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The Internet Book: Everything You Need to Know About Computer Networking and How the Internet Works / Edition 4

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Overview

Internet Book, The: Everything You Need to Know About Computer Networking and How the Internet Works, 4/e utilizes a non-technical perspective to explain the technology of how computers communicate, what the Internet is, how the Internet works, and what the Internet can do for people. This book works to fully connect readers to the “big picture” by presenting a solid overview of networking and the Internet, rather than burying them with details. Comer assumes no prior background in computer networking or the Internet. Introduces computer communication system concepts and technology, reviews the history of the Internet and its growth, describes basic Internet technology and capabilities, and describes services currently available on the Internet and how to use them. For anyone interested in learning how to navigate the Internet to its full potential.

Demonstrates how to find information on the Internet/covers how the Internet uses multimedia/describes newsgroups/etc.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Provides an overview of the Internet and of networking technology and terminology for general readers with no technical background, explaining the evolution of the Internet, the analog to digital revolution, local and wide-area networks, wireless communication, TCP/IP software, and distributed computing. A section on Internet services offers instructions for using e-mail, BBSs, file transfer, and browsing and searching services. Lists newsgroups and services, and contains b&w diagrams and a glossary. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132335539
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 9/12/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas E. Comer is a professor at Purdue University, where he teaches popular computer networking courses. He consults for industry and teaches hundreds of professionals and diverse audiences around the world about the Internet at professional conferences and in onsite presentations. His series of books on networking and TCP/IP protocols receives high acclaim; his books are popular worldwide. One of the researchers who contributed to the formation of the Internet in the late 1970s and 1980s, he has served on the Internet Architecture Board, and is a Fellow of the ACM.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

The Internet Book explains how computers communicate, what the Internet is, how the Internet works, and what services the Internet offers you. It is designed for readers who do not have a strong technical background — early chapters clearly explain the terminology and concepts needed to understand all the services. When you finish reading, you will understand the technology behind the Internet, will appreciate how the Internet can be used, and discover why people find it so exciting. In addition, you will understand the origins of the Internet and see how rapidly it has grown.

Instead of using mathematics, algorithms, or computer programs, the book uses analogies from everyday life to explain technology. For example, to explain why digital communication is superior to analog, the text uses an analogy of sending signals through fog with a flashlight. To explain how audio can be played back for the user at a steady rate when packets arrive in clumps, the text uses the analogy of many gallons of milk arriving at a supermarket in one shipment, but being sold one gallon at a time.

In addition to explaining the services users encounter such as e-mail, file transfer, and web browsing, the text covers key networking concepts such as packet switching, Local Area Networks, protocol software, and domain names. More important, the text builds on fundamentals — it describes basic Internet communication facilities first, and then shows how the basic facilities are used to provide a variety of services. Finally, the book includes an extensive glossary of technical terms with easy-to-understand definitions; readers are encouraged to consult theglossary as they read.

The third edition retains the same general structure as the previous edition, but adds four new chapters and updates material throughout. Chapter 2 surveys a variety of Web sites, and encourages readers to begin exploring the Web while they read. The other three new chapters are especially significant. Chapter 14 covers Internet connection technologies, including ADSL and cable modems, technologies which are now available to consumers. Chapters 29 and 30 cover the related topics of security and ecommerce, both of which are increasingly important. Chapter 29 explains encryption technology, and Chapter 30 shows how the technology is used to conduct business.

As with the previous edition, the book is divided into four main parts. The first part begins with fundamental concepts such as digital and analog communication. It also introduces packet switching, and explains the Local Area Network technologies that are used in most businesses.

The second part of the book gives a short history of the Internet research project and the development of the Internet. Although most of the history can be skipped, readers should pay attention to the phenomenal growth rate, which demonstrates that the technology was designed incredibly well — no other communication technology has remained as unchanged through such rapid growth.

The third part of the book explains how the Internet works, including a description of the two fundamental protocols used by all services: the Internet Protocol (IP) and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Although they omit technical details, the chapters in this part allow students to understand the essential role of each protocol and gain perspective on the overall design.

The fourth part of the book examines services available on the Internet. In addition to covering browsers, plugins, CGI, and search engines used with the World Wide Web, chapters discuss e-mail, network newsgroups, file and fax transfer, and audio and video communication. In each case, the text explains how the service operates and how it uses facilities in the underlying system.

The Internet Book makes an excellent reference text for a college-level course on the Internet. Although presented in a nontechnical manner, the material is scientifically accurate. More important, in the twenty-first century, an educated person will need to know more than how to use a browser or set up a Web page — they should have some understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. They can acquire such knowledge from this text.

Instructors are encouraged to combine classroom lectures with laboratory sessions in which students see and use the technology first-hand. In all courses, early labs should focus on exploring a variety of services, including sending e-mail, using a browser, using a search engine, downloading files via FTP, listening to audio, and using an IP telephone, if one is available. I encourage all students, even those who have no interest in computers, to build a trivial Web page by hand. In addition to helping them see the relationship between tags in an HTML document and the resulting display, it shows students how a server transfers files on a computer disk to a browser. Seeing the relationship in labs helps students better understand as they read about the underlying process.

Lab projects later in the semester depend on the type of course. Business-oriented courses often focus students on using the Internet — labs require students to search the Internet for information and then use the information to write a short paper. Other courses use labs to focus on tools such as programs used to create a Web page. Some courses combine both by having students search for information and then create a Web page that contains links to the information. In any case, we have found that students enter Internet courses with genuine enthusiasm and motivation; a professor's task is merely to provide perspective and remind students throughout the semester why the Internet is so exciting.

The author thanks many people who have contributed to editions of this book. John Lin, Keith Rovell, Rob Slade, and Christoph Schuba read early versions and made suggestions. Dwight Barnette, George Polyzo, Donald Knudson, Dale Musser, and Dennis Ray sent the publisher reviews of a previous edition. Scott Comer provided a student perspective. As always, my wife, Chris, carefully edited the manuscript, solved many problems, and improved the wording.

Douglas E. Comer
March, 2000

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Table of Contents

PART I Introduction To Networking

Chapter 1 The Internet Has Arrived

The World Has Changed

Numbers Do Not Tell The Story

Learning About The Internet

Understanding The Big Picture

Terminology And Technology

Growth And Adaptability

The Impact Of The Internet

Organization Of The Book

A Personal Note

Chapter 2 Getting Started: Hands-On Experience

Introduction

The Web: Sites And Pages

Web Browsers and Browsing

Using A Browser

Examples Of Web Sites And Services

Internet Search

Summary

Chapter 3 Telephones Everywhere

Introduction

A Communication Service

Selling Communication

Limited Access

High Cost

The Difficult Transition

Ubiquitous Access

Relevance To The Internet

Chapter 4 The World Was Once Analog

Introduction

Sound, Vibrations, And Analog Recording

Analog Electronic Devices

Many Electronic Devices Are Analog

The First Analog Communication

Analog Is Simple But Inaccurate

Sending An Analog Signal Across A Wire

Digital Music

The Digital Revolution

Computers Are Digital

Digital Recording

Using Digital To Recreate Analog

Why Digital Music?

Summary

Chapter 5 The Once And Future Digital Network

Introduction

The World Was Previously Digital

A Telegraph Is Digital

Morse Code

Letters And Digits In Morse Code

Users Did Not Encounter Morse Code

Virtually Instant Communication

Speed Is Relative

The Telephone Became Digital

Relevance To The Internet

Binary Encoding Of Data On The Internet

Why Use Two Symbols?

Summary

Chapter 6 Basic Communication

Introduction

Communication Using Electricity

Signals On Wires

Information Coding

Modems Allow Two-Way Traffic

A Character Code For Digital Information

Detecting Errors

Summary

Chapter 7 The Local Area Network Arrives

Introduction

Motivation

Interchangeable Media

A Computer Consists Of Circuit Boards

Circuit Boards Plug Into A Computer

Connecting One Computer To Another

LAN Technologies

Connecting A Computer To A LAN

The Importance Of LAN Technology

Relationship To The Internet

PART II A Brief History Of The Internet

Chapter 8 Internet: The Early Years

Many Independent Networks

The Proliferation Of LANs

Facts About LANs

LANs Are Incompatible

Wide Area Technologies Exist

Few WANs, Many LANs

WANs and LANs Are Incompatible

The Desirability Of A Single Network

The Department Of Defense Had Multiple Networks

Connecting Disconnected Machines

The Internet Emerges

The ARPANET Backbone

Internet Software

The Name Is TCP/IP

The Shock Of An Open System

Open Systems Are Necessary

TCP/IP Documentation Is Online

The Military Adopts TCP/IP

Summary

A Personal Note

Chapter 9 Two Decades Of Incredible Growth

Introduction

Disseminating The Software

Meanwhile, Back In Computer Science

The Internet Meets UNIX

The U.S. Military Makes A Commitment

The Internet Doubles In Size In One Year

Every Computer Science Department

Graduate Students Volunteer Their Time

The IAB evolves

The IETF

Doubling Again In A Year

The Internet Improves Science

NSF Takes A Leadership Role

Target: All Of Science And Engineering

NSF’s Approach

The NSFNET Backbone

The ANS Backbone

Exponential Growth

A Commercial Assessment

The End Of Growth

Chapter 10 The Global Internet

Introduction

Early ARPA Networks

Electronic Mail Among Computers

BITNET And FIDONET

Networks In Europe

EBONE: The Internet In Europe

Backbones And Internet Hierarchy

Internet On All Continents

The World Of Internet after 1998

A Personal Note

Chapter 11 A Global Information Infrastructure

Introduction

Existing Infrastructure

Communication Infrastructure

The Internet Infrastructure

The Internet Offers Diverse Information Services

TCP/IP Provides Communication Facilities

A Personal Note

PART III How The Internet Works

Chapter 12 Packet Switching

Introduction

Sharing Saves Money

Sharing Introduces Delays

Sharing Wires

Selectable Channels

Sharing By Taking Turns

Packet Switching Avoids Delays

Each Packet Must Be Labeled

Computers Have Addresses

Packets Are Not All The Same Size

Packet Transmission Seems Instantaneous

Sharing Is Automatic

Network Hardware Handles Sharing

Many Devices Can Use Packet Switching

Relevance To The Internet

Summary

Chapter 13 Internet: A Network Of Networks

Introduction

Network Technologies Are Incompatible

Coping With Incompatibility

Two Fundamental Concepts

Using A Computer To Interconnect Networks

Interconnecting Computers Pass Packets

Interconnecting Computers Are Called Routers

Routers Are The Building Blocks Of The Internet

The Internet Includes Multiple Types Of Networks

Routers Can Interconnect WANs And LANs

The Hierarchical Structure Of The Internet

Where Packets Travel

Interconnecting Networks Was Revolutionary

Summary

Chapter 14 ISPs: Broadband And Wireless Access

Introduction

Internet Service Providers And Fees

Customer Connections Form The Last Mile

Leased Circuits Are Expensive

Dial-up Access Is Inexpensive, But Slow

Broadband Connections Offer High Speed

The Important Concept Of Continuous Connectivity

Instantaneous Access Changes Use

Modern Technologies Offer Inexpensive Dedicated Access

Wireless Access Is Available

Wi-Fi And 3G Wireless Technologies

A Personal Note

Chapter 15 IP: Software To Create A Virtual Network

Introduction

Protocol: An Agreement For Communication

Basic Functionality: The Internet Protocol

IP Software On Every Machine

Internet Packets Are Called Datagrams

The Illusion Of A Giant Network

The Internet’s Internal Structure

Datagrams Travel In Packets

Every Computer Is Assigned A Unique Address

Internet Addresses

An Odd IP Address Syntax

IP Addresses Are Not Random

A Trip Through An Example Internet

How Fast Is Your Connection?

Summary

Chapter 16 TCP: Software For Reliable Communication

Introduction

A Packet Switching System Can Be Overrun

TCP Helps IP Guarantee Delivery

TCP Provides A Connection Between Computer Programs

The Magic Of Recovering Lost Datagrams

TCP Retransmission Is Automatic

TCP And IP Work Together

Summary

Chapter 17 Clients + Servers = Distributed Computing

Introduction

Large Computers Use Networks For Input And Output

Small Computers Use Networks To Interact

Distributed Computing On The Internet

A Single Paradigm Explains All Distributed Computing

Communicating Programs Are Clients Or Servers

A Server Must Always Run

Summary

Chapter 18 Names For Computers

Introduction

People Prefer Names To Numbers

Naming A Computer Can Be Challenging Or Fun

Computer Names Must Be Unique

Suffixes On Computer Names

Names With Many Parts

Domain Names Outside The US

Translating A Name To An Equivalent IP Address

Domain Name System Works Like Directory Assistance

Computer Name Lookup Is Automatic

IP Addresses And Domain Names Are Unrelated

Summary

Chapter 19 NAT: Sharing An Internet Connection

Introduction

High Capacity And Multiple Computers

It Is Possible To Share A Single IP Address

A Device For Connection Sharing Is Called A NAT Box

A NAT Box Acts Like A Miniature ISP

NAT Changes The Address In Each Datagram

Computer Software Can Perform The NAT Function

NAT Can Use A Wireless Network

Summary

Chapter 20 Why The Internet Works Well

Introduction

The Internet Works Well

IP Provides Flexibility

TCP Provides Reliability

TCP/IP Software Was Engineered For Efficiency

TCP/IP Research Emphasized Practical Results

The Formula For Success

Summary

PART IV Services Available On The Internet

Chapter 21 Electronic Mail

Introduction

Description Of Functionality

The Best Of All Worlds

Each User Has A Mailbox For Email

Sending An Email Message

Notification That Email Has Arrived

Reading An Email Message

A Browser Can Be Used To Send And Receive Email

Email Messages Look Like Interoffice Memos

Email Software Fills In Header Information

How Email Works

Using Email From A Personal Computer

Mailbox Address Format

Abbreviations Make Email Friendly

Aliases Permit Arbitrary Abbreviations

Aliases Shared By All Users Of A Computer System

Sending To Multiple Recipients

Mailing List: An Alias for Multiple Recipients

Public Mailing Lists And Mail Exploders

Exchanging Email With Non-Internet Sites

Access To Services Via Email

Speed, Reliability, And Expectations

Impact And Significance Of Electronic Mail

A Convention For Joining A Mailing List

Chapter 22 Bulletin Board Service (Newsgroups)

Introduction

Description Of Functionality

Many Bulletin Boards With Diverse Topics

Network News

Categories

Obtaining Network News And The Software To Read Articles

How Network News Appears To A User

Checking For News Articles

Reading Network News

Submission Of An Article

Moderated Newsgroups

Size Of Network News

Impact And Significance Of Newsgroups And Mailing Lists

Hints And Conventions For Participating In Discussions

Summary

Chapter 23 Browsing The World Wide Web

Introduction

Description Of Functionality

Browsing Vs. Information Retrieval

Early Browsing Services Used Menus

A Menu Item Can Point To Another Computer

How A Browser Works

An Example Point-And-Click Interface

Combining Menu Items With Text

The Importance Of Integrated Links

Embedded Links In Text Are Called Hypertext

Multimedia

Video And Audio References Can Be Embedded In Text

The World Wide Web

Browser Software Used To Access The Web

An Example Hypermedia Display

Control Of A Browser

External References

Recording The Location Of Information

Bookmarks Or Favorites

How The World Wide Web Works

A URL Tells A Browser Which Computer To Contact

A URL Tells A Browser Which Server To Contact

Use Of The Name www In URLs

A Browser Provides Access To Multiple Services

Inside A Browser Program

Summary

An Observation About Hypermedia Browsing

Chapter 24 World Wide Web Documents (HTML)

Introduction

Display Hardware Varies

A Browser Translates And Displays A Web Document

A Consequence Of The Web Approach

HTML, The Language Used For Web Documents

Instructions In A Web Page Control The Output

A Web Page Is Divided Into Two Main Sections

Indentation Can Make HTML Readable

The Body Of A Web Page Can Contain Text

Indentation Can Make Paragraphs Easier To Find

A Web Page Can Link To Another Page

HTML Allows Numbered And Unnumbered Lists

Images On A Web Page Are Digital

HTML Allows A Web Page To Include An Image

Text Can Appear Adjacent To An Image

Images Can Link To Another Web Page

Some Browsers Can Stretch Or Shrink Images

The Background Can Be Controlled

Other Features Of HTML

Importance Of HTML

GUI Tools Help With Web Page Creation

Summary

Chapter 25 Advanced Web Technologies (Forms, Frames, Plugins, Java, JavaScript, Flash)

Introduction

Conventional Web Pages Are Static

How A Server Stores Static Web Pages

Fetching Items One At A Time

Conventional Web Pages Use The Entire Screen

A Web Page Can Change Part Of the Screen

The Web, Advertising, And Frames

Pop-Ups And Pop-Up Blockers

Static Documents Have Disadvantages

Controlling How A Browser Processes Data

Plugins Allow Variety

A Server Can Compute A Web Page On Demand

How Server-Side Scripting Works

Professional Programmers Build Server Scripts

Personalized Web Pages

Personalized Advertisements

Web Pages Can Interact

Shopping Carts

Cookies

Should You Accept Cookies?

A Web Page Can Display Simple Animations

Active Documents Are More Powerful

Java Is An Active Document Technology

JavaScript Is An Active Document Technology

Flash And Real Technologies

The Importance Of Advanced Web Technologies

Chapter 26 Group And Personal Web Pages (Wikis And Blogs)

Introduction

The Disadvantage Of A Bulletin Board System

Shared Pages

Shared Pages Are Called Wikis

Sharing And Consensus Building

The Disadvantage Of Wikis

Wikipedia Is An Experiment

Should You Trust Wikipedia?

Publication Of A Personal Diary

A Personal Note

Chapter 27 Automated Web Search (Search Engines)

Introduction

Description Of Functionality

Browsing Vs. Automated Searching

A Search Engine Helps Users Get Started

A Search Tool Can Help Recover From Loss

How An Automated Search Service Operates

Gathering Information In Advance

Modern Systems Search Web Page Contents

How A Web Search Appears To A User

How A Search Engine Returns Results

Automated Search Services Use String Matching

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of String Matching

Automated Search Programs That Use Multiple Keys

Advanced Services Offer More Sophisticated Matching

Personalized Search Results

More Details About How Content Searching Works

Searches Are Restricted

Advertising Pays For Searching

Examples Of Automated Search Services

Significance Of Automated Web Search

Chapter 28 Text, Audio, And Video Communication (IM, VoIP)

Introduction

Instant Messaging Provides Textual Communication

Audio And Video Functionality

Audio And Video Require Special Facilities

An Audio Clip Resembles An Audio CD

Real-Time Means No Delay

Internet Audio In Real-Time

Radio Programs On The Internet

Real-Time Audio Transmission Is Called Webcasting

Internet Telephone Service Is Possible

Internet Telephone Service Is Known As VoIP

Audio Teleconferencing

A Cooperative Document Markup Service

Marking A Document

The Participants Discuss And Mark A Document

Video Teleconferencing

Video Teleconference Among Groups Of People

A Combined Audio, Video, Whiteboard, And IM Service

Summary

A Personal Note

Chapter 29 Faxes, File Transfer, And File Sharing (FTP)

Introduction

Sending A Fax

The Internet Can Be Used To Copy Files

Data Stored In Files

Copying A File

FTP Is Invoked From A Browser

FTP Allows A User To View Directory Contents

FTP Allows A User To Upload Files

FTP Transfers Must Be Authorized

How FTP Works

Impact And Significance Of FTP

Peer-To-Peer File Sharing

Summary

Chapter 30 Remote Login And Remote Desktops (TELNET)

Introduction

Early Computers Used Textual Interfaces

A Timesharing System Requires User Identification

Remote Login Resembles Conventional Login

How Remote Login Works

Escaping From Remote Login

The Internet Remote Login Standard Is TELNET

Remote Access Can Display A Desktop

How Remote Desktops Operate

Assessment Of Remote Login And Desktops

Generality Makes Remote Login And Desktops Powerful

Remote Access Accommodates Multiple Types Of Computers

Unexpected Results From Remote Access

Summary

Chapter 31 Facilities For Secure Communication

Introduction

The Internet Is Unsecure

Lack Of Security Can Be Important

Authentication And Privacy Are Primary Problems

Data Can Be Changed

Encoding Keeps Messages Private

Computer Encryption Uses Mathematics

No Network Is Absolutely Secure

Encryption Makes Email Private

Encryption Software Needs A Key

Two Keys Means Never Having To Trust Anyone

Secure Email In Practice

Secure Wireless Networks

Firewalls Protect Networks From Unwanted Packets

A Firewall Filters Packets

Firewalls Guard Against Trojan Horses

Residential And Individual Firewalls

Systems Exist To Detect Intrusion

Service Can Be Denied

Summary

Chapter 32 Secure Access From A Distance (VPNs)

Introduction

Organizations Grant Employees Special Privileges

Traveling Employees Lose Privilege

Telecommuters Do Not Have Privilege

Dedicated Leased Circuits Allow Secure Telecommuting

Standard Internet Connections Are Low-Cost

Can A Technology Combine Advantages?

A Virtual Private Network Solves The Problem

How A VPN Works

The Illusion Of A Direct Connection

Significance Of VPNs

Chapter 33 Internet Economics And Electronic Commerce

Introduction

Who Pays For The Internet?

E-commerce Is Big Business

Security Technology Made E-commerce Possible

Secure Sockets

Public Key Encryption Provides Authenticity

Digital Signatures

Certificates Contain Public Keys

What Is Digital Money?

Digital Cash Is Not Widely Available

Business And E-commerce

Chapter 34 The Global Digital Library

Introduction

A Cornucopia Of Services

New Services Appear Regularly

Flexibility Permits Change

A Digital Library

Card Catalogs And Search Tools

Internet Services Can Be Integrated

Mr. Dewey, Where Are You?

Information In The Digital Library

What Is The Internet?

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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

The Internet Book explains how computers communicate, what the Internet is, how the Internet works, and what services the Internet offers you. It is designed for readers who do not have a strong technical background — early chapters clearly explain the terminology and concepts needed to understand all the services. When you finish reading, you will understand the technology behind the Internet, will appreciate how the Internet can be used, and discover why people find it so exciting. In addition, you will understand the origins of the Internet and see how rapidly it has grown.

Instead of using mathematics, algorithms, or computer programs, the book uses analogies from everyday life to explain technology. For example, to explain why digital communication is superior to analog, the text uses an analogy of sending signals through fog with a flashlight. To explain how audio can be played back for the user at a steady rate when packets arrive in clumps, the text uses the analogy of many gallons of milk arriving at a supermarket in one shipment, but being sold one gallon at a time.

In addition to explaining the services users encounter such as e-mail, file transfer, and web browsing, the text covers key networking concepts such as packet switching, Local Area Networks, protocol software, and domain names. More important, the text builds on fundamentals — it describes basic Internet communication facilities first, and then shows how the basic facilities are used to provide a variety of services. Finally, the book includes an extensive glossary of technical terms with easy-to-understand definitions; readers are encouraged to consulttheglossary as they read.

The third edition retains the same general structure as the previous edition, but adds four new chapters and updates material throughout. Chapter 2 surveys a variety of Web sites, and encourages readers to begin exploring the Web while they read. The other three new chapters are especially significant. Chapter 14 covers Internet connection technologies, including ADSL and cable modems, technologies which are now available to consumers. Chapters 29 and 30 cover the related topics of security and ecommerce, both of which are increasingly important. Chapter 29 explains encryption technology, and Chapter 30 shows how the technology is used to conduct business.

As with the previous edition, the book is divided into four main parts. The first part begins with fundamental concepts such as digital and analog communication. It also introduces packet switching, and explains the Local Area Network technologies that are used in most businesses.

The second part of the book gives a short history of the Internet research project and the development of the Internet. Although most of the history can be skipped, readers should pay attention to the phenomenal growth rate, which demonstrates that the technology was designed incredibly well — no other communication technology has remained as unchanged through such rapid growth.

The third part of the book explains how the Internet works, including a description of the two fundamental protocols used by all services: the Internet Protocol (IP) and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Although they omit technical details, the chapters in this part allow students to understand the essential role of each protocol and gain perspective on the overall design.

The fourth part of the book examines services available on the Internet. In addition to covering browsers, plugins, CGI, and search engines used with the World Wide Web, chapters discuss e-mail, network newsgroups, file and fax transfer, and audio and video communication. In each case, the text explains how the service operates and how it uses facilities in the underlying system.

The Internet Book makes an excellent reference text for a college-level course on the Internet. Although presented in a nontechnical manner, the material is scientifically accurate. More important, in the twenty-first century, an educated person will need to know more than how to use a browser or set up a Web page — they should have some understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. They can acquire such knowledge from this text.

Instructors are encouraged to combine classroom lectures with laboratory sessions in which students see and use the technology first-hand. In all courses, early labs should focus on exploring a variety of services, including sending e-mail, using a browser, using a search engine, downloading files via FTP, listening to audio, and using an IP telephone, if one is available. I encourage all students, even those who have no interest in computers, to build a trivial Web page by hand. In addition to helping them see the relationship between tags in an HTML document and the resulting display, it shows students how a server transfers files on a computer disk to a browser. Seeing the relationship in labs helps students better understand as they read about the underlying process.

Lab projects later in the semester depend on the type of course. Business-oriented courses often focus students on using the Internet — labs require students to search the Internet for information and then use the information to write a short paper. Other courses use labs to focus on tools such as programs used to create a Web page. Some courses combine both by having students search for information and then create a Web page that contains links to the information. In any case, we have found that students enter Internet courses with genuine enthusiasm and motivation; a professor's task is merely to provide perspective and remind students throughout the semester why the Internet is so exciting.

The author thanks many people who have contributed to editions of this book. John Lin, Keith Rovell, Rob Slade, and Christoph Schuba read early versions and made suggestions. Dwight Barnette, George Polyzo, Donald Knudson, Dale Musser, and Dennis Ray sent the publisher reviews of a previous edition. Scott Comer provided a student perspective. As always, my wife, Chris, carefully edited the manuscript, solved many problems, and improved the wording.

Douglas E. Comer
March, 2000

Read More Show Less

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