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Cisco Routers for the Desperate: Router Management, The Easy Way [Paperback]

Michael W. Lucas

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Cisco Routers for the Desperate: Router and Switch Management, the Easy Way Cisco Routers for the Desperate: Router and Switch Management, the Easy Way
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Book Description

Nov. 11 2004 1593270496 978-1593270490 1

Cisco routers are the standard devices used to connect companies to the Internet. They are highly reliable and robust, and support anything from small connections to huge circuits used by telephone companies. Cisco Routers for the Desperate is a brief, meaty introduction to Cisco routers that will make a competent systems administrator comfortable with the Cisco environment, teach them how to troubleshoot problems, and take them through the basic tasks of router maintenance and integration into an existing network.

When a system almost never breaks, the tech support people responsible for it do not have the opportunity to learn about it. When it does break, repairs can take a long time simply because the people responsible don't know what to do! This book is designed for the desperate support people who just need to get the darn thing working again -- and fast.

This compact book is designed to be read once, and then left on top of the router until something breaks. It's for people who don't really want to know a huge amount about routers but who do want to provide reliable network services.

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About the Author

Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer who keeps getting stuck with network problems nobody else wants to touch. He is the author of the critically acclaimedAbsolute FreeBSD,Absolute OpenBSD,Cisco Routers for the Desperate, andPGP & GPG, all from No Starch Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With a few changes, Cisco should ship this with their gear March 5 2005
By Richard Bejtlich - Published on
'Cisco Routers for the Desperate' (CRFTD) is the book Cisco should package with their routers -- assuming author Michael Lucas makes a few tweaks. I've always been amazed by Michael's uncanny ability to include details that matter to administrators, especially in his earlier books 'Absolute BSD' and 'Absolute OpenBSD'. CRFTD is no exception; the book is chock full of life-saving Cisco tips. I suggest you buy one to keep by your router, just as the author recommends.

CRFTD is not supposed to be comprehensive, but it is designed to answer many if not most of the questions facing the average small router administrator. If you're responsible for multiple routers or have complex requirements, this book is not for you. If you are stuck sitting if front of the router connected to your ISP, and don't know how to proceed, CRFTD is for you.

Although this book weighs in around 120 pages, it features material seldom discussed in other Cisco-related books. For example, Michael provides good advice on how to interact with your ISP to troubleshoot connectivity issues. He explains WAN circuits and the equipment responsibilities of ISPs and end users. Most impressively, he dedicates 25 pages in chapter 7 to Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Cisco's Host Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) -- two topics I did not expect in a book this size. I also appreciated mention of enabling usernames and passwords (beyond the usual 'password' and 'enable' methods) and activating secure shell services.

I like CRFTD because it cuts to the chase and tells the reader what he or she needs to know to properly configure a router. There is not a lot of theory here, but there are some explanations. In some cases, the syntax is not exactly in synch with Cisco's latest expectations. For example, the company recommends using 'copy running-config startup-config' to save the running configuration to flash memory. This does not mean Michael's syntax is wrong, but his approach may harken to an earlier time.

The book has some minor errors which forced me to provide a four star rating. The first issue is the lack of recommending the 'no shutdown' command when configuring interfaces. Having just sat through a week of Todd Lammle's CCNA class, I can personally attest to the number of times router admins forget to enable interfaces. I did not see Michael mention this -- so remember to enter 'no shutdown' when configuring interfaces. Second, Michael mixes up the use of the console port and the AUX port; console is usually for rolled-cable access, while AUX is typically for modem access. At the bottom of p. 31, omit the term 'netmask' from the 'ip address' command; it's not needed. On p. 109, 'timeout' should be 'time-out' in the syntax.

Overall, I really enjoyed CRFTD. I think a second edition will easily make the necessary changes. I heartily recommend buying a copy of this book for router admins at your corporate remote locations. They will thank you for simplifying the administration of their routers. Those looking for a quick, hands-on CCNA refresher will find working through Michael's examples a good way to reinforce key configuration concepts.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars powerful diagnostic tool Sept. 5 2005
By W Boudville - Published on
No one will mistake this for a Dummies book. No pretty colours or fancy graphics. Just a slim compendium of diagnostic hacks to be performed, probably under conditions of high stress. Lucas assumes you have some prior networking experience with TCP/IP. He claims you don't need much actual experience with a Cisco router to use this book. His reason is interesting. Those routers need to work continuously and in practise they and your network often do. Until an occasional breakdown. But the high MTBF means you might have little actual hands on with the router. Ironic, eh?

It should be said that the book is not really about what to do if the router is bad. Rather, it is about the more realistic case where something has come unglued on your network. Lucas shows how the router can be an invaluable tool in tracking down the problem.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the desperate indeed, but also for the novice Nov. 6 2006
By M. Salvador - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
it is a very good book for the regular operations person, who need to know how the connection to your ISP works. I am in the isp business, therefore I deal with customer's turn ups and router configurations every day. If you are a network person dealing with current issues like qos and voip, this book is NOT for you. If you are a noc technician at an ISP or an IT person in control of your ISP connectivity, this book is the HANDBOOK. It is so concise that you will end reading all the chapters in one afternoon, or less, and at the end you will know exactly, and I mean exactly, what goes where and why, in reference to all the cisco configurations at your end.

Caveat. This book is less than in introduction to cisco equipment, but it will get you connected and running to an ISP, with redundancy and high availability.

It is a fun book, all and all.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative for beginners April 10 2012
By Dimitri - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is somewhat strange. First half is very clear and informative for a beginner like me. I liked the chapter on how to set up the routing tables. However, it becomes unclear, almost rushed, in the second half when he starts talking about more advanced topics like BGP etc. I don't understand why he would need to include these topics in this (quite thin) volume, considering one needs much better expertise, like CCNA or more, to properly deal with them. What beginner really needs to configure and optimize circuits to two independent ISPs? An organization which can afford two T1 lines from two different ISPs for the purpose of redundancy most likely can afford to hire a professional Cisco engineer or consultant.

Author sometimes uses some strange terminology, like "SCP server". Although it is understood what he means, I don't think that's an established technical term.

Talking about BGP chapter, among other things, it is not clear where the two WAN circuits from the two providers connect to (which interfaces).
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great crash course into Cisco routers Feb. 5 2007
By Doug M - Published on
I started a new job and had almost no experience with Cisco products. I was desperate and bought this book. What a gem of a purchase. This book takes something cryptic as Cisco appliance administration and walks you through it so that anyone can learn in hours.

I have bought books from this author before and have yet to be disappointed. The man has clearly been an admin for years, so he knows the pain we all feel. :) His humor is really refreshing on such a dry topic.

All in all, I would recommend this book for any novice network admin, or someone who wants to start a new job using Cisco products. It's worth the price.

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