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Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach

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Building on the successful top-down approach of previous editions, the Fourth Edition of Computer Networking continues with an early emphasis on application-layer paradigms and application programming interfaces, encouraging a hands-on experience with protocols and networking concepts. With this edition, Kurose and Ross bring the issues of network security to the forefront, along with integration of the most current and relevant networking technologies.

Computer Networks and the Internet; Application Layer; Transport Layer; The Network Layer; The Link Layer and Local Area Networks; Wireless and Mobile Networks; Multimedia Networking; Security in Computer Networks; Network Management.

For all readers interested in computer networking technologies.

880 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2000

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James F. Kurose

11 books16 followers

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5 stars
834 (40%)
4 stars
696 (34%)
3 stars
362 (17%)
2 stars
107 (5%)
1 star
42 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 118 reviews
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
644 reviews79 followers
August 22, 2014
This textbook was required reading for a Computer Networking course. As far as college textbooks go, it was pretty good. I learned the material from it that I needed to learn. The textbook was well-organized, and it was easy to understand. It had quite a few analogies and real-world examples that aided in understanding.

For me, this textbook was a pretty dry read and I sometimes had trouble pushing through the weekly reading assignments. However, networks are not an aspect of Computer Science that I’m particularly interested in, so this was to be expected. I usually found the beginning of each chapter interesting, but my interest tapered off about halfway through and the rest was a chore to get through. However, I did learn a lot about how networks work. I may not retain all of the nitty-gritty details over the long term, but I expect the main concepts to stick with me.

I think one of the best parts of this textbook were the Wireshark labs at the companion website, which my professor used for some of our assignments. I had fun learning how to “sniff packets”, and I liked seeing the protocols in action for myself using real, live information being passed to and from my own personal network.

Aside from my subjective complaint about the dryness of the material, my only other real complaint is in regard to the acronyms. There were an amazing number of acronyms, and many of them were not in the index so it could be difficult to find the original definitions again. Once an acronym was defined once, it was not defined again – at least not within the chapter in which it was introduced. (The chapters were 70-100 pages long.) A glossary of acronyms in the back of the book would have really helped. To any future readers of this textbook, I recommend making a note of each acronym you encounter and at least noting the page # where it was first introduced in case you need to reference its definition again.
Profile Image for Ivan Ivanov.
20 reviews
April 23, 2023
I've picked up this book because I wanted to improve my knowledge about computer networks.

I think that the book is very approachable, the authors are using very good analogies in some places to make the material easier to understand. The main part of the book tries to cover the Application Layer, Transport layer, Network layer and Link layer. Some things(e.g. protocols) in the book are explained very well, while others are just mentioned. I find this normal because computer networking is an interdisciplinary field and the authors had to pick which topics to focus on if they wanted to write a <1000 pages book (The references section in the book is 40 pages).

In the end I learnt a lot from this book(I could have learnt even more if I were to do all of the exercises at the end of each chapter) and even though it took me a lot of time to read I am glad that I did it.
79 reviews
February 27, 2021
This was such a boring book. So much so that I would discourage anyone from picking ip up (or studying Computer Networking for that matter). First let me point out the characteristics that I liked most, so that I won't come across as a nuisance, and that prevented me from giving a lower rating

- At anyone's reach
- Very comprehensive prose, as far as the topics that the authors chose to cover are concerned (indeed, I felt much was left over)

Now comes my critique: this book feels aimed at a five-year old audience! Paragraphs feel like a watered-down, wordy mass of text -- this gives clarity, but is boring as hell to read! I expected (if not demanded from a Computer Science course) more formalism, technical sophistication than what I got from two authors afraid of overwhelming their audience. Computer networking basics are covered satisfactorily, but the watered-down, romanticized prose prevented the text from achieving a thicker conceptual density; a book style more appropriate for students with an interest in industry-related applications than on insight and true understanding. I once had a talk with a networking tutor at my university, and he told me part of his work dealt with Markov's chains and probabilistic modeling; I read many of the end-of-chapter interviews, and the interviewees often remarked a conceptually richer footing for computer networking that this book expressed. Why wasn't any of all this covered in this text?

Where did the cool stuff go? OK, I got a good grasp on the ISO/OSI stack -- up from HTTP, e-mail systems, P2P networks down to TCP congestion and flow control mechanisms, link-layer devices and LANs and basic network security notions (that was probably the part I liked most) but in the end I felt I was only acquiring passive knowledge with no reasoning involved. Is that a problem with this particular book? With computer networking? Worse yet, for computer science courses in general?

Additional flaws

- Ridiculously over-priced hard-cover copy (I borrowed one from the library)
- No solutions for end-of-chapter exercises (not even wireshark)
- Questionably ugly top-down approach. Makes one feel like applications deserve more attention than theoretical understanding
Profile Image for Zvezdi.
15 reviews
April 29, 2013
Nice and understandable. Makes you excited about the Internet. I enjoy reading the interviews featured in every chapter (like the one with Marc Andreessen included in the sixth edition).
25 reviews26 followers
November 20, 2022
Great book to learn about internet, a marvelous invention. It took more than 20 years for this layer 0 to find the killer use case - the Web.

For the layer 1, we are still early.
Profile Image for Karel Baloun.
398 reviews34 followers
December 17, 2018
(Re 7th edition)

The authors successfully make the deep details of networking understandable and even easy to read.

Love the “a day in the life of a webpage request”, which listed the 24 exact detailed steps that a packet takes between an ethernet card, a Web server and it’s returned. (p501-505)

Chapter 8 on security leaves a lot to be desired… It’s really about how security is designed to ideally function, but omits all the real world problems. Similarly the last chapters on mobile and multimedia feel incomplete and rushed.
Profile Image for Anjum Haz.
222 reviews46 followers
March 10, 2019
Read some chapters from this book for my networking course. The writers explained the nuts and bolts of networking in such interesting way, I felt like I was reading a story! Thanks to them for explaining the hard topics so easily that we, students clung to the textbook..
Profile Image for Dmitriy Shilin.
12 reviews3 followers
February 12, 2019
Wow, it was very long reading. It took me about a year to read it.
There are a lot of information about the network today and it is very
difficult to grab all main ideas from the various domains.

I would say that I like first 5 chapters. They cover all important details
from the application layer till the Ethernet frames. After 5 fundamental
chapters authors offer us more domain-specific information. These chapters are
very basic and require a lot of additional reading.

As a result if your goal is to grab the main fundamental concepts you will
be OK with first 5 chapters.
Profile Image for Shayan aminnjad.
92 reviews2 followers
October 18, 2019
If you want to learn how computer networks work, I think this is a wonderful introduction! I enjoyed every single page of the book. and the book is not just a great textbook about computer networks, but also a great example of how teaching should be! You could always feel the tutors by your side, you could feel they have been in your place and understand your confusion and misunderstandings. So if you need a book to learn how to teach, I think this is a great example of it too.
Profile Image for Matt.
205 reviews
August 11, 2020
A very clear and thorough overview of computer networking. Covers the OSI model of networking, as well as the protocols used in each layer. After reading this, I feel that I understand how all modern devices communicate and share data with each other. Very easy to read, even for a beginner, but also extremely thorough. The problems at the end of each chapter were also very good, and helped cement the understanding gained from the text.
March 19, 2018
A better one would have been the bottom up approach. In the beginning of the book it starts to explain the concept of routing and the interconnection of the networks. If a reader has no prior knowledge about networks then he will be scratching his head. In my case i did not even know the actual difference between the router and the switch, where does routing actually takes place, on which layer, which addressing is used. The book directly jumps into the application layer without even giving the introduction of the different layers, brief introduction of them, data forms such as frame, datagram, segment on different layers.
Profile Image for Natheer Gharaibeh.
12 reviews1 follower
August 22, 2020
It's an interesting book about Computer Networking. in my opinion starting from the Application layer backward to the lowest level layers (presentation, Session, etc.) is an impressive and useful approach.
Maybe if you begin from the lowest layers. You will be lost with many boring details!
In General, Computer Science is full of details and maybe boring for many people, but getting into it with a semantic approach will make it more interesting and give it meaning.
I am not against the bottom-up approach, but it must be driven by practice and examples, without doing that it will be boring and time-wasting!
Profile Image for Dimos Raptis.
Author 2 books1 follower
August 26, 2020
The first time I read parts of this book was during my undergraduate studies. I decided to re-read after almost 10 years (a later version of it) and I didn't regret it. Even though I had extensive hands-on experience with computer networking since the first read, I still got to learn new things from the book and gain new insights. The only reason my rating is a 4-star and not a 5-star is because I felt the book tried to cover some areas (e.g. physical layer, multimedia & mobile networking) very superficially for the sake of completeness leaving the reader confused and needing to do more reading to understand what the book was talking about.
Profile Image for Saman Nourkhalaj.
28 reviews18 followers
January 18, 2018
نمی‌تونم بگم کتاب بدی بود. برای کسی که دانش پایه و درک و شناخت کلی از شبکه داره خوندن این کتاب کمک زیادی به فهم عمیق‌تر و جزیی‌ترش می‌کنه. اما برای کسی که از صفر داره شروع می‌کنه ممکنه اذیت‌کننده و زننده باشه.
بزرگ‌ترین مشکل کتاب زیاد بودن تکرار مکرراتشه. مفهومی رو که ابتدای صفحه توضیح داده، انتهای صفحه دوباره «کامل» توضیح می‌ده و برای خواننده ملال آورش می‌کنه.
البته لازمه بگم تمرینات برنامه‌نویسی و وایرشارک انتهای هر فصل خالی از لطف نیستن.
Profile Image for Martin.
30 reviews
October 30, 2020
Starting from the application layer definitely makes it a great introduction for software-focused students. The textbook is easy to read and understand, although sometimes unnecessarily verbose. The online student resources (especially the programming assignments) are very useful as they bridge the gap between understanding the core concepts from the textbook and being able to read the RFCs properly.
Profile Image for Daniel.
160 reviews
July 10, 2021
A thorough, updated treatment of the technical details of computer networking. If considered strictly as a textbook, rather than a book about technology, I'd probably give it five stars. I'm giving it four stars because it is written rather dryly. Still, it's probably the most comprehensive and reliable book I can think of on the subject, and it's been exceedingly helpful to me over the years in its various editions for coming to grips with network design and topology.
Profile Image for Alex.
531 reviews30 followers
October 5, 2021
Generally thorough and takes a conversational tone throughout most of the text, making for an easier read. Highlights included coverage of contemporary networking technologies (as of 2020), and a fairly solid introduction to key cryptographic primitives as a bonus in the 8th chapter on network security; pitfalls included some spotty editing in places and coverage of mobile networks that felt a bit too glossy despite getting its own chapter. Solid textbook for the material overall, though.
5 reviews
January 5, 2022
Computer Networking is a complex subject--it is not as clear and beautiful as algorithms and data structures, it has a lot of things due to historical issue or organizational reasons. It also ranges from the very top application layer to the bottom hardware connection. This book explains computer networking in an amazing manner through `a top down` approach, as itself proclaims.

This approach, not only help us better understand the material (at least for programmers) from the most familiar to the unfamiliar, but more importantly, it always keep us motivated. The lower layers need to provide some functionality required by the upper layer thus this or that are designed.

This book provides an abundant of analogy to facilitate our understanding and reference for further study.
Profile Image for Nikolas Mavrogeneiadis.
9 reviews22 followers
August 24, 2018
Interesting book which contains much information about networking. I think that some chapters should have more explanation but it's not a big problem. This book has a website which has 2D examples(like flow control) and these helped me to understand some significant things better. Also the exercises are very good.
Profile Image for Catarina.
27 reviews
September 24, 2021
acho que de todos os livros academicos que peguei até hoje, esse foi o mais gostoso de ler. e gostoso assim de pegar e dar tesao nmrl pq essa porra eh boa dimaissss.. to na camada de transporte ainda mas já passei o olho na maior parte do livro... queria uma cópia física pra ficar namorando... te amo redes
Profile Image for Sepehr.
4 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2019
best available and a very usefull course in computer engineering ! ive read the 2013 edition which i didnt find here ! any how , fluent and easy to understand , i haven't given many 5 stars but this sure deserves it
Profile Image for Ryan West.
12 reviews
November 30, 2019
A very in-depth overview of every layer of networking. I loved how many references to papers it provided for those interested in learning more about a particular subject. I'm definitely keeping this one around as reference whenever I need to understand something in the networking stack.
Profile Image for Khánh Phạm.
4 reviews
January 13, 2020
One of the book I put on my summer reading list. It basically brings you a fundamental knowledge about computer network system to more advance topics on network security and network application. It is well-presented, must-read book for a computer noob.
Profile Image for Chris Seltzer.
335 reviews2 followers
June 28, 2020
I'm still in search of a truly great book on networking. This one does a good enough job and I like the 'flip the model' approach of going top-down. But it tries to include topical material which means that it ends up being dated quickly.
Profile Image for Joker.
51 reviews1 follower
October 18, 2020
Książkę, która została napisana w 2008 roku czytałem przez miesiąc. Teraz jest dość stara (4G ma dopiero, co wejść) to autorzy za pomocą licznych alegorii, sprawili, że książka mimo, że obszerna nadaje się na początek przygody z sieciami.
Profile Image for Hosein.
157 reviews29 followers
November 27, 2020
It was our syllabus for the course Network Management in Master degree.
I am glad to say that I really enjoyed reading it since it learned me what I will be needed in the future's workspace.
Here I recommend it to Network guys along with Cisco books
Profile Image for Tomek.
62 reviews2 followers
May 21, 2021
Great book! There are tons of useful material about layers in computer networks. It only does not touch the first one: physical layer, because it is a rather complicated topic and there are many other books about it.
Profile Image for Sanket Patel.
12 reviews
August 17, 2021
Fundamentals are covered very well and some high level protocols are only explored a bit (with author warning about it).
Overall, this has been a good refresher for Transport and Network layers. Will be referring this book again when I'll need to read more about Ethernet.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 118 reviews

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