Understanding Linux Network Internals

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If you've ever wondered how Linux carries out the complicated tasks assigned to it by the IP protocols — or if you just want to learn about modern networking through real-life examples — Understanding Linux Network Internals is for you.

Like the popular O'Reilly book, Understanding the Linux Kernel, this book clearly explains the underlying concepts and teaches you how to follow the actual C code that implements it. Although some background in the TCP/IP protocols is helpful, ...

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Understanding Linux Network Internals

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If you've ever wondered how Linux carries out the complicated tasks assigned to it by the IP protocols — or if you just want to learn about modern networking through real-life examples — Understanding Linux Network Internals is for you.

Like the popular O'Reilly book, Understanding the Linux Kernel, this book clearly explains the underlying concepts and teaches you how to follow the actual C code that implements it. Although some background in the TCP/IP protocols is helpful, you can learn a great deal from this text about the protocols themselves and their uses. And if you already have a base knowledge of C, you can use the book's code walkthroughs to figure out exactly what this sophisticated part of the Linux kernel is doing.

Part of the difficulty in understanding networks — and implementing them — is that the tasks are broken up and performed at many different times by different pieces of code. One of the strengths of this book is to integrate the pieces and reveal the relationships between far-flung functions and data structures. Understanding Linux Network Internals is both a big-picture discussion and a no-nonsense guide to the details of Linux networking. Topics include:

  • Key problems with networking
  • Network interface card (NIC) device drivers
  • System initialization
  • Layer 2 (link-layer) tasks and implementation
  • Layer 3 (IPv4) tasks and implementation
  • Neighbor infrastructure and protocols (ARP)
  • Bridging
  • Routing
  • ICMP

Author Christian Benvenuti, an operating system designer specializing in networking, explains much more than how Linux code works. He shows the purposes of major networking features and the trade-offs involved in choosing one solution over another. A large number of flowcharts and other diagrams enhance the book's understandability.

Benvenuti describes the relationship between the Internet's TCP/IP implementation and the Linux Kernel so that programmers and advanced administrators can modify and fine-tune their network environment.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596002558
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1066
  • Sales rank: 1,456,866
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Christian Benvenuti received his masters degree in Computer Science at the University of Bologna in Italy. He collaborated for a few years with the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, where he developed ad-hoc software based on the Linux kernel, was a scientific consultant for a project on remote collaboration, and served as an instructor for several training sessions on networking. The trainings, held mainly in Europe, Africa, and South America wereall based on Linux systems and addressed to scientists from developing countries, where the ICTP has been promoting Linux for many years. He occasionally collaborates with a non-profit organization founded by ICTP members, Collaborium.org, to continue promoting Linux on developing countries.In the past few years he worked as a software engineer for Cisco Systems in the Silicon Valley, where he focused on Layer two switching, high availability, and network security.

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Table of Contents


Part I: General Background

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Critical Data Structures

Chapter 3: User-Space-to-Kernel Interface

Part II: System Initialization

Chapter 4: Notification Chains

Chapter 5: Network Device Initialization

Chapter 6: The PCI Layer and Network Interface Cards

Chapter 7: Kernel Infrastructure for Component Initialization

Chapter 8: Device Registration and Initialization

Part III: Transmission and Reception

Chapter 9: Interrupts and Network Drivers

Chapter 10: Frame Reception

Chapter 11: Frame Transmission

Chapter 12: General and Reference Material About Interrupts

Chapter 13: Protocol Handlers

Part IV: Bridging

Chapter 14: Bridging: Concepts

Chapter 15: Bridging: The Spanning Tree Protocol

Chapter 16: Bridging: Linux Implementation

Chapter 17: Bridging: Miscellaneous Topics

Part V: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)

Chapter 18: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4): Concepts

Chapter 19: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4): Linux Foundations and Features

Chapter 20: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4): Forwarding and Local Delivery

Chapter 21: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4): Transmission

Chapter 22: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4): Handling Fragmentation

Chapter 23: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4): Miscellaneous Topics

Chapter 24: Layer Four Protocol and Raw IP Handling

Chapter 25: Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv4)

Part VI: Neighboring Subsystem

Chapter 26: Neighboring Subsystem: Concepts

Chapter 27: Neighboring Subsystem: Infrastructure

Chapter 28: Neighboring Subsystem: Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)

Chapter 29: Neighboring Subsystem: Miscellaneous Topics

Part VII: Routing

Chapter 30: Routing: Concepts

Chapter 31: Routing: Advanced

Chapter 32: Routing: Li nux Implementation

Chapter 33: Routing: The Routing Cache

Chapter 34: Routing: Routing Tables

Chapter 35: Routing: Lookups

Chapter 36: Routing: Miscellaneous Topics


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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006


    Are you a newcomer who already has some knowledge of networking? If you are, then this book is for you! Author Christian Benvenuti, has done an outstanding job of writing practical guide that represents a good starting point for anyone willing to learn more about the Linux kernal internals. Benvenuti, begins by introducing you to the basic knowledge you need to understand the rest of the book comfortably. Then, the author will show you how and when network devices are initialized and registered with the kernal. He also puts into context all of the features that can influence the path of a packet inside the kernal, and to give you an idea of the big picture. Next, he looks at the link layer or L2 counterpart of routing: bridging. The author continues by explaining the main drawbacks of version 4 of the IP protocol and shows you how IPv6 tries to address them. He also discusses how the router and the application host know who each other are. Finally, he introduces the routing process, and how it plays a central role in the Linux networking code. In this most excellent book, the author shows you how Linux carries out the complicated tasks assigned to it by the IP protocols. More importantly, one of the strengths of this book is that it integrates the pieces and shows you the relationships between far flung functions and data structures.

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