear were a joke). It also has a lot of VPN functionality, which I don't really need at the moment, and it also can support load balancing and failover between say 2 DSL modems, or DSL and a cable modem.

Re:Linksys (1)

BeerMilkshake (699747) | about 9 years ago | (#12895517)

Linksys sells the 802.11g wireless card in my laptop. They used the Broadcom chipset, and the lack of support from Broadcom to enable the driver writers is well-published.

This is one big pain for me in going with Linux on my laptop. Yeah, I got NDIS wrapper to work, but it is painful and I never got the SSID and WEP stuff working right.

I won't recommend Linksys until their Linux support improves. Period.

Linksys sucks (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 years ago | (#12895651)

I disagree. Everything I've bought by Linksys has sucked ass. Every single goddamn router, whether it's a regular router, a wireless router, or a VOIP router have all been flaky, and they *all* need to be rebooted every week or so. I will not buy any Linksys products, either at home, or for my business. Instead, the last few I've bought have been generic, and they've worked *much* better than the Linksys.

Re:Linksys (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 9 years ago | (#12896555)

Cisco - Corporate Internet System Completely Obfuscated.

Have you ever been forced to program one of their routers? Gack. They must make all their money selling the courses.

I have Linksys and Netgear wireless links - Netgear wins. Less trouble to set up securely, and doesn't randomly forget what it was doing.

Re:Linksys (2, Interesting)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | about 9 years ago | (#12896915)

Have you ever been forced to program one of their routers? Gack. They must make all their money selling the courses.

As a WAN engineer who almost exclusively supports Cisco gear, 1.) I've never had to "program" one. I've only configured them. 2.) Never taken a Cisco course in my life, but I've managed to build several 50+ site partially meshed VPN networks with fully functional monitoring and security reporting, the largest of which is multinational and has been in production for over 4 years with minimal maintenance.

I have Linksys and Netgear wireless links - Netgear wins. Less trouble to set up securely, and doesn't randomly forget what it was doing.

Linksys and Netgear equipment is to a Cisco router what a beer guzzling slob cooking a greasy hamburger made out of grade C "but edible" ground beef on his gas grill is to a fully staffed commercial kitchen in a 5-start restaurant. People in my position just don't care. My "home edge network" is a Cisco 1721 with an ethernet WIC attached to whatever piece of crap cable modem Comcast gave me when I signed up. It sits in my attic next to the Cisco Aironet 350 in the 100+ degree heat of the summer and never gives me a problem.

Re:Linksys (1)

KeyboardMonkey (744594) | about 9 years ago | (#12896875)

Linksys make great routers

The quality of Linksys routers varies from product to product, as a lot of people that own a WAG54G (v1) will tell you:

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t =343331/ [whirlpool.net.au]

they run linux

Not all Linksys routers run linux.

For sure a good read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12894777)

"It also has a huge number of screenshots" ... pfew, that's a relief.

RE: (5, Funny)

rdilallo (682529) | about 9 years ago | (#12894798)

Great... my mom will read this, set up a home network, and then I'll have to support it. Does the madness ever end?!

Linksys (4, Insightful)

debilo (612116) | about 9 years ago | (#12894806)

It's nice to see they care about newcomers, but I'd rather they invested more time and effort in their wireless products. They were a nightmare to get to work, at least they were when I tried to integrate a few notebooks into an existing WLAN using Linksys wireless cards awhile ago. Has anyone else had problems with Linksys? Back then I vowed never to use Linksys products again, but maybe they have improved in the meantime. Can anyone comment?

Linksys is krap (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 9 years ago | (#12894988)

I fully concur.

Their wireless print servers won't work with "multi-function" printers of any kind. I had to get escalated up to a supervisor somewhere on the sub-continent to be informed of that delightful piece of info.

And their wireless setup utility that comes with their wireless routers is a piece of crap that doens't even find their own AP's. The one that ships with D-Link WAPs is much better, except you have to be local admin for it to work on Windows.

Re:Linksys is krap (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 9 years ago | (#12896718)

Umm i hate to be a bother but I have a WUSB11 v2.8 and i am currently connecting to a Linksys router so i don't seem to have the problem you are having. (oh btw part of my job @ the CircleR is selling linksys most of the time it would be a service id =10T when the stuff comes back)

Re:Linksys (1)

Humorously_Inept (777630) | about 9 years ago | (#12895044)

Yes, but my problem was with their broadband routers! The browser-based configuration interface used on the Linksys routers is poorly designed from a UI standpoint and it's poorly documented too. Setting up a wide-open network is a snap, but if you want to employ MAC address filtering and WEP encryption you have to search around and engage in a process of trial and error. I found myself consulting their crappy documentation repeatedly, to no avail.

I thought I was the only dissenting voice among the wide praise for Linksys and their wireless products. I didn't need to look at the manual at all for the SMC that I use now. Configuration was 100% intuitive, the device is just as good and the price was lower.

Re:Linksys (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | about 9 years ago | (#12895096)

I've had problems with Linksys. And I've also had problems with D-Link, Netgear... all of them are horrible.

I mean, honestly, I turn off "Broadcast the SSID" and the cards all of a sudden can't see the network. I turn on my 2.4Ghz wireless phone, and the computer crashes.

Netgear ships with this Wirelss client program for Windows XP which doesn't work at all...

Re:Linksys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895636)

I've one had that with Linksys CompactFlash shipped with Wireless client for Windows CE, I've had to get Netgear

Re:Linksys (1)

The Vulture (248871) | about 9 years ago | (#12897318)

They honestly all are crap.

Nowadays because the margins on networking hardware are so small, Netgear, D-Link, et al basically take a reference design and slap a different web interface on it. There's no differentiation in the actual software that controls the wireless portions. Updates to the software come when the chipset vendor releases updates to their customers. Then to top it off, the hardware is manufactured in Taiwan with the cheapest possible components. (I worked for a Taiwanese company making DOCSIS cable modems, that's the way that they all operate).

However, the 2.4GHz band is absolutely awful. In my apartment complex, there's a half-dozen networks around me (802.11b/g), to the point where I was having interference issues with the other networks. My solution was to invest in 802.11a equipment, which is working well, although quite expensive (well, not really expensive, but twice the cost of your average 802.11g system).

I'm actually a fan of the Netgear client for my Netgear PCMCIA card. It works quite well after a Windows re-install, but the software definitely doesn't like having drivers/software around for about a half-dozen other cards around (testing compatibility with other cards).

-- Joe

hey thanks for all the detail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895151)

So you used an unspecified Linksys wireless product at an unspecified time in the past and had problems with it integrating with a WLAN of unspecified origin, after which you've never used their products again.

Please explain to me why anyone should give a shit?

Re:Linksys (1)

alxc (853960) | about 9 years ago | (#12895276)

I had a hell of a time setting up my linksys router(win & linux).But once I got it set up, it works well with both.Linux takes more time to get working. After dealing with that I swore that I wwould never buy Linksys again.Then I read that all the other companies were the same.If anyone knows of something better,tell us about it.

Re:Linksys (1)

alienw (585907) | about 9 years ago | (#12895906)

I agree, I've had nothing but problems with their cards. The routers are decent, the wireless cards blow.

Re:Linksys (1)

Badaro (594482) | about 9 years ago | (#12896576)

My experiences:

  • PCI Cards: Lots of trouble, impossible to make work on older computers.
  • PCMCIA Cards: Pretty solid, only issue is that it occasionally stops working when coming back from standby.
  • Router/Access Point: No troubles here.

[]s Badaro

Re:Linksys (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 9 years ago | (#12897156)

Which PCI cards? My Netgear FA311 works on my Pentium I in both Windows 95 and Linux. Or did you mean older that that?

book can be shortened to two words (1, Interesting)

bigwavejas (678602) | about 9 years ago | (#12894820)

"Buy Netgear." It's that simple. I've had more headaches with Linksys than I care to share. From faulty power connectors to lengthy manuals. Let's face it nobody bothers to RTFM!!! I want a 1 page picture.

Re:book can be shortened to two words (1)

TA_TA_BOX (892664) | about 9 years ago | (#12894964)

"I've had more headaches with Linksys than I care to share. From faulty power connectors to lengthy manuals." Isn't that sharing your headaches/problems? Plus how is a lengthy manual a problem? Most manuals for routers and hubs are lenghty from what I have experienced. Maybe some people like the n00b networking material I guess.

Re:book can be shortened to two words (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 years ago | (#12895134)

I have set up 100's of networks. the only products i ahve had a problem with is Netgear.

wierd how 2 people can have the exact opposite experience with products.

Re:book can be shortened to two words (1)

Stibidor (874526) | about 9 years ago | (#12895212)

I want a 1 page picture.

Or a cool quick-start poster! I remember the glory days when I had an MFC Class Hierarchy poster hung on my door, for the sheer "Who Uses These Posters, Anyway?" factor. :)

Re:book can be shortened to two words (3, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | about 9 years ago | (#12895213)

I would say just the opposite. My old Netgear FR314 gave up the ghost after years of mostly flawless use where the flash memory appears to have died. I went and tried to replace it with a new Netgear RT614, thinking that in the years since that it would probably be a lot better than my old firewall. Wrong. The new Netgear web interface would not render properly in Firefox for starters and it went downhill from there. For port forwarding, they only had a few games and HTTP in there and nothing else, and adding new entries did not work very well with Firefox.

After finally getting it configured so I could forward ports for my mail server, web server, and SSH, the router would crash anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes, and not even reboot, but just hang. Now my old Netgear would sometimes crash, but it at least had a watchdog timer and would automatically reboot, and the crashes were not that frequent, maybe once a week. This new one would crash and require me to physically power cycle it. A good firewall should not crash. The UI was also dumbed down quite a bit more than my old firewall.

After fighting it for a day I took it back to the store and replaced it with a Linksys RV042. While also being a much more expensive firewall (around $175) I found it to also be far better. Like my old Netgear, it appears to have been well built with a solid steel chasis. The new Netgear, while it looked cool, was just plastic. It has been rock solid without any hiccup since I set it up, and unlike the Netgear I could do true ACL rules, i.e. permit or deny based not just on protocol and port range, but also by IP addresses or subnets. I.e. I only want to allow SSH from a few IP addresses. I could also set logging on each ACL rule as well.

Also, I found the logging to be fairly nice as well. It supports emailing logs to me as well as logging them to the syslog daemon on my server, though I miss being able to set the time the logs were emailed on my old Netgear.

The Linksys also has IPSEC VPN support which my old Netgear also had. The new Netgear did not. While I have not yet used it, it could come in handy.

I also tried a D-Link DS-601 firewall router about a year ago but decided not to use it since the logging was better on my old Netgear. At least it didn't crash though and I think it would be more than adequate for most home users.

Now if only I could get to a bash shell on the Linksys since it is running the OpenRP [openrp.com] Linux distribution, though sadly, unlike the wireless router, nobody has bothered yet.

I don't know about you. (5, Funny)

Ignius_Danby (894609) | about 9 years ago | (#12894910)

Anything with the word 'work' in it has to be something to be avoided at all costs. Sure make it sound like fun adding the word 'net' to anyone. Do we always have to learn something new all the time. Can't we blunder blindly through life. It's more fun.

stop with the books i want plug n play (1)

bigwavejas (678602) | about 9 years ago | (#12894917)

Seriously, what's the big deal... Why can't I just buy a router, plug it in and have it autosetup everything I need? We've supposedly sent a man to the moon, but we can't figure something like this out? Granted I know very little about networking, but hey... Microsoft did it with windows! Oh.. wait bad example :P

Another thing, why do they always leave their wireless access points WIDE OPEN for the world to take? They should put some sort of random initial password on the installation documents.

Re:stop with the books i want plug n play (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 9 years ago | (#12895049)

Seriously, what's the big deal...

I wondered that myself...


Why can't I just buy a router, plug it in and have it autosetup everything I need?

For the most part, you can. Most Cable/DSL routers these days have a reasonably secure config as the default (admittedly with horribly insecure default passwords, but since they only let you admin them from the LAN side, not too much risk there). They auto-NAT you, act as a DHCP server, and provide about as effective of a firewall as the average person could ask for.

On the computer side, assuming Joe Sixpack pretty much exclusively runs Windows - If XP detects a network card, it configures it, defaulting to DHCP. Thus, you literally can just buy a NIC, throw it in your PC, and hook it up to your shiney new Netgear/DLink/Linksys router, which in turn goes to your cablemodem, and poof, you have a home LAN.


Now, will this satisfy most "real" geeks? Hell no! But except for SSH'ing directly into my masquerading gateway from the outside, it provides 99% of the functionality and security.

Re:stop with the books i want plug n play (1)

suitepotato (863945) | about 9 years ago | (#12895425)

Now, will this satisfy most "real" geeks? Hell no! But except for SSH'ing directly into my masquerading gateway from the outside, it provides 99% of the functionality and security.

The problem is that the "real geeks" in networking aren't Linux weenies. They're the equally horrid Cisco Clowns. Given to polo shirts and dockers with $300 leather loafers, prominently putting CCNA on their business cards at twice the font size of their name, turning into snobbish twits the instant they get their certificate.

Joe Sixpack has it right and the geeks who want to make money and do right will cater to all that and just make it work. I must say that the latest crop of Linux distributions are working with most Ethernet chipsets I give them. On that note, BSD is totally secure by comparison because not one version I've tried on my personal Dell has worked right with any of the five different NICs I've thrown at it. Can't have a problem if you can't reach the network in the first place...

Oh yeah, SSH should be an option for power users on every home gateway router. Be much easier than futzing with OpenSSH on Linux OR Windows.

Re:stop with the books i want plug n play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12896866)

Most Cable/DSL routers these days have a reasonably secure config as the default (admittedly with horribly insecure default passwords, but since they only let you admin them from the LAN side, not too much risk there


Yeah, till somebody hooks it up backwards. ;)

Re:stop with the books i want plug n play (1)

PalmerEldritch42 (754411) | about 9 years ago | (#12895062)

why do they always leave their wireless access points WIDE OPEN for the world to take?

They leave their APs wide open because they feel the same way you do about networking...

Why can't I just buy a router, plug it in and have it autosetup everything I need?

When they expect everything to be plug and play, and then they plug things in and they work, well... they stop. If the people out there could just realize that it isn't plug and play, then they would read the next chapter of the instructions where it tells you how to enable WEP or WPA

Re:stop with the books i want plug n play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895099)

Another thing, why do they always leave their wireless access points WIDE OPEN for the world to take? They should put some sort of random initial password on the installation documents.

No, no, no... We don't want that. Then the rest of us in the neighborhood with the slightest knowledge of wireless networking might acutally have to pay for our own service -- compared to just "borrowing" access from the neighbors.

Re:stop with the books i want plug n play (1)

mmarshall (812479) | about 9 years ago | (#12896213)

Well, the Apollo missions certainly weren't plug 'n' play...

anyway, the reason that they make the access points wide open, is to provide the low amount of configuration that you are asking for. If they were to have it secure from the start, you would have to set up the encryption key with the wireless cards, making you go through more work (and manual reading.)

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Saw this in the bookstore the other day (1)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | about 9 years ago | (#12894930)

... and I could not resist picking it up. From what I saw / read, it seems to be a very good book for beginners - much better than the "Dummys" series. It has some well thought out text and explanations, as well as plenty of colorful diagrams to help the novice visualize the way networking works. I think I'll buy a copy for my father (who is a little more geeky than he is willing to admit ;)).

Troubleshooting (2, Interesting)

COMON$ (806135) | about 9 years ago | (#12894955)

I am interested in seeing what kind of troubleshooting they cover in the book.

For a wireless network you run into a lot of problems depending on if you are using 802.11b or 'g'. A section on testing what wireless networks you will be interfereing with by putting up a wireless hub would be nice. eg. wireless remotes, phones, other APs.

Or if setting up a wired network, a good chapter on wiring etiquette.

Home Users (2, Insightful)

pestilence669 (823950) | about 9 years ago | (#12894990)

I remember an MCSE's job I took over, once upon a time. He installed a server at the office without plugging it into the switch. He thought that you needed a server to do peer to peer networking. An MCSE should know better. A home user has no chance.

To my point:

You either get networking or you don't. My beer-drinking brother is still too amazed by the whole "wireless" thing to understand it. My mother will never understand what the word "network" means.

Unless it plugs in and works by itself, it's too hard for grandma.

Otjher Linksys guides (2, Informative)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | about 9 years ago | (#12895098)

There's been a "Linksys Networks: The Official Guide" since 2000 or so. First written by Kathy Ivens and Larry Seltzer, with the most recent paperback earlier this year edited by Walter Glenn.

Buy it Cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895124)

Here: Home Networking Simplified [amazon.com]

Re:Buy it Cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895661)

I'm not sure if I trust all those redirects...
http://www.addall.com/New/BestSeller.cgi?isbn=1587 201364&dispCurr=USD [addall.com] If you want to give a quick peak to see where all the prices are at a bunch of places.

"MAC address locking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895199)

This is a totally useless feature that I wish would be ended. MAC spoofing is trivial, all it does is give people a false sense of security.

Re:"MAC address locking" (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 years ago | (#12895698)

MAC address spoofing is for broadband customers whose provider only "Allows" you to use one computer to access the Net. The installation guy has you run some stupid web-based software on install, which sends the MAC address back to the provider, and locks you in to having only that one PC be able to use that broadband connection. Spoofing let's the router pretend it's your PC to the DSL/Cable/whatever provider, and the router proceeds to happily... route.

Re:"MAC address locking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895746)

I think the OP was refering to the wireless AP settings where only certain MAC addresses can use the access point.

The steps... (4, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | about 9 years ago | (#12895200)

1. Buy a 802.11b card
2. Find a neighbor with an open wap
3. Profit!

Hey, whattya know, I solved the mystery of #2.

The steps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895787)

1. Buy a 802.11b card
2. Find a neighbor with a greasy wap
3. Profit!

Hey, whattya know, I solved the mystery of #2.

Re:The steps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895859)

Sure, it is easy to solve the mystery of #2 when you do the meme wrong! The meme isn't #2 is supposed to be ??, the meme is it is supposed to end in ?? and profit.

1. Buy a 802.11b card
2. Find a neighbor with an open wap
3. ??
4. Profit!

Anyways, it was lame and not funny.

Re:The steps... (1)

mmarshall (812479) | about 9 years ago | (#12896268)

I am not too knowledgeable about all this slashdot troll stuff, but didn't you miss a step?

1. Buy a 802.11b card
2. Find a neighbor with an open wap
3. ???
4. Profit!

Good book recommendations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895211)

I would love to find a good book on this. Not something for the beginner necessarily, but something for those who aren't a hard core network guy. I've had a home network since 10BaseT, mixed Unix and PC, Samba, etc but everytime I want to add something, I have to do a ton of research. VPN Server setup via secured access still isn't working, for instance. Thoughts?

I awaited this! (1)

higon (568758) | about 9 years ago | (#12895264)

On my home network, I have 3 wireless routers and 1 DSL modem.
There are always 6 devices connected with cables, and occationally
8 additional devices connected wirelessly. Imagine how they look
like without rack mount feature. It's quite spagetti-c.

Oh, well, Ain't this book about simplifing network? No?
*sigh*

Off Topic? Check. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12895314)

I was wondering, talking about the cisco acquisition of Linksys... Has anyone else noticed that the newest revision of the wap11 bridges seem to be weaker and more prone to overheating and dying in strange hard to understand patterns of eletronic insanity? I was wondering if anyone else noticed this, or if I was working with the Wap11 batch of doom.

Networking for Dummies... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 9 years ago | (#12895331)

I got confused when they talked about 1024 vs 1000 for a kilobyte. I think I'll stick with the Networking for Dummies book for now.

Re:Networking for Dummies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12896512)

The use of 1024 = K should just be stamped out. There was a tiny justification for it 30 years ago when people still had to get their hands dirty with binary and assembly language, but compilers are fairly good at decimal conversion these days, and the metric system does have a few proponents around the scientific community.

And don't even consider suggesting "KiB" , its just not going to catch on. Anybody lazy enough to use K = 1024 is not going to write an extra "i".

Re:Networking for Dummies... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 9 years ago | (#12897245)

Is that what "KiB" means? I thought it stood for Kibbles 'n Bits [kibblesnbits.com] . :P

Home Networking Simplified: Use Linux! (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | about 9 years ago | (#12895836)

dhcpd, iptables, ipmasq, multiple-nic's, etc.

Build a linux Firewall/NAT/Router, Buy a switch, and then plugin all your windows machines to the switch.

You know have a homemade (Stealth?) linux firewall/router/nat/fileserver/webserver/db.server /irc.server/etc/etc

Slighlty OT - router between Private IP's (1)

0racle (667029) | about 9 years ago | (#12896007)

While this is slightly off topic, is there a cheap consumer router that will route between private IP ranges? I have a linksys befsr11 that just refuses to route 192.168.x.x to 172.16.x.x

Re:Slighlty OT - router between Private IP's (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 9 years ago | (#12896172)

Well, you could get an old pentium 2/3 with 128mb (or more) ram and a 10gb drive for under $200 with shipping.... Don't want to start on the bsd vs linux or linux distro choice part of building a router though.

Re:Slighlty OT - router between Private IP's (1)

0racle (667029) | about 9 years ago | (#12896200)

true, but a little home router would use less power.

Re:Slighlty OT - router between Private IP's (1)

rk (6314) | about 9 years ago | (#12896214)

I have a D-Link DI-524 that let me do this. I use the 172.16 space for my wired house network and the 192.168.0 for the wireless portion and it works fine. I don't use DHCP on my wired network, so it's assigned a static address. It was pretty easy to do, really. Took about 15 minutes, and it's the first and only time I've mucked with wireless.

I only bought it a week ago, and it seems to work fine, but I can't speak to its longevity as a solution. It comes with an antenna that's really fragile and that's my only complaint with it so far.

Re:Slighlty OT - router between Private IP's (1)

mrbcs (737902) | about 9 years ago | (#12896476)

Freesco.org has a very cool, one floppy router that works great on a 486 with 2 3 com net cards. I used that thing for everything before the price of routers came down.

P.S. I hate linksys too. Best router I ever bought was an old smc 7004. It just works and has for years now. I had a linksys that only lasted 6 months and was flaky as all get out for that 6 months.

White line (1)

g0at (135364) | about 9 years ago | (#12896119)

so middle of the road it might well be the white line

Huh, where are you driving?!

-b

What is this "honstepuck"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12896329)

I keep seeing references to "honstepuck" (pronounced: Hon-steh-puk) all over Slashdot but I can find no definition of this word on the internets. It sounds vaguely disturbing. Like a word to describe what is left over after you mix a vat full of organic fluids with some unsavory smelling sauce. Or maybe it's some kind of swedish erotica sex toy? I can hear it now, "Pleasure your lady with the delightful honstepuck wand. Available in three neon gayglow colors and flavours!' Does anyone care to elaborate on the meaning of this word? I've asked nearly a million times now, so I asking a million-and-one in the hopes that someone will eventually decide to "do the right thing" and help a brother out. Thanks.

I already know waht it says (1)

Sargeant Slaughter (678631) | about 9 years ago | (#12896470)

Step 1. Buy new Linksys router from best buy. Step 2. Attempt to get the piece of sh*t working for 2 weeks. Step 3. Throw the piece of sh*t linksys in the trash and buy some other piece of shit that has a 50/50 chance of working.

Home Networking for Dummies Quick edition... (2, Funny)

MSDos-486 (779223) | about 9 years ago | (#12896536)

Go to store
ask person who work at store for these things
-Network cable
-Router
Buy things
Go home
call phone company
ask for DSL
get box from Phone company
trash everything but small plastic box
plug in small plastic box
plug phone cord into small hole on small plastic box
plug yellow cable into big hole on small plastic box

take yellow wire
plug yellow wire into big hole on small plastic box
plug other end of yellow wire into router
plug network cable (look like yellow cable) into computer (look like big hole on small plastic box)
plug netowrk cable into big hole on route
turn things on
you can access netork now
maybe yoyu should look at interweb
interweb is fun

Proud owners? Say it ain't so... (1)

Behrooz (302401) | about 9 years ago | (#12896692)

Cisco are now the proud owners of Linksys

I used to be the owner of a linksys cable modem, and I find it disturbing that anyone takes pride in owning the corporation that manufactured that POS.

Easy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12896940)

Step 1, get a Mac.
Step 2, get an airport express.
Step 3, well there is no step 3.

I'll never go back. Yes, there's no zealot like a convert.
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