Network Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guide: Field Tested Solutions for Everyday Problems / Edition 2

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Network Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guide

Field-Tested Solutions for Everyday Problems, Second Edition

Neal Allen

The 100% practical, real-world guide to anticipating, finding, and solving network problems—fast!

Real-life networks don’t always behave “by the book.” Troubleshooting them requires practical intuition that normally comes only with experience. In this book, Fluke Networks’ Neal Allen brings together all that hard-won, hands-on insight: everything you need to discover what’s really happening in your network, so you can anticipate and fix problems before users even notice them.

Writing for network technicians and administrators at all levels, Allen presents an approach to troubleshooting that has been proven in networks of all kinds, no matter how complex. He introduces indispensable triage and troubleshooting techniques for everything from copper and fiber cabling to IPv6, and presents unparalleled guidance on identifying and resolving problems at the MAC Layer. He illustrates his advice with diagrams, tables, and screen captures from Fluke Networks’ market-leading instruments. Throughout this book, Allen also offers practical summaries of each of today’s core networking technologies, making it an ideal complement to any network certification study guide.

Coverage includes

  • Using the OSI model to more efficiently troubleshoot networks layer by layer
  • Copper and fiber-optic cabling: theory, operation, and troubleshooting
  • Media Access Control (MAC) Layer: Ethernet theory and operation
  • Identifying and resolving problems related to IPv4 and IPv6 protocols
  • Preventing problems before they occur
  • Discovering device behavior
  • Troubleshooting switches
  • Using a protocol analyzer more successfully
  • Creating network documentation that helps you more efficiently prevent and resolve problems

Road tested by thousands of Fluke Networks customers, this book’s first edition became the best-kept secret resource for sysadmins, netadmins, and support technicians fortunate enough to discover it. Now, Allen has thoroughly updated his classic for today’s networks. If you’re responsible for maintaining one of those networks, you’ll find this new Second Edition even more indispensable.

Neal Allen is a senior staff engineer in the Fluke Networks’ Technical Assistance Center (TAC) focusing on escalated problems. He has been involved in designing, installing, and troubleshooting networks for nearly 20 years. Allen has served on Interop’s trade show Network Operations Center (NOC) team since 1993, troubleshooting show-floor problems at the Las Vegas and Atlanta Interop trade shows, and helped support and troubleshoot the network for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. His responsibilities currently include product feature specification and beta testing, remote and onsite problem solving, and providing training and sales support worldwide.

Cover design by Louisa Adair

Cover photography from Image Source / Getty Images

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321647412
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 11/6/2009
  • Series: Networking Technology
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 862,414
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Neal Allen is a senior engineer in the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at Fluke Networks in Everett, Washington focusing on escalated issues related to Fluke Network s' server-based monitoring solutions. His responsibilities in TAC are the particularly difficult or obscure problems, both phoned in and at various customer sites around the world. He also works closely with the design engineers on new product or feature specifications and later on alpha and beta testing of the same. Previously he was a product manager for handheld network analyzers. His responsibilities in marketing were "anything the engineers don't do," including market research, writing manuals and literature, helping to specify and beta test new products and product features, attending and delivering papers at trade shows, and providing both training and sales support worldwide. Allen has been involved in network design, installation, and troubleshooting for nearly 20 years. Although his focus has been primarily OSI Layer 3 and below, he has also designed and taught a number of short seminars and a three-quarter introductory networking course at local community colleges. Allen has been a member of the Interop trade show NOC (Network Operations Center) team since 1993 and, in addition to other responsibilities, is responsible for troubleshooting show-floor problems at the Las Vegas Interop trade shows. Allen was chosen to help support and troubleshoot the network for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Using the OSI model

Ch. 2 Copper media

Ch. 3 Fiber-optic media

Ch. 4 Media access control layer

Ch. 5 Data link layer

Ch. 6 Network layer

Ch. 7 Transport layer

Ch. 8 Preventing problems

Ch. 9 Troubleshooting

Ch. 10 Troubleshooting media

Ch. 11 Network troubleshooting

App. A Copper test failure cause tables

App. B Waveform decoding exercise

App. C Auto-negotiation

App. D Discovering device behavior

App. E Techniques for troubleshooting switches

App. F Simple network management protocol

App. G Troubleshooting with a protocol analyzer

App. H Network diagnostic products used in this book

App. I Answers to chapter review questions


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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Should be in every engineer's private library

    If you are a network engineer with only a year of experience, or have many years behind you, this book is a required reference/training guide for your personal library.

    Neal Allen's easy to follow explanation of extremely complex technologies make it enjoyable to learn the intricacies of how modern networks work, and how to support them.

    If you've ever wondered how electrical impulses translate to bits, ethernet frames, IP packets, and result in an HTML document, this is the guide to follow. Neal takes great care in providing the details of what happens at each of the OSI layers, as well as describing what can go wrong and how to troubleshoot the problem.

    If you're tired about reading other manuals that merely describe the OSI 7 layer model, and really want/need to know what actually happens inside each layer, this is your reference book.

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    focus on physical and MAC layers

    Allen's book is well suited for the self taught network technician or system administrator who wants a solid, tangible understanding of what Internet traffic means, as a physical phenomenon travelling down a copper wire or optical fiber. There are many books that give good explanations of TCP/IP v4 and v6, describing the packet composition and what the different layers mean. But to some readers of those books, there could be a practical gap between those descriptions and what you have in actual Internet traffic. Hence this book delves strongly at the physical layer level.

    The early chapters explain diagnostic equipment, like an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer. Other equipment include protocol analysers, handheld network analysers and cable testers. You should certain keep and use the manuals for those objects. But those manuals focus on usages of each specific item. What Allen offers is an overview of the different common tools and how and when to use them, perhaps in concert, to diagnose problems.

    The first 4 chapters take you up to the MAC layer in physicality and diagnostics. These chapters are the most distinguishing feature of the text. Later chapters are certainly germane, especially when they cover problems related to the physical and MAC layers. But by that time, you have often climbed high enough in abstraction, so that you are dealing with fully digitised packets and you're more in the realm of software.

    The book also has a cardboard foldout of waveforms for an example Ethernet frame. Perhaps this is of limited use? The reader could be better served by downloading from the book's website.
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    Posted January 1, 2012

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