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Book Review: Networking Complete

Title: Networking Complete
ISBN: 0-7821-4143-9
Author: Multiple Authors (Sybex)

I bought this book as I wanted to refresh my networking knowledge. At the time I was aware that this book was not the most recent book, but the general networking principles haven't changed too much. The book also states on the cover "Completely Updated for Windows XP". This is quite frankly wrong. There are some updates for Windows XP, but many of the details appear to be from the 90s and some of the Windows information doesn't appear to have been updated from Windows 95/98/ME. Some of the more recent ones talk above moving to Windows 2000 as though this is a new operating system.

This is an unusual book in that each chapter is taken from a different book related to networking. This appears to be more an advert to get you to purchase the other more expensive books.
Although many of the chapters do work on their own, they repeat information from other chapters. It is therefore very repetitive if reading multiple chapters.

The book has a real Windows bias. When much of this was written Linux was in it's infancy, and some of the chapters do state that Linux may be making more impact in the future, but generally Linux and even Unix is belittled compared with the authors preference for Windows. In particular:

In legacy environments where DNS servers are already running and handling things nicely, you might have a really hard time convincing people that you think DNS should move to Windows 2000. Howver, Windows 2000 DNS does have some nice features, which are discussed later in this book."

I did not find the later references to how "Wonderful" Windows 2000 is, but I see no reason why anyone would want to change from Unix based DNS to a Windows solution (except perhaps to add a point and click for those who do not want to enter the details using a text editor - even then there are Unix tools that do that anyway).

This book very out-of-date: little coverage is provided on Home Wireless networking (and what is talks about 2M speed) and even the discussion about ethernet covers coax as though it's a current technology which has now completely disappeared from LAN networking. Despite this the basics of networking theory are still valid and it is worth having the book for that. There are also some unusual choices such as a section on "Creating Web Content" but talks more about deciding on the content than on how you put together the actual html. There is also a chapter on "Diagnosing Real-World Problems", which is too specific and based on old technology that you are unlikely to come across.

If you want to read some of the theory on Networking then this provides a good foundation and is available cheaply. If you want a complete book on networking then look for something a bit more up-to-date.