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Top-Down Network Design - Cisco Press

Top-Down Network Design - Cisco Press - PCSTATS
Abstract: According to the author, this 530-page hardcover manual is intended to teach networking professionals the essentials and procedures required to plan, design, implement.
 76% Rating:   
Filed under: Networking Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Cisco Press Nov 22 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Networking > Cisco Press Cisco Press

Networking Content

The first four chapters of the book are devoted to the top-down methodology, as well as properly enumerating your customer's networking needs. Chapter 2 includes a daunting (but useful) list of items that need to be considered and verified prior to designing your network. Chapter three covers enumerating an existing network structure and chapter four covers analyzing and preparing for your networks data traffic needs. This whole section, while initially intimidating, becomes a useful resource with repeated reading and use of the provided checklists and materials. It should be mentioned at this point that top-Down Network Design is not a quick, easily digested read. this manual contains a huge amount of information, and should be afforded repeated reading to get the most out of it.

The second section of the book, comprising chapters 5-9, covers the logical planning of a top-down network. Designing network topology is covered, as is naming and address design, selecting switch and router protocols to support the network, identifying and planning for security concerns and organizing network management.

The third section of Top-Down Network Design involves selecting devices and technologies for both campus (networking topology involving several subnetworks with little physical distance between them) and enterprise (large scale WAN, spread out physical networks) topologies. Chapters 10 and 11 make up this section, and both include a single, highly detailed case study. These case studies are one of the best features of the book, and provide a graphic illustration of how to use the methodologies and preparation checklists outlined in the first and second sections. As you'd expect, the hardware examples in the case studies use Cisco products exclusively. Given Cisco's prominence in the area of routers and switches though, this is not really an issue.

The fourth and final section of the book covers testing, optimizing and documenting your network design (chapters 12-14). The chapter on network testing includes another excellent case study covering a hypothetical company's attempt to determine whether adding new users and a new order-entry system will over stress their network. Great stuff. It's odd that among the potential testing tools listed in this chapter, no mention is made of virtual server and client software from Microsoft or VMware though, since these are among the most useful resources available to anyone who needs to test the impact of changes on a network. Could this be because Cisco does not offer an equivalent product?

The last chapter, on documenting a network design, was one of my favourite parts of the book. It lays out a detailed plan for a business network proposal, going over the information that should be included and where to place it. The only thing that would have made it better would be an actual example of a completed proposal.

A single appendix covers the boot and connection behaviour of a variety of common networking protocols. A list of references and recommended reading and a 40+ page glossary of terms round out the book.

At $87 CDN ($60USD) I think Top-Down Network Design would be a worthwhile purchase for any networking professional who is planning to upgrade or design a business network for the first time. The included case studies are excellent, and the chapter on documenting a network design would be invaluable to anyone new to this potentially intimidating task. While we felt that the writing style could have been simpler, this is a complaint common to almost all mid- to high-level technical books.

It's important to note that this Cisco Press book is not an all-in-one solution to network design though. It does not cover the practical details of the equipment and procedures involved in setting up a business network, so considerable additional research will be neccessary. View this volume as a starting point and touchstone for your network design. Reading it a few times will help you wrap your head around what needs to be done, and help you focus further research effectively.

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Contents of Article: Cisco Press Cisco Press
 Pg 1.  Top-Down Network Design - Cisco Press
 Pg 2.  — Networking Content

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