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on November 12, 2003
I honestly had to come back and re-do the review on this book. I believe I was a bit too harsh on this book based on the errors in the book ""with no errata" available. I am already a CCNA so this was a book for another individual that works with routers and switches daily but needed a good book to pass the new 801 test. It is important for anyone that is using a book as a study guide, to have their confidence reinforced by a book that has few errors or errata immediately available.
I contacted the author (so he will know who is writing this review) and he immediately placed a copy of the errata on his personal web site. He also contacted his publisher who stated they would have the errata on that following Monday. Big kudos to the author and he certainly gained my respect by his reply emails and follow ups to the publisher.
With errata in hand, careful and purposeful study with Richard Deal's book will most assuredly quarantee a pass on the 640-807. If you want to take the smaller sub tests, the book will work perfectly as well to one's success. To all students: do all the examples, and exercises, questions and labs and you will have the confidence needed to pass this test. This book has a load of all the above mentioned so one cannot go away not understanding it if they put forth the effort. Do not skip anything and complete the book, learning what the author is teaching. Don't just complete the book to say you finished it. PS - Know your subnetting inside and out and be able to subnet in your head for CLass A, B, and C subnets.
Thanks Richard Deal. I have re-evaluated your book. I took a second reading of your book with errata in hand at Barnes and Noble as well as look over the rest of the book and I am thoroughly confident in stating this is the 640-801 and subtest book for everyone. Excellent job and thanks for the assistance!
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on October 10, 2004
For CCNA 640-801, i used sybex and passed in the 1st try with 950 score, so i gave that book 5 stars. and i used to recommend that book for exam preparasion in the past, but now, not any more.

i found this 10 stars McGraw-Hill book on CCNA title, OMG, it is even better than what i already impress from sybex. if i can choose only one CCNA study guide it will be this one (in the past few months, it would be sybex). I highly recommend this book for both (especialy !) educational purpose and exam preparasion.

i already passed CCNA with 950, i can really tell u this is the best book on CCNA title, even better than CCNA from Sybex (i used sybex befor). This book come with very good learning packet: video clip, router simmulation, flash card, exam prep software, e-book. The book is easy to read, beginer can read this book without problem (unlike sybex book, which i don't recommmend for beginner in my review).

The best parts i like most from this book are (beside hard copy):

-" Interactive Video clips" that show you how to perfom each excercise in the book, i really like this, it fell like i am sitting just beside the author and look at how he perform a task.

-"Router sims tool" that allow you to practice and get yourself familair with router and switch (sybex won't give this); these are the things i gave this book more stars than sybex book.

Beleive me, you can't find a better book than this one, this packet will educate and entertain you in the netwoking world.

I realy hope that McGraw-Hill/Osborne continue produce the same quality product in CCNP, surely i will buy them.
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HALL OF FAMEon September 16, 2003
About 3 years ago I was teaching a CCNA Class when I discovered Richard Deal had practice test at Boson.COM. I have been a true fan ever since and was eagerly awaiting this release for the new CCNA exams.
One thing that has always impressed me about Deal is that he goes far beyond the exam requirements giving you the best chance to pass the exam on the first shot. This 800 plus page book covers all 3 CCNA exams and the book and the add-on cd you have a first rate study tool.
Seeing how the new exams now covers even more topics than previous exams and can be taken in 2 sperate exams, it is good to see that this book shows you the best way to make excellent use of the material based of the exam you are planning to take.
The cd has a limited edition of the Boson NetSim and there are a number of labs in the book that coincide with the simulator. I think that if you need more labs than you should go to Boson.COM and purchase the full version.
There are also practice question ont he cd, coupled with what is in the book you have over 750 questions. Knowing Richard Deal, I am sure that there will be more practice exams for sale at Boson.com, which would add even greater value tothis book.
2 utilites that come with the book, the subnet calculator and the config register, will be highly useful in real life. While they are not allowed in the exam, they will be extremely handy to have around when you begin working on your network(s). A couple of things to add to the next edition, first a few more labs, since I think more is always better. Second the NetSim be a full version allowing to study beyond the exam.
Overall if you are serious about the new CCNA exam, than here's a good place to start your training.
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on February 8, 2007
I used this book to pass the CCNA exam several months ago but never wrote a review on it... so here we go

A lot of people said you need multiple sources to study for this exam, but I only needed to use this book (along with testing simulator material). I don't really understand why you would need multiple books. This book covers everything that was on the exam (including stuff that won't be included, like the 1900 switch information). Nothing was on the test that wasn't in this book.

I did have experience with cisco routers, but it was limited to certain technologies and a limited set of commands. The book did a fine job of filling in all the blanks.

Each chapter is very clear, and the reading was very straightforward. There was very little "fluff" or "bs". It was to the point and concise.

The chapters build upon each other relatively well, and the order of the chapters are probably the best way to go about learning the material.

The only part of the book I found poorly worded was the frame relay section, where it went of non broadcast multiple access. It did a poor job of defining what NBMA actually was and what it meant. A quick web search cleared up my confusion though.

Probably the best aspect of this book would be that it bothers to explain the technologies in an easily understood manner. Things like PPP, CHAP, ISDN, RIP, OSPF are all made very clear. They are potentially very confusing if not explained correctly, but the book did a great job of adding unnecessary confusion.

CONS:

The Boson simulator on the CD did not install... I also hear it has limited functionality.

The test questions aren't going to prepare you for the actual exam. I reccommend that you use something that tests you with multiple choice questions and simulator questions.

I used the commercial version of Boson software to study for this test, and it did a reasonable job of prepping for the exam. I also used some other testing material to test the knoweledge I had (multiple choice). Nothing I was asked wasn't covered in the book, but I found I had to go back to gather a better understanding of the reading.

Its very crucial that you are able to perform configurations on an actual router (via a real router or testing simulator). The simulator questions on the exam carry a lot of weight.

ABOUT THE TEST:

The CCNA test itself was in a somewhat unusual format. Make sure you read the material issued before the test starts on how to use the interface of the simulator questions.. The interface is a little unusual. You also can't go back, and the test is adaptive.

I believe that I had aced most of the multiple choice questions easily due to the knoweledge acquired in this book. I also felt like I had nailed the simulator questions, however I think the CCNA test mightve been a bit buggy with the simulator.

I'm not sure how the simulator is graded, but my biggest frustration was that the simulator questions want you to do things a specific way. It will also limit the functions provided to you in order to do the problem. I'm not sure it took points off every time I tried to use an incorrect technique, but even though I passed I am quite certain my score was lower than it should've been (considering my final answers were apparently correct - there was not a thing on the test I wasn't VERY familiar with). I am pretty cetain this relates to some quirks I noticed with the simulator.

Some quirks/bugs I noticed with the simulators:

1) Sometimes pings went through to both ends, even though they weren't completely configured (this shouldnt of happened!). This may give you the impression that you are done, even though it may require more work from you.

2) It was very unclear as to what exactly was required of you in some simulator questions. Instructions like "fix the errors in this network" are so non-specific that it may drive you crazy. In one question I was able to make it so that everything pinged everything else after just one correction. It left you wondering "is that it? Is there something else?". Maybe they wanted me to implement it a different way, instead of making it work that way? Maybe it was pinging despite an incomplete config (see above)?

3) I forgot to save my configuration after two of the three simulator question. I have heard that they do not deduct you for this, but I think it may have taken credit off for this.

To avoid such problems I'd suggest that people thoroughly examine the questions and take a look at possible solutions before implementing them. I think that the simulator may be too buggy to understand applying and removing configurations multiple times. You also want to make sure you have everything covered, and do not rely on the pinging mechanism (its a nice check, but may be faulty from my experience).

So in conclusion, this book will greatly help with the multiple choice questions. If you go through the entire book, and truly take the time to understand it all (know the commands down cold, along with the features of all routing protocols), you will do well.
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on December 10, 2009
I used this book, and did the tests extensively, as advised by the author.

The book is not sufficient to help you pass the exam. I did not.

The exam's questions are a good deal more complex than the ones in the book.

Test takers: please supplement this book with additional materials. I know I'll do the same when I take the exam again.
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on November 12, 2007
I used this book, Transcender practice tests, and test king Q & A's to pass the CCNA test. This book had very concise explanations. The author did a great job of keeping the material moving and organizing the information. One of the things I was most impressed with was the author's explanation of subnetting. I have had several classes and I could never figure out subnetting. After reading this book, I can subnet all day long. This book was one of the best I have used for passing a test. The CD comes with a goof flash card program and Boson Sim Software as well.
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on August 9, 2008
Some of the explanations that I thought was very good was on VLSM and NAT. His explanations of CHAP is the first time I really understood how it worked and I have certifications in Network+, and Security+. I don't think there was enough practice problems on subnetting. The simulator exercises were very good, I don't think I would have passed the test without them.
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on February 3, 2005
This book is very thorough on the content of the CCNA exam. Sometime even a little too much. For example, you won't see any questions on the 1900 switch, although the topic is covered in the book. I took a CCNA boot camp class which had Cisco press reviewed material and the Deal's book seemed to be a little better as far as depth and explanations. Although, make sure you get the errata from the editor's web site. The book does contain quite a bit of mistakes (not all of them are in the errata though)which sometimes are misleading - although from what I read, all the CNNA books do! So...

One aspect of the book that I thought really helped me on getting ready for the exam was the simulation exercises. They are by far the best switches/routers simulations I worked on to prepare for what I had to achieve during the exam. Although the best, I still found the exam simulations harder in the sense that they would have you work on more than one topic at a time - like design IP addressing for a network while also configuring for a couple of different things. The simulations of the book concentrate on one aspect of configuration. Let's say a routing protocol for example. The troubleshooting exercices on the CD are also very useful to get ready for the exam.

Overall, this book has a good contents relative to the CCNA objectives although sometimes too in depth in a few instances - but the more you know, probably the better on the job! Good simulation material and very helpful quiz on the CD (multiple choices, free entry, simulations). I saw a few discrepancies with other books on the contents or explanation of certain things, so I think this book should probably be reviewed to eliminate the last few mistakes and remove the 1900 switches topics. But overall, I would recommend this book to anybody preparing for the CCNA exam.
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on January 27, 2004
I used this book to pass the cisco exam. It's the only book besides the Cisco ICND books that covers the depth of knowledge necessary to succeed in the test.
Unless you prefer dry and boring study materials, like Cisco Press products, this book is for you. Sybex and the other books just won't cut it. This book is practical, and explains all the concepts very well. As you read this book, you may wonder about things or ask yourself questions, only to find the answers clearly explained moments later.
Some effort, this book, and the Boson or Cisco lab sim, and you are guaranteed to pass.
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on June 26, 2011
I dont know if this is the absolute best book to study for the CCNA but for me it was extremely helpful. A tremendous wealth of information. Sometimes too much. Expecially the chapters on OSPF and ACL's but in the world of cisco these are extremely lenghty topics. As a second read I also purchased Todd Lammle's CCNA book and swtiched between the two when I got bored or needed different viewpoints. Both books are very well written and laid out.

I downloaded the kindle versions and copied them over to my nook as well. That really helped because now I could study anywhere very easily, for me that was the key.

The CD comes with boson's exam prep and a if I remembered correctly, an old scaled down version of bosons network simulator. Was helpful but nothing will beat having decent practice exams and a good network simulator, its mandatory to pass. So what the heck, I purchased the full versions of bosons exam sim and boson 8 network simulator from boson's website! pricey but worked. Good luck.
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