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TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols (2nd Edition) Hardcover – Nov 15 2011
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"What makes this book unique, in my estimation, is the level of detail and attention to history. It provides background and a sense for the ways in which solutions to networking problems have evolved. It is relentless in its effort to achieve precision and to expose remaining problem areas. For an engineer determined to refine and secure Internet operation or to explore alternative solutions to persistent problems, the insights provided by this book will be invaluable. The authors deserve credit for a thorough rendering of the technology of today’s Internet."
Praise for the First Edition of TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols . . .
“This is sure to be the bible for TCP/IP developers and users. Within minutes of picking up the text, I encountered several scenarios that had tripped up both my colleagues and myself in the past. Stevens reveals many of the mysteries once held tightly by the ever-elusive networking gurus. Having been involved in the implementation of TCP/IP for some years now, I consider this by far the finest text to date.”
—Robert A. Ciampa, network engineer, Synernetics, division of 3COM
“While all of Stevens’ books are readable and technically excellent, this new opus is awesome. Although many books describe the TCP/IP protocols, Stevens provides a level of depth and real-world detail lacking from the competition. He puts the reader inside TCP/IP using a visual approach and shows the protocols in action.”
—Steven Baker, networking columnist, Unix Review
“TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1, is an excellent reference for developers, network administrators, or anyone who needs to understand TCP/IP technology. TCP/IP Illustrated is comprehensive in its coverage of TCP/IP topics, providing enough details to satisfy the experts while giving enough background and commentary for the novice.”
—Bob Williams, vice president, Marketing, NetManage, Inc.
“. . . [T]he difference is that Stevens wants to show as well as tell about the protocols. His principal teaching tools are straightforward explanations, exercises at the ends of chapters, byte-by-byte diagrams of headers and the like, and listings of actual traffic as examples.”
—Walter Zintz, UnixWorld
“Much better than theory only. . . . W. Richard Stevens takes a multihost-based configuration and uses it as a travelogue of TCP/IP examples with illustrations. TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1, is based on practical examples that reinforce the theory—distinguishing this book from others on the subject, and making it both readable and informative.”
—Peter M. Haverlock, consultant, IBM TCP/IP Development
“The diagrams he uses are excellent and his writing style is clear and readable. In sum, Stevens has made a complex topic easy to understand. This book merits everyone’s attention. Please read it and keep it on your bookshelf.”
—Elizabeth Zinkann, sys admin
“W. Richard Stevens has produced a fine text and reference work. It is well organized and very clearly written with, as the title suggests, many excellent illustrations exposing the intimate details of the logic and operation of IP, TCP, and the supporting cast of protocols and applications.”
—Scott Bradner, consultant, Harvard University OIT/NSD
About the Author
Kevin R. Fall, Ph.D., has worked with TCP/IP for more than twenty-five years, and served on the Internet Architecture Board. He co-chairs the Internet Research Task Force’s Delay Tolerant Networking Research Group (DTNRG), which explores networking in extreme and performance-challenged environments. He is an IEEE Fellow.
W. Richard Stevens, Ph.D. (1951-1999), was the pioneering author who taught a generation of network professionals the TCP/IP skills they’ve used to make the Internet central to everyday life. His best-selling books included all three volumes of TCP/IP Illustrated (Addison-Wesley), as well as UNIX Network Programming (Prentice Hall).
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Top Customer Reviews
Who knows, we may all be using SDN and won't care about the underlying technologies...But until then, this is the definitive guide for in-depth discussion of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. Buy this now especially if you're looking to expand your knowledge of the higher layer protocols such as TCP and UDP. Three chapters alone are dedicated to TCP operations, congestion control and connection management.
An excellent reference and must-have for network engineers and architects.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I disagree with the other reviewers who state that Fall retains the excellent writing style of the original. Whereas Stevens is known for succinct, clear prose that covers topics in a straightforward, readable way, Fall seems to have felt that adding verbosity was a necessary step in adding additional topic coverage.
For an example, just read the first page of the introduction for both editions. I had read the first edition a few years ago and was amazed at how Stevens made even the complex subjects easily understandable, but I paused while reading Fall's edition half-way through the introduction, asking myself "Why is this prose so difficult to understand? I don't remember the original being like this." After showing both editions to a friend of mine who is an English professor, she said that she is going to use excerpts from each book as a way to contrast good technical writing with bad technical writing (first edition, good; second edition, bad). In fact, after reading the first paragraph of the introduction of the second edition, she laughed at the quoted dictionary definition of "protocol," noting that English professors joke among themselves about how they all have to re-train high school graduates not to do this, since it is such a bad practice and so common among incoming college freshmen.
While speculating about why the editions are so different, I hypothesized that when Stevens was learning network programming, there was very little written material, and he had to figure out a lot on his own or ask many of the original authors of the software for explanations; Fall, however, had at his disposal much more written material, and his edition reads as if he is creating a compendium to summarize everything he could find.
I don't mean to make Fall feel bad about the amount of work he's done in updating Steven's excellent book; it was welcome. However, I wanted to caution potential buyers of this edition that they might be better served by purchasing a copy of the first edition for learning about TCP/IP and buying a copy of the second edition to use as a reference. Wading through Fall's edition to find the most important points of TCP/IP networking would be much harder and require much more work.
I must say the book gives me a lot. I learnt many things about TCP/IP, I understood how TCP, IP and underlying protocols work together. The book presents packet structures in useful figures, many details how protocol stack is designed. Explanations are acceptable, maybe sometimes too wordy, but still understandable for me. Unfortunately the book has also few very 'unpleasant' drawbacks.
One thing I really don't like is how the text is structured. Pages and pages of 'plain' text without any reasonable structure are hard to read. The book contains very few bullet lists, text in bold is used sparsely, important definitions are not visually highlighted - just dug into text (sometimes one or two words are in italic). It's very hard to navigate in such tons of texts without such visual clues. Countless time I had to browse through many pages or look to register to find definitions mention just 10 pages before. If these definitions were typed in bold, it would be much-much easier. Even with tens of figures the book still looks more like prose than technical text.
Another problematic part are examples. Shorter and more frequent examples would be more useful. Instead of that, many samples have 5 to 10 pages and they are presented after very long explanations without any example. Also small sized screenshots of Wireshark are not the best way how to present packet flow or packet properties. Tabular form would be much better.
I don't want to say that book is not good, but simply it could be much better. With better organization and more examples it would be great book. Unfortunately now it's just little above average text.
The book still retains Stevens excellent writing style. It is concise, clear and gets to the point quickly. It is filled with examples using either tcpdump or wireshark screen captures, or good illustrations explaining the header structures. The book is over 1000 pages but not wordy, very impressive.
Each chapter explains one protocol or concept, TCP being so complex is spread over multiple chapters. One thing I really appreciate with this book is that every chapter includes a section on attacks that has been employed against the protocols. This information is invaluable if you must implement the protocols yourself and makes sure you won't get hit by the same problems as people were in the past.
This book is a must have for anyone who works with TCP/IP on a daily basis and/or develops networking software. Even if you work with protocols that are not IP based this book still contains lots of really good ideas that can be reused.
Obviously Stevens never covered IPv6 (in the 1st edition) though he did essentially say that it was "a twinkle in it's progenitors eyes" so to speak. Here in the second edition, we finally have a pretty comprehensive treatment of IPv6.
If you need to implement, support or troubleshoot either IPv4 or IPv6, this book is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. If you you need to do packet analysis or configure security appliances, this book is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. If you are implementing QoS to support converged networks such as VoIP or video, this book is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.
I've bought and given away more than 20 copies of the first edition. I have two copies of the first edition, one at home and one in my office and I even downloaded a horrible, scanned copy as a pdf so I can search it with my laptop. I've now replaced the two first editions with two copies of the second edition.
Don't hesitate, just buy this book. It's worth a hundred other IT books (books on protocols do not age as quickly as most other IT books)and you'll go to it again and again for the rest of your technical career.
Bottom line is that if you have not studied and learned what is in the book and you are involved with carrier or enterprise networking, you are a dinosaur!
1. elegant in its presentation, succinct yet detailed and understandable.
1. many topic out-dated( implementation detail has changed, some bugs were fixed, and some protocol has been changed, replaced or deprecated )
1. rich in its content, detailed discussion in the most-frequently encountered topic and touches the less-frequently encountered issue.
2. added many examples for Windows o.s, which has become the prevalent o.s for home networking
3. the additional topic on security issue at the end of each chapter is a good read for amateur like me.
1. the writing style is less understandable. Grammatically, I've seen more run on sentences, which makes it harder to read. Logically, too often is content in the future chapter mentioned in previous chapter. The unfamiliarity of the un-learned topic makes it frustrating to read through the current topic.