Sebastopol, CA--As ubiquitous as corn flakes on a midwestern breakfast table, Cisco routers are everywhere that networks can be found. They come in all sizes, from inexpensive units for homes and small offices to equipment costing well over $100,000 and capable of routing at gigabit speeds. Cisco is a fixture on today's networks, claiming roughly seventy percent of the router market, and producing high-end switches, hubs, and other network hardware. One unifying thread runs through the product line--virtually all of Cisco's products run the Internetwork Operating System, or IOS. As James Boney, author of "Cisco IOS in a Nutshell" says (O'Reilly, US $34.95), this is both a great advantage and a great disadvantage.
"On the one hand," Boney observes, "when you're familiar with one Cisco router, you're reasonably familiar with them all. Someone using a small ISDN router in a home office could look at a configuration file for a high-end router at an ISP and not be lost." Boney adds that while that person may not understand how to configure the more esoteric routing protocols or high-speed network interfaces, he'd be looking at a language that was recognizable all the same.
"On the other hand," Boney adds, "this uniformity means just about everything has been crammed into IOS at one time or another." The result is a massive operating system with an ungraceful command line interface and command verbs that can mean completely different things in different contexts. The volume of documentation available is daunting; with more than 100,000 pages of information, finding what you need to know is a challenge.
"That's why I wrote this book," Boney explains. "It is primarily a quick reference to the commands that are most frequently needed to configure Cisco routers for standard IP routing tasks. This is far from a complete quick ref to all of IOS--such a quick ref would be well over 2000 pages long, and clearly too long to be useful. Above all, this is a network administrator's book: it represents practical experience with IP routing on Cisco routers and covers the commands that you're likely to need."
Cisco IOS in a Nutshell consolidates the most important commands and features of IOS into a single volume. It begins with a brief, example-oriented tutorial that shows how to accomplish common tasks. The bulk of the book is a quick-reference guide to the commands most commonly used in IP routing applications. Brief descriptions and lists of options guide the network administrator through figuring out what commands are needed to accomplish any task, from setting up a serial interface to using applications such as packet filtering, address translation, and traffic prioritization. Cisco IOS in a Nutshell may not be the only book a system administrator will ever need on Cisco, but it is sure to be an indispensable resource.
Cisco IOS In a
By James Boney
ISBN 1-56592-942-X, 592 pages, $34.95 (US), $52.95 (CAN)
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