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Designing an Internet
Clark D., The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2018. 432 pp.  Type: Book (978-0-262038-60-7)
Date Reviewed: Jan 28 2020

This comprehensive view of the development and growth of the Internet includes the author’s review and critique of the proposed changes and improvements since its inception. It has 15 chapters, an appendix, a list of acknowledgements, a glossary, a list of acronyms, a list of references, and a comprehensive index comprising some 419 pages.

In the first chapter, the author presents a description and explanation of the design and components of the Internet. Each of the following chapters covers a different aspect of Internet design and operation. In these chapters, the author fills in the details of that part of the Internet’s operation, including different proposals by other authors for change or improvement. He provides comments on the validity and/or necessity of the proposed changes. Inasmuch as the author was one of the developers of the original Internet for the Department of Defense and has continued to work in the area since then, he obviously has great experience in the structure and operation of the Internet and is well qualified to comment.

The book is well written and covers most of the material thoroughly (the author gives his reasons for not doing so where appropriate). In the last chapter, the author states that he intends to provide his own views of how a better Internet could be created. He repeats pieces of the material from previous chapters and tries to pull them together to make a better Internet.

I found the book to be both interesting and informative. From the material, it is apparent that the Internet is a very complicated system that is controlled by multiple entities; making any significant changes will be difficult at best. It can also be confusing at times because of the multiple systems used in different parts of the Internet.

This is not a book for beginners and should be limited to those who are already familiar with the design and operation of computers and the Internet.

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Reviewer:  Michael Moorman Review #: CR146857 (2004-0061)
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