Computer Networks: A Systems Approach
Larry Peterson, Princeton University
Bruce Davie, VMWare
Copyright Year: 2019
Publisher: Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie
Conditions of Use
This book covers networks from a systems perspective, focusing on the design principles underlying the construction of large networks, their protocols and the applications they support. It provides a comprehensive coverage of the protocols and... read more
This book covers networks from a systems perspective, focusing on the design principles underlying the construction of large networks, their protocols and the applications they support. It provides a comprehensive coverage of the protocols and technology in use today as well as a discussion of several historically relevant protocols and applications.
However, there are areas that could use more depth in my opinion, such as the IPv4/IPv6 transition, NAT, and modern web applications, to pick three.
The information in the book is accurate from my perspective. It is also unbiased. The primary author has made multiple seminal contributions to the field of networking that, aside from their technical merit, contributed to consensus and community building.
Moreover, the book includes "perspectives" at the end of each chapter in which the authors discuss their view of recent developments. These perspectives nicely augment and complement the factual descriptions provided by the rest of the text.
The 2019 update includes a discussion of several recent developments (such as QUIC, TCP/BBR, or blockchains).
Some discussion that provides only historical context could be shortened, especially regarding technologies that were never widely deployed (e.g., IP multicast).
The book is well written and easily accessible. It is targeted at undergraduates in a 3rd or 4th year networking course, but could be used in a 1st graduate level course as well.
The bottom-up approach that starts with the lower layers of the networking stack makes some forward references necessary, which is unavoidable. Overall, the textbook focuses on explaining problems and then outlining the fundamental ideas underlying their solutions - rather than restricting itself to a description of only the solutions themselves.
Overall, the book is well written and certainly internally consistent.
A possible point of improvement would be rethink the inclusion of fragment written in a C-like language - this evokes a level of detail with respect to using the book's description for an actual implementation that it doesn't otherwise have.
The book is modular, devoting chapters to the layers used in networking (link layer, network layer, transport layer, etc.) as well as devoting chapters to cross-cutting issues such as security, multimedia, data representation, and so on. The size of each chapter/section is about right for the level of detail provided. I would feel comfortable assigning it to students.
The table of contents makes it clear where to read about which topic. Because of the nature of certain topics, some subjects could be covered at multiple levels (e.g. reliable data transmission is both a link layer and a transport layer issue, routing/forwarding occurs primarily at the network layer, but also for overlay networks or switched Ethernet.) The book strikes a good balance in sorting these topics and is certain to highlight connections and relationships.
This book is created and maintained using the Sphinx toolchain and is available as HTML, PDF, and ePub format. I read the HTML version and examined the PDF version, which results in professional quality documents that are full-text searchable and easily navigable. The authors use illustrations frequently and to good effect.
Unfortunately, some of the URLs embedded were broken (e.g., https://blockstack.org/whitepaper.pdf)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, aside from the (infrequent) typo, I wasn't able to spot any mistakes.
The emergence of the Internet has had profound cultural impact, and this book tells its story.
The book comes with 5 (online) companion books that dive even deeper into some of the topics the book covers.
It is also open for contributions by anybody, which could further improve its content and relevance in the future.
This book tries to use a systematic view to explain the computer network by focusing on several major components in the Internet, so several topics have to be grouped together. For example, "Internetworking" section, it covers switch, Ethernet,... read more
This book tries to use a systematic view to explain the computer network by focusing on several major components in the Internet, so several topics have to be grouped together. For example, "Internetworking" section, it covers switch, Ethernet, IP, and outing. Actually, those topics are located in the different layers of Internet stack. Introducing all those topics which are spanned over several layers might confuse the students.
The good thing about this textbook is that there are sample codes available. The instructor can use the sample codes to explain the issue/problems of computer network, no need to write the program by themselves.
The information and content in this textbook are relatively accurate. One thing is that this textbook did not contain many examples to explain certain topics. In that case, the instructor might need to customize the example based on the information and content of the textbook.
All the topics in this textbook are definitely related to the computer networks. However, some interesting topics are not included. For example, wireless/mobile network, the layering of Internet stack, Internet of Things.
This textbook also include network security and cryptography. I am not sure whether it is the required topic for undergraduate computer network class.
The technical terms are properly explained in the textbook. For some major concepts, the use example is missing. Take the "Addresses" as an example, the textbook just explains the format of the address. However, it failed to explain how the different portion of address is used.
The presentation of textbook is consistent, and the content are well-written and easy to read.
The textbook groups the related topics into section, which is easier for reader to get familiar with all topics in one section. However, this design strategy also has a downside. Since different topic might be existing in the different layer of Internet stack, coving them in one section might be difficult.
For the organization, this textbook has some places to improve. Some topics can be grouped in a more proper way.
The content of textbook is easy to access, and navigate.
The textbook is well-written and easy to read.
The "cultural" is not relevant to this textbook.
I don't suggest the instructor adopts this textbook as a only textbook for computer network class. The reason is that this textbook does not include all required topics. Some other OER textbooks should be used along with this one.
This book presents majority of the networking critical areas and explains latest hot topics in the industry. More pictures, charts and tables can make it more attractive for students. read more
This book presents majority of the networking critical areas and explains latest hot topics in the industry. More pictures, charts and tables can make it more attractive for students.
This book provides an unbiased approach with all possible ways and does not specifically attached to any industry networking equipment provider other than in few real life examples.
The latest version of the book contains 5G and SDN topics as well as some details of cloud networking. Due to changing technologies the future updates will be required and authors agility is appreciable so far.
This book presents the material with clarity, details and relevant real examples as possible
Authors tried their best to be focused and deliver required information with good sequence and consistency.
Content of this book is very well organized in chapters.
Authors did excellent work by putting every critical area and topic in separate chapters making the flow transition smooth.
The book's interface is well written without navigation, distortion of images / charts, or other display failures. Visual display works well.
Could not find any grammatical errors during review of the book text.
No negative impact or relation on any culture or community.
I like this book’s title and material included. This book can be an excellent reference & textbook for network related courses. I will provide with any further comments and updates necessary when I use it in class.
This book will be used to identify problems in the information technology industry. Every chapter presents a problem to be analyzed by students which is suitable for developing the critical thinking skills of students. read more
This book will be used to identify problems in the information technology industry. Every chapter presents a problem to be analyzed by students which is suitable for developing the critical thinking skills of students.
This book provides an unbiased presentation of relevant concepts and issues with the information technology industry.
This book has a copyright of 2019; based on the topics presented, the content is relevant to students considering or pursuing a career in information technology.
This book presents the material with clarity; any areas that may be unclear can be researched and expounded upon during class discussions.
This book presents consistent and relevant terminology in each chapter.
This book presents the material in page formats that are not overwhelming to the reader.
This book 's structure presents a well organized, logical, and clear flow of information regarding each topic.
The book's interface works well. I did not find any issues with navigating from page to page, or chapter to chapter.
This book did not present any grammatical errors that I identified while reading it.
The book did not present any culturally insensitive or offensive material.
I am going to use this book for my IT problem-solving course during the Fall 2020 semester; I am hoping to identify feedback from students to be added to this review in the future.
Almost all important areas in computer networks are covered in this book. read more
Almost all important areas in computer networks are covered in this book.
I have not checked every word and every piece of information from this book. But from what I had looked at, this book appears to be accurate and unbiased.
This book is about computer networks, of course. However, like all tech books, they will have to update with new content, e.g. SDN, 5G, ...
This depends on who will read the book. For me, I have no difficulty reading this book.
Did not see a major problem.
This book is a bit "heavy" for some students in computer science to follow in a single semester. It is a challenge for the instructors to pick up specific contents that will be suitable for a typical one-semester course.
I am not sure that putting the "applications" as the last chapter is a good approach. Additionally, some terms are addressed earlier in the book, but the concept is later introduced. For example, the term "Content Distribution Networks" is mentioned in previous chapters but it is only formally introduced in chapter 9.
The content of this book is not intended to distract or confuse the reader.
Did not observe any obvious grammatical error.
Like most tech books, this book is culturally neutral.
Lack of homework questions, lab questions, and programming assignments. This book will be better served as a reference book, not a textbook.
The bool appears to be comprehensive, but a little wordy. Perhaps say the same thing without repetition and stay focused on the subject. read more
The bool appears to be comprehensive, but a little wordy. Perhaps say the same thing without repetition and stay focused on the subject.
I did not find any errors
This is fairly fundamental networking, however it is a topic that changes rapidly, which is not the fault of the author
I understood it fairly easily, but this could be difficult depending on the audience and their ability and familiarity with the subject.
Nicely laid out.
The book is logically divided into subjects that could be used individually.
I like how they started with the application layer of the OSI model that is the easiest to understand. I would stick with the OSI format throughout the course.
The interface is fairly straightforward. I personally like ebooks with links to appropriate videos, but then it would not be a "textbook".
I did not find any errors, however I am not an English instructor.
This is not a cultural subject.
I would consider using part of this book in my class
This book does an excellent job of covering all of the major topic areas in computer networking. It provides a good overview of networking and then dives into the details of the most important sections of the network stack. read more
This book does an excellent job of covering all of the major topic areas in computer networking. It provides a good overview of networking and then dives into the details of the most important sections of the network stack.
I found no inaccuracies of note in the content of the text.
This book covers historical networking topics well. It also highlights the primary tools used in modern networked mobile and web applications (HTTPS, REST, etc) and explains the forces that have caused much of the industry to settle on these tools. This book should remain relevant for years, especially if it continues to be regularly updated.
There's a lot of jargon in computer networking, but this book does a good job of recognizing this and carefully introducing new terms. It could perhaps benefit from an index of important terms and acronyms.
I found the book to be consistent throughout. I think that it could benefit from using a structure and set of chapter names the connect more tightly to established layers of the one of the common network stack models, or simply being more upfront in defining its own view into the network stack to provide readers more direction on where the text is headed and what content is found in each chapter.
The text is well structured to be divided into course topics.
The book begins with a high-level overview of networked application and then explores the network stack from the bottom up. This is the approach that several other texts use, and I find it to be a clear way to teach the content.
I had no problems viewing or navigating the text or figures.
The text appears to be well edited and largely free of grammatical errors.
I did not note any content in the text that I found to be inappropriate or offensive nor any content that I would expect is probable to offend others.
Overall, this is a helpful text that provides a good overview of the most important concepts in computer networking and could be easily applied for teaching and learning this topic.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Foundation
- Chapter 2: Direct Connections
- Chapter 3: Internetworking
- Chapter 4: Advanced Internetworking
- Chapter 5: End-to-End Protocols
- Chapter 6: Congestion Control
- Chapter 7: End-to-End Data
- Chapter 8: Network Security
- Chapter 9: Applications
About the Book
Suppose you want to build a computer network, one that has the potential to grow to global proportions and to support applications as diverse as teleconferencing, video on demand, electronic commerce, distributed computing, and digital libraries. What available technologies would serve as the underlying building blocks, and what kind of software architecture would you design to integrate these building blocks into an effective communication service? Answering this question is the overriding goal of this book—to describe the available building materials and then to show how they can be used to construct a network from the ground up.
About the Contributors
Larry Peterson is CTO at the Open Networking Foundation and the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science (Emeritus) at Princeton University
Bruce Davie is VP & CTO at VMWare for Asia Pacific and Japan