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VINE VOICEon October 6, 2009
If I hired a new employee for my computer consulting business, I'd give them this to read. I'd HOPE that there was nothing in here they didn't already know, but I've seen supposedly knowledgeable people with tremendous knowledge gaps, so this would cover my bases.

Really it's more for the small business or home user. I can't tell you how many times I've had calls from very small businesses or home users who couldn't afford to pay me to help them with exactly the kinds of things this book covers. That's great, because too often I've felt sorry for them and helped for free: from now on I'll just tell them to get this book.

I was happy to see that the author did not ignore Linux and Mac OS X. I don't think he ignored much of anything: it's all here, from basic wiring to VPN's. No, it's not deep techy details, but it's more than enough to get you started and might just be all that you need. Best of all, it's completely non-threatening. You'd need to be very tech-phobic to feel frightened by this: the author explains things very gently, yet very completely.

I lead a little computer club here in our retirement community; I'm going to be waving this around at the next meeting and telling the people they want to get this. Very, very good.
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on March 11, 2009
Network Know-How is a straight to the point description of networks, what they do, how they operate, and how to manage them. The book is largely free of jargon and arcane, obscure terminology. Of course, normal network lingo has a certain amount of jargon, but the author does a good job of laying out the essentials in an easy to understand format.

Wired and wireless networks are covered, and good advice is given on securing wireless networks. Router functions are described in detail, the basics of using network file servers and network attached storage are documented. Instructions on setting up network access in Windows XP, Vista, Leopard, and Linux are provided. There is some basic information on a few of the network tools that provide problem solving abilities, such as IpConfig, ping, and TraceRoute.

There is a section on home entertainment, including setting up a media center, attaching a TIVO, and attaching your game console, such as a WII, PlayStation, or Xbox 360 to your network.

Finally, there is a brief outline of what to do when things don't work, a troubleshooting section. It is rudimentary, but does provide a place to start when you have a problem. A 14 page index is included.

This is an excellent reference for the occasional network administrator, or as the subtitle says, the "accidental admin." Those who work in network administration will not find much in this book of interest, and those looking for more detail should look elsewhere. Recommended for its target audience.
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on August 4, 2009
This would be a good book to introduce a person who has never done more than plug in a cable into their network card; for anyone else I'm afraid it is far too basic. The book has excessive amounts of what I consider 'filler.' For example: keeping your cables neat and orderly is emphasized several times, along with not accidentally connecting to your neighbor's wi-fi connection, devices must be within range of your wi-fi router to work, etc. The diagrams are overly simplified and important diagrams, like how to create a patch cable are left out. Far too often the book tells the reader to simply read the manual for whatever device is being set up.

This book is not completely without merit, it offers a broad overview of home networking but it is not a book you will likely reference after you have read it.

[...]
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on March 23, 2009
An Essential Guide for the Accidental Admin or as I would put it an up to date reference for anyone wanting to know more about networks.

Contents 22/25
Ease of Understanding/Practicality 22/25
Pictures/Illustrations 23/25
Additional Features 15/25
Total 82/100

Network Know-How by John Ross is a network setup and explanation guide that helps anyone who wants to know more about networks even if you're not in charge of one. That admin part does not really matter as anyone just wanting to know more and have a better understanding of networks can pick up this book and really learn.

Network Know-How is not your dummies guide with little in depth knowledge, this book goes into plenty of explanations, programs for networking and technical details. It can not only help you understand and learn about networks but get the help you need in setting up and maintaining a computer network.

Network Know-How starts off with explanations of what a network is and the examples of uses then goes in depth into setting one up both in software and hardware so you can get yours setup easily. The book goes into great detail talking about things like handshaking and packets so you not only understand the basics but know exactly what a network does so you can maintain one.

The book continues with types of hardware and how to set them up using both common wired and wireless Wi-Fi networks that are in use today. The book explains from household small networks and even single computers with a few peripheral network devices to larger business type networks.

Network Know-How goes from the hardware to the software using the Windows XP and Vista operating systems, Mac and even includes some Linux and Unix systems. The book further goes into network storage file sharing and other devices on a network like printers and cameras.

Network Know-How also includes the all important security and how to set up protection of your system with encrypted systems as well as good explanations of these measures. While the book does not go into specific settings of various hardware routers and servers it does give good explanations of the terms and different encryption types so you know what the manuals and documents that come with the hardware you decide to use mean.

That is the major point of this book; it is not a specific step by step manual for specific routers and other hardware components. It does go in depth into general terms and even into the specific Windows steps to set up networks and get your system setup and secure.

The book adds a lot of useful information about those terms and descriptions of network hardware, programs and those words people keep throwing out that make a network sound so difficult and hard to understand. This book will demystify those terms and words so you can understand and know what is going on with your network and help you maintain it.

Network Know-How even goes into how to connect a stereo or television to your network so you can stream video and audio to a TV or stereo system setup on a network. The use of media centers and computers for media streaming has really taken off and Network Know-How will help you set up different devices to your network to make the most of your network.

The book also goes into other types of network uses like remote desktop, video conferencing and even multiple monitors across a network. The last section of the book is troubleshooting and helps you find out where any problems may be and how to correct them.

The nice thing with this book is they also offer some valuable advice on finding solutions on the internet after admitting that a book would not be able to possibly list all solutions to potential problems with a network. The book does offer an invaluable problem solving routine to follow to help you for every time you do have problems with your network.

These are not lists of problems and how to find solutions; this is a whole section of helpful routines and how to go about the general troubleshooting scenario that you should follow so that you find the problem and how to fix it. I found their problem solving process is much like the general routine I would have used when troubleshooting systems when I was in the military.

Helpful hints like keeping records and fixes of problems as well as taking a break as a way to tackle the job fresh so you have a clear mind makes a lot of sense and Network Know-How gives other choice words of wisdom to help you. The troubleshooting section is a real help not only for networks but for computers in general with plenty of helpful advice for solving the problems you may encounter.

Network Know-How is a great book that can help anyone wanting to learn more and setup or administer their network. The book starts off with the basics and goes in depth with network hardware, software, security and more for a complete guide to networking for beginners.

I highly recommend Network Know-How by John Ross for a great network guide book, the sub title says it all, An Essential Guide For The Accidental Admin.
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VINE VOICEon March 4, 2009
Just as until 1983(or so) computers were a tool for specialists and very knowledgeable geeks and rapidly thereafter became a vital skill for every American in the home, small and large business--so today, networking is now a skill needed by every home and small business user--and this is the book for them. You can't call the network administrator, when you need to download a spreadsheet from the laptop you brought home from work, or connect it to the Internet on your home network. Someone in your home is going to want to connect the TiVo, Xbox, or MP3 player to your home network; or your going to need to install a router and Ethernet cards in your own Mom & Pop business. This well illustrated, and well explained volume will meet the needs of everyone who must become their own network administrator. It says just enough about TCP/IP and and the theory of networking, all you need to know about basic network equipment, software, WI-FI, and network security, and adds the information you need about music, multimedia, video and gaming. It clearly explains everything you need to install and maintain a home and small business network without burdening the home user with endless theory, or making them an electrician.
It does address the most important concerns, and requirements of the home and small business user; and unlike many networking texts it explains what you need to get the most benefit of home entertainment equipment networked to your computer and the Internet. The book has all of the necessary and extremely clear black and white diagrams and screen shots of software and equipment. This inexpensive volume will become a necessary companion to all home and small business users who must now install and maintain a computer network to meet their own needs and desires.
--Ira Laefsky
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on November 3, 2010
This is a good book but it isn't for everyone. This book, as the subtitle says, is for the accidental admin. I would recommend this to people who don't deal with and or tinker with technology on a regular basis or for those who are unfamiliar with the topics. If you deal with technical pieces of IT on a daily basis this book will probably only be on your self to lend to those friends or family members that don't have a clue.
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on March 29, 2009
With more and more homes having multiple computers where having a network set up would be helpful combined with more small business owners needing to perform their own network administration work, John Ross has written a book just for these people.

The book starts with the basics, educating the network novice to terms used before going into various types of networks; explaining what HUBS, routers, and switches are; explaining hard line and Wi-Fi networks; explaining file servers and file sharing, and a whole lot more. The author understands that his audience aren't going to be network gurus and so he makes things understandable, avoiding the often tedious nature of most technical books about computers. This means that normal people who are considering setting up a network or the small business person needing to set one up will be able to do so with few problems. John provides examples on how to do this and even how to wire your place for a network should you decide to do that as well.

The book also makes for good reading if you work an Operations-type job where you monitor networks but don't actually do any of the technical work. After reading this book, you should be able to understand the terminology used by the network support people and know more of what is going on as you monitor the network and deal with problems.

Bottom line: I found this to be an excellent resource for people who know nothing about computer networks to not only educate them on what a network is and does, but on how to set up a network and the equipment used as well. As such, I can highly recommend this book.
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on March 31, 2014
Pretty much and overview book with insufficient details that would teach you something. Not sure who this book is targeting. It's more of a survey of things that work but it doesn't give you more than that.
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on August 31, 2010
The concepts are basic. It doesnt get into subnetting much. But it has what you need to know and I will be rereading it for some time!
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on November 23, 2014
Was actually quite informative, but not exactly what I was after.
Good practical guide for setting up and running a network
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