Top-Down Network Design / Edition 2

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Top-Down Network Design, Second Edition, is a practical and comprehensive guide to designing enterprise networks that are reliable, secure, and manageable. Using illustrations and real-world examples, it teaches a systematic method for network design that can be applied to campus LANs, remote-access networks, WAN links, and large-scale internetworks.

You will learn to analyze business and technical requirements, examine traffic flow and QoS requirements, and select protocols and technologies based on performance goals. You will also develop an understanding of network performance factors such as network utilization, throughput, accuracy, efficiency, delay, and jitter. Several charts and job aids will help you apply a top-down approach to network design.

This Second Edition has been revised to include new and updated material on wireless networks, virtual private networks (VPNs), network security, network redundancy, modularity in network designs, dynamic addressing for IPv4 and IPv6, new network design and management tools, Ethernet scalability options (including 10-Gbps Ethernet, Metro Ethernet, and Long-Reach Ethernet), and networks that carry voice and data traffic.

Top-Down Network Design, Second Edition, has a companion website at, which includes updates to the book, links to white papers, and supplemental information about design resources.

Keeping in mind customer's needs, goals and constraints, this practical, comprehensive network design guide provides an excellent starting point for CCIE design solutions. Author Priscilla Oppenheimer takes a top-down approach to logical and physical network design criteria, as she analyzes business and technical goals. This is not an introductory networking publication by any means; it is intended for network professionals with experience in troubleshooting, administering or managing heterogeneous internetworks. Readers should be past the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) stage and into CCDP or CCNP certification.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587142529
  • Publisher: Cisco Press
  • Publication date: 6/18/2010
  • Series: Networking Technology Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 600
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Priscilla Oppenheimer has been developing data communications and networking systems since 1980 when she earned her master's degree in information science from the University of Michigan. After many years as a software developer, she became a technical instructor and training developer and taught more than 2000 network engineers from most of the Fortune 500 companies. Her employment at such companies as Apple Computer, Network General, and Cisco Systems gave her opportunities to troubleshoot real-world network design problems and to develop a practical methodology for enterprise network design. Priscilla was one of the developers of the Cisco Internetwork Design course and the creator of the Designing Cisco Networks course and is a CCNP and CCDP. Priscilla currently teaches computer networking at Southern Oregon University.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 5: Designing a Network Topology

Designing a backup path that has the same capacity as the primary path can beexpensive and is only appropriate if the customer's business requirements dictate abackup path with the same performance characteristics as the primary path.

If switching to the backup path requires manual reconfiguration of any components,then Users will notice disruption. For mission-critical applications, disruption isprobably not acceptable. An automatic fallover is necessary for mission-criticalapplications. BY using redundant, partial-mesh network designs, you can speedautomatic recovery time when a link falls.

One other important consideration with backup paths is that they must be tested.Sometimes network designers develop backup solutions that are never tested until acatastrophe happens. When the catastrophe occurs, the backup links do not work. Insome network designs, the backup links are used for load balancing as well asredundancy. This has the advantage that the backup path is a tested solution that isregularly used and monitored as a part of day-to-day operations. Load balancing isdiscussed in more detail in the next section.

Load Balancing

The primary purpose of redundancy is to meet availability requirements. A secondarygoal is to improve performance by supporting load balancing across parallel links.

Load balancing must be planned and in some cases configured. Some protocols do notsupport load balancing by default. For example, when running Novell's Routing Protocol(RIP), an Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) router can remember only one route to aremote network. You can change this behavior on a Ciscorouter by using the ipx maximum-paths command.

In ISDN environments, You can facilitate load balancing by configuring channelaggregation. Channel aggregation on means that a router can automatically bring upmultiple ISDN B channels as bandwidth requirements increase. The Multilink Point-to-Point Protocol (MPPP) is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard for ISDN B-channel aggregation. MPPP ensures that packets arrive in sequence at the receivingrouter. To accomplish this, data is encapsulated within the Point-to-point Protocol (PPP)and datagrams are given a sequence number. At the receiving router, PPP uses thesequence number to re-create the original data stream. Multiple channels appear as onelogical link to upper-layer protocols.Most vendor's implementations of IP routing protocols support load balancing acrossparallel links that have equal cost. (Cost values are used by routing protocols todetermine the most favorable path to a destination. Depending on the routing protocol,cost can be based on hop count, bandwidth, delay, or other factors.) Cisco supports loadbalancing across six parallel paths. With the IGRP and Enhanced [GRP protocols, Ciscosupports load balancing even when the paths do not have the same bandwidth (which isthe main metric used for measuring cost for those protocols). Using a feature calledvariance, IGRP and Enhanced IGRP can load balance across paths that do not haveprecisely the same aggregate bandwidth. Cost, metrics, and variance are discussed inmore detail in Chapter 7, "Selecting Bridging, Switching, and Routing Protocols."

Some routing protocols base cost on the number of hops to a particular destinationsThese routing protocols load balance over unequal bandwidth paths as long as thehop count is equal. Once a slow link becomes saturated, however higher capacitylinks cannot be filled. This is called Pinhole congestion. Pinhole congestion can be avoided by designing equal bandwidth links within one layer of the hierarchyusing a routing protocol that bases cost on bandwidth and has the variance feature.

Load balancing can be affected by advanced switching (forwarding) mechanismsimplemented in routers. Advanced switching processes often cache the path to remotedestinations to allow fast forwarding of subsequent packets to that destination. (Thecache obviates the need for the router CPU to look in the routing table for a path. Theresult of caching is that all packets destined to a particular destination take the same path.In this case, load balancing occurs across traffic flows to different destinations, but not ona packet-per-packet basis. Some newer technologies, such as Cisco Express Forwarding(CEF), can be configured to do packet-per-packet or destination-per-destination loadbalancing. Chapter 12, "Optimizing Your Network Design," covers CEF in more detail.


Campus network design topologies should meet a customer's goals for availability andperformance by featuring small broadcast domains, redundant distribution-laversegments, mirrored servers, and multiple ways for a workstation to reach a router for off-net communications. Campus networks should be designed using a hierarchical model sothat the network offers good performance, maintainability, and scalability.

Virtual LANs

A virtual LAN (VLAN) is an emulation of a standard LAN that allows data transfer totake place without the traditional physical restraints placed on a network. A networkadministrator can use management software to group users into a VLAN so they cancommunicate as if they were attached to the same wire, when in fact they are located ondifferent physical LAN segments. Because VLANs are based on logical instead ofphysical connections, they are very flexible.

Companies that are growing quickly cannot guarantee that employees working on thesame project will be located together. With VLANs, the physical location of a user doesnot matter. A network administrator can assign a user to a VLAN regardless of the user'slocation. In theory, VLAN assignment can be based on applications, protocols,performance requirements, security requirements, traffic-loading characteristics, or otherfactors.

VLANs allow a large flat network to be divided into subnets. This feature can be used todivide up broadcast domains. Instead of flooding all broadcasts out every port, a VLAN-enabled switch can flood a broadcast out only the ports that are part of the I same subnetas the sending station.

In the past, some companies implemented large switched campus networks with fewrouters. The goals were to keep costs down by using switches instead of routers, andprovide good performance because presumably switches were faster than routers. Withoutthe router capability of containing broadcast traffic, however, the companies neededVLANs. VLANs allow the large flat network to be divided into subnets. A router (or arouting module within a switch) was still needed for inter-subnet communication.

As routers become as fast as switches and Layer-3 functionality is added to switches,fewer companies will implement large, flat, switched networks, and there will be less of aneed for VLANs.

VLAN-based networks can be hard to manage and optimize. Also, when a VLAN isdispersed across many physical networks, traffic must flow to each of those networks,which affects the performance of the networks and adds to the capacity requirements oftrunk networks that connect VLANs....

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Table of Contents


1. Analyzing Business Goals and Constraints.

Using a Top-Down Network Design Methodology. Using a Structured Network Design Process. Systems Development Life Cycles. The Plan Design Implement Operate Optimize (PDIOO) Network Life Cycle. Analyzing Business Goals. Working with Your Client. Changes in Enterprise Networks. Resiliency. Typical Network Design Business Goals. Identifying the Scope of a Network Design Project. Identifying a Customer's Network Applications. Analyzing Business Constraints. Politics and Policies. Budgetary and Staffing Constraints. Project Scheduling. Business Goals Checklist. Summary.

2. Analyzing Technical Goals and Tradeoffs.

Scalability. Planning for Expansion. Expanding Access to Data. Constraints on Scalability. Availability. Specifying Availability Requirements. Network Performance. Network Performance Definitions. Optimum Network Utilization. Throughput. Throughput of Internetworking Devices. Application Layer Throughput. Accuracy. Efficiency. Delay and Delay Variation. Causes of Delay. Delay Variation. Response Time. Security. Identifying Network Assets. Analyzing Security Risks. Reconnaissance Attacks. Denial-of-Service Attacks. Developing Security Requirements. Manageability. Usability. Adaptability. Affordability. Making Network Design Tradeoffs. Technical Goals Checklist. Summary.

3. Characterizing the Existing Internetwork.

Characterizing the Network Infrastructure. Developing a Network Map. Characterizing Network Addressing and Naming. Characterizing Wiring and Media. Checking Architectural and Environmental Constraints. Checking the Health of the Existing Internetwork. Analyzing Network Availability. Analyzing Network Utilization. Measuring Bandwidth Utilization by Protocol. Analyzing Network Accuracy. Analyzing Errors on Switched Ethernet Networks. Analyzing Network Efficiency. Analyzing Delay and Response Time. Checking the Status of Major Routers, Switches, and Firewalls. Tools for Characterizing the Existing Internetwork. Network-Monitoring and Management Tools. Remote Monitoring Tools. Cisco Tools for Characterizing an Existing Internetwork. Organizations That Provide Information on Characterizing an Existing. Internetwork. Network Health Checklist. Summary.

4. Characterizing Network Traffic.

Characterizing Traffic Flow. Identifying Major Traffic Sources and Stores. Documenting Traffic Flow on the Existing Network. Characterizing Types of Traffic Flow for New Network Applications. Terminal/Host Traffic Flow. Client/Server Traffic Flow. Thin Client Traffic Flow. Peer-to-Peer Traffic Flow. Server/Server Traffic Flow. Distributed Computing Traffic Flow. Traffic Flow in Voice over IP Networks. Documenting Traffic Flow for New and Existing Network Applications. Characterizing Traffic Load. Calculating Theoretical Traffic Load. Documenting Application-Usage Patterns. Refining Estimates of Traffic Load Caused by Applications. Estimating Traffic Overhead for Various Protocols. Estimating Traffic Load Caused by Workstation and Session Initialization. Estimating Traffic Load Caused by Routing Protocols. Characterizing Traffic Behavior. Broadcast/Multicast Behavior. Network Efficiency. Frame Size. Protocol Interaction. Windowing and Flow Control. Error-Recovery Mechanisms. Characterizing Quality of Service Requirements. ATM Quality of Service Specifications. IETF Integrated Services Working Group Quality of Service Specifications. IETF Differentiated Services Working Group Quality of Service Specifications. Grade of Service Requirements for Voice Applications. Documenting QoS Requirements. Network Traffic Checklist. Summary. Summary for Part I.


5. Designing a Network Topology.

Hierarchical Network Design. Why Use a Hierarchical Network Design Model? The Classic Three-Layer Hierarchical Model. Guidelines for Hierarchical Network Design. Redundant Network Design Topologies. Backup Paths. Load Sharing. Modular Network Design. Designing a Campus Network Design Topology. The Spanning Tree Protocol. Scaling the Spanning Tree Protocol. Virtual LANs. Wireless LANs. Redundancy and Load Sharing in Wired LANs. Server Redundancy. Workstation-to-Router Redundancy. Designing the Enterprise Edge Topology. Redundant WAN Segments. Multihoming the Internet Connection. Virtual Private Networking. The Service Provider Edge. Secure Network Design Topologies. Planning for Physical Security. Meeting Security Goals with Firewall Topologies. Summary.

6. Designing Models for Addressing and Naming.

Guidelines for Assigning Network Layer Addresses. Administering Addresses by a Central Authority. Distributing Authority for Addressing. Using Dynamic Addressing for End Systems. Using Private Addresses in an IP Environment. ng a Hierarchical Model for Assigning Addresses. Why Use a Hierarchical Model for Addressing and Routing? Hierarchical Routing. Classless Interdomain Routing. Classless Routing Versus Classful Routing. Route Summarization (Aggregation). Discontiguous Subnets. Variable-Length Subnet Masking. Hierarchy in IP Version 6 Addresses. Designing a Model for Naming. Distributing Authority for Naming. Guidelines for Assigning Names. Assigning Names in a NetBIOS Environment. Assigning Names in an IP Environment. Summary.

7. Selecting Switching and Routing Protocols.

Making Decisions as Part of the Top-Down Network Design Process. Selecting Bridging and Switching Protocols. Transparent Bridging. Transparent Switching. Selecting Spanning Tree Protocol Enhancements. Protocols for Transporting VLAN Information. Selecting Routing Protocols. Characterizing Routing Protocols. IP Routing. AppleTalk Routing. Novell NetWare Routing. Using Multiple Routing Protocols in an Internetwork. A Summary of IP, AppleTalk, and IPX Routing Protocols. Summary.

8. Developing Network Security Strategies.

Network Security Design. Identifying Network Assets and Risks. Analyzing Security Tradeoffs. Developing a Security Plan. Developing a Security Policy. Developing Security Procedures. Security Mechanisms. Physical Security. Authentication. Authorization. Accounting (Auditing). Data Encryption. Packet Filters. Firewalls. Intrusion Detection Systems. Modularizing Security Design. Securing Internet Connections. Securing Remote-Access and Virtual Private Networks. Securing Network Services and Network Management. Securing Server Farms. Securing User Services. Securing Wireless Networks. Summary.

9. Developing Network Management Strategies.

Network Management Design. Network Management Processes. Fault Management. Configuration Management. Security Management. Accounting Management. Network Management Architectures. Centralized Versus Distributed Monitoring. Selecting Protocols for Network Management. Simple Network Management Protocol. Cisco Discovery Protocol. Estimating Network Traffic Caused by Network Management. Selecting Tools for Network Management. Cisco Tools. Summary. Summary for Part II.


10. Selecting Technologies and Devices for Campus Networks.

LAN Cabling Plant Design. Cabling Topologies. Types of Cables. LAN Technologies. Ethernet. Campus ATM Networks. Selecting Internetworking Devices for a Campus Network Design. Optimization Features on Campus Internetworking Devices. An Example of a Campus Network Design. Background Information for the Campus Network Design Project. Business Goals. Technical Goals. Network Applications. User Communities. Data Stores (Servers). The Current Network at WVCC. The Network Redesign for WVCC. Summary.

11. Selecting Technologies and Devices for Enterprise Networks.

Remote-Access Technologies. Point-to-Point Protocol. Integrated Services Digital Network. Cable Modem Remote Access. Digital Subscriber Line Remote Access. Selecting Remote-Access Devices for an Enterprise Network Design. Selecting Devices for Remote Users. Selecting Devices for the Central Site. WAN Technologies. Systems for Provisioning WAN Bandwidth. Leased Lines. Synchronous Optical Network. Frame Relay. ATM Wide-Area Networks. Selecting Routers for an Enterprise WAN Design. Selecting a WAN Service Provider. An Example of a WAN Design. Business and Technical Goals. Network Applications. User Communities. Data Stores (Servers). The Current Network. The WAN Design for Klamath Paper Products. Summary. Summary for Part III.


12. Testing Your Network Design.

Using Industry Tests. Building and Testing a Prototype Network System. Determining the Scope of a Prototype System. Writing a Test Plan for the Prototype System. Implementing the Test Plan. Tools for Testing a Network Design. Types of Tools. Specific Tools for Testing a Network Design. An Example of a Network Design Testing Scenario. Goals for the Design and Testing Project. Network Applications. The Current Network. Testing Methods Used. Measured Data. Analysis of the New Order-Entry System. Conclusions. Summary.

13. Optimizing Your Network Design.

Optimizing Bandwidth Usage with IP Multicast Technologies. IP Multicast Addressing. The Internet Group Management Protocol. Multicast Routing Protocols. Reducing Serialization Delay. Link-Layer Fragmentation and Interleaving. Compressed Real Time Protocol. Optimizing Network Performance to Meet Quality of Service Requirements. IP Precedence and Type of Service. IP Version 6 QoS. The Resource Reservation Protocol. The Common Open Policy Service Protocol. Classifying LAN Traffic. Cisco Internetwork Operating System Features for Optimizing Network Performance. Switching Techniques. Queuing Services. Random Early Detection. Traffic Shaping. Committed Access Rate. Summary.

14. Documenting Your Network Design.

Responding to a Customer's Request for Proposal. Contents of a Network Design Document. Executive Summary. Project Goal. Project Scope. Design Requirements. Business Goals. Technical Goals. User Communities and Data Stores. Network Applications. Current State of the Network. Logical Design. Physical Design. Results of Network Design Testing. Implementation Plan. Project Schedule. Project Budget. Return on Investment. Design Document Appendix. Summary.

Appendix A: Characterizing Network Traffic When Workstations Boot.

Appendix B: References and Recommended Reading.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    Primary Reference

    This book should be the primary reference for any who seek to be a network design engineer. Priscilla is a network expert and an excellent writer. There's not much I can add to the other reviews--except to say that I've owned both editions of this and refer to it on a regular basis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2004

    Measure Twice, Cut Once

    Like the carpenter, the network designer does well to develop a plan before he or she purchases. The title, Top-Down Network Design, is accurate because the author¿s key approach throughout the book is to consider what works best for the end user while meeting the goals for a Request for Proposal. Priscilla Oppenheimer has presented a well structured textbook that covers every facet of networking in general with the intent of training the reader in the best practices of network design. The point of this book is to discourage going straight to product catalogs and picking out hardware when assigned a network project. Even if the customer has not given an RFP, the designer should present an overview of the project that includes the goals and how those goals will be measured. The reader should have some basic knowledge of networking. However, this would make an excellent text book for an introductory class at a university or technical school since Oppenheimer covers all of the logical concepts and physical aspects of modern networking. The well read and experienced network engineer will also find it a good review with a unique insight or tip sprinkled just often enough to make the read worthwhile. The text is also an excellent resource for writing network design documents for all occasions. For those preparing for certification the book would most help the aspiring Cisco Certified Design Professional candidate. The book however, is primarily a supplement to the student and a most useful reference for the consulting and design professional. Oppenheimer gives well thought through, easy to read descriptions of technologies. For example, her description of the Aggregatable Global Unicast Address Format, on pages 207-8, is the most succinct explanation of how IPv6 works I have ever read. Another jewel in this book is the walk-through of designing a real campus network in Chapter 10. The author had a college¿s permission to publish it¿s network topology. This means that you are learning how a network was designed and implemented that actually worked in real life. Another practical lesson is her definition of the 'Heisenberg uncertainty principle' as 'the act of observing something can alter what is observed.' Consultants should be careful that their analysis doesn¿t become a problem in itself. The extras are appendix A, a detailed description of a workstation booting. Each protocol is charted showing the traffic it creates. Appendix B is a reading list. There is also a glossary, which is always a bonus. I am going to be looking out for other titles from this author because there is a quality in the way this book is written that I am not accustomed to in computer books. Priscilla Oppenheimer, a teacher at Southern Oregon University, at the time of the books publishing date, merits the credit for raising the bar in her genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    Times -- and Networking -- have changed: get up to date

    Top-Down Network Design, Second Edition is both a new terrific book and still a terrific book. The original took a systems approach to designing a network which could provide the service the people paying for it expected, partly by getting them to clarify their expectations and needs. The new Second Edition does this, too, but it includes material relevant to the networks being implemented today, and they are very different networks than we saw even three or four years ago. New technologies, such as VPNs, VoIP, IPv6 as well as v4, Gigabit Ethernet and 10GigE, etc. are covered as part of a networking solution, not just as cool and sexy technologies to be rolled out for that reason. Likewise, new business emphases like reliability, redundancy, resiliency (which are not the same thing), security, and even survivability are addressed. Not all new technologies will help solve these problems, and, more often than not, they aren¿t even necessary. Thoughtful planning is far more important, and working with the network as it is now, toward what it is desired to become, is how you can really solve these problems. I think one of the greatest techniques you can learn from TDND, 2e is to characterize the flows of traffic on the network. Priscilla Oppenheimer gives several examples of developing such analyses in a variety of situations ¿ campus networks, WANs, a design testing scenario, and so forth. The Appendix with workstation bootup traffic information is especially helpful ¿ the only thing I would have liked to see that I didn¿t was a little more detail on the contents of the various packets involved, but it is an Appendix, and using a sniffer will let you see them for yourself. I have both the original and the new Second Edition ¿ and getting the new one is definitely worth it. Networking has changed, and this book will help you handle the new material.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2010

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