Networks, local and wide, are nothing new. What is new is the idea that the network can be many times greater than the sum of its parts, and that organizations without networked machines are at a severe competitive disadvantage. Networks need administrators, and good administrators need credentials. That's what the Networking Essentials piece of the MCSE puzzle is for.
The authors begin by explaining what computer networks are and why they're useful--an exercise in the obvious, most likely for most of their readers. They then cover the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) network model and hop into real-work network implementations, including Ethernet, Token Ring, FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface), ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode), AppleTalk, and ARCnet.
After covering theory solidly, the book rolls on through network architecture, including issues of physical cabling distances, network protocols, and server configuration (focusing, appropriately, on Windows NT and its applications). Day-to-day administration gets attention (though security, which admittedly is covered in other MCSE pieces, gets short shrift here). The authors explain WANs (wide area network) and remote access (including RAS [Remote Access Service]) to the reader in excellent detail.
Each chapter of this book includes scenario-based problems (actual exercises in setting up networks aren't practical) and quiz questions that mimic those on the exam. The CD-ROM includes practice exams, too.