O'Reilly Book Reviewer

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: Practical Packet Analysis using wireshark to solve real-world network problems by Chris Sanders (No Starch Press, Inc)

Unlike other books on networking that I have read, this book assumes nothing about the reader. Any general IT professional should be able to pick this book up and pick up the concepts right away. The author starts with very basic concepts and builds slowly and steadily over the subsequent chapters. I learned how to sniff packets and analyze them which has become my new favorite hobby. Chapters 1 and 2 start with basic networking concepts, protocols, layouts, etc. Chapter 3 explains how to get started with Wireshark, the tool of choice for this book. Chapter 4 explains how to analyze the packets that were captured. Chapter 5 delves deeper into advanced Wireshark features. The rest of the book goes deeper into explaining lower and upper level protocols, real-world scenarios, slow networks, and security.

Recently I had a crisis at work. A group of hackers had attacked the corporate network and as a result everything was shutdown for security reasons. As the network was gradually opened up for business, our business partners were not able to call some of our web services. That was a puzzling thing as other web services were reachable. As a lead for the application development team I had no idea how to debug this except to set up a SWAT team meeting with the infrastructure and networking team. I was the weakest link in the room as I had no idea what the terms and terminologies meant. Needless to say, I was embarassed. The one thing that was spoken about frequently in those meetings was Wireshark. I couldn't find a good book on Wireshark at that time so the moment this book came out, I decided to review it. I am really impressed by this book. Not that I am waiting for a crisis at work, but the next time I would definitely be well-prepared thanks to this book.

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