Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Book Review – Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager Part 1

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

CUCM Part 1


Now that the CCIE version 3 blueprint is being tested on, I have started working on my second CCIE in Voice. While the new blueprint is focused on CUCM version 7, it turns out this book adds value even if it’s based on version 6.


Book Review – CCENT Network Simulator

Friday, March 13th, 2009

CCENT network simulator


Well, the days of using the Boson network simulator for your CCNA studies is over (thankfully!). I have used simulators quite often over the years and have had mixed feelings about them. I think the new CCENT network simulator will surprise a lot of people out there with mixed feelings about using simulators. You have to remember that simulators are scripted and pretty linear so don’t expect to be able to configure your own network scenarios and use any IOS command you can think of. The purpose of this simulator is to provide hands-on practice being able to master all the objectives on the CCNA exam. It simply runs from your PC once installed.


Book Review – CCNA Security Cert Flash Cards Online

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

CCNA Security flash cards online

Continuing my recent trend of reviewing some of the new CCNA material, my friends over at Pearson were kind enough to let me review the new online flash cards for the CCNA Security exam.


The first thing I want to point out is that this material is online only, so don’t expect to receive a printed copy. Unlike the CCNx flash cards of the past, this is online based which is the best way to go. The flash cards cover the exam blueprint objectives of the CCNA Security 640-553 exam.

Exam blueprint link


Book Review – ExamCram CCNA Voice

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

ExamCram CCNA Voice 640-460

Pearson was kind enough to send me a copy of ExamCram CCNA Voice 640-460 to review. I have to honestly say that this was my first time ever reading an ExamCram book so I was very curious to see what they are all about.

First off, I’m extremely glad to see some expansion in the associate Cisco certifications. I think this will make it a lot easier to get more exposure to the Voice, Security and Wireless tracks. Seeing that they now have voice offerings is a great thing for both employers and their employees. Man, I look forward to being able to teach CCNA again!


Book Review – Voice over IP Security

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Voice over IP Security

In preparation for the CCIE Voice Lab, I figured this would be a good book to read in terms of security. This book was recently published by Cisco Press and they were nice enough to send me a copy.

This book helps make the general security vulnerabilities known in terms of VOIP. Many security topics are covered such as :: DOS, session hijacking, media tapping, etc. This book also introduces the security capabilities for protocols such as H323, MGCP, SCCP and SIP.

Who should read this book?
It’s a great book for anyone looking into securing their VOIP network. This is a great starter book to help understand the challenges and different areas and protocols that need to be examined. I was hoping for more configuration related information, as this book is 95% theory based. If you understand what you need to do in terms of security but you’re looking for a practical implementation book, this isn’t the book for you. Anyone wanting to understand some of the general security concerns surrounding voice, should read this book as a first step.

What I didn’t like
Most of the screen output captures were dealing with the SIP protocol and very little was shown of SCCP and H323. While I understand the need to stay vendor neutral, I was surprised with the amount of SIP in this book. There is a lot of discussion surrounding SIP vulnerabilities. The last part of this book (last two chapters) dealt with lawful intercept. While I understand the use, I would have rather seen more configuration examples vs. something a smaller percentage of users will use.

What stands out
The first half of the book is probably the best. Part of security is understanding the signaling aspect of protocols like SIP, H323 and MGCP. The signaling process is broken down nicely and makes this book a great reference for call setup issues. The first half of the book also goes over the general security concerns you have to look out for.