Book Reviews

TCP/IP and More

This book provides a solid grounding in Windows 2000's TCP/IP Protocol Suite.

Lee and Davies have teamed up with Microsoft Press to author a concise yet comprehensive volume on Windows 2000 TCP/IP protocols and services. Most TCP/IP tutorials start with a history of the TCP/IP Protocol Suite and the Internet, and this book is no different. However, the authors manage to present this background without boring you. In the introduction they cover the DARPA TCP/IP layered model plus the ISO/OSI seven-layer model. They diagram where these models intersect and where they differ, and this is a good foundation for the rest of the book.

The book is structured to follow the OSI model from the physical to application layer. The authors start by covering physical and data link layer technologies implemented in today’s LANs and WANs. At layer three they introduce the IP protocol and discuss IP basics and IP routing. From there, they move to layer four and cover TCP and UDP, the suite’s transport layer protocols. Finally, they move into the upper layer protocols and applications and discuss them in detail.

Throughout, the authors use clear and descriptive diagrams and graphics plus Network Monitor traces to illustrate concepts. This is helpful, as they cover topics that can be confusing to IP novices and experts alike. These topics include subnetting, classful and classless addressing, supernetting, and variable length subnet masks (VLSM). I particularly like the way the book examines TCP/IP protocols, not just from a theoretical point of view, but from a practical standpoint. The book discusses the use of IP diagnostic utilities such as Ping and Trace, but doesn’t stop at simply discussing these tools. It also explores the protocols in depth with network monitor traces.

Many technical books include a CD-ROM that’s often disappointing in content—but not here! You’ll find all the network monitor traces discussed in the book plus a complete set of RFCs and Internet drafts. To advance your understanding of the TCP/IP Protocol Suite to a truly advanced level, it’s necessary to read many of the RFCs for the protocols, Internet drafts for emerging protocols, and changes to the existing suite.

The book covers not only the current version of IP (IPv4), but also IP version 6 (IPv6). VPN and IPSec are covered toward the book’s end. Thorough coverage is also given to TCP applications essential to the Win2K network environment, including DHCP, DNS, and WINS, plus NetBIOS operations over TCP, and Microsoft File and Printer Sharing.

I was disappointed that the chapters didn’t end with review questions or pointers to additional material for further study. But this book is neither an exam preparation guide nor a classroom text. The inclusion of RFCs and Internet drafts on the accompanying CD-ROM help make up for the missing element.

Overall, this volume is highly accurate, very detailed, and well written. This book is a must-have for any technical professional who expects to work in a Win2K environment, and it’s also an excellent reference for technicians working with TCP/IP in any network environment.

About the Author

Dale Holmes, MCSE, CCNA, CNE, is a partner and senior technical consultant for Allnet LLC in Baltimore, Maryland.

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