For courses in Networking/Communications
Motivates readers with a top-down, layered approach to computer networking
Unique among computer networking texts, the Seventh Edition of the popular Computer Networking: A Top Down Approach builds on the author’s long tradition of teaching this complex subject through a layered approach in a “top-down manner.” The text works its way from the application layer down toward the physical layer, motivating readers by exposing them to important concepts early in their study of networking. Focusing on the Internet and the fundamentally important issues of networking, this text provides an excellent foundation for readers interested in computer science and electrical engineering, without requiring extensive knowledge of programming or mathematics. The Seventh Edition has been updated to reflect the most important and exciting recent advances in networking.
- I bought this book for my computer networking class which was run by one of the contributors of this book (George Polyzos). I’ve read all of chapters 1-6 and some parts of 7, and so far everything seems great. The algorithms are explained in detail, complete with visual material and online supplementary animations which can be accessed via the code in the book. The protocols are clearly explained with a visual representation of the formatting of each packet/segment/frame based the protocol. For me, it was a tiny bit tedious to read some parts and a bit frustrating trying to understand the more complex algorithms, but this was after having read 20+ pages straight beforehand. I never did any of the homework problems as we were given problem sets (possibly from one of the older editions). Overall though I’d give this book 4 stars for doing a great job of teaching general computer networking.
- Most books in computer networks start bottom-up. This is good for those who might be beginners or those who are just looking to get a high level understanding of the field since it starts with the bigger picture and gets to the complicated lower level stuff later. Computer networks might feel dry to some, so starting with the upper level layers to the lower level ones later can more easily grab readers’ attention. As a result they’re more likely to stay for the entire ride and see how great computer networks are. It provides interesting end of chapter interviews! It also mentions the history and its influence on computer networks, which one might not take away from a computer networks class even though it is the basis of the internet that we know today. Great book!
- I would not agree with another reviewer that this is v7 is simply a reprint of v6 and being sold for higher price. The v6 was published in 2013, and v7 is in 2017. In my perspective the v7 reflected many up-to-date changes that happened during the 3 years. For example, in chapter 2 application, online video streaming is added, and how do Netflix and youtube work are discussed. Chapter 4 network layer are now divided into 2 chapters: the control plane and the data plane, to accommodate the software defined network concept.
In some sense, you will for sure still see many many same pictures and sentences in the v7 as in v6, however, as a new edition, you do not expect it to be a completely new book. There are at least some substantial content update and structure changes in this newer version.
- I used this book for self-study as a regular computer user with above-average knowledge (I’m a Linux user 🙂 but hardly any networking knowledge. I give the book 5 stars because I did learn basics like the structure of an IP address and how DNS works, and I got a vague idea about how the OSI layers differ.
The book teaches networking via the five-layer OSI model, and I suspect that part of my problem with the book is that this model is too abstract to be useful to a beginner. Transmission across networks was described in terms of concepts—sockets, communication links, etc.—instead of physical objects, and these concepts weren’t connected to physical objects (which they should be given that networking occurs via physical media, not in our thoughts). So I had a tough time figuring out what the explanations were actually describing.
The book started off OK but got more and more unclear. I mostly gave up once I reached the link layer chapter because I couldn’t figure out what a basic component—a link—is.
Some of the analogies used to explain topics were just too long and metaphorical to bear, so they didn’t help. The figures were crowded with apparently unorganized and excessive details, so almost none of them were helpful. The book offered too little detail for core topics and too much detail for less important topics.
I don’t recommend this book to anyone for any purpose.