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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Thinking about putting a network in at home? Networking the PCs at your small business? Adding new PCs to your existing network? Connecting your current network to the Internet? Or maybe you’ve inherited a network from someone else -- and you’re stuck with the job of keeping it running right.
Whichever box you just checked, thousands of folks in your position have turned to the same book for help: Networking For Dummies®.
In his new Sixth Edition, Doug Lowe has updated Networking for Dummies to reflect today’s latest networking technologies, annoyances, and solutions.
Those choosing a network operating system (or trying to decide whether to stick with the one they’ve got) will find practical coverage of all the latest alternatives. Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. Red Hat Linux. NetWare 6.
Those considering sharing their new color printer or cable modem will appreciate the book’s updated coverage of home networking -- including a completely new chapter on wireless LANs, the hottest topic in networking.
Even though wireless LAN technology has gotten radically cheaper and significantly easier to use, Lowe can save you from making some very expensive mistakes.
For example, the most common and cheapest wireless LANs -- those following the 802.11b standard -- operate on the 2.4 GHz wavelength. If that wavelength sounds familiar to you, it’s the one used by most of today’s better cordless phones. And yes, they can interfere with each other. If that happens, either get a cordless phone on a different wavelength (you could dig your old 900 MHz cordless out of the closet). Or else spring for 802.11a network equipment (which you’ll love -- if you ever get over the sticker shock, that is!)
He also alerts you to the local wardrivers searching for insecure wireless networks to explore -- and offers step-by-step techniques for beefing up your wireless network’s woefully inadequate security.
Networking For Dummies®, Sixth Edition begins with the “absolute basics:” a layperson’s introduction to using a network. As in previous editions, Lowe does a splendid job of demystifying the technology and capturing the essence of what you need to know to get started. You don’t have to worry about plugging anything into anything until you’ve already mastered printing from the network, working with email, and sharing files with your colleagues.
Only then does Lowe show you how to build a network from scratch. Here, as elsewhere, the coverage is relentlessly practical -- not to mention funny. You’ll learn about everything from planning your network to setting up your servers, installing network cards to running cable. (Don’t know what “Cat 5” is? You will.)
Part III focuses on network management, beginning with an overview of what exactly it is that network administrators are supposed to do. There’s detailed coverage of protecting your data with reliable backups; a chapter-length introduction to network security; and practical ways to figure out why your network is so slow -- and do something about it. You’ll also learn how to be proactive about all this -- anticipating, discovering, and solving problems before someone comes along to holler at you about them.
Next, Lowe walks you through connecting your networked PCs to the Internet. Want to host your own web site? If you can’t be talked out of it, Lowe shows you how. For most businesses, hosting a web site makes more sense if it’s an internal intranet, and there’s a full chapter on setting up one of those.
Need to connect to your network from the road? Lowe compares your options and shows you how. Need to connect a Mac to your Windows network -- or that ancient MS-DOS machine in the corner that’s still running WordPerfect 5.1? He covers those, too. There’s even a chapter on setting up a Linux server (you can use an old PC, and the software’s free or dirt cheap).
If you’re looking for the easiest possible introduction to networking -- a book that’ll point you in the right directions and steer you away from disaster -- you’re looking for Networking For Dummies®, Sixth Edition. 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.