Fundamentals of Networking
A solid reference to networking technologies for the novice.
A lot of books out there try to be the single definitive resource for
networking. In all fairness to the field, that's just not possible; but
Chris Zacker has done a decent job of writing a volume that encapsulates
a lot of the networking world. If you're starting down the MCSE track
and want a broad view of a range of Microsoft technologies, you may find
this book useful.
Parts 1 through 3 cover networking fundamentals, and it does a great
job with the details of different networking technologies. The book opened
with a thorough analysis of networking and the OSI model.
My only disappointment regarding the first section is the absence of
VPN and VPN technologies. VPN is swiftly becoming a primary service on
a great many networks, yet this book never touches the subject. Such an
absence doesn't befit a "complete reference."
In Part 4, the book goes over network operating systems. This chapter
covers Microsoft material more than Novell and Unix put together (about
90 pages dedicated to Microsoft, 70 to Novell and Unix). I would like
to have seen more on Unix, which only grabbed 20 to 25 pages of the entire
book. The author focuses on creating domain controllers for Active Directory,
but only briefly discusses the different flavors of Unix, and especially
the Berkley and DARPA command sets. Not enough balance across all options
for my taste. Novell was covered in some detail, but the company that
did directory services on a network first is hardly given justice compared
to what's covered in the chapter on Active Directory.
This book provides a great starting point for the novice Microsoft administrator
to understand AD. The author logically breaks down the concepts of AD
pretty well. This chapter would be a good read for someone starting to
learn directory services and warms the reader up for more intensive references
on the subject.
Parts 5 and 6 discuss network connection services. This was a pretty
good read. The author does a great job of explaining DHCP, even taking
some time to do some packet analysis shots. He also goes into WINS and
DNS in detail, which is good for understanding these important protocols.
Part 7 looks at administration. Again, the Microsoft-centricity of this
book shows through. In fact, Chapters 30 and 31 are mostly Microsoft's
take on network administration. With the coverage of NetWare and Unix
in the earlier chapters, there should have been more about administration
in NetWare and Unix environments. The chapter on backup was the best section,
with coverage of backup concepts, media and techniques.
This isn't a volume for the seasoned professional. A book that covers
this much material can't supply in-depth knowledge in every area. But
if you're new to the industry, this reference will teach you a lot.
Rick A. Butler, MCSE+I, is the Director of Information Services for the United States Hang Gliding Association.