Computer Networks, 2nd Edition

Philip J Irving

Publisher Lexden Publishing
ISBN 978-1-904995-08-1
RRP £12
Reviewed by Simon Clarke CEng FBCS CITP
Score 8 out of 10

ComputerNetworks This short textbook gives a good, basic introduction to computer networks. The emphasis is practical rather than theoretical. It would suit students studying networks for a secondary education or foundation tertiary-level course.

The main body of the book describes network topologies, standards, addressing, protocol layers, bridging and routing. Throughout the book the main emphasis is on network techniques that most people will be familiar with: Ethernet in a LAN configuration. However there are references to fairly dated technologies such as Token Ring.

Throughout the text, many of the examples are based on UNIX with little reference to comparable Microsoft Windows technologies. Indeed one chapter describes how to install Fedora Linux from scratch onto a PC. This is a shame as it will limit the appeal for those working in a wholly Windows environment.

There is a good section on practical network design which leads the reader through standard design layouts including some basic capacity calculations.

The book concludes with good description of network management and security aspects. This includes backup regimes, firewalls and authentication configuration.

Overall the book is readable with plenty of diagrams. At the end of each chapter there are sample questions and answers, with pointers for further study. The publisher’s website has more support material for tutors and students.

The book is good value for money. For a book of 186 pages it gives a good introduction to a large topic.