Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, Fifth Edition, discusses the key principles of computer networking. It focuses on the underlying concepts and technologies that make the Internet work. Topics covered include network design and architecture; the ways users can connect to a network; the concepts of switching, routing, and internetworking; end-to-end protocols; congestion control and resource allocation; end-to-end data; network security; and network applications such as e-mail and the Web, IP telephony and video streaming, and peer-to-peer file sharing. Each chapter includes a problem statement, which introduces issues to be examined; shaded sidebars that elaborate on a topic or introduce a related advanced topic; What’s Next? discussions that deal with emerging issues in research, the commercial world, or society; and exercises. This book is written for graduate or upper-division undergraduate classes in computer networking. It will also be useful for industry professionals retraining for network-related assignments, as well as network practitioners seeking to understand the workings of network protocols and the big picture of networking.

Key Features

  • Completely updated content with expanded coverage of the topics of utmost importance to networking professionals and students, including P2P, wireless, security, and applications
  • Increased focus on application layer issues where innovative and exciting research and design is currently the center of attention
  • Free downloadable network simulation software and lab experiments manual available


Networking professionals and upper level undergraduate and graduate students in CS, EE, and CSE programs.

Table of Contents

In Praise of Computer Networks

Recommended Reading List



Foreword to the First Edition


1. Foundation

1.1 Applications

1.2 Requirements

1.3 Network Architecture

1.4 Implementing Network Software

1.5 Performance


Further Reading

2. Getting Connected

2.1 Perspectives on Connecting

2.2 Encoding (NRZ, NRZI, MANCHESTER, 4B/5B)

2.3 Framing

2.4 Error Detection

2.5 Reliable Transmission

2.6 Ethernet and Multiple Access Networks (802.3)

2.7 Wireless


Further Reading

3. Internetworking

3.1 Switching and Bridging

3.2 Basic Internetworking (IP)

3.3 Routing

3.4 Implementation and Performance

3.5 Summary

Further Reading

4. Advanced Internetworking

4.1 The Global Internet

4.2 Multicast

4.3 Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)

4.4 Routing among Mobile Devices

4.5 Summary

Further Reading

5. End-to-End Protocols

5.1 Simple Demultiplexer (UDP)

5.2 Reliable Byte Stream (TCP)

5.3 Remote Procedure Call

5.4 Transport for Real-Time Applications (RTP)


Further Reading

6. Congestion Control and Resource Allocation

6.1 Issues in Resource Allocation

6.2 Queuing Disciplines

6.3 TCP Congestion Control

6.4 Congestion-Avoidance Mechanisms

6.5 Quality of Service

6.6 Summary

Further Reading

7. End-to-End Data

7.1 Presentation Formatting

7.2 Multimedia Data

7.3 Summary

Further Reading

8. Network Security

8.1 Cryptographic Building Blocks

8.2 Key Predistribution

8.3 Authentication Protocols

8.4 Example Systems

8.5 Firewalls


Further Re


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© 2011
Morgan Kaufmann
Print ISBN:
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I have known and used this book for years and I always found it very valuable as a textbook for teaching computer networks as well as a reference book for networking professionals. This Fifth Edition maintains the core value of former editions and brings the clarity of explanation of network protocols in the introduction of the most up-to-date techniques, technologies and requirements of networking. Beyond describing the details of past and current networks, this book successfully motivates the curiosity, and hopefully new research, for the networks of the future.--Stefano Basagni, Northeastern University

Peterson and Davie have written an outstanding book for the computer networking world. It is a well-organized book that features a very helpful "big picture" systems approach. This book is a must have!--Yonshik Choi, Illinois Institute of Technology

The Fifth Edition of Computer Networks: A Systems Approach is well-suited for the serious student of computer networks, though it remains accessible to the more casual reader as well. The authors’ enthusiasm for their subject is evident throughout; they have a thorough and current grasp of the interesting problems of the field. They explain not only how various protocols work, but also why they work the way they do, and even why certain protocols are the important and interesting ones. The book is also filled with little touches of historical background, from the main text to the "Where Are They Now" sidebars to the papers described in each chapter's "Further Reading" section—these give the reader a perspective on how things came to be the way they are. All in all, this book provides a lucid and literate introduction to networking.--Peter Dordal, Loyola University Chicago

I have used Computer Networks: A Systems Approach for over five years in an introductory course on communications networks aimed at upper-level undergraduates and first-year