Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tool-oriented tour of network troubleshooting, September 13, 2003
This review is from: Network Performance Toolkit: Using Open Source Testing Tools (Paperback)
I don't have a lot to say about "Network Performance Open Source Toolkit" (NPOST), other than I think it's excellent. We need more tool-oriented books to teach admins how to do real work on their networks. NPOST delivers chapter after chapter of practical, hands-on material applicable to the networking shop in any organization.

NPOST shines in three respects. First, the author ensures readers can properly install each tool he discusses. When dealing with open source tools, installation cannot be taken for granted. (The exception is using the FreeBSD operating system's "ports tree," which almost guarantees easy installation of any tool listed in the system.) Second, the author walks readers through the use of each tool, explaining what it does and how to best deploy it. Finally, readers are given mini-case studies demonstrating the use of each tool to solve real-world problems. This is just the sort of approach which helps readers understand the differences between network simulators and emulators, for example.

I found only a few minor issues. When providing command-line tcpdump options on pages 230 and 234, I believe the author should have passed a '-s 1514' option to change the default 68-byte snaplength to something more reasonable. I felt the FreeBSD kernel configuration advice in chapter 14 was insufficient, and didn't specify whether it applied to 4.x or 5.x FreeBSD systems. Last, the author's tcpdump command line for capturing FTP sessions on p. 230 will only capture "active" FTP sessions using port 20 TCP. It will miss any passive FTP data channels.
In summary, I give NPOST two thumbs up. Since so many other open source networking tools are available, perhaps we'll see a second volume?
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