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Home Networking Simplified - Cisco Press

Home  Networking Simplified - Cisco Press - PCSTATS
Abstract: This 393-page soft cover book falls into the lower-priced category of computer guidebooks, which certainly makes it an easy addition to your tech library.
 79% Rating:   
Filed under: Networking Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Cisco Press Jun 23 2005   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Networking > Cisco Press Home Networking Simplified

Home networking is one of the most common subjects for 'entry-level' computer publications, which makes sense considering that there may be almost as many households in North America with two computers as with two TVs. Cisco Press has published several networking 'how-to's' for home users, and today we'll be reviewing the latest title; Home Networking Simplified by Jim Doherty and Neil Anderson.

Networking computers together continues to be a daunting subject for the computer novice, so we've seen many different approaches to the subject. Home Networking Simplified aims for a middle of the road approach, neither oversimplifying the subject or being too technical and dry. The technical details behind home networking are covered as well as the procedures involved and the steps needed to secure a network and protect sensitive eyes from the dangers of the Internet. Both Windows 98/ME and Windows 2000/XP systems are covered by the book.

Retailing for US$24.99 (CDN$34.99), this 393-page, full colour soft cover book falls into the lower-priced category of computer guidebooks, which certainly makes it an easy addition to your tech library.

The format of the book combines well-spaced informational text with separate, colour coded informational bars. Technical procedures are done step-by-step and illustrated with full colour screenshots for both Windows 98/ME and Windows XP environments where appropriate.

The authors have teamed up with the 'Geek Squad' on-site tech support company, and the latter provides assorted relevant 'real world' computer views and information in side bars and small chapters throughout the book.

These sections are often extremely funny, and the final chapter of the 'security' section of the book had me laughing out loud as the geek squad advises suspicious parents or spouses that "...In the history of the Internet, pornography has never "spontaneously appeared" on anyone's computer...", they then go on to describe the most likely places to find illicit material on your child or spouse's hard drive.

Screenshots are used for all technical procedures, and photographs are provided when necessary. Colourful Hand drawn diagrams are used to illustrate technical concepts and provide additional examples.

Breaking Networking Down into Understandable Parcels

The first section of the book (chapters 1-4) deals with networking fundamentals and connecting to the Internet via dial-up, setting up email with Outlook Express, etc. We found it strange that the authors did not go into detail about broadband Internet connections in this section. Instead, readers with broadband (which we are assuming will be the in the majority, at least in North America) need to wade through to chapter 7.

The second section (chapters 5-8) deals with creating a basic home network and sharing network resources. Chapter seven covers all facets of high-speed Internet access, including choosing a provider, the benefits of the various technologies, setting up your connection and setting up a home router to share your cable/DSL connection. Again, we feel that much of this information should have been found in the first four chapters to prevent readers needing to skip around the book.

The third section (chapters 9-13) covers wireless technologies and principles, setting up and securing a wireless network and using wireless hot spots away from home. The authors state from the start that they recommend wireless technology over wired for home networks (quite rightly), so a lot of detail is packed into these chapters. Interestingly, from about chapter 11 onwards, the book becomes a lot more readable. The authors seem to be much more at ease discussing security and Internet safety procedures than technical details and procedures.

The fourth section (chapters 14-18) is all about security. Intruder prevention, anti-virus/spyware software, firewalls, spam, intrusive advertising and safe surfing for children are all covered here. The authors even include a section on installing stealth monitoring software on a child's/spouse's PC to track their Internet actions.

The fifth and final section (chapters 19-24) details several advanced network projects including IP cameras, Voice over IP, networked video/photo/MP3 servers and online gaming.

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Contents of Article: Cisco Press Home Networking Simplified
 Pg 1.  — Home Networking Simplified - Cisco Press
 Pg 2.  Flipping Through Home Networking Simplified
 Pg 3.  Diagrams in full colour
 Pg 4.  Geek Squad Commentary

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