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Computer Networking First-Step 114

Posted by timothy
from the three-blind-guys dept.
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.
Computer Networking First-Step
author Wendell Odom
pages 515
publisher Cisco Press
rating 8
reviewer Himanshu Rath
ISBN 1587201011
summary A beginner's - no experience needed- guide to computer networking

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.


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Computer Networking First-Step

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  • wait a second... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:03PM (#10462539) Homepage Journal
    " 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.
  • Computer science? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uberjoe (726765) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:03PM (#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.
    • 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.
      • by uberjoe (726765)
        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.
        • 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.

          • 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."

            • First of all, lots of young boys dream of being president, so Clinton's admission means nothing. Even so, it should be obvious that you need to be very ambitious to want the most powerful job in the world. After all, that's the definition of ambition!

              Second, it was Lord Aston, not Frank Herbert, who said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

              • Maybe I paraphrased improperly. The passage comes from the introduction to Herber's book Eye. He was elaborating on Lord Ashton idea about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Herbert believes that power attracts corruptable people.

                It goes back to the "Gladiator" theory of leadership, that the best leaders are the reluctant ones, who do not want power but feel it to be their duty shoulder it. And when they have finished what they need to do, they in the tradition of Cincinnatus, refuse the emperorship, bea

        • 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.
          • Of course, this is only further blurred by the fact that many IT departments write their own code... However, I know what you mean.

            I've worked as an independent contractor writing a lot of business applications. I can tell you how hard it is to be a true Network Engineer. I've had to play sys admin quite a bit. It's one thing to make a few lights blink. Try being responsible for the company email or network connectivity (yes they were small companies and no I shouldn't have had to do that).
    • There is a difference between a machinist and a technologist.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:04PM (#10462547)
    1. get an ethernet cable.
    • 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
      • by orac2 (88688) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @04:21PM (#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.
        • 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
          • by orac2 (88688) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @04:54PM (#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.
    • Since this is a modern book:
      1. get a wireless lan cable
    • 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.

  • Slashdot reviews (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:04PM (#10462555) Journal
    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.
    • 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
    • by Draconix (653959) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:20PM (#10462736)
      It's so that the enlightened geeks of Slashdot can give these books to their not-so-geeky frie...

      Never mind.
    • (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]?
    • 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
      • 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"?
        • 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
    • Re:Slashdot reviews (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mo (2873)
      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
      • by plcurechax (247883) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @04:22PM (#10463516) Homepage
        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.
        • 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.

      • 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 Tanenb

    • 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 frustrat

    • 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 th [groklaw.net]

    • 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.
  • by TrollBridge (550878) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:06PM (#10462577) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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.
      • 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!

        • 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.
        • 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 de

    • Section 6 is about security (at least, that's what the TOC says). The index doesn't have an entry for wireless, so I guess it isn't in there. There's another book called Network Security First Step by Thomas M. Thomas. That does include wireless security. Also, the TOC for that one isn't nearly so cute.
  • The Net Effect.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:11PM (#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.
    • You mean something like...

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

    • My boss does not comment on slashdot!
    • by Knightfall (558914)
      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
    • ... 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.
    • "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?
  • by plcurechax (247883) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:14PM (#10462667) Homepage
    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.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:14PM (#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?
    • 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. Th

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

        Experience.

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

          Experience in what? Network Administration? Basic networking? Token ring? Ethernet? Cisco router configuration? Setting up a network from scratch? Maintaining a network? Windows? Unix? Mainframe? Wireless?

          Saying you want "networking skills" is like saying you need someone with "programming skills".

          • Saying you want "networking skills" is like saying you need someone with "programming skills".

            Well, I certainly would not hire a Java programmer that did not have programming skills. It is possible to knowledge a programming language, i.e. language syntax, without having the broader knowledge and experience to make that language knowledge useful as a developer.

            When a job ad says they want networking skills, you should be able to deduce what sort of skills based on the job title (Network Administrator or
            • Well, I certainly would not hire a Java programmer that did not have programming skills. It is possible to knowledge a programming language, i.e. language syntax, without having the broader knowledge and experience to make that language knowledge useful as a developer.

              True, but that is kind of implied when you are interviewing for a Java programmer. You have to clearly spell out the specific skills you want.

              When a job ad says they want networking skills, you should be able to deduce what sort of skills

    • 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 techni
  • A month? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ghostgate (800445) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:22PM (#10462766)
    book which can be read and understood by anyone in less than a month

    Unless, of course, you're Johnny 5.
  • That's Tanenbaum [cs.vu.nl]. No "nn".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:24PM (#10462784)
    You can't even spend 4 months learning a skill, and you wonder why your job is being outsourced, eh?

    Grow up.
  • *sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:30PM (#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..

    • "CCNA shouldn't take a semester"

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

      -Nick
    • 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 connec

    • 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
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • 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?

  • by discord5 (798235) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @03:42PM (#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

  • Learn by Doing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @04:16PM (#10463448) Homepage Journal
    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...
    • 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...
      • 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?
    • 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 e
  • 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
  • by DeepFried (644194) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:14PM (#10464135) Homepage
    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
    • 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.
    • I know what you mean. I'm 15, I took a while to work it all out.

      I read "Teach Yourself TCP/IP in 24 Hours", which worked fairly well for me, and directed me towards the appropriate *nix utilities, as well as Windows.

      If you haven't already tried it, have a go with Linux. Maybe start with Knoppix [knopper.net] and then move to Mandrake [mandrakesoft.com] or Fedora [redhat.com]. And then, if you're feeling adventurous, try Gentoo [gentoo.org].

      Setting up with Linux taught me more about working with computers than anything else.

      Experience is better than any b
  • by thicke (462572) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:45PM (#10464460) Homepage
    It sounds like this book would really helpful to the guys in the networking group where I work....
  • Why does /. link to B&N? It's always cheaper [amazon.com] at Amazon.com!
  • 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!
  • (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.
  • 1. Obtain friend
    2. Get him/her/it to memorize what's on your screen.
    3. Make him/her/it go to your other computers and replicate the information.

    Total Cost: $50 (he/she/it needs food)
  • Well , what can I say I am learning from the scratch for past 1 year now and my friend is right some of the books require atleast one semester to get well versed. I have experienced it myself .....

    Starting from basics of each and every layer and then moving to real concepts like packet formation , transportation. It takes too much time. In the later stages when you get hang of it you then realise the true power of data exchange.

    I think book learning has to be transformed into practical knowledge which in
  • One of the problems here is that people are dismissing the OSI model out of hand. I've read a lot of replies here stating that the OSI 'gibberish' made networking either too complex or too boring to understand.

    What people don't understand is that the OSI model breaks networking down into intelligible parts...and that if you can't grasp what each of those layers do, then you probably shouldn't be running any network larger than a few dozen nodes. You certainly won't be capable of troubleshooting a large

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.

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