Book Review - Windows XP Professional Network Administration

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Author: Tom BairLocation: Portland, Oregon USA PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2003 7:13 pm    Post subject: Book Review - Windows XP Professional Network Administration
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Windows XP Professional Network Administration
*Design *Implementation *Administration

Author:Robert Elsenpeter (with Toby J. Velte)
Publisher: Osborne www.osborne.com
Book Specifications:Soft-cover, 572 pages
Category:Windows XP/Networking
User Level:Intermediate-Advanced (Prior General Networking Knowledge needed)
Suggested Publisher Price:$49.99 USA/ $74.95 CAN
ISBN:0-07-222504-1
Amazon.co.uk: Windows XP Professional Network Administration UK
Amazon.com: Windows XP Professional Network Administration US





Blurb from back cover: Manage a Windows XP Professional network of any size effectively with help from this definitive resource. You'll get complete details on everything from configuring Internet connections and services to utilizing Remote Assistance. Learn to work with Internet Connection Firewall, Internet Connection Sharing, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), NTFS security, and much more. You'll also find a variety of problem-solving techniques and troubleshooting tools to save you time when resolving network connection issues. This authoritative reference covers not only the basic networking interface but also the underlying network structure, and shows you how to take full advantage of all of Windows XP Professional's features and functionality. If you're an IT professional working with a high-performance Windows XP Professional network, this is the ultimate administration guide.

Introduction

This book will help you in understanding how to squeeze every drop of usefulness out of Windows XP Professional in a networking environment, if you happen to be a novice. The book does explain in detail many security enhancements such as Software Restriction Policies and IIS 5.1, along with methods of securing the Active Directory.

The book claims to be for people with an intermediate to advanced knowledge of Microsoft Windows and General Networking. I could not disagree more. As I read the book, I constantly felt like this book was set at a very elementary level. I think this book was written more for a person who is trying to learn XP and networking without having any background in either environment.

Review Comments

The basics of networking and internetworking are presented in Part 1 in a tutorial format. The authors do an excellent job of covering everything from Network Technologies such as Ethernet, Token Ring, ATM, and Wireless clear to WAN Trunk Technologies. You will find an abundance of explanations throughout the book, mostly in the beginning of each chapter. Since the book is directed toward the Intermediate to Advanced user, I found these bountiful descriptions and explanations to be distracting from the task at hand, that being to get into the nuts and bolts of networking with XP.

The authors dedicate three pages to the topic of ICF (Internet Connection Firewall). I agree with their suggestion in not using this built-in firewall. Yet I am disapponted in their rather brief explanation of why not to use it.

What a novice will find useful is the step-by-step instructions presented liberally throughout the book, which are clear and precise. The style displayed by these instructions show clearly that the authors have spent a goodly amount of time researching the effects of these instructions on various setups.

Style and Detail

Definitely not an easy read, the book tends to flow badly from subject to subject. Although it is crammed full of very good 'how-to's' and instructions, I tended to feel that the end result was a collection of instructions thrown together, interspaced with definitions and explanations.

The book also tends to take a simple approach to the above listed topics. The only chapter which actually caught my interest was Monitoring XP Network Performance in Part 4 of the book. I've not seen many books cover this topic before, and can only consider this a plus for the book.

On the other side of the coin, I found NTFS Security Options in Part 3 to be short on details and long on simple explanations. I commend the authors on their attempt to provide us with a useful reference, but I wonder if they did not feel the biting strain of short deadlines when they were compiling the material in the book?

Conclusion

Most professionals in the field of Computer Networking will find this book too basic and simplistic. They might keep it around on the shelf as a somewhat useful reference. However, unless the person is someone who has just been given responsibility of a small XP network at work and knows little or nothing about it; I doubt they will learn anything new which they are not already aware of.

It's my opinion that the home networking geek stands to gain the most from owning this book. It will help them with setting up a wireless network, along with improving the home network's group policy designs. It is also a good read for anyone using their laptop to connect to the home office via VPN.

I have to give this an SFDC Rating of 5/10. It is a reliable source of information, yet it tends to remind me of an edited collection of Microsoft KnowledgeBase articles. Overall, this book will prove disappointing to most savvy networkers.



--Tom Bair
Security Forums Dot Com

This review is copyright 2003 by the author and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.


Last edited by Tom Bair on Sat Jan 10, 2004 8:19 am; edited 1 time in total



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