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Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, designed for an advanced college-level course in network design and operation, provides the network applications programmer with detailed information about how networks do their thing. While Computer Networks is neither a user manual nor a technical reference, it provides an in-depth background on how network architectures and protocols work.
In the beginning, Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie discuss why networks are important and talk about where networks may go in the long term. The authors then move right into a discussion of protocols. There's a fascinating section--complete with plenty of C code--in which the authors actually develop a network protocol called A Simple Protocol (ASP). They compare switching and packet networks and emphasize tunneling protocols. In the internetworking chapter, you'll learn practically all there is to know about Internet Protocol (IP). The concluding chapters talk about traffic management, congestion reduction, and high-speed networking technologies.
Computer Networks reveals the guts of what's going on with computers that share data. Though way out of the league of most computer users, true geeks with an interest in networking will find what they need here. [via]