In the past, I have browed through the Portable Command Guide series, and this is one of best of them, not only because of the content itself, but also because of how it’s structured and the colored diagrams.
This 324-page book is a goldmine for any student who is preparing for the CCNA exam. I wasn’t able to find a topic in the CCNA exam blueprint that is not covered by this guide.
As the name implies, this book does not aim to give you detailed information about specific topics covered by the exam. For instance, it will not tell you what an OSPF ABR router is. You should find this information in other resources.
However, this book will show you how to configure the features required to pass the CCNA exam.
The book is broken into 12 parts, including an appendix. Each part contains one or more chapters. All the chapters in a part are related through the types of topics they cover. For instance, Part 4 is called “Routing” and its chapters are “Static Routing,” “EIGRP,” “Single-Area OSPF,” and “Multi-Area OSPF.”
Each chapter is split into: basic features configuration examples, verifying operations, troubleshooting operations, and a section where you are presented with the configuration of multiple devices from a more complex diagram.
By reading the few first lines of each chapter, you will know what features will be covered by that chapter. This is useful, as there is no point reading the chapter if you are already familiar with the topics—or maybe what you are looking for is not in this chapter.
Each configuration template covers small distinct features that usually include only a few commands.
There is one more complex configuration shown at the end of each chapter that covers multiple devices from an example diagram. You get the complete configuration. And I mean “complete.” For instance, in the EIGRP chapter, you are given even the interface IP address configuration, not only what is strictly related to EIGRP.
As you go through the book, you feel as if the author took every topic from the blueprint and included all the commands that are related to that topic.
Because the IOS used throughout the book is 15.0, there is one chapter describing the IOS licensing on ISR G2. Actually, you have a comparison with what was before 15.0. Of course, you also have the configuration commands and “show” commands to install/uninstall and check the licenses.
The appendix contains a binary-hex-decimal conversion chart, which can be useful while you are reading about subnetting, VLSM, and route summarization.
Also in the appendix, there are some, let’s say, blank pages, where the author advises the reader to write down commands that he or she thinks are useful. The author calls this an “Engineering Journal.” I would say that the time of handwriting is almost gone. You can write this down on a notepad, but that’s up to you.
The very last two pages of the book are very interesting and very helpful. This adds even more value if you are reading this book for the very first time and you have to configure a task that you haven’t configured before. The last two pages are called “What Do You Want To Do Today?” and it contains a list of CCNA level common tasks that you might be required to perform in day-to-day work or during the CCNA exam. For each task, you are instructed where to find the configuration template. For instance, if you want to “create an IPv4 static route,” then go to Chapter 7, Page 57.
I found this a very useful feature in a book that is all about how to configure multiple features needed to pass the CCNA exam.
The book does not get lost in useless details and everything is clearly explained. For anyone who wants a compressed way of delivering configuration templates that are much needed for the exam, I would recommend buying this book.