Author: Michael W. Lucas
Publisher: No Starch Press, 2009
Pages: 144 pages
Aimed at: Network engineers
Pros: Easy-to-read background information
Cons: US-specific and insufficient detail
Reviewed by: Mike James
This slim book gives an insight into the world of configuring and troubleshooting Cisco routers. All the examples use the command line rather than any web interface that the router might support simply because the command line is the same for all Cisco routers. It deals with installation, troubleshooting, security and network design, however, it doesn’t actually tell you that much about what commands to type in. Instead it spends more of its time discussing general principles and going over the basics of IP networking. I say “basics” but in this case this means provisioning a wide area connection, working with the BGP and HSRP protocols, switches, authentication and remote access and Cisco support for NTP, router logging and SNMP. Most of the information provided is very general and not particularly customised to be relevant to any particular Cisco router or switch. There is also a section on working with a T1 line for a wide area network connection. Although this is US-specific the explanation is so general and vague that it translates very easily to general advice applicable in almost any location. Overall this book simply doesn’t contain enough information that would help a Cisco user over and above the standard documentation. It would probably be better to read a general introduction to IP networking and then look at the manuals which should then make reasonable sense.
At best this book provides an easy-to-read introduction to some of the more sophisticated aspects of routing which you can certainly ignore unless you have at least a T1 connection and preferably multiple T1 connections. Only buy this book if you want some easily accessible background information on Cisco routers.