IPv6 Essentials, by Silvia Hagen

Reviewed by: Jim Huddle, send e-mail
Published by: O'Reilly & Associates, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $39.95

I've read quite a few books from O'Reilly and Associates. What I've noticed is that they are always well written, timely and that the subject is very well covered. IPv6 Essentials follows in this tradition but also has something else. The book is a pleasure to read.

IPv6, the next generation Internet Protocol, has been in the works since the early 90s when the rapid growth of the Internet threatened to exhaust existing IP addresses. From about 20 years of operational experience with the existing protocol (IPv4), the new protocol offers scalability, increased security features, real-time traffic support and auto-configuration to make it easier for novice users to connect a machine to the Internet.

When I sat down to read it IPv6 Essentials was just coming off a three month crash study run to update my CNE to MCNE and also to certify in Project +. The last thing I wanted was to read another tech book, but I'd agreed to do it so I started in. Imagine my surprise when SWMBO* called me down for supper. I had read about half the volume. I sat there a minute thinking I must have zoned out and actually read nothing. I went to the table of contents and as I looked over the chapter titles I could recall actual passages here and there and I knew what the chapters had been saying. The next morning I re-read sections and finally realized what had happened. I'd been perusing the writing of an author who had managed to provide excellent information in a manner that I can only describe as joyful. Reading this book is almost like reading a novel by Isaac Asimov. You practically devour the book and once your done, you know you've been somewhere else for a while and you've returned changed.

The book covers all the expected areas. It shows how IPv6 differs from IPv4 and details the framing and addressing in the specification. It also details how ICMP changes and is enhanced, as well as the spec's security aspects. Other chapters include quality of service, routing protocols and the upper layer protocols. The last chapter details how you can get your own IPv6 box up and running and covers Solaris, Linux, Microsoft and Cisco. The Appendices give the relevant RFCs, detailed information on IPv6 resources and a recommended reading list.

Whether you're ready to start implementing IPv6 or are creating plans for upcoming implementation, IPv6 Essentials will provide the foundation you need to get started. This book is not going to make you an expert on IPv6 the first time you read it. What it will do is make you want to come back and re-read it. Ms. Hagen, you are a peach and I'm going back for another read. Bye.

*She Who Must Be Obeyed (ever see Rumpole of the Bailey on PBS?)

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