Publisher: SAMS Publishing
Mike Wolf, author of Speed!
Understanding and Installing Home Networks, is an
analyst for the Cahners In-Stat research group. He specializes
in "residential connectivity technologies" and
brings a wealth of professional background to covering home
network installation. Luckily, he doesn't bring any stodgy,
research-report writing with him. He manages to convey the
subject of home networking technology and setups in a conversational
and easy to follow manner.
This well organized book is jam packed with details about
the things that affect any network builder, such as setting
up Windows - even XP, which gets extensive coverage - or
understanding IP addresses used on a private network. At
the same time, he manages to gloss over details that would
make a book like this appear dated in a few months. For
instance, you'll find few mentions of specific networking
products, though he does name a few stand-bys from Netgear,
Linksys and the like when covering routers and Network Attached
Storage. He gets more specific when talking about home automation,
which is an area sewn up by X-10 (the company and the technology).
24 chapters are grouped into sections that cover first
network planning -- the part most of us skip - and move
on to the actual wiring and hardware options for Ethernet,
wireless, phoneline, and powerline. The software setup section
is where the book really shines, with thorough coverage
of setting up Windows Me and XP (which is easily extrapolated
to Windows 98 and 2000, respectively). Macintosh networks
are covered in a separate chapter with descriptions of setting
up straight peer-to-peer connections, bridging Ethernet
with LocalTalk, and more.
Sharing Internet connections rates its own section - covering
it is Wolf's day job, after all - and goes from basic "what
is broadband" to describing Internet sharing as hard
(with a router) or soft (via ICS or proxy software).
The next sections cover the fun stuff like gaming and how
the future is leading to specialized devices on the network,
whether for storage or connecting your network appliance
or PDA. Much of this is opinion and conjecture, as there
are no proven killer apps in this area yet.
While those later chapters are fun and interesting, the
"understanding and installing home networks,"
as the subtitle of the book suggests, is the guts of it,
and Wolf does a remarkable job making it easy for novices