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Content Overview
The TCP/IP Guide provides a thorough description of the TCP/IP protocol suite, as well as additional materials needed by any student of internetworking. The Guide begins with a fundamentals section containing essential background information, and a complete discussion of the OSI Reference Model. It then describes the TCP/IP protocol suite in general terms, before exploring the specific protocols that comprise it. Extensive discussion is provided of both the core protocols that make TCP/IP internetworks function, and the most important classical TCP/IP applications.

The description of each protocol includes examples, illustrations and discussions of how the protocol was developed and its role in the TCP/IP suite as a whole. Amongst the protocols covered by The TCP/IP Guide are (in increasing layer order): SLIP, PPP, IP, IPv6, IP NAT, IPSec, Mobile IP, ICMP, ICMPv6, IPv6 ND, RIP, OSPF, GGP, HELLO, IGRP, EIGRP, BGP, EGP, TCP, UDP, DNS, NFS, BOOTP, DHCP, SNMP, RMON, FTP, TFTP, RFC 822, MIME, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, NNTP, HTTP, Telnet and IRC.

The following is a more complete description of the major content areas of the download or CD versions of The TCP/IP Guide (for even more detail than this, please view the full Table of Contents). Of course, you can also check out the entire Guide for yourself by reading the free online version:

  • Networking Fundamentals: A general discussion of important background material that those learning about networks need to know. Includes a look at the benefits and disadvantages of networking, a review of key networking characteristics and network types and sizes, a discussion of network performance issues, explanation of networking standards issues and organizations, and a backgrounder on computing mathematics (including octal and hexadecimal numbers, conversions and bit masking.)
  • OSI Reference Model: A complete description of the ISO Open System Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model. This section covers the reasons why the OSI model is important, discusses essential concepts and terminology, and describes each model layer individually. It also has an example and summary table.
  • TCP/IP Overview: The first section about TCP/IP itself provides a high-level overview of the suite. This includes a brief discussion of its history, TCP/IP architecture, TCP/IP's client/server model of operation, and a summary table of TCP/IP protocols and their layers.
  • TCP/IP Network Interface Protocols: A full discussion of the role and function of network interface (layer two) TCP/IP protocols, used to enable TCP/IP to work directly over physical links. This section provides a brief description of the Serial Line Interface Protocol (SLIP) and a complete discussion of the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), including link setup, PPP's constituent subprotocols, and features such as compression, encryption and multilink PPP.
  • TCP/IP Address Resolution Protocols: A description of the importance of address resolution, a full discussion of the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), including caching and proxying, and a brief explanation of the Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP).
  • Internet Protocol (IP): Extensive coverage of the Internet Protocol (IP) including an overview and history, addressing, datagram encapsulation, fragmentation and reassembly, and routing.
  • IP Addressing: Almost 100 pages are devoted just to IP addressing alone. The subjects covered here are addressing concepts and structures, addressing types, IPv4 address classes, multicast addressing, subnet addressing, variable-length subnet masking (VLSM) and classless addressing (CIDR). A complete section is also provided that shows step by step how to subnet a network, with multiple examples.
  • Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6): One of the most comprehensive descriptions of the new and essential version 6 of the Internet Protocol, outside of books dedicated to that subject. This section discusses why IPv6 is important, and covers all the key changes between IPv4 and IPv6. It extensively discusses IPv6 addressing types and issues, IPv6 datagram formatting, IPv6 extension headers and options, and how datagrams are fragmented and routed in IPv6.
  • IP-Related Protocols: Three sections that cover in detail important protocols closely related to IP. The first discusses IP Network Address Translation (IP NAT), showing how four different types of network translation work. The second is on IP Security (IPSec), and discusses IPSec architecture, tunnel and transport modes, security associations, and the authentication header (AH) and encapsulating security payload (ESP). The third describes fully how Mobile IP can be used to support TCP/IP operation on traveling nodes.
  • IP Support Protocols: A full discussion of two protocols that support the operation of IP. The Internet Control Message Protocol is described fully for both IP and IPv6 (ICMP and ICMPv6), including a description of each of the ICMP message types. The Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol is also described for IPv6.
  • TCP/IP Routing Protocols: While not specifically devoted to routing, The TCP/IP Guide provides a fairly detailed discussion of routing protocol issues, and covers the Routing Information Protocol (RIP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing protocols fairly comprehensively. Other routing protocols are also described more briefly: GGP, HELLO, IGRP, EIGRP, and EGP.
  • TCP/IP Transport Protocols: A description of transport layer addressing (ports and sockets) and the two TCP/IP transport layer protocols: the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The critically-important and often complicated TCP is covered extensively in over 100 pages. This includes a discussion of TCP functions and characteristics, and a fully-illustrated explanation of sliding windows, TCP streams and segments, TCP connection establishment and management, message formatting, retransmission mechanisms, flow control, window size adjustment, and congestion avoidance.
  • TCP/IP Name Systems: A description of the general concepts behind name systems, the use of host tables, and the TCP/IP Domain Name System (DNS). The section on DNS covers its components and functions, the DNS name space structure and notation, DNS name registration and top-level domains, DNS resource records and name server operation, DNS resolvers, name resolution and caching, and DNS message transfer and master file format.
  • TCP/IP Network File System: A quick look at the Network File System (NFS), showing how it can be used to allow users to seamlessly share resources across an internetwork. This includes a discussion of NFS architecture, data storage, client/server operation and the Mount Protocol.
  • TCP/IP Host Configuration Protocols: Two technologies used to allow devices to be automatically configured: the Boot Protocol (BOOTP) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). The DHCP section explains how DHCP leases work, the processes of lease allocation, reallocation, renewal, rebinding and release, DHCP message formats, DHCP server and client operation, security issues and more.
  • TCP/IP Network Management Protocols: A full coverage of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This includes a discussion of the many often-confusing SNMP versions, the Structure of Management Information (SMI), Management Information Bases (MIBs), the operation of the SNMP protocol itself, and Remote Monitoring (RMON).
  • TCP/IP General File Transfer Protocols: A section describing the operation of the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP). The FTP section covers the FTP operational model, control and data connections, port usage, communication and transfer modes, and command and reply codes.
  • TCP/IP Electronic Mail Protocols: E-mail is one of the most important applications on the modern Internet; since it is really a system of related protocols and technologies, The TCP/IP Guide describes it accordingly. The discussion includes an overview of electronic mail, a look at addressing methods and message formats (including regular RFC 822 and enhanced MIME messages), and coverage of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Post Office Protocol (POP3) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).
  • TCP/IP Usenet System and Protocols: A description of the Usenet newsgroup communication system, with particular emphasis on the operation of the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP).
  • TCP/IP World Wide Web: The World Wide Web is arguably the most important application in the history of networking; The TCP/IP Guide describes the Web in general terms, including a brief look at Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Most of the section is devoted to a comprehensive explanation of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), including connections, pipelining, message formats, methods, status codes, media types, data transfer, content negotiation, caching, proxying, security issues and state management.
  • TCP/IP Interactive and Remote Application Protocols: A brief description of the important Telnet protocol, used for interactive remote host access. This includes explanation of the Telnet Network Virtual Terminal (NVT), Telnet connections, protocol commands and options. The Guide also provides an overview of the Berkeley remote ("r") protocols: rlogin, rsh, rcp, ruptime and rwho.
  • TCP/IP Administration and Troubleshooting Utilities: Last but not least, a thorough explanation of the operation and command set of several key utilities used to manage and diagnose problems in TCP/IP internetworks. These include hostname, ping, traceroute, arp, nslookup, host, dig, whois, netstat, ipconfig, ifconfig and more.

2003-2015 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.