Book Review: "LAN Times Guide to Networking Windows 95", Brad Shimmin

Book Review: "LAN Times Guide to Networking Windows 95", Brad Shimmin

Post by Rob Slad » Thu, 07 May 1998 04:00:00



BKLTGNW9.RVW   980301

"LAN Times Guide to Networking Windows 95", Brad Shimmin/Eric Harper,
1995, 0-07-882086-3, U$29.95/C$42.95
%A   Brad Shimmin
%A   Eric Harper
%C   300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario   L1N 9B6
%D   1995
%G   0-07-882086-3
%I   McGraw-Hill Ryerson/Osborne
%O   U$29.95/C$42.95 905-430-5000 fax: 905-430-5020
%P   320 p.
%T   "LAN Times Guide to Networking Windows 95"

Yes, this book was written long ago, and doesn't have the benefit of
more recent experience.  However, I rather suspect that it was written
*before* Windows 95 came out, and wasn't informed by much experience
at all.

Chapter one is a basic sales pitch for Windows 95.  The authors
obviously believed the Microsoft promotion for some features that
still are not part of the operating system.  The network basics that
are provided in chapter two are really only mentions of terminology,
without the backup content that would make them useful.  Chapter three
is supposed to cover preparation for installation.  In reality, it is
another sales pitch for Windows 95.  Once again, it assumes that
installation will proceed automatically and without problem, and that
a minimal computer configuration (386 CPU and four megabytes of
memory) will suffice for an effective system.  The coverage of
installation itself, as might be expected, is terse and unhelpful.
There is a quick run through of the relevant screens and dialogue
boxes in chapter four, but very little information on what to do with
them.  For example, the protocol bindings dialogue is mentioned, but
not the fact that adding multiple bindings can quickly generate
problems.  Chapter five is rather odd, since it seems to have assumed
that you have done the network installation, but also assumes that you
have not installed the network software, and runs through some other
dialogue boxes in  much the same level of non-detail.

The file and printer sharing capabilities of Windows 95 can be said to
be a limited type of server function, and chapter six presents them as
such.  Chapter seven is supposed to talk about customizing the network
configuration, but really is merely a collection of rather random
items you can customize about Windows 95 itself.  (Beware the
suggestion to edit the Registry: the authors pass over the dangers of
the practice fairly quickly.)  Some marginally network related
applications are briefly mentioned in chapter eight.  Chapters nine
and ten look at access to NT and NetWare servers.  Explanation of
domains, for Windows NT, is fairly good, while coverage of NetWare is
more extensive.

Chapter eleven, dealing with protocol configuration, seems to be out
of place, separated as it is from the installation chapters.  It also
tends to assume that the network is set up and configured already, and
so does not cover a number of the initial steps that have to be taken,
for example, in setting up DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).
Dial-up networking, in chapter twelve, concentrates on connecting in
to the office network from home.  It then moves on to discuss
different Microsoft email systems without having reviewed the more
widely desired function of connecting to the Internet.

It seems ironically appropriate that the last chapter in the book is
thir*, and that it extols the virtues of Plug and Play.  The
theory, fo course, is that Plug and Play makes all this ease of
networking possible by correctly installing network interface cards
and internal modems.  Reality, however, tends to rear its ugly head at
times inconvenient to marketing flacks.  The book does mention that
sometimes "legacy" components will not work first time out with Plug
and Play.  It does not say what to do in this case, nor does it
mention that Plug and Play itself doesn't always work.

Two appendices provide a very generic discussion of networking
protocol theory, and an extremely simplistic troubleshooting guide.

I would have serious difficulty in recommending this book to any
audience.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998   BKLTGNW9.RVW   980301

 
 
 

1. Book Review: "LAN Times Guide to Wide Area Networks" by Parnell

BKLTGWAN.RVW   970226

"LAN Times Guide to Wide Area Networks", Tere Parnell, 1997, 0-07-882228-9,
U$34.95/C$50.95

%C   300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario   L1N 9B6
%D   1997
%G   0-07-882228-9
%I   McGraw-Hill Ryerson/Osborne
%O   U$34.95/C$50.95 +1-800-565-5758 +1-905-430-5134 fax: 905-430-5020
%P   528
%T   "LAN Times Guide to Wide Area Networks"

While professionals might find it a bit simplistic, for the average
non- technical (or, at least, non-data comm) manager this is an
excellent guide through the pitfalls of setting up networks
encompassing more than a single building.  The material is up to date,
useful, and presented in a friendly manner.

I found the organization of the material a bit disjointed at times,
and was disappointed that the "explanations" of some of the newer
technologies was more technical rather than based on uses, strengths,
or weaknesses.  Overall, though, this provides a quick and helpful
guide.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1997   BKLTGWAN.RVW   970226


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