Worth Its Weight

The Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking's comprehensive inclusion of networking terms is balanced by the somewhat lightweight and succinct etymologies.

This encyclopedia spans the realms of networking, software development and system administration, up to and including Windows 2000. But remember that most of the time, the definitions offered contain just enough information to provide a fundamental understanding of the described technologies — they're not end-all, be-all definitions.

As such, this volume is a good basic reference, especially for those networking professionals who hold or are seeking MCSE certification. The book provides a comprehensive listing of most of the terms and technologies these individuals will encounter in their work.

The encyclopedia kicks off with an overview of the history of networking, focusing on how networking has evolved. But as a publication from Microsoft Press, it should come as no surprise that the information presented is highly "Microsoft-centric." This is evident, for instance, in the definition of a cluster that specifically mentions only Microsoft Cluster Service — ignoring other cluster technologies designed for other operating systems. Additionally, extensive coverage is given to the various "active" technologies produced by Microsoft.

Still, despite its focus on Microsoft, it would be unfair to completely discredit this encyclopedia. For example, the book offers addresses for Web sites where readers can go to learn about UNIX, Linux and NetWare. Surprisingly, I found this volume's highlights to be not on its printed pages, but in the accompanying CD. Incorporating the entire encyclopedia, the CD features a well-designed search engine that makes quick work of finding the smallest detail in a mountain of information.

As I wrapped up my wanderings through this encyclopedia, the thought came to mind that the author should be applauded for covering a broad range of topics in an efficient manner. Careful thought was given to balancing concise definitions and detailed explanations. The result is a volume that networking professionals can turn to for pertinent, real-world information.

About the Author

T. Brian Granier, CCNA, MCSE, MCP+I, A+, has been working in the computer industry since 1995. After receiving a degree in computer engineering technology from the University of Houston in 1999, Brian worked with Zebec Data Systems Inc. where he currently serves as the information security architect. His current projects involve major infrastructure revisions and technical security improvements in accordance with federal HIPAA regulations.

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