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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Virtual Private Networking", Bruce Perlmutter/Jonathan

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKVRPRNG.RVW 20000111 Virtual Private Networking , Bruce Perlmutter/Jonathan Zarkower, 2000, 0-13-020335-1 %A Bruce Perlmutter bruce@ispb.com %A
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2000
      BKVRPRNG.RVW 20000111

      "Virtual Private Networking", Bruce Perlmutter/Jonathan Zarkower,
      2000, 0-13-020335-1
      %A Bruce Perlmutter bruce@...
      %A Jonathan Zarkower
      %C One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
      %D 2000
      %G 0-13-020335-1
      %I Prentice Hall
      %O +1-201-236-7139 fax: +1-201-236-7131
      %P 268 p.
      %T "Virtual Private Networking: A View From the Trenches"

      The aim of the authors is to make this book different from others in
      the Virtual Private Network (VPN) field. In this they have, to a
      certain extent, succeeded. The book does not merely rehash old
      approaches, analogies, and illustrations. While this determined
      novelty does not always work, and sometimes gives the book a ragged
      feel, there is a freshness to it that is engaging. Perlmutter and
      Zarkower also wanted to make the book fun: they don't always succeed,
      although their humour remains light throughout, and never descends
      into the heavy sarcasm that befalls most who insist on larding their
      books with jokes. The levity is amusing, but it isn't really
      illustrative.

      The text also aims at a rather unique audience. As well as presenting
      the concepts to business people needing a basic understanding, the
      material emphasizes the ability of the Internet Service Provider
      (ISP), and particularly the small one, to offer VPN technology as a
      value added service. This means that the book looks at both sides of
      the picture, and the view thus generated is both interesting and
      useful.

      Chapter one offers a good introduction to the basic concepts. The
      evolution of networking adds a depth of understanding to this prelude
      in chapter two. (I would note that the authors suggest cable modems
      and Digital Subscriber Line [DSL] technologies can be used in
      conjunction with VPNs in order to create a high speed connection
      between offices. It should be pointed out that both cable systems and
      the most common form of DSL have an inherent asymmetry of bandwidth
      that prevents this usage.) The business case for VPNs is made
      carefully and realistically in chapter three. Tunneling is discussed
      in chapter four, although some ends are left loose. An example of a
      problem with encapsulating Appletalk over PPTP (Point to Point
      Tunneling Protocol) seems to beg the question of whether the
      application can be made to work. Chapter five is not simply a list of
      available products, but an outline of the types of VPN components and
      devices that can be used. Considerations to be made when choosing,
      and getting ready for, a VPN are brought forward in chapter six, while
      the ways that ISPs can offer service are examined in chapter seven.
      Chapter sight closes off with a realistic look at new technologies
      that will soon be affecting VPN decisions.

      Within the book there are a number of boxed items. These are
      variously scenarios, sidebars, comments, or other material entirely,
      and it isn't always clear which they are intended to be. Many of the
      scenarios are extremely short, and really don't explain anything.
      These materials should not necessarily have been excluded, but more
      thought could have been given to their purpose, and whether or not
      they fulfilled it.

      This is a practical and realistic guide to the reasons for, and
      construction of, a Virtual Private Network. Users (and particularly
      small to medium business users) and ISPs alike will benefit from the
      explanations herein.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2000 BKVRPRNG.RVW 20000111

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