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Book Review - Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 3:36 am    Post subject: Book Review - Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide Reply with quote

Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide
Author(s): Eric A. Hall
Publisher: O’Reilly
Book Specifications: Soft-Cover, 449 pages
Category: TCP/IP
User Level: Intermediate: Introductory knowledge of TCP/IP required
Suggested Publisher Price: $39.95 USA/ $58.95 CAN/ Ł28.18 Net UK (inc of VAT)
ISBN: 1-56592-572-6
Amazon.co.uk: Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide
Amazon.com: Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide

Info from Back: "Internet Core Protocols is the “TCP/IP owner’s manual” you wish you had. It is the first in a series of books that discuss the Internet protocols from the standpoint of a network administrator. Eric Hall goes into detail about how each protocol works, what can go wrong, and what problems you typically face. He shows detailed examples of the protocols in action, including many complete packet traces. If you spend your days (and nights) working on real networks, you’ll want this book at your side.”


System administrators, and people who build and maintain networks will greatly benefit from this book. Mentioned on the back cover is the fact that it is also written from the perspective of the network administrator. This is important to note as this book is not suited for someone looking to glean network security information on say the problems faced by the ARP protocol. Covered in this book will be the major protocols used in the TCP/IP protocol stack, and the often misunderstood IGMP protocol.

Content & Overview

Covered in this book are the major parts of TCP/IP. From an introduction to the stack to a brief history of it, and it’s objectives. Also discussed is how the various protocols compromising it interact with each other. After this introductory chapter the book goes on to cover the following subjects;

Chapter 2, The Internet Protocol
Chapter 3, The Address Resolution Protocol
Chapter 4, Multicasting and the Internet Group Management Protocol
Chapter 5, The Internet Control Message Protocol
Chapter 6, The User Datagram Protocol
Chapter 7, The Transmission Control Protocol

Each topic is covered with an overview perspective, and does not get down into the nitty, gritty details of each specific protocol noted above. IP is covered with a nice level of granularity such as fragmentation, IP address fundamentals, and prioritization. The ARP protocol chapter will show how other computers find each other. Of note here is the use of screenshots displaying ARP and how it works using the bundled software program Shomiti Surveyor, which is included on the accompanying CD.

Multicasting and the IGMP protocol are explained nicely showing the reader the differences between unicasts, broadcasts and multicasts. Shown as well are the fields within this protocol, and what they mean. Covered also are IGMP message types, and some more traffic snippets using the bundled software showing this protocol in action.

The remaining protocols ICMP, UDP, and TCP are given the same treatment. Each one is introduced, and then followed by it’s uses and various fields within. Liberally used are screenshots, and protocol specific information to help the reader grasp the subject matter.

Style and Detail

One of the best features of this book is the preface, and the general layout of it. Using the preface the author lays out who this book is intended for, as well as a quick chapter, and appendix content breakdown. Each chapter also follows a specific format ie: introduction, details, and real time usage of the protocol being covered. Several pages are devoted to terminology, images, and use of various fonts. Overall style is quite nice, and the well written preface notable for it’s good content.


As advertised the book covers the core protocols that are used for the internet. (routing protocols are not covered) This book however is not an exhaustive treatment of the above noted protocols. I felt that a more technical or detailed approach could have been used. I actually do live and breathe TCP/IP and felt it lacking in it’s stated audience of hardcore protocol analysis. That being said the book does give a nice level of detail, and provides many visual aides. I would recommend the purchase of this book, but more so for the person with an intermediate knowledge level.

This book gets an SFDC 7/10 from me

Keywords for this post: Internet Core Protocols: The Definitive Guide

This review is copyright 2003 by the author and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.
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