It's rare that one gets to say this about a 656-page book, but the Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure Administration kit is far too short. First, the good news, and one of the real saving graces of this book: after years of complaints, Microsoft has finally caved in and included actual test questions. The Administrator Kit has over 225 pages' worth of solid MCSE-style, multiple-choice questions on each objective for the exam, along with extremely detailed analyses of the answers. The questions are fairly hard-hitting--almost as hard as what you can expect to see on the exam--and unlike many other MCSE/MCSA books, you're not only given the correct answers to each question, but you also have explanations as to why each answer is right or wrong. If you chose B and it turned out C was correct, you'll get a paragraph's worth of detail on why B would never work. This helps serious students correct their mistakes much more quickly, and the overall quality of the questions raises the value of this book tenfold.
Unfortunately, the actual primer portion of the book is undeniably skimpy; for example, the TCP/IP section never mentions subnetting, which is something that you're likely to see numerous times in the real world. In the section on routing, only two styles of routing protocols are mentioned--OSPF and RIP--and they're both breezed over in two pages (and neither of those pages mentions why a network admin would choose one protocol over another). The "Monitoring Network Activity" section tells you all about how to collect network data, but never actually gets around to telling you what you should do with it or how to analyze it. The "Providing Your Clients Remote Access" section has all of three exercises, and none of them have to do with dialing in remotely.
There were many times we wished that the book would simply slow down and just take another 15 pages to spell everything out. When it's not short, it's sometimes overly complex. There's a large chapter on IPSec, which is something that every good network admin should know nowadays--but the section on IPSec seems to assume the reader will understand the basic concepts of cryptography, specifically public and private keys, and as such the reader will spend a lot of time floundering about until they finally "get it." You may actually have to do some Internet searches to understand.
That's not to say that the Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure Administration kit is without value; actually, its best feature is its tremendously well-done DNS and DHCP section, which explains the oft-misunderstood concepts of automatic IP addressing in clear, simple-to-understand language that's a blessing from above. If you're in need of a refresher course on DNS or just haven't gotten it until now, you'll be quite likely to understand it after you read this section.
In short, this book is an excellent adjunct for any serious test taker; Microsoft's wise move of adding MCSE sample questions has made the decision to buy this book a lot easier. It also has some classic sections on addressing and name resolution. But for most students this book will be read in addition to other books; it won't be a primary source. --William Steinmetz