Book Review: Inside TCP/IP

This book admirably explains how the protocol works and should prove invaluable to both novice and experienced users

This book admirably explains how the protocol works and should prove invaluable to both novice and experienced users

By Karanjit Siyan

Published by New Riders Publishing

Third Edition - November 1997

With the increased popularity and implementation of the Internet, intranets and other wide area networks, it has become obvious that TCP/IP is an important and key protocol that must be understood. Most books on protocols are written in a dry, textbook manner. However, Karanjit Siyan has managed to achieve the best of both worlds by producing a book that is easy to read while imparting a great deal of useful information. Initially, "Inside TCP/IP" discusses other protocols that are available and their position in the OSI model. These other protocols include IPX, SPX, SNA, and NetBIOS.

Unix is an operating system that has always been very closely associated with TCP/IP and a good deal of time is spent discussing its history and why the two are so closely intertwined. While the book devotes plenty of time to discussing Unix, the book itself is not operating system specific. It also discusses NetWare, Windows, OS/2 and Banyan Vines. For each operating system a brief history is given, for example, highlighting that Banyan Vines is yet another incarnation of Unix operating system V.

More importantly, a technical analysis is given explaining how each operating system implements TCP/IP while stating if it is supplied with the operating system such as Windows NT, or if it is available as an add-on. At the start of each section is a summary of what will be covered in the coming chapter together with a summary at the end of each chapter to cover what a reader should now know.

At 700 pages, this book is a hefty reference text, largely aimed at users who want to gain an in-depth understanding of the protocol, which is the fundamental building block of the Internet and intranets. It is designed as a tutorial for users who administer TCP/IP networks or technical support staff who need to be au fait with the protocol. For example, the author walks users through the steps required to install and maintain a TCP/IP network. Moreover, there is a detailed troubleshooting section that explains connecting to NetWare and Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The increased number of publications devoted to TCP/IP reflects its increased importance. No book is perfect and while "Inside TCP/IP" has much to commend it, the publication has a few errors such as typos and misprints which can be disconcerting and time consuming especially for novice users. In addition, Inside TCP/IP lacks a bibliography or glossary, which seems a glaring omission that the author will hopefully address in future editions. Apart from the aforementioned, the author has made an admirable stab at covering this important, yet continually evolving subject.

Paul Phillips

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