Cisco Routers for the Desperate: Router Management, The Easy Way Paperback – Nov 11 2004
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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 Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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