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4.2 out of 5 stars44
4.2 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2004
I am a engineer who needed an intro into computer networks for my new job. Among the ones I looked into (Freeman, Held, the SAMS series etc ) I found this one the best by far.
First, the writing style is extremely friendly and casual, you feel like the man is speaking to you directly.
Second, I found the contents quite up-to-date for my purposes, which was to learn the basics and be ready to go further. This book helps you understand data coms based on the OSI model.
It prepared me to tackle more advanced books - at the moment I am in R. Perlman's " Interconnections".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2005
This book is a really comprehensive book about networking. it focuses mainly on the theoretical aspects of networks (not how to make one in your home) and is greatly useful for a university degree in this area. It has a very in depth look at the topic, inclusing algorihms for packet switching, physical specifications for all manner of network standards and a very comprehensive section about TCP/IP.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2005
Tanenbaum is an expert at putting the subject into perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to learn more about networks. Good background reading on networks for anyone considering doing a degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2003
Computer Networks are a wide and fastly growing subject. Finding a textbook that covers all of the topics in a detailed way is simply impossible. Perhaps for this reason good textbook authors have, in a probably implicit way, established two possible approaches: the Engineers' and the (mostly Software) Developers'. Once again Tanenbaum has done a great job with this book (and its updated-more-than-revised 4th edition), which takes the former approach.
The book presents general issues and impacts (on technology as well on the society) of Computer Networks in the first chapter, and then move in a detailed exposition of the lower layers of a general network architecture (similar to the OSI one). The great value of the books stems from the clarity and thoroughness of the exposition. Indeed, it presents all of the most known technologies and algorithms (both today's and historical) from physical mediums to algorithms for routing, congestion and flow control and so on. Plenty of details are provided at the level of mathematical performance analysis for some algorithms like those presented in the Medium Access Sublayer chapter (e.g. ALOHA and CSMAs).
The "tone" of prof. Tanenbaum is an added values as well. He rarely becomes boring and sometimes results hilarious in his comments of famous anecdotes that led to the born of this technology or that algorithm (have you ever heard how automatic phone calls switching was born ?). I never underestimate the value of an easy exposition, as sometimes studying is already hard enough to cope also with a overwhelmingly boring book.
Enough for the lower layers/protocols so far. About the upper ones the book actually does not spend too much emphasis on network applications nor on the high level tools for building network applications (e.g. there are a very few pages for sockets, but no more). Indeed, this area is more properly in the competence of the second kind of books (Developer's) as noted at the beginning of the review. However, there's one (unsurprising but happy) exception: as already done in his "Modern Operating Systems, 2e", Tanenbaum has put a detailed and rigorous treatment of the Security issue (Network Security in this case).
About editions, the third was already a very good book. Reasons for considering the fourth edition are the inclusion of updated technologies like ADSL, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, JavaScript, XHTML or XML, etc. More than this, however, technologies like fiber optic were on the wave of great improvements in 1996 when the third edition was published (and deformation due to day-night thermal excursions were not cited) so that now the treatment is more reliable (in terms of updates, not in technicalities).
All in all, given that imho there's no serious "complete bible" (or the like) book on computer networks, this book is a full five-stars one if the Engineers' perspective is that of interest. If one is more interested in the Developers' perspective (take again the sockets example), then a good choice would be Douglas Comer's "Computer Networks". For TCP/IP fans, my best choices would be the more focused Comer's "Internetworking with TCP/IP, vol. I" (1/3 Engineer's, 2/3 Developers') or Stevens' "TCP/IP Illustrated. vol I" (1/5 Engineer's, 4/5 Developers').
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 1999
I am a freelance trainer. I use this book for my reference and reviewing the basic concept. I can not praise enough for the book, this is truely one of the best book ever written for the subject. Stalling book was also very good. I strongly recommend both for everyone.
If you want a more advanced topic, you may look at Daniel Minoli's Delivering Voice over IP and Delivering Voice over Frame Relay and ATM, this is a more advanced and up-to-date, but make sure you have this and Stalling's books as your backup. I am sure you will need them to refresh the basic concept.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2004
I have given this book 5 stars in the category of 'Computer Book' - remember this is still a textbook! Buying it for a read on the train is not recommended to most...
It is rare for a technical book to actually induce pleasure, but this book manages it. I have read far more technical books that I ought to have done (due to my degree), and this easily comes out on top.
It is well organised, succinct, and the writing is easy to follow. Normally this type of book rambles around, without really making the point clear. Not Tanenbaum; you learn infinitely more in this book than others twice its size - I think that is best thing about this book, the amount of understandable data transferred quickly.
If you have to study networks as part of an academic course or in the workplace, this is an excellent place to start. The topics covered range from cryptography to telephony networks, Bluetooth to socket programming.
If you want to delve deeply into a particular topic extremely, I think it is possible that this book will not be sufficient - but it will make a great introduction, and aid understanding of the more complex information.
So, in short, simply the best technical book I have read.
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on 19 May 1996
Looking to understand how networks work? If you're looking
for anything from the high-level thoery to the low-level
nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts this is the the book to read!

I read the second edition of this book in a class on
networking and it was fabulous. It describes just about
everything you need to know about the technology and theory
behind almost any type of network worth mentioning, from
radio based Aloha, to sattelite technology, to Ethernet, to
Token Ring. Tanenbaum teaches you a surprising amount of
detail for a single book.

I've been anxiously been awaiting - in agony - the arrival of
the third edition ever since I took that class almost a year
ago (it was a very long year). After realizing that the
second edition was released about seven years ago (it was
copyrighted in 1989), I almost gave up waiting for Tanenbaum
to introduce a new release, thinking that Tanenbaum might
have opted for an early retirement, just to spite those
that cheated him out of a royalty by buying a USED book! But
thank God, that's not true. The third edition is finally

The third edition adds chapters on SONET and ATM - two very
hot networking architectures, but neither of which are the
least of the reasons to read this well written, easy to read,
in-depth book.
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on 10 April 1997
Dr. Tanenbaum gave an excellent classical work to majority of people related to the computer networks.

For beginners, the book gives an outline for progress of computer networks, and the most important approaches. For those who study the networking technology systematically, the book provides a set of accurate concepts about networking, with comparison to the easily confused terminologies. For someones full of experiences, the book tells about recent approaches and some important ideas, and presents many important issues that scientists and engineers should consider in the future.

All in all, I think it is the best book on computer networking. It is not only better than all others I've read before, including those in original and translated ones, but also more imformative than its old version -- the 2nd edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 1999
Don't read this book if you're looking for a fast track guide to certification. It's intended for someone who really wants an in-depth look at the way networks work. It is adaptable to all past, present and future operating systems, Not just NT or UNIX.
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on 15 May 2014
This is the Book, in it is guidance sure, for those who need to disambiguate all of those seven layer problems, from the physical, through to link layer, transport layer, and on up...

With a new protocol being offered so often, only a book that explains the underlying concepts remains useful for very long.

One of the very few book on Computing that warrants the hardback version every time - one day even IP v6 may be truly needed if graphene moves via germanicene to IP number for every grain of sand might seem far-fetched now...but who knows the road ahead.

If you feel you lag behind, BBC 'Click' are only too happy to update you.
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