Computer Networks

A computer network is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections (data links) between nodes. These data links are established over cable media such as twisted pair or fiber-optic cables, and wireless media such as Wi-Fi.

Network computer devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes. Nodes are generally identified by network addresses, and can include hosts such as personal computers, phones, and servers, as well as networking hardware such as routers and switches. Two such devices can be said to be networked together when one device is able to exchange information with the other device, whether or not they have a direct connection to each other. In most cases, application-specific communications protocols are layered (i.e. carried as payload) over other more general communications protocols. This formidable collection of information technology requires skilled network management to keep it all running reliably.

Computer networks support an enormous number of applications and services such as access to the World Wide Web, digital video, digital audio, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications as well as many others. Computer networks differ in the transmission medium used to carry their signals, communications protocols to organize network traffic, the network's size, topology, traffic control mechanism and organizational intent. The best-known computer network is the Internet.

My aim in this section is to learn as much about computer networks as possible by working my way through the exercise sections of a series of books.

  • Book 01: Computer Networking And The Internet

    book cover
    The Book's Cover

    Author: Prof Fred Halsall

    Description:

    With the advent of the World Wide Web the global Internet has rapidly become the dominant type of computer network. It now enables people around the world to use the Web for E-Commerce and interactive entertainment applications, in addition to e-mail and IP telephony. As a result, the study of computer networking is now synonymous with the study of the Internet and its applications. The 5th edition of this highly successful text has been completely revised to focus entirely on the Internet, and so avoids the necessity of describing protocols and architectures that are no longer relevant. As many Internet applications now involve multiple data types - text, images, speech, audio and video - the book explains in detail how they are represented.

    A number of different access networks are now used to gain access to the global Internet. Separate chapters illustrate how each type of access network operates, and this is followed by a detailed account of the architecture and protocols of the Internet itself and the operation of the major application protocols.

    This body of knowledge is made accessible by extensive use of illustrations and worked examples that make complex systems more understandable at first glance. This makes the book ideal for self-study or classroom use for students in Computer Science or Engineering, as well as being a comprehensive reference for practitioners who require a definitive guide to networking.

    Publisher: Addison-Wesley

    ISBN: 978-0321263582

  • Book 02: An Engineering Approach To Computer Networking: ATM Networks, The Internet, And The Telephone Network

    book cover
    The Book's Cover

    Author: Srinivasan Keshav

    Description:

    This practical introduction to computer networking takes a highly effective "engineering" approach that not only describes how networks operate but also offers insight into the principles of network design. An Engineering Approach to Computer Networking simultaneously studies all three major network technologies-Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), the Internet, and telephony. You will find clear overviews of these technologies and extensive up-to-date coverage of all essential networking topics: protocol layering; multiple access; switching; scheduling; naming, addressing, and routing; error and flow control; and traffic management. For each topic, the book identifies fundamental constraints and analyzes the pros and cons of several alternative solutions. It shows you how these concepts are put to use in real networks with detailed descriptions of common protocols used in the telephone, Internet, and ATM networks, and a tour of system design and protocol implementation techniques.

    Publisher: Addison-Wesley

    ISBN: 978-0201634426

  • Book 03: Data Communications, Computer Networks And Open Systems

    book cover
    The Book's Cover

    Author: Prof Fred Halsall

    Description:

    Drawing on his twenty years as a researcher and teacher, Fred Halsall presents the complex world of data communications and networks with clarity and thoroughness. An invaluable resource to both the student and the practicing computer professional, this fourth edition of the very successful Data Communications, Computer Networks and Open Systems has been extensively updated to reflect the rapid developments in this field.

    Highlights of the book include detailed coverage of:

    • The essential theory associated with digital transmission
    • Digital leased circuits including PDH, SONET and SDH
    • Protocol basics including specification and implementation methods
    • Legacy and wireless LANs
    • High-speed LANs including 100BaseT and 100 VG AnyLAN
    • Transparent and source routing bridges
    • Packet switching and frame relay networks and their protocols
    • Internetworking architectures, protocols and routing algorithms
    • Multiservice broadband networks including ATM LANs and MANs
    • The TCP/IP and OSI application protocols including X.400 and X.500
    • Data encryption and network security algorithms
    • Network management architectures including SNMP and CMIP

    Publisher: Pearson; 4th edition (January 15, 1996)

    ISBN: 978-0201422931

  • Book 04: Computer Networks

    book cover
    The Book's Cover

    Author: Andrew S. Tanenbaum

    Description:

    Primarily intended for junior/senior or graduate level courses in computer networks, data networks, or distributed processing in CS or EE departments. Also useful (with selective omission of sections or chapters) for less advanced students.

    This is the first book that explains how computer networks work inside, from the hardware technology up to and including the most popular Internet application protocols. While students are not expected to have a background in computer networks or advanced mathematics, a general background in computer systems and programming is assumed.

    Publisher: Prentice Hall; 3rd edition (6 Mar. 1996)

    ISBN: 978-0133499452