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Windows Networking Basics
By Kenneth Gregg
Published in 1998 by IDG Books Worldwide
483pp ISBN 0 7465 3214 6 23-99

Windows Networking Basics

If you wish to understand networking today, this book will provide you with the information you need to comprehend the principles, not only of Windows 98 networking, but also the general fundamentals, of any network available which is operational today.

Kenneth Gregg, shows his vast experience and knowledge by using a simple language, and a very light style of writing, which made the subjects discussed a pleasure to read and understand. Special attention is given to the introduction of network terminology, which is growing, and in need of constant updating.

This book is an ideal starting point for anyone who deals with network administration, upgrading computer network hardware or/and software, and the need to match the needs of the users with the best possible network reliability and performance.

Divided into three parts, the first part, deals with basic network understanding, explaining the advantages of the network environment, their different architecture and topology and enumerates some of the advantageous features of using a network operation, advantages like File sharing, Drive sharing, Application sharing, Remote access, The Internet and Intranet.

All the concepts are introduced and the terminology explained. A more detailed and extensive explanation plus the advantages and disadvantages of these features come in later chapters of the book.

Advice is given on one of the most popular network applications which is E-mail. Recommendation about the ideal number of users for any given post office is provided (200 users) the amount of memory needed on average for every user is given (15 Mb). This rule of thumb of 15 Mb for users works well for both Microsoft Mail post office and Microsoft Exchange Server. So about 3Gb of hard disk space is needed to handle comfortably a post office serving 200 users.

Others aspects of E-mail such as conventions on the use of e-mail names and e-mail etiquette are given as well as practical examples of a more effective use of e-mail. Because E-mail has become such an important piece of software in network communication the time space given allows it to be explained in depth.

The book covers the concepts and terminology involved in the Internet and Intranet, its origins and development and all the different ISP (Internet services providers). The information provided allows you to understand the World Wide Web as well as the different computer languages used to be understood by the Web browsers programs like HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), XML (Extensible Markup Language), and Java.

In the second part of the book the author concentrated on the understanding of the different types of network topology and discussed some criteria for choosing between network topologies. The introduction of the two predominant network technologies Ethernet and Token Ring is followed by comprehensive information of network cabling with advantages and disadvantages of the types of cables in use plus the understanding of wireless technologies for LANs and WANs.

A discussion of data transmission across the network and its many layers is complemented with an understanding of Network Protocols like NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, and TCP/IP. This second part ends with a chapter on the selection of a Network Operating System. Microsoft operating systems (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT, and Windows 3.1) are explored, as well as Novell NetWare, Unix and IBM OS/2.

Advice is given on the installation of a windows 98 network from the point of view of the design and selection of hardware and software the installation of network adapters and the testing of hardware and software.

The third part of the book concentrates on the administration of the network, covering network administrator responsibilities and tools, plus the managing of networks resources, Files shared strategies, Managing Shared Drives, Managing Shared Printers etc. Network Security is discussed and the need to implement a Security policy is highlighted to prevent viruses and unauthorised physical access. Recovering from disaster techniques is explained and the book ends with a section of troubleshooting and optimisation of the network resources.

For all those who aim to understand networking, this is the ideal book because its deals with the fundamental principles of a relatively complex and changing subject, in a simple and understandable form, with every new term introduced explained. I recommend this book as an introduction to networking without hesitation.

Nino Vera
Liverpool John Moores University