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Ethernet: The Definitive Guide Paperback – February 16, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 524 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565926609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565926608
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The "Ethernet"--as distinct from the Internet, intranet, sneakernet, and others in the net family--is both a familiar face and a familiar name. However, it evokes the mental experience of the school crossing guard whose ownership of a corner of your mindscape is so context-sensitive that a change in venue renders the name or face placeless. Crossing guard or letter carrier? Just what is the Ethernet, again? True to his subject's infrastructural centrality and steadfast obscurity, Charles E. Spurgeon delivers a solid, basic treatise, Ethernet: The Definitive Guide, which describes its subject matter in all of its mundane glory. Appropriately, this is the octopus book from O'Reilly.

Spurgeon's examination of Ethernet spans four sections with 20 chapters, three appendices, an 18-page glossary of acronyms and jargon, and a generous index. The Ethernet is the hardware of the Inter/intranet and the underlying packet-formatting software protocols that control the hardware interfaces. But it is mostly just hardware: cables (thin-coaxial, thick, twisted pair, fiber optical), connectors (BNC, RJ-45), hubs (switching, routing), and system catch-all naming conventions (10BASE-2, 10BASE-T.) Sensibly, the discussion excludes Ethernet cards and network communications protocols that are more detailed than frame or packet definition, viz., there is essentially no information on packet-level security. But if you need a plan for designing a telephone closet, Spurgeon waxes eloquent on both network topologies and impedance matching.

Spurgeon's survey of the Ethernet is enriched by his intimate knowledge of its historical and developmental context. He glances through the original 1970s papers by Metcalfe in which the Ethernet was parameterized as well as the unfortunate misunderstanding of Metcalfe's simple model of throughput, and the subsequent papers that tracked performance characteristics and corrected misunderstandings.

Since Spurgeon's book is aimed at the network practitioner, his discussions answer engineering questions: How do you design a network? How do the pieces perform? How does it all go together? How do you know what broke? The book is copiously and clearly illustrated with conceptual figures, pin-out diagrams, performance charts, and some basic printouts from network diagnostic applications. There is no network monitoring code whatsoever. Clearly it is best not to mix up the network designer with the programmer, just as the school crossing guard really isn't the letter carrier. But you have to remember to remember that. --Peter Leopold

From Library Journal

Although O'Reilly books are not the best place to learn how to use a technology, they are excellent for polishing its finer points. Ethernet and Internet protocols are difficult by nature, but cascading style sheets and MP3s are much more accessible to beginners. All of these books are recommended for university and large public libraries; Cascading Style Sheets and MP3 will also serve well smaller public libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Charles E. Spurgeon, a senior technology architect at the University of Texas at Austin, works on the network system serving over 70,000 users in 200 buildings on two campuses. Prior to his current position, he worked at Stanford University with a group that built prototype Ethernet routers that became the founding technology for Cisco Systems.

Customer Reviews

If you support an Ethernet network, this book is a must!
Philippe Rowland
In general, this book simplifies matters, clarifies, puts everything in a realistic perspective: I've found it an easy, reasonably quick, and very helpful read.
J Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
This book covers everything most people will ever want to know about Ethernet.
John D. Alexander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By david nicol on March 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
The RJ in RJ-45 stands for Registered Jack. Now I know. This book truly does provide all the information you will need to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to selecting a contractor to cable your new building, or to do the job right if you choose to become such a contractor. Compliance with local building codes is beyond the scope of the book, but guaranteeing that you don't have hard-to-trace problems with your wiring stemming from the power line being too close to the data line inside the wall is not, and suggestions about how to find the local building codes are included.
With clear and readable descriptions of everything from electrons to hub management consoles, this book covers coax, twisted pair, fibre, at all current standards, up to 1000 bits per second, at all use case levels, from design of hardware protocols, to defending your requirements analysis design documents, to configuration of managed hub equipment.
For those to whom reading equipment advertising is not dissimilar to interpreting the menu in a restaurant in a foreign land, industry terms are explained in non-industry terms, with etymological notes detailing the various jargons from which the ethernet equipment terms derive, and extended explanations on terms such as "terminator" that have different meanings in different contexts.
After reading the Octopus book, I'm going to wire my charter school, rather than hiring a contractor. Armed with that experience, I will then be able to offer wiring buildings as yet another service. And you will too.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Stinnett on September 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Networking your home? Perhaps your are preparing to network a Fortune 500 company? Maybe you just want to get your computer talking to your wifes downstairs. In any fashion, O'Reilly's "Ethernet: The Definitive Guide" is one of the best networking reference books I have purchased in quite some time.
The author explains everything, from what Ethernet is all the way up to installation and troubleshooting. The comprehensive section on understanding how to plan for your network will save you time and
headaches when it comes to implementing and supporting your network.
One of the best features of the book, by far, is the explanation and breakdown of Ethernet/Networking terms. Do you know what a Fiber Optic Loss Budget is? How about 10Base5 Signal Encoding? The author does a terrific job of explaining, with great detail, terminology and networking concepts that even the most experienced network administrator may sometimes have trouble with.
Performance issues are covered in great detail, along with troubleshooting an existing network. Through examples, you will be able to target bottlenecks in your existing setup, and diagnose failure issues with ease. I found it a great tool as I was attempting to find out why I had a high packet collision rate after a recent network card change in my Linux box.
Even those who are writing network-aware software may find this book a goldmine of information. The technical explanation of the MAC protocol as well as the breakdown of information that is flowing over the network was of great value to me when I was attempting to write a device driver for a network card under BeOS.
This book is geared heavily towards those who support and maintain networks for a living.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Charles Spurgeon on July 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
(This review is written by the author of the book, to help clarify the subject matter and intended audience of the book.)
Ethernet: the Definitive Guide, is written for anyone who needs to know how Ethernet functions, and how to install, manage and troubleshoot an Ethernet system. The book covers the complete Ethernet system, including half-duplex and full-duplex operational modes, the Auto-Negotiation system, the twisted-pair and fiber optic media systems, switches and repeaters, cabling systems, network management, troubleshooting and more.
The book is focused on a single topic: Ethernet. Ethernet is a link layer network technology which is designed to carry any and all high-level protocol packets between computers. However, the Ethernet system is completely separate from the various high-level data protocols and applications. Ethernet is the trucking system for data transmission; it doesn't care what high-level protocol packets may be inside the data packages it is carrying. The Ethernet standard and the operation of the Ethernet system does not include TCP/IP, ARP, or any other high-level protocol packets.
For that reason, there is no significant coverage of the TCP/IP protocol suite in this book. This is intentional, since the book's focus is the complete Ethernet system, including all of the widely used Ethernet media systems. To that end, the book provides 498 pages of solid Ethernet information.
There are a number of books that cover the TCP/IP system of protocols and applications, and anyone interested in these topics should find and read one of these books. However, you don't need any in-depth knowledge of TCP/IP to understand Ethernet. Nor do you need any in-depth knowledge about Ethernet, or any other link layer network technology, to understand TCP/IP protocols...
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