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Prentice Hall, Incorporated
Computer Networks and Internets / Edition 2

Computer Networks and Internets / Edition 2


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Computer Networks and Internets / Edition 2

"Professor Comer's book is a superb introduction to the field of Computer Networks and Internets. By far the best introductory textbook I have found of the subject." —Ivan Krsul, Professor, Universidad Católica Boliviana, Bolivia.

"A very good example of client and server code - simple enough for beginners yet illustrative of the key points." —Pradip K. Srimani, Professor, Colorado State University.

"Comer's text deals directly with technologies in wide application today, and the underlying theory... I've found it particularly useful with students who are professionals from other disciplines that need to understand the depth and breadth of networking in a one-semester course." —Stanley A. Telson, Extension Instructor, University of California-Berkeley.

"Dr. Comer has a remarkable ability to write highly technical material in a way that beginners can easily understand." —Barbara Hotta, Assistant Professor, Leeward Community College

"With Comer's book, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time on the exciting newer developments in application layer and web technology." —Javed I. Khan, Assistant Professor, Kent State University

The Second Edition of this best-selling text continues to answer the question, "How do computer networks and internets operate?" Douglas Comer, a leading computer networking authority, provides a self-contained tour from the lowest levels of data transmission wiring through the highest levels of application software, explaining how facilities and services are used and extended in the next level. Finally, the text explains how applications use reliable stream transferto provide high-level services.

Computer Networks and Internets is appropriate for use by undergraduate students, as well as graduate students and professionals with little or no background in networking or operating systems. The text uses analogies and examples to define concepts instead of sophisticated mathematical proofs. The book's four sections cover Low-Level Transmission, Packet Switching, Internetworking, and Network Applications.

New to the Second Edition—

  • Additions, updates, and changes throughout that cover the latest networking and internet technology.
  • NEW Chapter 2 discusses tools students can use to explore the Internet.
  • NEW Chapter 11 covers long-distance digital connection technologies such as leased digital circuits (e.g., T1, T3, and OC3) and local loop technologies (e.g., ADSL and cable modems).
  • NEW Chapter 32 surveys middleware and discusses general concepts and specific technologies (e.g., ONC RPC, DCE RPC, MSRPC, COM and DCOM, and CORBA).

The CD-ROM and Web site have been updated with additional:

  • Animations.
  • Data files.
  • Photos of equipment and wiring.
  • Complete instructional materials.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780130836175
Publisher: Prentice Hall, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/08/1998
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 583
Product dimensions: 7.33(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.36(d)

About the Author

Douglas Comer is a professor at Purdue University. He was 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, the group responsible for guiding development of the Internet. He wrote this book in response to everyone who has asked him for an explanation of Computer Networking that is technically correct, comprehensive, and accessible to undergraduates. He has had an Internet connection in his home since 1981.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Growth Of Computer Networking

Computer networks have been growing explosively. Two decades ago, few people had access to a network. Now, computer communication has become an essential part of our infrastructure. Networking is used in every aspect of business, including advertising, production, shipping, planning, billing, and accounting. Consequently, most corporations have multiple networks. Schools, at all grade levels from elementary through post-graduate, are using computer networks to provide students and teachers with instantaneous access to information in on-line libraries around the world. Federal, state, and local government offices use networks, as do military organizations. In short, computer networks are everywhere.

Continued growth of the global Internet is one of the most interesting and exciting phenomena in networking. Twenty years ago, the Internet was a research project that involved a few dozen sites. Today, the Internet has grown into a production communication system that reaches millions of people in all populated countries of the world. In the United States, the Internet connects most corporations, colleges and universities, as well as federal, state, and local government offices. It will soon reach most elementary, junior, and senior high schools. In addition, many private residences have access to the Internet through dial-up telephone connections; newer technologies are providing even higher capacity service. Evidence of the Internet's impact on society can be seen in advertisements in magazines and on television, which often contain a reference to an Internet Web site that provides additional information about the advertiser's products and services.

The growth in networking has an economic impact as well. Data networks have made telecommuting available to individuals and have changed business communication. In addition, an entire industry has emerged that develops networking technologies, products, and services. The popularity and importance of computer networking has produced a strong demand in all jobs for people with more networking expertise. Companies need workers to plan, acquire, install, operate, and manage the hardware and software systems that comprise computer networks and Internets. In addition, computer programming is no longer restricted to individual computers; programmers are expected to design and implement application software that can communicate with software on other computers.

1.2 Complexity In Network Systems

Computer networking is a complex subject. Many technologies exist, and each technology has features that distinguish it from the others. Multiple organizations have created networking standards independently, which are not all compatible. Many companies have created commercial networking products and services that use the technologies in unconventional ways. Finally, networking is complex because multiple technologies exist that can be used to interconnect two or more networks. As a result, many combinations of networks are possible.

Networking can be especially confusing to a beginner because there is no single underlying theory that explains the relationship among all parts. In fact, various organizations and research groups have attempted to define conceptual models that can be used to explain the differences and similarities among network hardware and software systems. Unfortunately, the set of technologies is diverse and changing rapidly; models are either so simplistic that they do not distinguish among details, or so complex that they do not help simplify the subject.

The lack of an underlying theory has produced another challenge for beginners: there is no simple and uniform terminology for networking concepts. Because multiple organizations define networking technologies and standards, multiple terms exist for a given concept. Professionals often use a technical term from one technology when referring to an analogous feature of another technology. In addition, technical terms are sometimes confused with the names of popular products. Consequently, in addition to a large set of terms and acronyms that contains many synonyms, networking jargon contains terms that are often abbreviated, misused, or associated with products.

1.3 Mastering The Complexity

To master the complexity, one must look beyond the details and concentrate on understanding concepts. For example, although it is not important to understand the details of wires used to connect computers to a specific network, it is important to understand the few basic categories of wiring schemes that exist and the advantages of each. Similarly, although it is not important to learn the details of how a particular communication protocol handles a congested network, it is important to know what congestion is and why it must be handled.

1.4 Concepts And Terminology

This text is written to help overcome the complexity. The text focuses on concepts and avoids unnecessary detail. It explains the purpose of each networking technology, gives the advantages and disadvantages, and describes some of the consequences of using the technology. Whenever possible, the text uses analogies and illustrations to simplify explanations.

In addition to covering concepts and technologies, the text introduces networking terminology. When a new concept is introduced, terminology for that concept is defined. The text also notes popular abbreviations and synonyms that professionals use. The terminology is summarized in a Glossary in Appendix I that serves as a quick reference for the many terms and acronyms defined throughout the text.

1.5 Organization Of The Text

Following the introductory chapters, the main part of the text is divided into four major parts. The first part describes data transmission. It explains that at the lowest level, electrical signals traveling across wires are used to carry information, and shows how data can be encoded using electrical signals. The chapters in the first part do not provide details for engineers who design networking hardware. Instead, they provide general descriptions of the principles and practical realities of data transmission and their consequences for computer networks.

The second part of the text focuses on packet transmission. It explains why computer networks use packets, and shows how data is grouped into packets for transmission. This section introduces the two basic categories of computer networks: Local Area Networks and Wide Area Networks. It explains the differences between the two categories and reviews example technologies. Finally, the section discusses the important concepts of addressing and routing. It explains how a network routes a packet to its destination.

The third part of the text covers internetworking - the important idea that allows heterogeneous network technologies to be combined into a large, seamless communication system. The text explains TCP/IP, the protocol technology used in the global Internet.

The fourth part of the text explains networking applications. It focuses on how applications use the underlying network to communicate. The part begins by explaining the client-server model of interaction. Later chapters use the model to explain how application programs provide services such as electronic mail and Web browsing....

Table of Contents

(NOTE: * indicates new chapters)


1. Introduction.
2. Motivation and Tools.*
3. Transmission Media.
4. Local Asynchronous Communication (RS-232).
5. Long-Distance Communication (Carriers, Modulation, and Modems).


6. Packets, Frames, and Error Detection.
7. LAN Technologies and Network Topology.
8. Hardware Addressing and Frame Type Identification.
9. LAN Wiring, Physical Topology, and Interface Hardware.
10. Extending LANs: Fiber Modems, Repeaters, Bridges, and Switches.
11. Long-Distance Digital Connection Technologies.*
12. WAN Technologies and Routing.


13. Network Ownership, Service Paradigm, and Performance.
14. Protocols and Layering.
15. Internetworking: Concepts, Architecture, and Protocols.
16. IP: Internet Protocol Addresses.
17. Binding Protocol Addresses (ARP).
18. IP Datagrams and Datagram Forwarding.
19. IP Encapsulation, Fragmentation, and Reassembly.
20. The Future IP (IPv6).
21. An Error Reporting Mechanism (ICMP).
22. TCP: Reliable Transport Service.


23. Client-Server Interaction.
24. The Socket Interface.
25. Example of a Client anda Server.
26. Naming with the Domain Name System.
27. Electronic Mail Representation and Transfer.
28. File Transfer and Remote File Access.
29. World Wide Web Pages and Browsing.
30. CGI Technology for Dynamic Web Documents.
31. Java Technology For Active Web Documents.
32. RPC and Middleware.*
33. Network Management (SNMP).
34. Network Security.
35. Initialization (Configuration).

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Computer Networks and Internets 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This may be the best technical book I've ever read. I am a software developer. I needed a thorough introduction to networking to better understand and develop software architectures. This book provided that and more.

It didn't get bogged down in details I would never use (like the physics of twisted pair Ethernet), but presented theory followed by practical examples and common use. Topics were presented in a logical order, and built upon previous discussions. Chapters are very short, but include everything about a given topic.

The accompanying web site has pictures of all of the equipment discussed in the book, as well as answers to readers questions by the author.

I found myself unwilling to put the book down. The author makes the subject fascinating and enjoyable.