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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2003

    An in-depth look at Ethernet, from how it works to how to design and manage your own networks.

    Have you ever wondered how your own home network works? Or are you responsible for deploying a network for some Fortune 500 company? Maybe you're just somewhere in between. No matter, since this book is, like it's title states, a 'definitive' guide on the topic of Ethernet networking. The book starts off with a history of how Ethernet evolved, from it's roots at Xerox PARC, and quickly moves on to the IEEE specifications used today. This book is relatively dry reading for most readers for the first few chapters at least, since a very in-depth presentation of the basic Ethernet system is given, as well as the ensuing chapters that look at each system in more detail (ie, 10, 100, and 1000 Megabit Ethernet). One point that struck me as rather odd is the over-emphasis that the author seems to place on fiber optic networks, as though fiber-optic networks are the best thing since sliced bread. Also absent is any mention of wireless Ethernet, although that can pretty much be explained by the age of the book (More than 3 years at the time this review was written). The rest of the book is more or less devoted to network implementation, covering topics ranging from different cabling systems, all the way down to how to design and implement whatever size network is needed. Hubs, repeaters, routers, and other signaling components are also covered, discussing the functions, uses, and when/when not to use a particular device. Troubleshooting and Ethernet network performance is also covered, though most of the testing tools they cover are well beyond the budget of your average home user. All in all, 'Ethenet: The Definitive Guide' is a good read for just about anyone who is involved in Ethernet networking, or even just anyone who is more than curious about the topic. Despite it's age, the information given is very thorough, and is still a very valuable reference because of that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2001

    Outstanding addition to any tech library

    This text is an excellent reference and comprehensive resource for the most popular LAN technology. Spurgeon¿s technical writing abilities are very succinct and rarely dull. I'm attempting (and succeeding) to read this as a primer or a ¿learning series¿ in the O¿Reilly sense, however, it is a little ponderous in that aspect. If you attempt to read it like that, don¿t be frightened to peruse or to even skip sections and chapters (like some of the number figures and Spurgeon¿s over-simplistic diagrams! But they do get the point across¿). The approx. 1 page on reasons for network documentation should be posted on every system/network administrator¿s cube. The book is a little lacking in the fiber definitions although I was able to find more info on the web. AUIs and external transceivers are a little dated, although coverage is necessary for a ¿definitive guide.¿ The structured cabling standards he provides are very helpful, even in the event of contracting such an effort. I was disappointed on how frequently the OSI Model was mentioned; a good understanding is necessary before delving into this book. Spurgeon could stand to devote a larger section to digital encoding schemes, as some of that is still a mystery to me. Overall, I do recommend this book as it is changing my perception about Ethernet; the Octopus is not as menacing as when I first started¿

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