Customer Reviews for

Computer Networking First-Step

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2005

    Network Introduction for the Whole Family

    In addition to my regular network engineering job, I am also a networking instructor at a local university branch campus. As such, I am always on the lookout for good analogies I can use in the networking courses I teach. When you explain networking to beginners, you really have to step back to the first principles ever so often, in order to make sure you have the basic in your head, as well as the complex. For this reason, I decided to check out Computer Networking First-Step (ISBN 1-58720-101-1) from Cisco Press. The first thing I noticed when I picked up the book was the author. I first discovered Wendell Odom a few years ago when I was recertifying my CCNA certification. I like how he uses examples and humor to explain concepts and has an easy, conversational style to his writing which makes it easy to read. With a lot of technical authors, reading their books can seem like a job, but not with Odom. I recommend everything he's written. The book itself is substantial, at over 400 pages, and is priced quite reasonably, at just $24.95. It's broken down into 18 chapters which can each be read in a short sitting. Since each chapter encapsulates a single topic, you reach a feeling of accomplishment and completion at the end of each one. This is good for people new to computer networking. If you make the chapters too long, they can easily feel overwhelmed. These chapters are just right. In the intro, the book says that it is divided up into bite sized pieces for easy digestion. I thoroughly agree with that assessment. The chapters are grouped together into sections covering networking basics, LANs, protocols, routing, WANs, and security. As you can see, the book covers a lot of ground. The thing that impressed me most was that at no point does it get overly technical. Odom picks an analogy (networks = roads) and sticks with it throughout the entire book. In the early chapters, it works perfectly. In some of the later chapters, it's a stretch, but he makes it work. I will be using the analogies from this book in teaching my beginning networking courses and would recommend it as a textbook, or at least as suggested reading for a freshman level networking course. I am also recommending this book to spouses of computer geeks (my wife, in particular). She's never really tried to understand what I do, saying that it's far too technical. I think the easy-to-read style and the bite-sized information may make this the book that gets my wife into networking. My son, who's an exceptional 2nd grader, has begun picking up this book during his reading time at night (the scary part is that he understands the material). While I don't recommend this book to the average 2nd grader, I do think that it could be used to help teach networking to middle and high school students. The review questions at the end of each chapter provide a good way for students to check their learning and the answers at the back of the book provide good explanations. On my 5 ping rating scale, I give this book a rating of 5 pings. !!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2004

    Awesome Series

    Computer Networking first-step (ISBN 1-58720-101-1) by: Wendall Odom This book is very deceiving by the title. Computer Networking first-steps. At first glance you think this book is for people that have never been involved with this topic. However reading this book quickly dissolves your negative thoughts. I was really quite surprised at the detail presented in this book at a very easy to understand level. It can be used as a new learner book or an expert review book on the topic. The books author Wendell Odom is a very knowledgeable person with a gift of being able to present complicated material in layman terms and the author of a few other great titles. I¿m impressed with his writing style and methods, I used his CCNA book a few years ago for my CCNA test, I recently read his DQOS book for another test I took, which is one of the reasons I chose this book to use as a review guide Why should you read this book? I have a few reasons. First I let my computer illiterate Sr. VP of Operations read this book. His response was ¿thank you, now I finally understand some of what my engineers are talking about, and I can hold conversations and speak reasonably intelligently on the subject. The next reason is the book uses dinosaurs, cartoon characters and everyday examples that allow the reader to rapidly, learn easily and retain the material presented. This saves time in having to re-read the material multiple times to truly understand what the author is trying to say. I personally think this first-step series is a very smart idea to allow people new to any subject area to learn quickly in an entertaining environment. My favorite things about this book are it is a medium sized book. The author presents things in order that builds on the previous chapter in order to help the reader follow along easier. The material is presented with enough material to help the reader gain knowledge and feel confident on what they just read. The last reason I like it is that it has everything form basic network concepts to more advanced topics, giving the reader a step up on a wide range of topics. I plan on buying all the first-step series books to either quickly learn a new subject or to review long forgotten or seldom used information If only they had the CCIE first-step series, I would have passed my lab the first time. If you need a fun, and proven way of learning anything in the IT field, I would highly recommend looking for it in the first-step series. The first-step series continues the awesome Cisco Press tradition of providing of getting knowledgeable authors to write outstanding books, which help people learn. BW Senior Network Engineer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2004

    Definitely the Best First-Step!

    Cisco has raised the bar on helping people understand networking. Computer Networking first-step is by far the best introduction to the complex world of networks and networking! This book is definitely written for those who want to get into networking, but do not know where to start. The first chapter takes you through and answers the question ¿What is a network?¿ and by the end of the book you have an understanding on what to look out for those intending to do harm to your network via the Internet and such. Computer Networking first-step is one of the most easily read and understandable books out there on networking. Most books out there state to be an introductory book but lack the fundamentals principles by which to teach its reader. You really get a feel for what the world of networks, the concepts that build networks and how everything falls into place right from the very beginning. The illustrations in the book are extremely helpful while teaching each lesson. This preps the reader on what to expect if the decide to continue their journey with Cisco while pursuing one of their many certification paths. One of the greatest aspects of this book is the superior writing of each and every chapter. The author talks to you in a very upbeat and conversational way. There is a kind of mentorship occurring by which he uses everyday examples and incorporates them into learning about the subject at hand. The chapter summaries in Computer Networking first-step are right on target. The author stresses the most fundamental and vital points again to make sure the reader is completely ready to move on and build upon what each chapter has to offer. This book is again by far the best thing I have read concerning this topic of Networking. I wish this series had come out sometime sooner when I was just starting out years ago. If you are thinking about getting into the world of Networking, Computer Networking first-step is definitely the only book you will need to start your journey of understanding and learning from the world leader of networking, Cisco Systems. Cisco and Wendell Odom have done it again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2004

    Computer Networking first-step

    By Wendell Odom; ISBN# 1-58720-101-1. Whether you are approaching network technology for the first time and just want to learn to talk the talk, or are interested in pursuing a career in networking and really want to learn to walk the walk, Computer Networking first-step provides a sure-footed, easy to follow guide into the ubiquitous world of computer networking. Author Wendell Odom, both a Cisco Certified Internetworking Engineer and a senior instructor, helps you get up to speed effortlessly as you develop your networking knowledge. Using everyday terminology and examples familiar to every reader at any level, concept upon concept is introduced and discussed within the framework of the layered approach to networking. All concepts are presented through analogy, or comparisons, that allow the reader to benefit from direct associations between the known -- things that are already familiar -- and the unknown -- new or unfamiliar topics. For the reader, this translates into a drastically shortened learning curve, significantly improved practical aptitude at the foundational level, and substantially increased conversational grace in explaining computer networking topics to the less informed. Computer Networking first-step covers the most relevant fundamentals necessary to those new to networking. Topics include: 1. Networking hardware; 2. Network connections; 3. Network communications; 4. Local Area Networks; 5. Network routing; 6. Wide Area Networks; and 7. Network security. You will learn from an expert how to set up and establish basic networking, and by default, what to consider when the network malfunctions. Ample step-by-step illustrations throughout the discussions allow readers the opportunity to learn at a graduated pace as each concept is applied to the development of various, but similar, small-scale computer networks. Readers therefore benefit immensely from the visual presentation of networking technology, concepts, and fundamentals in meaningful style -- as basic network development skill are employed to demonstrate practical application both clearly and concisely. Consequently, basic network design is learned transparently -- in building block fashion -- while the reader moves through each topic. Computer Networking first-step also includes two appendixes ¿ appendix A which reiterates all questions from every chapter, answers included and appendix B which demonstrates converting IP addresses between decimal and binary. In addition, the book provides a glossary full of useful and perhaps easily forgotten terms and an index -- allowing for seamless cross-referencing and search of the contents of the book. Computer Networking first-step provides excellent grounding in the basic operating characteristics and functions of network technology and provides readers, unfamiliar with networking, that vital first step toward understanding and working with network technology -- not to mention earning an entry-level certification in networking. Every topic is presented in the richly informative style consistent with Wendell Odom's earlier works -- each of which Odom has 'put it down' in precise terms -- suitable for any reader so inclined to learn about network technology and networking. Despite a few insignificant discrepancies, this book is definitely a five star addition to anyone's reference collection. First, the discrepancies are easily discovered. Second, they need little or no analytical skill. Third, the discrepancies are easily corrected. And last of course, the reader gets an opportunity to troubleshoot his or her own understanding of the subject matter presentation -- a significant imperative for those readers interested in pursuing a career in computer networking rather than just a casual acquaintance with network technology and networking in general. While Computer Networking first-step is definitely not an attempt to prepare the reader for the Cisco Certified Network Asso

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2004

    One of the best beginner book's out there.

    Computer Networking first-step (ISBN 1-58720-101-1) by: Wendall Odom This is by far the best beginnerâ¿¿s book on networking Iâ¿¿ve read. Anyone interested in starting or just beginning a career in the networking field should read this book. The chapters are broken down into easily digestible sections that are easy to understand even for the novice. I liked the way that Wendall used common comparisons throughout the chapters to describe how networking functions, such as comparing ip functionality and networking in general to the postal service and how they do shipping. The ip routing and subnetting chapters are not as confusing as other books Iâ¿¿ve read, even though all of the details of subnetting and routing arenâ¿¿t covered in detail, there is more than enough information for even a beginner to grasp the concept of subnetting and routing quite easily. I liked the way that Wendall takes the reader from the very basics of networking, such as how hubs and switches works to routing, wan connectivity and even touching on security. The appendixes has a very good dictionary of terms that can be very useful for someone new to the field. The question and answer sections for each chapter were also very useful in that they helped me to remember the material I had just read. Overall this book would be a perfect addition to any networking library, the only thing I would have added, would have been a CD containing a larger question answer section.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2004

    A very good book with a few problems

    There has been one fundamental problem when one wants to learn networking; where to start. Wendell Odom tries to overcome this problem in Cisco Press¿ Computer Networking first step. While this book is not perfect, it is one of the best books I¿ve found to date to introduce network concepts. He has done an excellent job covering a much wider range of material than I would have thought possible in a 457 page book. However, as with all books, it comes with ups and downs. The good parts: Overall, this book introduces a wide range of concepts to a reader with little to no experience with networking. In the beginning of the book Mr. Odom starts by explaining exactly what a network is, and by the end he has introduced everything from VLANS to AAA. This wide range of material allows the reader to get a broad view of the networking landscape in a very short amount of time. I have always had one major problem with introductory networking books; the pictures have always been either non-existent or useless. Originally I started reading Cisco Press books because of their high quality illustrations and network diagrams, and they continue this tradition in Computer Networking first step. In areas there do seem to be a few too many pictures, but overall they are very well done. The bad parts: While I did enjoy Computer Networking first step, there were a few areas that did annoy me. The chief annoyance was the constant metaphors between networking and driving. While it worked quite well in the beginning of the book, it got tiresome after 457 pages. This constant reference to driving ended up confusing me more than helping me. This may partly be due to the fact that I already knew all of the material covered by the book, but it was irritating. However, networking is a very hard subject to introduce, and a metaphor to something that everyone can understand may be quite helpful to those who have never touched a network in real life. My second complaint really isn¿t any fault of the book, but really the sheer amount knowledge needed for a proper introduction to networking. With such a wide range of material covered in 457 pages, nothing gets covered in any real depth. The entire chapter on network monitoring is 16 pages long, while I have read 500+ page books on the subject. So as long as one understands Computer Networking first step is an introductory book and doesn¿t expect to be an expert, I would highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    Computer Networking First step Book rocks!

    You are ready for this book. If you are just beginning your career in the networking arena or are just thinking about networking this is the book to start off with. This is a very good first read book for an introduction to these networking topics. Wendell Odom gives you the basics. Wendell Odom takes the mystery out many things like terminology and gives you an easy to understand analogy to go along with the meaning. How many times have you wondered what one of those acronyms mean? Read this book and find out what some of those terms that you hear people throwing around mean. Reading through this book was fun and easy. Getting the knowledge that came with it is incredible. Have you ever asked yourself what is all of this networking stuff all about? Wendell Odom goes through the step by step process and shows you the start to the finish line. Connectivity and security are the end results that you want to have. This is a good introduction to those topics. You will want to learn more once you are finished with this book. Many of the industry concepts are in this book. He takes you from the point that you can connect to the network through the things that help keep your network safe and running. How things move through the and get from place to place. If you are looking for an easy to read book that gives you the information that you want. Here it is. Let this be the beginning of your advancement to greater heights. This is a good foundation to get you going and keeps your focus throughout the book. The novice will enjoy this book and the simple to understand terms and pictures. The review questions help solidify the topics that you just finished reading about. Everyone can use the knowledge in this book, even if you are not in the industry. It is a good collection of topics for the power user or someone who wants to know more about networking. Do yourself a favor and get this book and read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2004

    A great beginners book!!

    Wendell Odom has put together a very nice introductory networking book for the beginner. I believe he has put together a book that will benefit anyone that is thinking about entering into a networking career. This book will also serve as a very good basic knowledge book for the entry-level technician. This is a book that can be used if someone is considering the pursuit of the CCNA certification. However, this book does not go to the depth necessary to be the only book for that certification. But I do not believe this book was intended for that path. This book is designed mainly for the novice and is written in that light. So if you are looking for a very technical detailed book for computer networking, this book is not for you. If your are stepping into the networking arena for the very first time and want a book that explains networking technologies in an easy to understand format then this book is definitely the one you need to have in your library. Computer Networking first-step, (ISBN 1-58720-101-1) by Wendell Odom is very well written in a layman¿s point of view for basic networking knowledge. The book is divided into six parts and provides an overview of each of the major components of local and wide area networks, networking basics, routing, addressing, and security and remote access. Each chapter presents the learning objectives of the chapter, detailed, concise and clear text on the learning objectives throughout each chapter, a chapter summary and finally a set of review questions to test what you have just read. The references to highways and roadways is a very clever angle that Wendell Odom has incorporated to aid the reader into understanding the concept being discussed. I can see this book coming in handy when attempting to explain basic networking technologies to the uninitiated into networking. There are very many simple and clear illustrations that can assist the novice into a better understanding of different aspects of networking. I really like the stepped approach that Wendell Odom used to build the readers knowledge base. From the basics of what a switch and hub are to the more complexities of local and wide area networks. Finally finishing the book off with network security. This is and has always been a hot topic in my line of work. Giving the novice a taste of network security lets them know that there is more work to do after building a network whether it is at home or at work. There are many introductory books on the market today that cover several of the topics in this book but they tend to be on the expensive side. Computer Networking first-step, (ISBN 1-58720-101-1) by Wendell Odom covers the basics of computer networking very well and is priced just right. You definitely will get your moneys worth with this book. I have read several books by Wendell Odom in the past and this one ranks very well with the other more technical books that he has written. I like the way that Wendell Odom writes his books and Computer Networking first-step, (ISBN 1-58720-101-1) by Wendell Odom is written just as well. His ability to write this book at a basic level and not lose the reader¿s attention with very dry technical specifications is a testimonial to his writing ability. It is very easy for me to recommend this book and any future (or past) books written by Wendell Odom. Well Done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2004

    First Step in the Right Direction!!

    Computer Networking first-step, (ISBN 1587201010) by Wendell Odom earns 4.5 jalapenos out of 5 as an excellent book for someone who is completely new to computer networks and is looking to gain a basic level of knowledge. If you are looking for a ¿conversational¿ level of understanding, this book will serve you well. As advertised, Computer Networking first-step requires no experience and makes learning very easy. The format employed is one of relating the concept of computer networking to a roadway transportation system. This presentation makes the ideas easy to learn and understand since it simply flows as an extension of a known system the most people already understand. If you are looking for a certification reference, this book doesn¿t provide enough depth for adequate exam preparation, but then it doesn¿t claim to either. What it does lay claim to is explaining, ¿The basics of computer networking in easy-to-grasp language that all of us can understand.¿ And in that regard, it wholeheartedly delivers. Each chapter begins with a ¿What you will learn¿ page that lists the major objectives of that particular chapter and ends with short list of review questions to ensure you have understood the topics presented. The answers to the questions are located towards the end of the book with thorough and clear explanations. As a networking professional in the telecom industry, I have used this book as a reference and guide to explain computer network concepts to folks on the telephone side of the business. This has been of great benefit in the collaborative environment of designing and deploying IP Telephony solutions and is just one example of how an ¿entry-level¿ book such as this one can utilized by professionals in their daily operations and earns it a well deserved place on the reference shelf. If I were to make one suggestion, it would be to include a CD with an electronic version of the book, but that is just a personal preference that could perhaps raise the cost of the book. If you are in the market for an introductory book on computer networking, this book definitely provides the bang for your buck.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2004

    Computer Networking First-Step = GOOD 1st Step!

    (Your first step into the world of computer networking, ISBN: 1-58720-101-1) Reviewer Name: Steve Owen Scheiderer, Network Administrator Reviewer Certification: MCSE NT 4.0 Wendell Odom has achieved his goal of providing a good introductory networking book for beginners and, as a bonus, a good review for intermediates. For the most part, the claims of 'no experience required' and learning made 'easy' are fulfilled. He accomplishes this throughout the book with good humor and consistent figures. Having each chapter's test questions repeated in the appendix prior to giving answers was particularly helpful. For the most part, Odom shows striking sensitivity for the novice. For example, it was helpful to redraw figures (like 9-4, p. 188) rather than having to flip back and forth. On the other hand, some figures were hard to follow. For example, which 'cloud' is referenced in the text for Figure 3-8 (p. 55). In addition, Figure 15-4 was referenced on page 323 as a 'three-site Frame Relay network' but the reader is left wondering whether the author is referring to 15-3 or 15-5 (as 15-4 cannot be a reference to the same). While repeated attempts were successfully made to simply drawings, at times this was not helpful as in the case of his discussion of wiring. He should have stuck with a four-pair wiring figure (p. 72). Perhaps he should have enhanced the discussion with focus on color codes and further defined T568A and T568B as voice and data respectively. It is helpful for a novice to pick up a cable and know by color which pin is number one through eight. While one can appreciate the challenge of writing for the novice, at times it seems concepts were over simplified. For example, calling wall plates 'sockets' (p. 7) may be somewhat dangerous to the proverbial novice who thinks his/her CD Rom to be a cup holder. Precision when dealing with and around electricity would dictate a few more definitions and pages of text. It wasn't for about 30 more pages that a fuller picture of cabling was presented. Also a bit over simplified were calling the telco professional an 'electrician' (p. 9) and the use of the word 'license' (p. 356). At times the reader was late in getting definitions of terms (byte, p. 41; MAC/Ethernet address, p. 94; VLANS, p. 135). I believe that this is a book I can use on the job and in pursuing my CCNA. However, some concept that were covered in my CCNA training, like ISDN, were not found in the text. So, there are limits to how this book can assist the CCNA candidate. I would definitely read other titles by this author and his team of technical editors. I give Computer Networking First-Step a 4.5 rating on a scale of 1 to 5. An on-line errata page would greatly assist the reader in filling in some of gaps, typos, etc. missed by the author and editors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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