Welcome to the eighth edition of Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach.
Since the publication of the first edition 20 years ago, our book has been adopted
for use at many hundreds of colleges and universities, translated into 14 languages,
and used by many hundreds of thousands students and practitioners worldwide. We’ve
heard from many of these readers and have been overwhelmed by the positive response.
We think one important reason for this success has been that our book continues to
offer a fresh and timely approach to computer networking instruction. We’ve made
changes in this eighth edition, but we’ve also kept unchanged what we believe (and
the instructors and students who have used our book have confirmed) to be the most
important aspects of this book: its top-down approach, its focus on the Internet and a
modern treatment of computer networking, its attention to both principles and prac
tice, and its accessible style and approach toward learning about computer network
ing. Nevertheless, the eighth edition has been revised and updated substantially.
Readers of earlier editions of our book may recall that in moving from the sixth to
the seventh edition, we deepened our coverage of the network layer, expanding material
which had been previously covered in a single chapter into a new chapter focused
on the so-called “data plane” component of the network layer (Chapter 4) and a new
chapter focused on the network layer’s “control plane” (Chapter 5). That change
turned out to be prescient, as software-defined networking (SDN), arguably the most
important and exciting advance in networking in decades, has been rapidly adopted
in practice—so much so that it’s already hard to imagine an introduction to modern
computer networking that doesn’t cover SDN. SDN has also enabled new advances
in the practice of network management, which we also cover in modernized and deep
er detail in this edition. And as we’ll see in Chapter 7 of this eighth edition, the separa
tion of the data and control planes is now also deeply embedded in 4G/5G mobile
cellular network architectures, as is an “all-IP” approach to their core networks. The
rapid adoption of 4G/5G networks and the mobile applications they enable are un
doubtedly the most significant changes we’ve seen in networking since the publication
of our seventh edition. We’ve thus significantly updated and deepened our treatment
of this exciting area. Indeed, the ongoing wireless network revolution is so important
that we think it has become a critical part of an introductory networking course.