Home > Articles > Cisco Network Technology > New First-Step book Provides an Easy Start to Computer Networking

New First-Step book Provides an Easy Start to Computer Networking

  • Article is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: May 7, 2004.


  1. New First-Step book Provides an Easy Start to Computer Networking

Like this article? We recommend

Computer Networking First-Step

Computer Networking First-Step

$27.99 (Save 20%)

New First-Step book Provides an Easy Start to Computer Networking

It's Saturday night, and you've just arrived at a party. While sipping your drink, you overhear someone saying, "Our campus has 23 VLANs, and we had problems—the MAC addresses just weren't showing up in the address table! Eventually, we realized that IP routing was broken because of an OSPF design problem caused by some bad subnet masks—we used a /25 when we should've used a /26, and it was a mess." So what do you do? Run the other way? Ask your spouse if you can go home now? Or at least drift to another part of the room, and spark a conversation with someone else about one of your hobbies?

You might want to talk about computing or networking at a party, but a lot of people need some knowledge about networking today. In fact, a lot of people need to have what I call a conversational knowledge of networking—the ability to talk about it in general, to understand, and to ask good questions of a vendor or network engineer—but no need to understand every little detail, or be able to do it themselves. While the average person probably doesn't want to talk networking at a party, it can be important in a lot of jobs.

For example, most mid-level managers in the IT departments of most companies are former technical people at those same companies, but not all started out in the networking part of IT. Now they manage the networking department, and they have final decision-making responsibilities for networking equipment purchases, but their only knowledge about networking is whatever they happened to pick up by accident in their earlier jobs. At a minimum, they need to know something about what vendors, or their networking team leaders, mean when they explain why you should buy a particular product. But that manager certainly doesn't need to know all the details of how to install the device and make it work—in effect, they need to be able to talk about it with networking professionals, and be able to know what questions to ask to get the job done.

Many others might need a conversational knowledge of networking: networking salespeople, IT professionals in areas other than networking, or even people totally new to the IT world, but who need a good place to start learning about networking. However, most sources of information focus on the network engineer who by definition does want to learn all the details about a networking topic. Those same people who need a conversational knowledge of networking also have lots of other things to do, and they really can't take the time to read all the details in a book geared for a network engineer just to get a general idea about the technology. Instead, a different kind of networking book is needed, and that's what Cisco Press' new First-Step series is about.

The First-Step series of books from Cisco Press hopes to provide a clean, easy way to get started learning about networking. Each book is written in a more casual style than most technical books, but still describes a broad range of concepts and terms related to networking. The goal is that for someone who wants to know about the main topic of the book—say, network security—they can read the book and be assured of a couple of things. First, the book assumes that all terms need to be described at least briefly, so even if the reader hasn't heard the term, it will make sense after reading the book. The flow of the topics has been created to make it an easy read cover-to-cover, rather than a reference book. You could just read a typical First-Step book for 10 minutes a day for a few weeks and learn a lot. And the books, although more casual in wording, certainly do define a fair amount of technical materials.

The series begins with Computer Networking First-Step, which covers a broad topic base on networking in general. Books on specific topic areas, like security, routing, TCP/IP, LAN switching, and others will follow Computer Networking First-Step. For those people who want a good, broad foundation, Computer Networking First-Step is a good place to start. For those who already know a lot of the basics, but want more on a particular topic area, one of the other books in the series makes the most sense.

In my own experience, lots of people have wanted to clarify a point about networking or just learn the basics about something. It's not that networking is that hard—frankly, most of it is pretty simple. It's just that there's so much to know. What is difficult is knowing how to get started, identifying the right base of information, and getting your questions answered. I personally like to think of the First-Step series as books that read as if your friend is sitting there giving you several 10-minute talks about how this networking stuff really works, without having to get into all the details.

Whether you are interested in gaining a conversational knowledge of networking technologies, or you are looking to start a career as a networking professional, Cisco Press First-Step books will help you understand the technology essentials and provide you with the perfect introduction to the world of networking.

You can learn more about the First-Step series at www.ciscopress.com/firststep.

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020