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Computer Networks Hardcover – March 6, 1996

86 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 007-6092003045 ISBN-10: 0133499456 Edition: 3rd

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Editorial Reviews Review

This is the long-awaited 3rd Edition of Tanenbaum's classic book on computer networking. The finest network engineer I know (who was stolen from my previous employer by developers of IPv6) swears by this book, and it is arguably the best single resource for gaining a good technical understanding of modern networking in the mid 1990s. Very Highly Recommended.


Read the entire review of this book.

Computer Networks won't save one minute over the next year. It has no step-by-step procedures, no problem solving sections, and no butt-saving tricks. The only purpose it can serve at a downed site is as a shield against thrown objects from frustrated users. Normally, theoretical books like this one receive a quick skim and are promptly sent to my for-looks-only tome tomb. However, this isn't a normal theoretical book. It's fascinating. In fact, I read it not once but three times. Tanenbaum fills over 700 pages with everything I didn't know, or better still, only thought I knew about networks. --Don Bryson, Dr. Dobb's Journal -- Dr. Dobb's Journal


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 813 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 3rd edition (March 6, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0133499456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0133499452
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Don on July 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been teaching Intro to Netwking for 7 years (half electrical engineering and half computer science students). I'm also a practicing network engineer in satellite (and ground) communications (15 years experience). Until this year (2001) I used Tanenbaum to teach my graduate level course, but this year I think I may have to abandon him. On the plus side the book is clearly written, well illustrated, combines both theory and practice, and is very well organized. I strongly endorse the layered approach both for teaching and for practice. On the negative side is Tanenbaum's relatively-poorly written physical layer. He also does not have a consistent approach to networking performance.
But the biggest problem now is that since 1996, when this book was last updated, there has been a major shift due to the convergence of the telecommunications and computer networking (Voice over IP). Also the development of fiber optics has become a major factor. Finally, the convergence of wireless with the Internet is rapidly taking shape.
These changes are touched on by parts of this book, but these changes are more than mere additions. They affect the fundamental engineering approaches used by network engineers. For example, statistical traffic models now cannot be ignored, availability (always a major topic in telecomm) must now be covered, the full implications of mixed traffic types must now be explored, multiplexing needs greater attention, scheduling is now essential, etc. Although it is NOT obvious that commercial voice will merge with the Internet, it is obvious that the future is VoIP (lots of implementation approaches).
Tanenbaum still has a lot to offer. No other textbook is as well organized. This is the first duty of an author: to organize the topic.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Uri Raz on February 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I just started working as a programmer, I came across the 2nd edition international student reprint of this book, in red softcover, at a students' bookshop, and bought it. I treasure that copy in my library to this day - it gave me a solid background in computer networking that served me well in the past and is an asset that will serve me in the future.
Previous reviews have mentioned Tanenbaum's excellent and concise writing style and the breadth of the material covered, which are two of the good qualities that made this book a classic.
What wasnt mentioned and I consider important is :
- The bottom up explanation of networking, starting with the physical layer, up through the OSI layers (link layer, network layer, transport layer) to the application layer. This structure makes it very clear how networks work, how they are designed, and why.
- The well made balance between broad coverage of topics and the depth of coverage of each topic. After reading this book it's easy to start studying in depth any subtopic covered in this book (e.g. TCP/IP through Comers' books) as the reader knows how the subtopic fits in the big picture and knows enough to make a smooth start.
Some previous reviewers asked about solutions to problem, so I'll note that this book does have booklet with problem solutions, which is apparently made available only to academical staff [ and people mistaken to be such :-) ].
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any type of network related job, students who study networking, and anyone who wants to study computer networking.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ruben André de Franco Badaró on August 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is probably the most complete and in depth theoretical approach to Computer Networks book you can buy.
The structure of this book is based mainly on the OSI Reference Model which is divided in 7 different layers. Each chapter in the book is dedicated to a layer, in this way, one can get an insight of a broad variety of subjects such as IEEE standards (Ethernet, Token Ring, etc,), Congestion control and routing Algorithms, network and transport layer protocols (IP, TCP and UDP) and many more topics.
As a complement you should read Richard Stevens TCP/IP Illustrated, volume 1 for a more practical approach to TCP, UDP and IP.
The best book for beginner, intermediate and advanced users.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Jean Lambert on December 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I used this book as a supplement for a networking university course. This book covers a lot of material, there is no single question I had that it couldn't answer ! I recommend it to anybody interested in networking (all layers of the OSI model : physical, data-link, network, transport, session, presentation and finally presentation). It also covers ethernet standards, TCP/IP stack and even give some source code in C to explain some concepts. A must have of any modern computer student.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By digerati VINE VOICE on August 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tanenbaum has overhauled his second edition to take into account the massive shift to Internetworks and the IP protocol. As usual, he does an excellent job of elucidating the subtleties of the technology while maintaining his witty style.

The book's key strength is that it combines solid theoretical underpinnings and clear explanations with consideration of the non-technical aspects of networking. These include market acceptance (some wise words on why ISDN failed, for example), the politics of "standards" and day-to-day pragmatic "getting it done" issues.

Tanenbaum's broader consideration enables the book to avoid the trap of becoming an unworldly academic text. It gives "Computer Networks" its licence to function as an indispensable everyday working reference.

I work in the communications/networking industry and keep this book handy. I lend it to colleagues to photocopy the odd section, and they always end up buying their own copy. Enough said!

I gave this book a 9 for including some of the old and dying technologies that lack even instructional value, at the expense of newer technologies that are seeing wide deployment. Grist for the fourth edition, I guess :-)
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