Book Review: Network Know-How (Win a Copy!)

By Linsey Knerl on 11 March 2009 (Updated 30 June 2009) 86 comments

Most people think of computer networks as something that IT guys and the Geek Squad are best equipped to deal with.  But did you know that any home with more than one computer or wireless device can benefit from knowing network basics? This essential guide for the accidental admin can keep your home and office efficient – and can save you money over hiring a professional. 

I knew I was going to like this book, when it opened with a quote from Henry David Thoreau: “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas: but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”  How true, and how fitting. 

John Ross has experience with both the wired and wireless networks of such companies as Motorola and AT&T, and yet he is exquisite at making networking knowledge something that even the simplest home office can easily apply.  His advice is presented with clear language and effective graphics in this easy read from No Starch Press (the guys who brought us How to Be a Geek Goddess.)  You’ll know right away if the book is for you: Did you plan on never needing to run a computer network, but have suddenly found yourself with more than one computer in your home or office? 

The applications for the information are endless. Here are some examples of households that could use Network Know-How:

  • Homeschoolers with more than one computer in their classroom.  (Even two kids with separate PC’s will benefit from the file sharing applications.)
  • Road warriors who are tired of the syncing process between their laptop and desktop.
  • Anyone interested in home automation (the control of several appliances and electronics from one or more master remotes.  Security systems and home entertainment centers are common candidates.)
  • The thousands of us who have dealt (unsuccessfully) with a finicky router or other wireless device 

The book starts out with some basic theory, which is surprisingly helpful when starting your home network.  (When you can understand how your machines can work together, it makes for a much simpler application.)  It continues with detailed directions on how to set up and configure all of your devices (shared printers, for example).  It concludes with a complete troubleshooting guide (which alone is worth the price of the book.) 

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

After reading Network Know-How, I’ve come to two conclusions: 

  1. Networking is going to be a reality for almost every home.  If you don’t know how to do it, you should learn.  (And save yourself the cost of having a professional bill you by the hour.)
  2. I really shouldn’t have thrown out that Linksys router that was acting up.  I now know the problem (and could have saved $60 by reading this first.) 

While we would all like to think that setting up a wireless or wired network is as easy as “plugging it in,” you can get much more from your computer and peripherals by understanding all the options for the most efficient system.  This guide can, at the very minimum, help you install a router without the often buggy software setup that many routers come with.  With more involved applications, it can give you ultimate freedom (and security) with a well-designed and extensive home network.

Want to give it a read?  No Starch Press has 4 new copies of Network Know-How: An Essential Guide for the Accidental Admin to send to a few lucky Wise Bread readers.  To enter the giveaway, post a comment below by March 31st, 2009. U.S. and Canada only.  Must be 18 or older to enter.

Wise Bread will not sell or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact the winner. 

 

 

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Guest's picture
Jill

Would love to win the book!

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JMS

My husband would love this book!

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Jen F

Ooh, I want to Know How!

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BradS

I would love to give it a read.

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WynnKe

Not just another good read; "Network Know-How" sounds positively empowering! (And I could sure use some power.)

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Ellen

I would love this book. Our router keeps deciding to restart the internet randomly (channel conflict? overheating? who knows!?) I suspect the book might not help with that, but at least I'll set up a better network if I have it when I finally give up and just get a new router finally. Heh.

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KelR1

I'd love (and need!) this book. I'm one of those that just wants to be able to turn the computer on and go and have it work perfectly all the time. I'm not well-informed on the more technical aspects. :)

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Jason Wallace

I would love to read this book. I'd love to share with family and relatives who would truly benefit from the knowledge being shared.

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Gretchen

These guys put out great books!!

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asithi

I have no clue on how to install a network. This would help.

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Catherine

I could make great use of this book both personally and professionally - what a great resource!

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DJ Butler

I'm the one you want

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Paul

The book sounds great. I'd love to win a copy.

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Amy

I think that the Networking book would come in WAY handy! Please enter me in the contest. :)

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Emily

The book sounds so interesting. I'd love to win a copy!

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Tyler

I'm relatively skilled with computers, but I could definitely need some help when it comes to networking.

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Andie

Wonder if the library has a copy?

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JunO

This sounds like something I could use, too, as I seem to be adding more devices at home. Creating a network would make things much easier.

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Eric

I would love to give it a read!

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Steph

We just got a second computer so have been going through trying to link the two together. Something like this would definitely be helpful!

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brian

I'm game for the contest.

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Me! I'm the go-to person for networking in this house, but my knowledge is patched together from Google and manuals.

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Matt

I'd love to win a copy!

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lizriz

This book certainly seems more useful that the Earthlink help desk. Not that that's actually saying anything at all.

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professor

Free is good, me winning is better!

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Brian

I would love the book, Thanks for the contest!!!!

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Splendor

What a coincidence! I just started reading!

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Stephen

I love freebies!

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Leigh

This would be great to win

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Therese

I would like to enter to win this book :)

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amy

I would love this book. I spent hours trying to set up
my Dad's dlink router......I wish I knew more about setting
up networks.

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Naomi

Oh, I could definitely use a book like this. Networking makes my head explode.

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Anne

Yes....I'd love to win this book!

Thanks

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JC

Sounds like an interesting read.

Guest's picture

Oh, I'd love to win this book! I cannot even figure out how to have my three printers all print from the same printer, and I'm sure this book would solve that dilemma in no time flat. Thanks!

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Hollie

I could use this! I've spent hours on the phone with linksys and I haven't even begun to network our printers or accessories.

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Sam

I could so use this book - as the tech person in my social circle I'm constantly getting calls about how XXX person just bought really cool XXX device and now they can't get it to work with xxx.
I miss the old days when people didn't try to do these things at home -LOL.
This weekend it looks like I've got to figure out how to get a new plasma TV to talk to someone's laptop... any one have a any tips for that?? If so please let me know :)

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Bobbie

Looks like I'm too late for my comment to warrant having the book..but, like the others, I would love to have the book...I'm pretty computer literate, but could always use the extra help...my daughter was my computer person but she moved and took my computer geek with her...:o)...she helps when she can, but is too far away for hands-on help.

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Guest

This sounds like a great book that I could really use. I'm computer literate just enough to get myself out of small problems, but not do a lot of the more complicated stuff. This book looks like it would greatly help me move further down the path of computer independence. Thanks for the chance to win!

Guest's picture
Guest

We have 2 laptops, 1 PC, a Wii, an XBox 360, 2 WiFi BlackBerrys and a Vonage router, all accessing our wireless router; they don't all play nicely together. It would be fantastic to be able to troubleshoot problems, rather than just resetting everything and hoping for the best.

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karen

thank you for the chance to win something so helpful!
by extension, that makes you even more helpful!
i would like to read this book!

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Looby

Wow this sounds great- maybe then I'd be on a more equal footing with my geeky other half (and I wouldn't have to wait for him to get home from work to help me!)

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Marilou

I'm going to add it to my amazon wishlist in case I don't win :)

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Kristin

I would love this

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ryan

i would love to win.

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Jon

I could really use this book.

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Scott

This could be useful as we are looking at homeschooling, and my son loves the computer as a teaching tool.

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Guest

My husband and I once tried to network our three home computers together... it was a day wasted. We tried lots of times and lots of ways. Being two computer-savvy people, we were very disappointed in ourselves. I could really use this book!

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Sophie

My husband and I once tried to network our three home computers together... it was a day wasted. We tried lots of times and lots of ways. Being two computer-savvy people, we were very disappointed in ourselves. I could really use this book!

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Karen

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book...I think it will be a great addition to our DIY library.

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Paul

I could learn a thing or two from this!

Guest's picture

Please enter me for the giveaway, would love to fix my home network!

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lynne

a book for the rest of us. Those who need to get the network working but don't need to pass a technical interview.

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Rhonda

This sounds like a great book!

Guest's picture
Wow!

What a great book - as a recent purchaser of a router myself, I could really use a book like this. Thanks for the post!

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Guest

My brother has a home network. I thought we could not afford one but you sound like you are saying we can! I would love to get this book!!

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bjs1109

Ah, Home Networking for Dummies. Something we've all needed for some time now.

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Aaditi

that'll be useful once I move out of the house.. hopefully by this summer.. this college grad wants to fly!

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Lifeson

Does the book include information on building a home web server? I'd imagine that'd be a fairly popular thing to do with old computers, and fits right in with the theme.

Even if it doesn't, I'll still try to win a copy...

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Guest

this book sounds interesting, i love learning more about computers & how things work...the win would be great!

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Guest

This is something I need to know, and have put off learning about. Now it is all in one easy place!

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Patrick

I've would love to win this book to network my current home office.

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Guest

I'd like to win one!

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Robbi

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
A book like this
Is surely a "must"

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Jan Watson

This is why I love coming here. You always have good ideas and often times crucial info for things I'm unaware of or just dying to know more about. This is one of those 'dying to know more about' moments. We just bought a second computer and I've been wondering if and how we could get them to work together. This book looks like it would answer these questions. Keep up the good work!

Guest's picture

I hope I win. ;-)

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guill

I like your article about how this book helped you and can help others. I am currently trying to set up a home network so that my wife and I can use the internet together. I think this book might be able to help me out. Hope I can get one to review.

Guest's picture
Vin

Pick me!

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LJ

Wow -- this looks like a book I could really use. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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Renee G

Wow --- I really could learn how to do this and not rely on my teenage son.

rsgrandinetti(at)yahoo(dot)com

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kim v

Thanks for the giveaway!

kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

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MRS.MOMMYY

this would really help

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Sandra K321

My husband does all of the computer networking stuff at our house. I could use this book so I could figure out some of the routing,etc. so I would know how it works.

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Aaron

It would be great to get a look at this book and maybe be able to rely a little less on the teenager next door.

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Lynne

I could really use this book.

From reading the review, I see that networking know-how can help me with a lot of the file-sharing issues my husband I currently have.

Guest's picture
Guekim v

We could use this.
Thanks for the giveaway!
kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

Guest's picture

Can anybody give me a e-book or article about network basics? i am new at network.?

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Ivan A

Look forward to reading it!

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Le

We could really use this at our house.

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Brent

Once I know how to network stuff, how long will it be before I accidentally bring about the development of Terminators? I know how this works--I've seen the movies! Still, it would be handy....

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Dennis

I would put this to work immediately to help my wife and I, and the kids when they come around, be able to use all our computers and network in things like media peripherals!

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Crabcakes

I would be thrilled to terabytes to WIN this book! Thank you for the review!

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Kym

Okay, if I can't win this, I am definitely reading it anyway.

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TimB

I am wanting to move my pc dvr by the tv. I will then need to create a network to hook it to my working pc and the internet for listings. This will be just in time to help me figure out how to do all this. Hope I win.

Guest's picture
Chatak

I would love to have this book and learn about networking

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Creagy

Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. I have a granddaughter who is starting university in the Fall and she has asked me to help her set up a Home Network for her and her high-school sister.I plan to use one of my older PCs along with her current desktop. This may prove to be a stiff learning curve for me but I am more than willing to give it a try.