i have wanted to learn about networking and how they work. Are there books or websites that are good for them? Some things I wanted to learn about:

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There is one book you need on your desk: Tannenbaum's Computer Networks 5th Edition:

cover courtesy google http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61vW8LrWx4L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

It will cover a wide range of networking topics, with insightful diagrams and most importantly, citations for further reading. It does not restrict itself to TCP/IP or "the internet" but covers a wide range of possible networks, local, cellular, ad-hoc wireless, etc.

  • I've learned about cryptography and image/video compression from it :-) – Cristian Ciupitu May 29 '09 at 1:54
  • 2
    That's a little too harsh for a beginner honestly. But awesome once you get the basics. – Antoine Benkemoun May 29 '09 at 7:53
  • We used this book at university for first networking class. – Emile Vrijdags Oct 6 '11 at 17:10

I've read all of the books listed by Ayman, jldugger and packs, and I think they are all excellent suggestions. The TCP/IP Guide is more "How does it work", TCP/IP Illustrated Volume is more about the nuts and bolts of the protocol and, is somewhat dated (though still a must have classic for your bookshelf) - particularly with it's discussion of classful addressing, a topic which the TCP/IP Guide handles masterfully. TCP/IP guide is actually a very good practical intro to the protocol; in addition to providing a phenomenal history of CIDR, it also gives you an insane level of detail on PPP and other protocols not often gone into in much detail.

Tanenbaum is more about the holistic "What do networks consist of." and is an excellent addition to fill out your library. Comer is a classic which has also taught a lot of people in the networking profession practical TCP/IP.

So, those four books make for an excellent library on the topic of TCP/IP networking, and I would really like to suggest one more, which provides a fundamental discussion on networking protocols, referencing TCP/IP (among others) as a teaching aid to protocols:

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Interconnections is my "Desert Island" book - you can read, and re-read some of the pages and chapters and continue to get deeper insight into the whirling maze of protocols that you interact with. Highly recommended and I think an must-have for every complete bookshelf on computer networking.

  • I have skimmed the Interconnections book and thought it looked pretty dang worthwhile. I haven't yet added it to my shelf,though. – Scott Pack May 29 '09 at 11:44

I have been using Comer's Internetworking series for years. It was introduced to me as the text used in Ohio University's networking courses. It has since become my go to reference book in my professional career. It describes all the general purpose protocols in depth, as well as excellent diagrams on the different protocol headers. Amazon Link, Google Books


IBM Redbooks - TCP/IP Tutorial and Technical Overview is good both for learning some concepts and as a reference. I didn't have TCP/IP Illustrated when I started learning about networks, but fortunately this book helped me a lot.

(I'm not sure if the link points to the latest version)


The Computer Networks, By Andrew Tannenbaum.. The Best Book

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