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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
BGP
Author:
Iljitsch van Beijnum
ISBN:
0-596-00254-8
Publisher:
O'Reilly
Pages:
272pp
Price:
£28-50
Reviewer:
Catriona O'Connell
Subject:
internet; routers
Appeared in:
16-2
The full title of this book "BGP: Building Reliable Networks with the Border Gateway Protocol" reflects the content of this book. It is about using BGP as a component in network design.

BGP is the major EGP (Exterior Gateway Protocol) in use today. It is used to route traffic between ISPs and those sites that are multihomed (connected to more than one ISP). The intended reader would probably work for an ISP or on a site that has connections to multiple ISPs.

This book takes the reader through the process of configuring a Cisco router from a non-BGP configuration to a working BGP configuration. If you have other routers, then this book will be of less value.

Throughout the book there are useful tips and pitfalls, highlighted by margin icons. It would be even better if the tips and traps could have been collected together in one table.

The book starts with the obligatory throwaway chapter on the history of the Internet, but chapter 2 introduces us to BGP, Multiprotocol BGP (MBGP), IPv6 as well as a few pages on common Interior Routing Protocols. Chapter 3, on physical network design is not specific to BGP. Chapter 4 introduces the concept of an Autonomous System (AS). ASs are fundamental to BGP as they are the objects between which routing takes place. Chapters 5 and 6 are about the use of BGP. Chapter 7 is on security. Again, only half of this chapter is BGP-related, the first half being a general discourse on security issues. Chapter 8 on running a NOC is superfluous. Chapter 9 on troubleshooting was disappointing. Half of it was related to the general process and only the second half looked at BGP-specific issues. This section would have been improved if network packet trace dumps had been shown. Chapters 9 through 12 are of primary relevance to large networks and ISPs.

I remain to be convinced of the value of the appendices. Anyone configuring BGP should have enough knowledge to configure a router and know enough about binary logic and netmasks. If they did not I would be very worried about letting them loose on a real network.

The glossary at the end of the book lists some common networking terms, but omits the plethora of 2, 3 and 4 letter acronyms that are associated with BGP.

As a readable primer on BGP, this is a good book. For more detailed information you would be better advised to go to the author's website (www.bgpexpert.com) or pick another book. Personally I would have liked to have seen the non-BGP material replaced by more detailed BGP material.

If you are a network engineer who needs to get up to speed quickly on implementing BGP on Cisco routers then I would recommend this book.