“Network Warrior” book

2 09 2010

Just finished the 500+ page “Network Warrior” by Gary A. Donahue, published by O’ Reilly. This took almost exactly 1 week.. a lot quicker than my average read!

The book was a brief interlude from my current study for the ICND2, which I need to pass to complete my CCNA. The summary on the front cover reads “Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam”.. so it could be argued that I was perhaps being slightly premature, considering I haven’t actually taken the exam yet!

The main reason for buying this was the reviews on Amazon – so many people had written that it was a vital read for anyone in the networking field that I couldn’t ignore it.

I’d added it to my wishlist and forgotten about it, then saw it there when I added another book to my basket, the CCSA book I wrote about here.

I decided to buy the books together, and when they arrived, two days later (despite paying nearly £10 for next day delivery I might add – cheers Amazon!), I had a quick flick through.

I wasn’t mightily impressed with initial impressions of the CCSA book, but this was a different kettle of fish.. almost straight away I stumbled across a way of filtering the output of the show-mac-address command, which happened to be exactly what I needed to help track down a duplicate IP address on my network flagged by the logging on my Syslog server.

This got me hooked, and the next day, a Saturday (I was pretty flu’d up..), I read for about 5 hours solid. I could barely put the book down! At work each day this week, I spent 40 minutes of my lunch break reading it, and then finished it tonight.

The things that make this a great book are:

  • The real-world experiences that the author writes about, which contain many words of wisdom from an industry veteran
  • The way that a topic is described in one chapter, and then the ways of implementing it are written about in the next.. this gives an understanding of the theory as well as the more practical side
  • The broad range of subjects it covers.. I felt compelled to investigate quite a few subjects in more detail than the book goes in to
  • The style is a departure from the certificaton study guide style of book – it lacks that touch of paranoia about ensuring that all exam topics are covered in intricate detail that some books show (most notably Microsoft Press exam guides – snore!).

I did skip through some chapters, most notably the subnetting one – I have honed my subnetting using a combination of techniques that I’d learned from two CCENT training video series, and wanted to avoid confusing matters.

One thing that I think is vital to mention is the Cisco-centricity of the book. The theory chapters include information which is the main, vendor neutral, but all config examples are Cisco (both IOS and CatOS), and all hardware mentioned is Cisco kit. This wasn’t an issue for me, as someone studying for the CCNA, but it may be for some.

Although this books isn’t specifically aimed at helping you to pass the CCNA (in fact it probably goes in to a lot more depth on certain topics that the CCNA requires), it is incredibly complementary to both this and obtaining more all-round knowledge of the topics covered. A very worthwhile read:

Hands-on: 3/5

Theory: 4/5

Keep my attention: 4/5

TOTAL: 3.5/5

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