I-Net+ Study Guide

The i-Net+ exam was developed for the millions of job seekers who want to stand up tall and shout, “Hey! You! Companies! I know something about the Internet, so hire me for oodles of money!” And after you read the new Sybex i-Net+ Study Guide and pass the exam–because you will pass if you read this book thoroughly–you too will be able to join in the joy and revelry that comes with being one of those mysterious wizards who Understands The Net.

Okay… maybe it’s not that great. (For one thing, the secret handshake we Internet wizards have gives you all sorts of nasty cramps.) But it is a laudable and well-written overview of the basic issues involved in working with the Web, which is exactly what the i-Net+ is testing for–and whether you’re a long-term Net junkie checking your knowledge before the exam, or just a novice looking to position yourself for better and bigger things, this book will serve you very well.

Given the breadth of the topics that need to be covered, the guide is succinct but thorough. The writing is a cut above the usual mass of study guides, frequently taking oft-obtuse concepts like routing, copyright protection, and DHCP and putting them in simple terms that the layperson can understand. That said, the book is extremely text-heavy and uses illustrations sparsely, generally relying on long paragraphs to get the point across. If you’re more visual than verbal, this probably isn’t the book for you. The illustrations, primarily used to demonstrate routing and security concepts, are mostly top-notch and clarify the objectives nicely. Only one or two clunkers mar the excellent visuals.

But what about the content? The topics map closely to the i-Net+ objectives and range from the basics of internetworking and simple protocol explanations all the way up to mid-range explanations of basic Internet design concepts, i-Net troubleshooting, and security. The chapters on networking basics and site functionality are outstanding for striking that tenuous balance between too complex for the beginner and too simple to pass the test.

However, a couple of notable topics are skipped over too quickly: the programming language section passed by far too fast, with major up-and-coming topics like Active Server Pages getting a one-paragraph brushoff, and the potentially exam-critical fact that VBScript only works in Internet Explorer browsers gets only a parenthetical warning buried deeply in the text. Likewise, the explanation of HTML basics is far too brief and could have used better organization (say, a chart of the critical tags) to get beginners up to speed on simple HTML coding. In an inverse problem, the chapter on client configuration seems a trifle overworked.

There are 20 questions at the end of every chapter, with answers given immediately afterward (a change I applaud Sybex for making, since flipping all the way to the end of the book was très annoying). The questions are multiple-choice and tend to err on the shallow side, but by and large they give you decent preparation. There is an introductory assessment test and a final exam test, but for some reason Sybex chose not to let you know what a passing grade on these exams would be. (Try 75%, the passing grade on the actual i-Net+.) Tests on disk and a set of electronic flashcards provide more testing practice, although after taking all of them it’s still unclear whether the i-Net+ expects you to install all patches immediately or wait until the last minute.


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