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Computer networks: a systems approach (6th ed.)
Peterson L., Davie B., Morgan Kaufmann, Cambridge, MA, 2022. 848 pp.  Type: Book (978-1-281820-08-2)
Date Reviewed: Apr 20 2022

The field of computer science and engineering is advancing rapidly, especially in the area of computer networking. As the speed of networks increases, large amounts of data can be transferred at the speed of light. This makes more advanced applications possible. Therefore, it is justifiable to say that computer networks are fundamental to today’s digital economy.

Because of the topic’s importance, current texts are much needed. Peterson and Davie’s Computer networks: a systems approach, in its sixth edition, is a comprehensive book about computer networks that both academics and practitioners should read.

Instead of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) seven-layer approach, this book is organized in an intuitive way. It explains what is required to build a computer network and details how to build a network from scratch. First, to connect two computers, you need a direct link. Then, to connect one network to another, you need Internetworking protocols and devices. Various problems associated with Internetworking are explained. One major problem is how reliable the network is. Protocols that can achieve reliable transmission are outlined along with an unreliable one. When data is transferred between networks, congestion such as a traffic jams can occur. How to solve congestion automatically is also very important. Finally, since the purpose of a network is to transfer data, how data is transferred between networks is explained. In all these operations, some bad guy may want to steal data or sabotage the network. Therefore, computer network security is of utmost importance. To make networks useful, we have to provide friendly interfaces to applications. The last chapter is devoted to application layer protocols that make networks easily accessible.

All concepts are explained in detail and every chapter has exercises, making it a very suitable textbook on computer networks. However, future editions should include more illustrations to explain the networking concepts. This will make the book more readable--after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Again, as the field is rapidly changing, concepts not directly related to the technology of computer networks are still very important, including social networks, blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the metaverse, and so on. Maybe there should be a chapter devoted to these new concepts and trends in the next edition.

Reviewer:  R. S. Chang Review #: CR147432
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