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IP Routing Ravi Malhotra
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
240 pages
£ 24.95
Published: 5th February 2002
reviewed by Raza Rizvi
   in the September 2002 issue (pdf), (html)

``Help for Network Administrators'' the book nonchalantly says on it`s front cover, and they are not joking. The target market for this is however not strictly a traditional UK network admin, who is probably more inclined to leave things as they are if they are not broken, but rather this is suitable for those who take an active interest in improving the functionality and stability of their own network or those of their customers.

This is another 'dip and select book', one where the chapters have been broken out into bite sized chunks that you digest as and when you need to. The criteria here is routing protocols, a full six pack, featuring RIP, IGRP, EIGRP, RIP v2, OSPF, and BGP-4.

The author has chosen the order of presentation to assist those perhaps who are using the book as the basis of academic or certification study such that each protocol gets slightly more complex as the pages turn.

After an initial chapter which gives you the basic concepts of routing and explains the value and pitfalls of static routing, each chapter follows the same basic format. There is an explanation of the history of the protocol with details of the convergence mechanism (how the protocol detects failure of routing paths), details of subnet support, route summarisation and finally troubleshooting information.

Naturally the chapters get larger as the more complex protocols like OSPF and BGP-4 are discussed. However, in common with most of the O'Reilly books dealing with Cisco routers, the good use of examples and diagrams greatly assists the points being made in the text and even the more complex subject matter is relatively easy to follow. This is not a book covering every minute variant on the configuration of each protocol, nor does it claim to be, but the author has chosen those features likely to be implemented in all but the most unusual of circumstances.

One thing that was missing on my reading was further details on route manipulation, but it all became clear in the last chapter where the author gathered together the common protocol-independent administrative functions such as route filtering, metric weighting and interface specific blocking.

A useful book for those in the networking field or those wishing to migrate between protocols.

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