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Book Review - TCP/IP Network Administration

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:17 pm    Post subject: Book Review - TCP/IP Network Administration Reply with quote

TCP/IP Network Administration

Author(s): Craig Hunt
Publisher: O’Reilly
Book Specifications: Soft-Cover, 724 pages
Category: TCP/IP Network Administration
User Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Suggested Publisher Price: $44.95 USA/ $69.95 CAN/ £29.77 Net UK (inc of VAT)
ISBN: 0-596-00297-1
Amazon.co.uk: TCP/IP Network Administration
Amazon.com: TCP/IP Network Administration

Info from Back: "TCP/IP Network Administration, Third Edition, is a complete guide to setting up and running a TCP/IP network, and is geared toward system administrators as well as users of home systems that access the Internet. It starts with the fundamentals: what protocols do and how they work, how addresses and routing are used to move data through the network, and how to set up your network connection.

Beyond basic setup, this book discusses advanced routing protocols (RIPv2, OSPF, and BGP) and the gated software package that implements them. It provides a tutorial on configuring important network services, including DNS, Apache, sendmail, Samba, PPP, and DHCP.”


With the advent and continuing growth of what we now know as the world wide web comes more complicated networks, and the maintenance required to keep them running. This books main target segment is for the system administrator, and the home user who also provides services such as web servers among others. Properly running, and maintaining the many services that you may be required to administer can often prove to be a daunting task. This is due to the complexity of many of these web services such as DNS, IPSec, and security programs like iptables with which to help secure these very services from malicious hackers.

Understanding how to administer web services means that you have to know what the underlying principles are. Principles such as TCP/IP, and other networking topics like server security to name but a few. It is not only the setup of these services that is important but also the daily maintenance, which some require. Nor should the important troubleshooting aspect be ignored either for there will definitely be issues, and bugs which will crop up at the most inopportune time. All of these topics are covered in this book in a nice and easy to read format. It will take you from the protocol level all the way to an actual service configuration for an Apache web server. Putting all of this content into one book makes this a very useful book to have.

Content & Overview

There is an enormous amount of information provided in this book. It all starts with an over view of TCP/IP, which is in turned followed by a chapter on how information at the packet level gets delivered. Several topics such as addressing, routing, multiplexing, and sockets are covered to give the reader an understanding of the nuts and bolts of how the information is conveyed. It is very important that one understands the fundamentals of TCP/IP, this cannot be stressed enough, because all computer communications are based upon it. So it is vital that the reader fully understand the first two chapters in this book before forging ahead.

Once the reader understands the underlying theory of TCP/IP then they can now make sense of such matters as configuring interfaces, and routing tables. As luck would have it these topics are also covered in this book. Shown in detail as well is the actual setup of such common services as Apache, and DNS to mention a few. There are chapters devoted to each of these services which will show you how to configure them properly, and with a minimum of fuss. Covered as well are local network services such as NFS, Samba, and DHCP servers. The above noted topics detailed so far covered in over 13 chapters and 7 appendices as shown below;

Chapter 1. Overview of TCP/IP
Chapter 2. Delivering the Data
Chapter 3. Network Services
Chapter 4. Getting Started
Chapter 5. Basic Configuration
Chapter 6. Configuring the Interface
Chapter 7. Configuring Routing
Chapter 8. Configuring DNS
Chapter 9. Local Network Services
Chapter 10. Sendmail
Chapter 11. Configuring Apache
Chapter 12. Network Security
Chapter 13. Troubleshooting TCP/IP

Detailed in the appendices are PPP tools, gated, named, dhcpd, sendmail, Solaris httpd reference and config files, and some RFC excerpts. This is very much a nice one stop shop for network administration information on a wide variety of topics. Should one find the need for more detailed information on say Apache though then one should contemplate purchasing this book or for more on Sendmail then this book would be a good choice as well. Lastly one should not forget about such places as the RFC repository for some excellent info.

Style and Detail

One of the best parts about an O’Reilly book is the standardized format that they take. This also relates to the inclusion of diagrams, code snippets, well written appendices, and other learning aids which provide timely information. The normal nice preface and chapter summaries at the beginning of the book are also a very nice feature as you can make a quick assessment as to whether or not that this book is for you. It is of note that this book hits and covers all the main topics associated with TCP/IP, and network administration. This is evidenced by detailed yet succinct chapters on Apache, and Sendmail among others. I especially liked the included sample configuration files for the various services covered in this book. It is often easier to read off of paper vice staring at your monitor and reading over the sample configuration file.


Seen on the back cover of this book is some very high praise from knowledgeable writers of various magazines and other online sites. I would have to agree with every one of them. This is the best all around book I have to yet to read on the subject of TCP/IP network administration. All of the major topics are covered including security which often only gets a cursory review in many other books. Overall I highly recommend this book to the authors intended audience of system administrators, and the home user who is running or wishes to run web services.

This book gets an SFDC 9/10 from me

Keywords for this post: TCP/IP Networking Administration

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 alt.don on Tue Dec 30, 2003 7:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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