Articles Tagged ‘Cisco Press’

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With this new collaboration, aims to bring closer to the community the people who write the great Cisco Press books we've all come to love and rely on. Cisco Press authors who hold at least one CCIE certification will be contributing as guest writers on, sharing their valuable knowledge and technical expertise with our global IT community, covering new exciting topics in Cisco Unified Communications, Cisco Security, Cisco Certifications, Cisco Wireless, Cisco Firewalls, Cisco Routing and much more!

In addition, will be interviewing these gurus, providing a first-hand insight into how they obtain their certifications, how they deal with challenging problems, revealing their proven troubleshooting techniques, listen to their advice for newcomers and engineers seeking to increase their knowledge and expertise, plus much more!

Cisco Express Forwarding

Title:              Cisco Express Forwarding
Authors:        Nakia Stringfield , Russ White, Stacia McKee
ISBN-10(13):     1587052369
Publisher:      Cisco Press
Published:     May 4, 2007
Edition:         1st Edition
Language:     English

star-4   buy-now

Cisco Express Forwarding

Normally a book review shouldn't start with a warning, well this one does: This book is not for everyone. There's a huge number of Cisco books available, many of them dealing with the same technology (routing, switching), some more in-depth than others, and some dedicated to a specific technology.

Some people don't know that many packets in a router are switched from an input interface to an output interface. This means that the main CPU of a router is not directly, or is less, involved in the forwarding of a packet. Initially all packets traversing a router were process switched, this had some serious performance issues. So Cisco came up with the idea to cache information to the interface processors. This was the birth of fast switching.

Somewhere in the 90's Cisco realized that Fast Switching had its limitations, and a new switching technology was developed which led to CEF (Cisco Express Forwarding). This has become the default switching method in almost all Cisco routers. This book deals with this exclusively.

The book has two parts, one dealing with understanding, configuring and troubleshooting (4 chapters), and the second part (3 chapters) has some CEF case studies.

Chapter 1 deals mainly with the architecture of a router and has some very detailed information about how memory, buffers and interfaces relate to each other.

Chapters 2 and 3 deal with understanding of and enhancements to the original CEF implementations. These two chapters have many show commands to clarify CEF.

Chapter 4 has an IP connectivity troubleshooting example in which CEF can help you to understand the problem, an excellent chapter.

Chapter 5 describes CEF on a Cat6500, which is hardware based, and the differences when troubleshooting CEF on a Cat6500.

Chapter 6 is all about load sharing with CEF. This, for me, is the best chapter of this book. It gives you real world configurations and problems and shows how CEF plays a role in load sharing. Excellent!

Chapter 7 deals with CEF in an MPLS VPN environment. Together with chapter 6 it provides really useful information; information you can apply directly in your network.

In the beginning I mentioned that this book is not for everyone - let me clarify that.

Most people know how to drive a car: use the key to start the engine and off you go, sometimes you have to fill it up. For most people this is enough. Then there are people who understand some of the lights on the dashboard and how to take action on these. But only a few people really understand how a car works, and are capable of dealing with any mechanical problem that might occur.

In the same manner, this book will provide the insight required to understand how CEF truly works inside Cisco's routers and switches.

This book can promote you to the elite; it is the last piece of the puzzle that will tell exactly how packets are moved inside a router.


Cisco LAN Switching (CCIE Professional Development Series)

Title:              Cisco LAN Switching (CCIE Professional Development Series)
Authors:        Kennedy Clark, Kevin Hamilton
ISBN-10(13):     1578700949
Publisher:      Cisco Press
Published:     August 26, 1999
Edition:         1st Edition
Language:     English

Reviewer: John Korakis

star-4   buy-now

Cisco Lan Switching

If “Routing TCP/IP Vol 1 & 2” by Jeff Doyle and Jennifer Carroll is considered the bible of Routing, this book should definitely be considered the bible of LAN Switching.

The authors cover a wide spectrum of technologies in great detail, combining technical with easy to read writing. Theory, explanation and examples are smoothly integrated into the text, making complex technical issues fun to read and easy to understand. The fair amount of humor used aims in that direction too.

The only disadvantage of this book is its age. Published in 1999, it naturally lacks information regarding technologies created and adopted in more recent years such as the newer versions of Spanning Tree, while it covers outdated subjects such as Token Ring and Cat OS CLI. However, things have not changed that much in the LAN Switching field since then and learning some history never harmed anyone.

The book is organized in six parts which contain a total of eighteen chapters.

Foundational Issues

Part I (chapters 1 to 5) is called “Foundational Issues”. This part describes the technologies upon which the rest of the subjects described in the book are based.

Chapter 1, “Desktop Technologies” covers Ethernet (Legacy, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet) and Token Ring.

Chapter 2 covers some ways of “Segmenting LANs”.

Chapter 3 is about “Bridging Technologies”, in particular Transparent Bridging, Token Ring Bridging and Token Ring Switching.

Chapter 4, “Configuring the Catalyst” explores general Catalyst configuration issues using detailed command examples. This chapter’s configuration examples, as well as the vast majority of them throughout this book, are based on the so called Cat OS CLI, which is seldom used nowadays. It is worth noting, however, that anyone who has used the native IOS CLI used on the more recent Catalysts should be able to recognize the similarities with the good old Cat OS.

Chapter 5, finally, covers “VLANs”.

Spanning Tree

Part II (chapters 6 and 7) is dedicated to “Spanning Tree”. These two are among the best (if not the best of all) chapters ever written in a networking book. They simply contain everything about Spanning Tree.

Chapter 6, “Understanding Spanning Tree”.

Chapter 7, “Advanced Spanning Tree”.


Part III (chapters 8 to 10) covers “Trunking”.

Chapter 8, “Trunking Technologies and Applications” describes Ethernet Trunks, FDDI Trunks and ATM Trunks, as well as some Trunking Options.

Chapter 9, “Trunking with LAN Emulation” begins with a brief ATM tutorial and continues with explaining ATM LAN Emulation (LANE). The LANE part begins with the amusing skit “Let’s go to the LANE Bar”, attempting to describe this complex technology in an original and fun way.

Chapter 10, “Trunking with Multiprotocol over ATM” explains MPOA. No skit this time!

Advanced Features

Part IV (chapters 11 to 13) introduce some “Advanced Features”.

Chapter 11, “Layer 3 Switching” covers Router-on-a-Stick, RSM, MLS, HSRP and Integration between Routing and Bridging.

Chapter 12, “VLAN Trunking Protocol”, covers Cisco’s VTP theory and configuration.

Chapter 13, “Multicast and Broadcast services” is about CGMP, IGMP, IGMP Snooping and Broadcast Suppression.

Part V (chapters 14 to 18), “Real-World Campus Design and Implementation”.

Chapter 14, “Campus Design Models” contains some theory regarding Campus Design.

Chapter 15, “Campus Design Implementation” contains advice and best practices on implementing all the previously described technologies in the book.

Chapter 16, “Troubleshooting” introduces a couple of troubleshooting philosophies and tools.

Chapter 17, “Case Studies: Implementing Switches” covers two real-world design examples with sample configurations.

Chapter 18, “Catalyst 6000 Technology” describes the Catalyst 6000/6500 switches technology and introduces the Native IOS Mode Configuration, found in today’s Catalysts.


Cisco LAN Switching is mainly focused on Network Engineers looking for a quality reference book on LAN Switching or preparing for the CCIE certification. However, it could be extremely useful to anyone looking for expert level knowledge on Layer 2 LAN technologies.

Although the book is Cisco oriented, many of the subjects covered are open industry standards, making it a great choice for literally everybody.


Cisco Technologies

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