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Keywords: Home networks, file sharing, LAN
Title: Home Networking Annoyances
Author: Kathy Ivens
Verdict: A useful book to have around.
Time was when a home network consisted of two computers connected with a piece of string with a modem on one of them and impatient users on both. Nowadays a home network is as likely to mix wired and wireless, desktops and laptops, a mix of operating systems and impatient users on each of them. Some things just don't change?
Home Networking Annoyances, by Kathy Ivens, is designed to assist the poor soul charged with setting up and maintaining a Windows-flavoured network in the family abode (or a small office). It takes a very practical approach to the trials and tribulations of sharing files, devices, internet connections, media and so on. It's not a book that's aimed at the IT professional, it's aimed at the technically competent but inexperienced home user. As such it assumes limited existing knowledge, though it's expected that the reader knows and understands enough about Windows and computers not to be afraid of diving down to the command-line on occasion.
The tone of the text is engaging and helpful, and it avoids the ultimate sin of patronising the reader. The book is organised by topic, and within each topic there are lists of specific tasks. Organising by task makes it easy to navigate the book, which makes this a good book to refer to rather than one that you need to read cover to cover.
The range of topics is fairly wide, and includes a mix of hardware, software and configuration. Hardware includes ranges from the absolute basics of explaining what a network card is to looking at the differences between routers and hubs, modems, DSL connections and more. Software covers everything from TCP/IP to setting up software firewalls, enabling file sharing, sharing email across a network and more.
It's not just the range of topics that's important, it's also the range of network types that are covered. In addition to looking at wired ethernet networks, the book also includes coverage of wireless networking and the less-common power-line networks. And of course there's coverage of how to fix problems in each of them and how to make them live happily together.
For anyone at home who has to keep a network running smoothly, or who wants to expand, then this is certainly a good book to have around. Recommended.