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July 30, 2003

"Cisco Cookbook": Tackling Cisco Router Problems One Recipe at a Time

Sebastopol, CA--The inland canals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were the pre-locomotive engineering marvels of the western world. With an ingenious system of locks, gates, and sluices, they made it possible to transport huge amounts of bulk goods long distances, even uphill. Before their construction, you could ferry goods by barge, but you would need to stop, unload your goods, and lug them and the barge over each hill you reached, then reload everything and begin your journey once again. You would repeat this tedious, backbreaking process several times a day. The lock system transformed a monumentally challenging task into something manageable by breaking it into simple steps. Suddenly, one or two men could move an eighty-ton load of coal uphill without breaking into a sweat.

Managing and configuring Cisco's Internetwork Operating System (IOS) can also be monumentally challenging, but fortunately, most router configuration tasks can be broken into several more or less independent steps that make it pleasantly manageable. That's just what the Cisco Cookbook (O'Reilly, US $54.95) by Kevin Dooley and Ian J. Brown is for. The book offers a set of recipes that show network engineers how to perform the most common tasks so they can quickly come up with workable solutions to Cisco router problems.

The "Cisco Cookbook" presents solutions to the configuration problems that most frequently challenge network engineers, including:

  • Configuring interfaces of many types, from serial to ATM and Frame Relay -Configuring all of the common IP routing protocols (RIP, EIGRP, OSPF, and BGP)

  • Configuring authentication

  • Configuring other services, including DHCP and NTP

  • Setting up backup links and using HSRP to configure backup routers

  • Managing the router, including SNMP and other solutions

  • Using access lists to control the traffic through the router

The Cookbook also includes a collection of sample routers and scripts that the authors have found useful in real-world networks. "Everybody who has worked with Cisco routers for any length of time has had to ask their friends and co-workers for example router configuration files that show how to solve a common problem," write Dooley and Brown in the preface to their book. "A good working configuration example can often save huge amounts of time and minimize the frustration that sometimes comes with implementing a feature you've never used before."

Each recipe in the book begins with a problem statement that describes a common situation that a network administrator or engineer might face. This is followed by a brief solution that shows a sample router configuration or script that can be used to resolve that particular problem. A discussion section then describes the solution, how it works, and when it should or shouldn't be used.

Never has something cried out for a cookbook quite as much as Cisco's IOS. If you're experienced, the solutions and extensive explanations will give you new ideas and insights into router configuration. If you're not experienced, and you've been given responsibility for managing a network with Cisco routers, this book could be a job saver. Whatever your level of experience, the "Cisco Cookbook" will quickly become your resource for researching and solving complex router configuration issues, saving you time and making your network more efficient.

Additional Resources:

Cisco Cookbook
Kevin Dooley and Ian J. Brown
ISBN 0-596-00367-6, 885 pages, $54.95 US, $85.95 CA, 38.95 UK
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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