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TCP/IP Network Administration, 3rd edition Craig Hunt
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
746 pages
£ 31.95
Published: 12th April 2002
reviewed by Mike Smith
   in the December 2002 issue (pdf), (html)

I hadn't previously read the 1st or 2nd editions, so this was new to me. It starts at a very basic level and is geared towards the practical side of networks, and that's what I like. We begin with OSI of course, and how TCP/IP fits into it (or doesn't fit, as the case may be). Then onto routing, masks, subnets, ports etc.

There's information on CIDR which I found interesting, as well as the reasons why IPv6 hasn't taken off. The section on BIND is adequate, but you could never hope to match the information in DaB of course.

There's a small section on security, covering encryption and firewalls, but not a great deal of material. There are many other sources for this type of information so its not really a big weakness - for many private networks the measures discussed are sufficient.

I didn't really consider the chapters on services (like sendmail) appropriate, although this has been in since the very first edition (and why sendmail, not qmail or exim etc ?) Things have got worse, because the 3rd edition now also includes a chapter on Apache too. There's coverage of SAMBA and NIS, but I can see that being more relevent in book like this.

I know there are other O'Reilly titles on Load Balancing and Caching technologies, but I think it would have been more appropriate to cover these subjects, at least in overview, rather than the services I talked about above. People like Radware are doing some really interesting stuff in this area too.

I didn't see anything on 802.1q either.

With so many more ISPs these days, and organisations now entering into peering arrangements, I would like to have seen more on this area. An example of configuring named for BGP is given, but I'd like to know so much more !

Another omission, IMHO, was on tools and techniques for the management of networks. There are many commercial proprietary and Open Source tools. For instance I didn't spot anything at all on SNMP.

There's a chapter on troubleshooting, but nothing on tuning. Sliding window sizes, locking ports to 100BaseT and other techniques should be covered these days, but you'll have to use Google if you want any tips on these.

Its okay, and a good start for most people I suppose, but maybe its about time someone wrote an ``Advanced TCP/IP Network Administration'' book, insteading reissuing this one.

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