It is rare indeed that a technical book lives long enough to get even a second edition, let alone a fourth! This edition reflects well both upon the usefulness of this book and its authors' willingness to keep it upto-date. Not only will you find the basic fundamentals necessary to learn how networks work, but you'll find out about new networking solutions. From the basics of how networks work to the principles necessary for good design and security, this book covers all the bases you'll need to succeed in networking.
Covering wireless, Voice over IP, routers, switches, firewalls and all the associated interactions is important in today's increasingly critical and increasingly complex computing environments. Networks aren't just the backbone to communications anymore, they're the backbone to business. Understanding how business gets done in this environment is crucial; being a part of the team that can work with, deploy, troubleshoot, and design business networks is key to technical success these days.
Even many professionals in the field don't have a comprehensive understanding of wireless, authentication, and firewalls. Indeed, keeping up with just Cisco's security implementations can be a full-time job. Fortunately, the authors have done the hard part for you: gathering all of the information you'll need to understand leading edge technologies and how to make them work in the real world.
As a "security guy," I'm very heartened by the coverage in this book. This industry needs more people who understand how good security works, how to deploy it, and, more importantly, how to manage it. These days, protecting an organization's network is really keeping that organization in business. From military and government networks to companies, schools, and non-profits, the basic infrastructure is the same. This book will help you understand and use that infrastructure. From network design principles to user authorization, this is the real end-to-end study of the core of information and the emerging telecommunications network.
While the focus of this book remains Cisco equipment, the fundamentals and basis for configuring, designing, and deploying networks remains the same no matter which vendor you choose. Cisco is undoubtedly the leader, and therefore the major requirement for employment is knowing Cisco, but this book will help you understand the technology no matter which vendor you or your employer choose.
How they work, how to design them, how to manage them, how to keep them safe, how to use the latest technology effectively-this book gives you what you really need to know to be successful in today's interconnected world.
Today almost everyone has used computer networks to buy things, communicate with people around the world, follow current events, and research their interests. Now you can take the next step, learning how it all works and how to design new networks. This book is a great first step for a new and interesting career.
Even though it's been over 20 years since I built my first Local Area Network for the White House Communications Agency, I still get a great sense of accomplishment creating a network from the ground up. Networking has taken me from the halls of power to big business to information security to building my own business. While the old coaxial cables of my first network aren't in use, and the fiber and high-bandwidth copper of my next network are just being installed, my importance to the people using my networks hasn't changed one bit.
Paul D. Robertson
Founder: FluidIT Group (http://www.fluiditgroup.com)