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The TCP/IP Guide: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Internet Protocols Reference [Hardcover]

Charles M. Kozierok
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2005

The TCP/IP Guide is both an encyclopedic and comprehensible guide to the TCP/IP protocol suite that will appeal to newcomers and the seasoned professional. It details the core protocols that make TCP/IP internetworks function, and the most important classical TCP/IP applications. Its personal, easy-going writing style lets anyone understand the dozens of protocols and technologies that run the Internet, with full coverage of PPP, ARP, IP, IPv6, IP NAT, IPSec, Mobile IP, ICMP, RIP, BGP, TCP, UDP, DNS, DHCP, SNMP, FTP, SMTP, NNTP, HTTP, Telnet and much more. The author offers not only a detailed view of the TCP/IP protocol suite, but also describes networking fundamentals and the important OSI Reference Model.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1648 pages
  • Publisher: NO STARCH PRESS; 1 edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159327047X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593270476
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 18.2 x 6.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 328,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it! 3 Feb 2011
By Steve
This is the best technical book I have ever read.
It starts from the beginning, explaining everything from the basics and leads up to a comprehensive explination of all the in-depth aspects of the topic, and even points to the standards documents for further reading and reference.
The language is clear and accurate, there is no ambiguity.
This is an excellent tutorial and reference.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive 11 April 2008
By Jon
This is a great book, comprehensive and detailed it makes a great reference book.

If you want to know about networking protocols then buy this and TCP/IP Illustrated by Stevens, it really is as simple as that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you can really learn from 15 April 2006
By abell46
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is superbly written. The author introduces all the major aspects of TCP/IP and for anyone who wants to understand how networking really works, the book provides a great way to learn. The style helps the learning process: as I was trying to synthesize the knowledge being dished out, questions would spring to mind and these would generally be answered within a few sentences by Kozierok.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably good but no bible 13 Mar 2006
By PedroF
The book has one major quality: it's acessible and the explanations are clear and concise. Unfortunately that's also the source of it's biggest problem, it doesn't delve deep enough on may subjects (for instance I needed to know better the details of IPv4 Options, ARP in it's various forms and IGMP which the book doesn't even cover).
On the whole it might be a good investment given it's price and provide some insigth into TCP/IP, but I wouldn't call it a reference book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
189 of 199 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monumental, but not a must-read 25 Sep 2006
By Richard Bejtlich - Published on
Right away I must state that I did not read "The TCP/IP Guide" (TTG) cover-to-cover. I doubt anyone will, which raises interesting issues. This review is based on the sections I did read and my comparisons with other protocol books.

Protocol books should be divided into two eras. The first is the "Stevens era," meaning those written around the time Richard Stevens' "TCP/IP Illustrated, Vol 1: The Protocols" was published. For six years (1994-2000) Stevens' book was clearly the best protocol book, and it taught TCP/IP to legions of networking pros. The second is the "modern era," beginning in 2000 and continuing to today. TTG fits in this group.

I question the approach taken by TTG. The book contains extremely basic information (what is networking, why use layers, what is a protocol, etc.) and extremely obscure information (PPP Link Control Protocol Frame Types and Fields, SNMPv2 PDU Error Status Field Values, Interpretation of Standard Telnet NVT ASCII Control Codes, etc.). If TTG were an introductory book, it wouldn't need the obscure material. If TTG were a reference, it wouldn't need the introductory material. I think beginners would be scared by this book, although the tone and explanations are suitable for those with a real dedication to learning. (Note: TTG features 88 chapters, 14 of those are 8 pages or less.)

For beginners, a better introduction is Jeanna Matthews' "Computer Networking: Internet Protocols in Action." Matthews' book is shorter (273 pages), more direct, and packet-example-based, meaning it ships with a CD-ROM of traces that readers can analyze as they read Matthews' commentary. The lack of examinations of packet traces is one of my biggest problems with TTG. If TTG aims to be comprehensive, it should have looked at real traffic using Ethereal/Wireshark instead of staying at the specification level.

For intermediate readers, Eric Hall's "Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide" is a great look at the building blocks of networking, albeit without IPv6 or application protocols. Hall's book is also packet-oriented, with examples for each concept.

For expert readers, "Troubleshooting Campus Networks" by Priscilla Oppenheimer and Joseph Bardwell is outstanding. J. Scott Haugdahl's "Network Analysis and Troubleshooting" and Kevin Burns' "TCP/IP Analysis and Troubleshooting Toolkit" are also excellent. All three show packets.

Those with some networking experience looking for a thorough (but not packet-example-based) examination should definitely read Adrian Farrel's "The Internet and Its Protocols: A Comparative Approach." Farrel demonstrates deep subject matter expertise by showing similarities and differences between protocols. He also covers protocols like MPLS and SCTP that are ignored by TTG.

So what could Kozierok's TTG have done differently? First, the book should be split into three volumes. Volume 1 should cover all of the core protocols (ARP/RARP, IP, IPv6, ICMP, ICMPv6, UDP, TCP). Those of us already familiar with those protocols or already in possession of other books on the same subject could safely ignore Vol 1. Vol 2 should be the first of two volumes on application protocols. Vol 2 could cover all of the standard application protocols well-documented elsewhere (DHCP, DNS, SNMP, TFTP, FTP, HTTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, Telnet, SSH, SSL/TLS). Many people could ignore Vol 2 too. Vol 3 should cover protocols not well-documented elsewhere, but important, like SMB/CIFS, NFS, NTP, various flavors of P2P, VoIP, and instant messaging and IRC.

If a book like TTG is going to devote a chapter to Gopher (which I probably haven't used in 10 years), it should cover SMB, Microsoft's file sharing protocol (also known as CIFS, incorrectly called "NetBIOS" by some). TTG covers NFS instead, saying NFS is "the most common [network file and resource sharing protocol] for TCP/IP." Given Microsoft's domination of the desktop, SMB is ubiquitous. (A few of my recommended books address SMB.)

TTG is still a monumental effort. I did find several sections very helpful. The discussion of bit masking (set bits with OR, clear with AND, invert with XOR) in Ch 4 was clear. Ch 28's explanation of NAT terminology, such as using DNS with bidirectional (inbound) NAT made sense. I agree with Gordon Shephard's review, including the comment about TTG's PPP chapter being unique.

I'm not sure exactly who should read TTG. I would strongly consider it if your networking shop has no other TCP/IP books and you work with people of varying networking skills.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding TCP/IP resource 28 Dec 2005
By John Downing - Published on
I read and review IT related textbooks as part of my work as a VoIP trainer for TrainingCity. "The TCP/IP Guide" is an outstanding reference text and deserves to be in the reference library of every IT professional.

I noticed an earlier review that claimed this text is not for the serious engineer. Well, I am a Professional Engineer with over 18 years experience in the field, and I found the TCP/IP Guide to contain all sorts of useful information in a format that was both comprehensive and enlightening. In MHO, this text is a great resource for both design engineers/ software developers, and enterprise IT staff.

I was hoping the TCP/IP Guide would include additional information on topics such as RTP (Real Time Protocol). However, given the length of the text (1600 odd pages!), I can understand why some of these more exotic TCP/IP topics were excluded.

Overall, this book is well worth the price.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable encyclopedic compendium of TCP/IP information 14 Oct 2006
By Ed Tittel - Published on
At 5.25 pounds and 1616 pages, and chock-full of charts, figures, and diagrams (its lists of figures and diagrams alone are 19 pages long) this book truly earns its subtitle. I've been working with TCP/IP for a long time (as far back as the early 1980s) and I've never seen a book on this subject before to match this one. That said I've only been working with it for months so I'll probably update this review after I've lived with and used the book a while longer -- but even now, I know of no other resource (except its online analog at [...] to equal its depth or breadth of coverage.

Literally, when it comes to TCP/IP, this book's got it all. You need only flip through the table or contents (better still, the index at the back) to get a sense of how truly encyclopedic its coverage really is. Let's take a hike through the top two levels of The TCP/IP Guide's table of contents (slightly abridged for brevity):
Section I: TCP/IP Overview and Background Information
Part I-1: Networking Fundamentals (61 pp)
Part I-2: The OSI Reference Model
Part I-3: TCP/IP Protocol Suite and Architecture
Section II: TCP/IP Lower-Layer Core Protocols
Part II-1: TCP/IP Network Interface Layer Protocols (SLIP & PPP)
Part II-2: TCP/IP Network Interface Layer Connection Protocols (ARP & RARP)
Part II-3: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)
Part II-4: Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)
Part II-5: IP-Related Feature Protocols (NAT, IPsec, & Mobile IP)
Part II-6: IP Support Protocols (ICMPv4, ICMPv6)
Part II-7: TCP/IP Routing Protocols (Gateway Protocols: RIP, OSPF, BGP, others)
Part II-8: TCP/IP Transport Layer Protocols (TCP & UDP)
Section III: TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols
Part III-1: Name Systems and TCP/IP Name Registration and Resolution (DNS)
Part III-2: Network File and Resource Sharing Protocols (NFS)
Part III-3: Host Configuration and TCP/IP Host Configuration Protocols (Bootp, DHCP, DHCPv6)
Part III-4: Network Management Framework and Protocols (SMI, SNMP, RMON)
Part III-5: TCP/IP Application Addressing and Application Categories
Part III-6: TCP/IP General File Transfer Protocols (FTP & TFTP)
Part III-7: TCP/IP E-mail Concepts and Principles (RFC 822, MIME, SMTP, more)
Part III-9: Other File and Message Transfer Apps (Usenet, NNTP, Gopher)
Part III-10: Interactive and Administrative Utilities and Protocols

The content in this book is accurate, clear, and both well written and illustrated. See Chapter 12 "PPP Protocol Frame Formats" for some of the best uses of charts and tables to illuminate TCP/IP we've ever seen. See Chapters 8 and 45 for outstanding descriptions and explanations of the history of TCP/IP protocols in general (8) and the TCP protocol in particular (45). The discussion of TCP windowing in Chapters 46 and 49 is also great, and all four of the pages that make up Chapter 86 on Gopher are simply a delight to read.

Like some other reviewers, I was initially intimidated by this book's sheer mass and overall coverage. But as you use this book on a day-to-day basis you'll find it creeping ever closer to your hands over time. It started on a bookshelf near my desk, and now sits on my desk most of the time. As references and resources go, for those who work regularly with TCP/IP it's as close to indispensable as a printed work can get. Given readily available discounted prices of around $50 ($50.37 on Amazon, $49.95 at Bookpool) it's on a par with high-dollar ham or salami and less than prosciutto or smoked salmon by the pound -- and stays with you one heck of a lot longer. How could things get any better than that? Stay tuned, we'll come back to this book in six months and let you know!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TCP/IP in Full 30 Nov 2006
By Jon Strand - Published on
The TCP/IP Guide is a huge reference book (1616 pages). Its size alone may intimidate those simply looking to obtain a basic understanding of networking protocols, which would be a shame as the book is very readable, well-laid out. Moreover, the introduction is very sound and helps to educate readers with a baseline of information by covering such topics as theoretical and real-world throughput, networking structures, and bits and bytes.

Because of its size, it is virtually impossible to sit down and read the book from beginning to end. That said the book, from chapter to chapter, is very readable. However, with reference books, it is often more important to talk about structure, contents and format.

The book is broken down into eighty-eight chapters grouped into three sections:

TCP/IP Overview and Background Information

TCP/IP Lower-Layer Core Protocols

TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols

Each chapter and section starts with a brief introduction laying out its contents and putting them in the context of the TCP/IP protocol.

The book looks at the web, HTTP, SNMP, ICMP, SMTP, Email, DHCP, Mobile IP, FTP and TFTP. It includes an overview and comparison of TCP and UDP and discusses establishing connections, management and termination of TCP. IPv6 receives roughly sixty pages of discussion, ranging from a high-level overview to transition challenges, physical address mapping, auto-configuration, reassembly and routing. There is also a fine chapter explaining IPsec components and protocols. And one can find more than a hundred pages on DNS.

Scattered throughout the book are more than three hundred figures to aid in the understanding of concepts. And the more than three hundred tables make for faster referencing and easy comparisons and contrasts. Key concepts are highlighted and set apart from the general text.

One of the strengths of the book comes from the analogies and similes that Kozierok employs to explain technologies that can, at first glance, seem rather opaque. Useful analogies are the sign of a good teacher and someone who is actually interested in helping others learn and gain understanding.

At first, I thought it might be more convenient if the book were in PDF format so that quick searches could be performed. But, I've found that with a glance at the index or the chapters, I can find things easily and reliably. This speaks, to an extent, of the book's structure. I find it irritating when a book of this size is not organized well and sends me searching throughout the book for the explanation I am seeking. Kozierok and his editors have skillfully avoided this trap and kept within a well-defined framework.

If you get the idea that this book is rather exhaustive in its approach, you have started to get the picture. The tome is not a pocket guide. It weighs more than my laptop and you will tire of schlepping it around, between office and home. However, the information contained in the book is easily accessible, informative and comprehensive.
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best TCP/IP book available 7 Oct 2005
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on
I'm blown away by this book. The coverage of the topics is outstanding in both it's breadth and depth. The tone is very readable. And the use of graphics, wow. This book is tremendous. It's going to instantly be "the TCP/IP reference". It blows the old classic, TCP/IP Illustrated, straight out of the water. This book is worth every single penny. No doubt. It's going to set a new bar for technical books. Wow.
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