Home > Blogs > Great TCP/IP Book/Resource: "IP Networking"

It's always interesting to go looking on the Web for information and to find none. That's how I concluded that the book that's sitting on my desk at the moment is an advance copy. I'm talking about another opus from veteran Cisco Press author and all-around networking guy, Wendell Odom. It's entitled IP Networking and it's a real gem of a book.

As the author of a college textbook on TCP/IP (Guide to TCP/IP, currently going into a fourth edition with a total reworking for IPv6 coverage) I'd like to think I know a little something about the IP protocol suite. I bow before Mr. Odom, however, who has written over 30 books for Cisco Press (plus numerous video tutors, simulators, and such-like) all of which dig deeply into the inner workings of IP at many levels.

His latest book is a grand overview of IP networking. It starts with an homage to the ISO and TCP/IP networking models, in the dance of the four and seven layers, respectively, and continues on to provide an insightful exposition of how IP works on both LANs and WANs. It also covers IPv4 address classes, IP addressing and routing, and TCP transport, apps, and security. Only in chapter 7 does the focus turn to Cisco with a tour-de-force discussion of operating Cisco routers.

Chapter 8 tackles IP subnetting, Chapter 9 subnet mask conversion, and Chapter 10 analyzing subnet masks, all as a prelude to Chapter 11, which deals with Cisco router configuration. Chapter 12 digs into static and connected routes, then Chapter 13 returns to the analysis of existing subnets in considerably more detail.

Chapter 14 picks up with routing protocol fundamentals and concepts along with a discussion of RIP-2 configuration issues. Routing gets serious in the next chapter, with a discussion of how to troubleshooting IP routing issues, and then a deep dive into EIGRP concepts and configurations.

Subnets pop up again in the next section, with discussions of subnet design (Chapter 17) and subnet IDs (Chapter 18). Next you'll dig into variable length subnet masks (aka VLSM) and another unit on troubleshooting IP routing. OSPF is the next topic, followed by OSPF and EIGRP troubleshooting, IPv6, and several switch-related chapters (Ethernet switches, Ethernet switch configuration, and VLANs). The final section of the book tackles WAN technologies, including point-to-point WANs, and frame relay concepts and configurations.

For budding and practicing Cisco professionals, this is a great read and a terrific reference. My only beef with the book is that it maintains a nearly-exclusive IPv4 focus, with only a single chapter on IPv6. It's just a matter of time before Mr. Odom, like myself, is going to have to rework this text completely to add parallel coverage of all the many IPv4 topics and technologies he covers in this edition, to shine the same level of light and coverage on IPv6. Given that this book has a copyright date of 2012, and that IPv4 exhaustion is upon us, I'm a little suprised that he didn't choose to provide dual coverage of both stacks throughout this book. But other than that, it's a peach of a title, and well worth owning for the vast majority of current practicing IT professionals who work on IPv4 networks.

This book also sheds light on the whole Cisco certification program, including CCT, CCENT, CCNA, all the Cisco Professional and Specialist certs, and even CCIE. Definitely worth checking out, and probably worth adding to most IT professionals' libraries.