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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Cisco’s CCNA exam has become the entry point into a serious networking career for thousands of people with a wide range of backgrounds and networking experience. Then Cisco replaced its previous CCNA exam with Exam #640-607, designed to more accurately measure your skills -- and it’s a doozie.
For example, along with traditional multiple-choice versions, you’re now faced with sophisticated “drag-and-drop” questions designed to test your understanding of both concepts and configurations; and router simulation questions intended to see whether you can really solve real-world problems. The result is an exam that requires much more careful preparation. That’s why you want Todd Lammle’s CCNA Cisco Certification Study Guide, Third Edition.
Lammle is the name in Cisco exam preparation: His prep tools have been translated into 12 languages. His name’s so familiar to Cisco pros, it’s easy to forget just how deep this guy’s experience really is. Lammle’s been involved with networking for more than 20 years now. At Xerox, he worked on some of the earliest “Ethernet II” networks, met Cisco’s founders, and used one of Cisco’s first gateway products to connect Xerox’s X.25 packet-switching network to its IBM mainframes. Nowadays, Lammle’s company, GlobalNet Training Solutions, runs live Cisco training courses in 15 major cities, keeping him connected with the issues and problems faced by Cisco certification candidates at all levels.
CCNA Cisco Certification Study Guide begins with a complete assessment test. Take it, and you’ll get a snapshot of where you stand now, and where you need to focus your study. Next, Lammle introduces internetworking and the OSI stack “the way Cisco wants you to learn it.” (One thing hasn’t changed about the new exam: Cisco’s penchant for presenting questions where more than one answer is “technically” correct but only one reflects Cisco’s worldview or recommendations.)
Next, Lammle systematically reviews Layer 2 switching, the process of using hardware addresses on LAN devices to segment networks. You’ll learn how switches discover network addresses and make forwarding and filtering decisions; and how the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) prevents network loops from hosing your network.
In Chapter 3, you move on to TCP/IP, IP addressing, and subnetting. As Lammle notes, this material isn’t inherently complex, but there’s a lot of it, and it’s the foundation for much of what you’ll need to know later. Accordingly, he spends extra time on it -- so you’ll always have this chapter to come back to, whenever you need a refresher -- even if it’s years from now.
Follow Lammle closely, and by the time you’re finished, you’ll be able to subnet a network “in your head.” That’ll come in handy later in the book, as you build an IP network from scratch, add IP addresses, establish routing, and learn about static, default, and dynamic routing. (Oh, and once you’re comfortable with TCP/IP, Lammle’s chapter on Novell IPX will be a breeze.)
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of TCP/IP, you’ll walk through Cisco’s IOS and command-line interface, and review the IOS commands you need for basic router and IP configuration. After a thorough chapter on setting up virtual LANs, Lammle reviews day-to-day Cisco network administration: backing up and restoring the IOS; router troubleshooting; and so forth. There’s a comprehensive chapter on access lists, and another on wide area networking utilizing all the protocols Cisco expects you to know, including HDLC, PPP, Frame Relay, and ISDN.
It’s not only Lammle’s narrative that makes the CCNA Cisco Certification Study Guide so valuable: it’s also the additional learning tools: chapter summaries and “Exam Essentials” bullet points; lists of key terms and commands used in each area of the exam; written and hands-on labs in every chapter; and hundreds of multiple-choice questions. There’s also a CD-ROM full of goodies -- including flashcards for PC, Pocket PC, and Palm; a complete eBook; and RouterSim’s new Router Fundamentals Simulator, complete with 14 hands-on labs designed to closely resemble those on the exam.
Cisco’s exam keeps getting tougher; this book keeps getting better. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.