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Wireshark Network Analysis: The Official Wireshark Certified Network Analyst Study Guide Paperback – Mar 15 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I am exceedingly happy with this purchase and I can't recommend it enough!
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Wireshark Network Analysis goes well beyond Wireshark functionality. Although the first several chapters outline how to best use Wireshark -- examining the settings, filters, and other configurations -- I think the true value of the book is in the detailed explanations of network traffic analysis. For instance, pg. 304 delves into DNS. This section tells the reader exactly what DNS is used for and provides an analysis of normal and abnormal DNS traffic. It also shows screenshots of the packet, displays and describes its contents. This type of analysis is provided throughout the book and covers all forms of network traffic (including suspect traffic -- my personal favorite).
Page 563 resonated with me, as I'm a firm believer in baselining network traffic. In this section, Wireshark Network Analysis details the importance of baselining and the types of traffic to focus on. Like other sections, this section also provides screenshots and shows how to analyze traffic and packet statistics.
There were minimal grammar errors, and it does seem like the case studies were not tech edited by the book editor -- many of them contained several grammar mistakes. Although, it does appear that the case studies were all submitted by third parties and probably used as-is. Nevertheless, I can provide plenty of other examples as to why Wireshark Network Analysis is a great book. There are plenty of screenshots, review questions with answers on the next page (instead of making the reader turn to the back of the book), and links to tons of packet captures for analyzing on your own. Overall, the book is well-written and, in my opinion, the best network analysis book on the market today.
First, let me say, I have not finished the book yet, so I'll update this later if anything changes...In fact I am writing this review as a warning to anyone thinking of buying this book. Unless you are an absolute beginner, I promise , you will be thoroughly disappointed , especially considering the price tag!!!
1) The chapters that describe networking are downright careless with the use of the term "packet". As any network engineer worth their weight in salt knows, frame->packet->segment (i.e layer 2 MAC fram, Layer 3 source & dest IP packet, and Layer 4 source & dest Port). This author carelessly jumbles all this up in various places generically calling it a packet. okay, you say, well this is not a intro networking book and the author discloses that and provides good references....well in my opinion, this author should either remove the first few chapters or rewrite them correctly.
2) All of the case studies I have read so far(btw: I heard they were "really good", and are the primary reason I bought the book) are poorly explained...The author explains the symptom, then says they used wireshark to fix the problem. Huh? Well that's just great, what the heck did you do, I want screenshots, and step-by-step details. Otherwise it's just some worthless story.
3)chapters 2-4+ repeatedly reference free online material...like user guide stuff. These chapters talk about stuff like menus and user interface stuff... why is it even in the book if it's free online....Some might think it is necessary, but to me it is just filler.
Currently, I'm on chapter 14...
Sorry, at this point I cannot recommend any good alternatives...I'll keep looking.
Honestly, I've learned more about wireshark looking at free online videos and reading the online documentation.
That's it for now, I'll be back
WNA will not bore you. Author Laura Chappell offers one of the more lively writing styles you're likely to find in technical books, reminiscent of Michael W. Lucas. The book is expertly organized, starting with multiple chapters explaining Wireshark, followed by sections on common protocols and concluding with other uses and applications. WNA provides plenty of coverage on configuration, customization, and profiles which I have not seen addressed elsewhere.
I've been using Wireshark (previously Ethereal) for at least 10 years, and I still found a few cool tips by reading WNA. These included right click -> Apply As Column, right click -> Filter Field Reference, right click -> Colorize Conversation, Display Filter auto-completion, Display Filter Macros, Mark Packet with ctrl-M, and Ignore Packet with ctrl-X. I also learned that applying a display filter to Tshark (via -R) does NOT change the packets saved to disk -- only those counted or displayed on screen. I liked the chapters on WLAN and VoIP analysis, 26 and 27 respectively.
I only have a few caveats for WNA. First, the book doesn't talk about how to extend Wireshark. It doesn't explain how protocol dissectors work, or how to use the Lua programming language with Wireshark. The chapter on network forensics (ch 30) doesn't saw much about the subject. I would have liked examples of using Rawshark in chapter 33.
I also appreciate that WNA offers an online errata so readers can identify any typos. For example, I expect to see an issue I found with Figure 200 on p 378 to appear soon; basically some of the TCP sequence numbers need to be adjusted. Also on p 452, "Referrer" should be the misspelled but accurate Referer.
I have recommended all my junior analysts read WNA. They will learn a ton about Wireshark, and will also be able to follow Laura's explanations of many common network protocols. We may even pursue the certification tied to the book. Great work Laura!
Needless to say the book sold out immediately and I was lucky to have obtained one.
I have been in the Networking industry for close to 20 years, and Laura has the unique ability to make this material understandable and accessible for anyone that has basic network knowledge. Coupled with her sense of humor, it enables one to tackle this esoteric topic and even enjoy it along the way.
This book has enabled me to "fill in the gaps" in my network analysis skill set and I look forward to referring to it for a long time to come.
Great job Laura, I look forward to seeing more material from you in the future!
With that said, Wireshark is free. The competition is VERY expensive. What you get here is a way to appreciate the full benefits of such a powerful, but free piece of software. For the price of this book, you get the most out of Wireshark, and that's still amazingly inexpensive, should you consider the price of OmniPeek, NAI (Sniffer Pro), or even the super-incredibly, ridiculously, ludicrously, bloated-ly, and absurdly high priced OPNET Ace Analyst!
So, after having gone through this book, to some, it may seem fairly basic. I disagree to an extent. It's basic if you "believe" you are an expert, and if you've resolved a lot of common issues with sniffers. However, buried in this text are a few key gems that can easily be overlooked, but could save you time and sweat, trying to troubleshoot a nasty network issue, only to find out 3 hours later, it wasn't a network issue at all. Laura's tips and tricks are quite valuable. Pick them out and put them to use. You'll see!
Also, if you are looking to be certified, this is a VERY good start, and the money you can make troubleshooting tricky networked issues will pay for it. Or you will have a nice feather-in-your-cap resume' knowing you can dissect issues quickly and within minutes.
As far as readability, it's easy to follow. I don't believe I came across any real text (other than a minor typo or two) that mislead me, or confused me. It's well written, and if you keep to the outline, you will see just how it fits a good learning ethic.