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Reviewed by Major Keary
This is not an introduction for computer novices, nor those readers who are looking for how-to instructions on setting up a small network. The Illuminated series is published by Jones and Bartlett, whose books may not often be seen on bookseller shelves, but are excellent resources for anyone who wants clear, well-presented information with real technical depth. Titles in the series are designed as both texts for formal courses and for self-study.
Computer Networking Illuminated is comprehensive and technically detailed, but is much easier to read than some texts used in undergraduate courses. The typographic design and supporting graphics are of a high standard, adding significantly to effective communication. This is not an introduction for computer novices, nor those readers who are looking for how-to instructions on setting up a small network. It is a self-contained 'course' on all aspects of networking that discusses concepts and principles as well as the mechanics of networking. That is not to suggest the book's focus is academic; it meets the needs of readers who are looking for an academic treatment of the subject, but also deals with practical, real-world issues. At the end of each chapter there are hands-on lab exercises, answers to which are in a separate Instructor's Guide.
The content covers data communications (explanations of multiplexing, signaling, encoding and decoding transmissions, error detection and recovery, flow control, and congestion management); communication networks; network technologies;managing multiple access; switching; network protocols; network security; and network operations, administration, support, and troubleshooting. Appendices contain useful information on topics such as networking standards. There is an excellent glossary that is a useful resource in its own right. I am impressed by the trouble taken to explain terms and concepts, and the relaxed writing style (described in the preface as 'conversational'). Content is well organised with a detailed table of contents and extensive index. Anyone involved in making presentations on networking, whether to novices or experienced users, should find this text a valuable resource, both for its clearly articulated content and its diagrams (there are PowerPoint presentations in the Instructor's Guide). Those with some background in networking and who want to further develop their knowledge should consider Computer Networking Illuminated, which provides practical hand-on exercises, and 'challenge scenarios'.
The challenge scenarios are an interesting innovation: they make the reader think about a broad range of issues, and strike me as essential reading in preparation for networking job interviews.
Managers and the like who are not directly involved in setting up and maintaining a network, but who need to deal with network people, should find the book a valuable reference in that it provides ready access to background knowledge necessary to appreciate specific network issues.
There is additional material available, including the Instructor's Guide; information can be found at the publisher's website <http://cis.jbpub.com>
Diane Barret and Todd King: Computer Networking Illuminated
Published by Jones and Bartlett, 832 pp., RRP AU$ 120.00
This title is available direct from Elsevier Australia Customer Service,
tel. 1800 263 951, fax 02 9517 2249, or