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"Interconnections Second Edition" (or "that damn bridge again").

By mihalis in News
Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 01:59:17 PM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)

I recently saw a new edition of a book on networking highly praised in the Linux Journal and so I dived in and have nearly finished it - it's every bit as good as they promised.

"Interconnections Second Edition" by Radia Perlman is a new edition of a classic book on the basics of network theory - "Bridges, Routers, Switches and Internetworking Protocols". If all you know is TCP/IP this book gives a good idea about all those "other" things you may have heard of (DECNet, IPX, AppleTalk etc). If you _have_ worked with some of that other stuff this is one of the few books that actually compares and contrasts different approaches.

In my case I always thought there was something rather brain-damaged about the addressing schemes in token ring, but I was young and in my first graduate job and I just assumed it was more to do with me. It wasn't until I read this book that I could actually feel vindicated ("YES! - I just KNEW functional addresses on 802.5 were bogus" is how it actually felt).

The book is hard going for me, and I have definitely not taken in all the detail, but it has given me a much broader understanding of networking as a whole. It's also convinced me that whilst TCP/IP is not necessarily the best solution, I probably don't have a big enough brain to take in competing technologies such as OSI protocols or ATM.

If the above has snagged your interest, I suggest you peruse the more detailed (and vastly superior) review by He Zhu (Bell Labs) here and then go and get yourself a copy!

So what's this got to do with a bridge? Well you'll easily spot the book in the networking section because it has a pretty suspension bridge on the front. It's the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but it's a recent picture and it's NOT FALLING DOWN! Guess it must be the second edition. Actually, in addition to there being a modest visual pun, I'm sure the cover was chosen in part because the author has taken the time to cover protocols that failed but who contributed useful ideas that live on - one of the most valuable and unusual aspects of the book.

Chris Morgan


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"Interconnections Second Edition" (or "that damn bridge again"). | 5 comments (5 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I suspect I may be in the minority.... (none / 0) (#3)
by marlowe on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 11:18:38 AM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

I suspect I may be in the minority. But I do this stuff for a living, so I care about the subject matter.
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

Mmmm...book reviews are ALWAYS good... (none / 0) (#2)
by Alorelith on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 12:05:07 PM EST

Alorelith voted 1 on this story.

Mmmm...book reviews are ALWAYS good news to me.

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. -- Nietzsche

On a related topic, the way most co... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by ebunga on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 12:37:21 PM EST

ebunga voted 1 on this story.

On a related topic, the way most companies do things when they create a new protocol disgusts me. It used to be that when you created a protocol for use on the Internet, you published the way it works. You wrote a specification, somebody else made an implementation of it. Well, since two people agree on it, write an RFC. Wow, look, you've created a standard. These days, if a company creates a protocol, they patent, copyright, and trademark the sucker. How can the Internet continue to work if all protocols are becoming proprietary? It can't. It won't. Before long, nothing will be able to talk to anything else. Companies need to start publishing the specs for the protocols they create. Do we really need 50 different streaming media protocols? This is where the biggest offenders live. We need standards.

Re: On a related topic, the way most co... (none / 0) (#5)
by Emacs on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 03:46:10 PM EST

Ah... I'm in agreement with you 100%. This is the result of the paradigm shift from computer-techy people to business people driving the internet. I'm afraid the wild west days of the internet are going to be a thing of the past.

In the past the goal was to come up with the *best* solution to a problem. Today the goal is to be the first one out with something new and call that the standard. Then you try to make it proprietary and drive the market with your "de-facto" standard. WAP is my favorite example of that. WAP might be a good protocal for all I know but the way it was done by phone.com (unwired planet) just left a bad taste in my mouth. I sincerely hope that WAP does a mojor crash and burn. But alas ... this is just a bit off topic and more than a bit spitefull.

Hmmmm...after reading my preview it occured to me that I'm beginnig to sound like an old geek codger. Yikes... how did that happen..:)

[ Parent ]
Sounds like a cool book.... (none / 0) (#4)
by dlc on Fri Apr 21, 2000 at 01:19:34 PM EST

dlc voted 1 on this story.

Sounds like a cool book.


"Interconnections Second Edition" (or "that damn bridge again"). | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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