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The world's leading introduction to networking—fully updated for tomorrow's key technologies.
Computer Networks, Fourth Edition is the ideal introduction to today's networks—and tomorrow's. This classic best seller has been thoroughly updated to reflect the newest and most important networking technologies with a special emphasis on wireless networking, including 802.11, Bluetooth, broadband wireless, ad hoc networks, i-mode, and WAP. But fixed networks have not been ignored either with coverage of ADSL, gigabit Ethernet, peer-to-peer networks, NAT, and MPLS. And there is lots of new material on applications, including over 60 pages on the Web, plus Internet radio, voice over IP, and video on demand.Finally, the coverage of network security has been revised and expanded to fill an entire chapter.
Author, educator, and researcher Andrew S. Tanenbaum, winner of the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, carefully explains how networks work on the inside, from underlying hardware at the physical layer up through the top-level application layer. Tanenbaum covers all this and more:
The book gives detailed descriptions of the principles associated with each layer and presents many examples drawn from the Internet and wireless networks.
About the Author:
ANDREW S. TANENBAUM is Professor of Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Scientific Director of ASCI, a Dutch graduate school established by leading universities throughout the Netherlands. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the ACM. Other books Tanenbaum has authored or co-authored include Structured Computer Organization, Fourth Edition; Operating Systems: Design and Implementation, Second Edition; Modern Operating Systems, Second Edition; and Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms (all from Prentice Hall).
I evaluate every computer book by how many hours it will save me. If it takes twenty hours to read book, then I fully expect it to save me at least twenty hours of frustrated guessing. I'm a businessman first and a hacker second. Everything must have an ROI (Return On Investment).
Computer Networks won't save one minute over the next year. It has no step-by-step procedures, no problem solving sections, and no butt-saving tricks. The only purpose it can serve at a downed site is as a shield against thrown objects from frustrated users. Normally, theoretical books like this one receive a quick skim and are promptly sent to my for-looks-only tome tomb. However, this isn't a normal theoretical book. It's fascinating. In fact, I read it not once but three times. Tanenbaum fills over 700 pages with everything I didn't know, or better still, only thought I knew about networks.
For example, let me tell you what Tanenbaum taught me about modems. I have over ten years trench tech UNIX experience. I've hooked up thousands of modems. I've written more chat scripts, custom dialers, and inittab entries than I have sense to count. I even silently considered myself a modem expert -- before reading Tanenbaum's book.
Being the "expert" that I was, I had used the term carrier many times. I had also used that term many times before my computer days. I worked my way through college at a commercial broadcast station. A broadcast transmitter superimposes audio onto a sine wave called the carrier. However, until I read Computer Networks, I never made the connection between modems and transmitters. Tanenbaum points out that a modem works very much like a commercial transmitter and then proceeds to describe the different types of modem modulation in amazingly great detail. I no longer consider myself a modem expert.
That's why I read this book three times. I learned something new on every page and unlearned at least one misunderstanding in every chapter. I saw the gestalt between seemingly dissimilar things like modems and radio stations. The breadth and depth of the book yielded fresh fruit on every reading.
The book is well organized. Tanenbaum uses a modified ISO OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) reference model as a template for the book. While he drops the session and presentation layers, he leaves the physical, data link, network, transport, and application layers in his reference model. The explanation starts with the physical layer in chapter two and ends with the application layer in the last chapter. This bottom-up explanation is logical and easy to follow.
While the concepts could have been explained with the warmth of a legal brief, Tanenbaum has a gift for explaining them in an entertaining, conversational manner. True, everything must have an ROI. Sometimes, however, when it's entertaining enough, the sole joy of learning is enough of a return.--Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books.
This book is now in its fourth edition. Each edition has corresponded to a different phase in the way computer networks were used. When the first edition appeared in 1980, networks were an academic curiosity. When the second edition appeared in 1988, networks were used by universities and large businesses. When the third edition appeared in 1996, computer networks, especially the Internet, had become a daily reality for millions of people. The new item in the fourth edition is the rapid growth of wireless networking in many forms.
The networking picture has changed radically since the third edition. In the mid-1990s, numerous kinds of LANs and WANs existed, along with multiple protocol stacks. By 2003, the only wired LAN in widespread use was Ethernet, and virtually all WANs were on the Internet. Accordingly, a large amount of material about these older networks has been removed.
However, new developments are also plentiful. The most important is the huge increase in wireless networks, including 802.11, wireless local loops, 2G and 3G cellular networks, Bluetooth, WAP, i-mode, and others. Accordingly, a large amount of material has been added on wireless networks. Another newly-important topic is security, so a whole chapter on it has been added.
Although Chap. 1 has the same introductory function as it did in the third edition, the contents have been revised and brought up to date. For example, introductions to the Internet, Ethernet, and wireless LANs are given there, along with some history and background. Home networking is also discussed briefly.
Chapter 2 has been reorganized somewhat. After a brief introduction to the principles of datacommunication, there are three major sections on transmission (guided media, wireless, and satellite), followed by three more on important examples (the public switched telephone system, the mobile telephone system, and cable television). Among the new topics covered in this chapter are ADSL, broadband wireless, wireless MANs, and Internet access over cable and DOCSIS.
Chapter 3 has always dealt with the fundamental principles of point-to-point protocols. These ideas are essentially timeless and have not changed for decades. Accordingly, the series of detailed example protocols presented in this chapter is largely unchanged from the third edition.
In contrast, the MAC sublayer has been an area of great activity in recent years, so many changes are present in Chap. 4. The section on Ethernet has been expanded to include gigabit Ethernet. Completely new are major sections on wireless LANs, broadband wireless, Bluetooth, and data link layer switching, including MPLS.
Chapter 5 has also been updated, with the removal of all the ATM material and the addition of additional material on the Internet. Quality of service is now also a major topic, including discussions of integrated services and differentiated services. Wireless networks are also present here, with a discussion of routing in ad hoc networks. Other new topics include NAT and peer-to-peer networks.
Chap. 6 is still about the transport layer, but here, too, some changes have occurred. Among these is an example of socket programming. A one-page client and a one-page server are given in C and discussed. These programs, available on the book's Web site, can be compiled and run. Together they provide a primitive remote file or Web server available for experimentation. Other new topics include remote procedure call, RTP, and transaction/TCP.
Chap. 7, on the application layer, has been more sharply focused. After a short introduction to DNS, the rest of the chapter deals with just three topics: e-mail, the Web, and multimedia. But each topic is treated in great detail. The discussion of how the Web works is now over 60 pages, covering a vast array of topics, including static and dynamic Web pages, HTTP, CGI scripts, content delivery networks, cookies, and Web caching. Material is also present on how modern Web pages are written, including brief introductions to XML, XSL, XHTML, PHP, and more, all with examples that can be tested. The wireless Web is also discussed, focusing on i-mode and WAP. The multimedia material now includes MP3, streaming audio, Internet radio, and voice over IP.
Security has become so important that it has now been expanded to a complete chapter of over 100 pages.
It covers both the principles of security (symmetric- and public-key algorithms, digital signatures, and X.509 certificates) and the applications of these principles (authentication, e-mail security, and Web security). The chapter is both broad (ranging from quantum cryptography to government censorship) and deep (e.g., how SHA-1 works in detail).
Chapter 9 contains an all-new list of suggested readings and a comprehensive bibliography of over 350 citations to the current literature. Over 200 of these are to papers and books written in 2000 or later.
Computer books are full of acronyms. This one is no exception. By the time you are finished reading this one, the following should ring a bell: ADSL, AES, AMPS, AODV, ARP, ATM, BGP, CDMA, CDN, CGI, CIDR, DCF, DES, DHCP, DMCA, FDM, FHSS, GPRS, GSM, HDLC, HFC, HTML, HTTP, ICMP, IMAP, ISP, ITU, LAN, LMDS, MAC, MACA, MIME, MPEG, MPLS, MTU, NAP, NAT, NSA, NTSC, OFDM, OSPF, PCF, PCM, PGP, PHP, PKI, POTS, PPP, PSTN, QAM, QPSK, RED, RFC, RPC, RSA, RSVP, RTP, SSL, TCP, TDM, UDP, URL, UTP, VLAN, VPN, VSAT, WAN, WAP, WDMA, WEP, WWW, and XML. But don't worry. Each will be carefully defined before it is used.
To help instructors using this book as a text for a course, the author has prepared various teaching aids, including
The solutions manual is available directly from Prentice Hall (but only to instructors, not to students).
Posted July 25, 2003
Like all of Tanenbaum's books, this one contains excruciating details on all aspects of the title subject. More useful for hardcore introductory courses or as a reference when writing papers. I usually wear-out a couple of highlighters on each of his books and fill the margins with notes, trying to keep track of all the data he's dumping on me.
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Posted March 26, 2001
This book is an excellent book to read about, if your interests are towards networking. I gave this book 4 stars because this book is an excellent but not Superior.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2001
This book was used in my 1986 Telecommunications Graduate School Course. An excellent technical reference book with plenty of software algorithms as well as theory on the Open System Interconnection Standards and history of telecommunciations. The book has been useful as an OSI ISO model reference over the years and helped me understand telecom better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 9, 2001
Posted December 29, 2000
This book, while pricey, is an excellent book for those truely interested in learning how networks operate. For those who could care less about learning and are just looking to pass certification exams this book (and most others) are worthless (as are the certifications these 'dumpers' obtain).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 5, 2000
This is one of the best computer network textbook for engineers and engineering student. Very comprehensive and detailed networking explanation. This is definitely not for some business-man, no techie person. I strongly recommend this for the overall understanding of the network. This is not a reading book. This is definitely a study book for those who are interested in network.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.