Update 2011: I was surprised to see used copies of this selling at Amazon for over $100 - yes, it is a good book!
This is a very detailed and very practical reference for TCP/IP. You probably wouldn't want to wade into this with no prior knowledge, but it contains the kind of low-level information that is hard to find anywhere else. It's not just a listing of the various elements of a packet; the author explains which fields and features are really used and HOW they are really used with extensive examples.
While most of us don't get into looking at packet-level stuff very often, having a guide like this handy is very helpful. The book includes a CD with a (unfortunately Windows based) demo version of a Shomiti packet analyzer; I didn't bother to look at that because it's not of much use to me. The Shumiti product is used to show packet dumps throughout the book, but other than that, there's no particular emphasis on Windows; in fact this is much more relevant to Unix administrators in general.
I learned quite a bit. For example, I was unaware of Gratuitous ARP- that's where a device broadcasts it's MAC and IP addresses even though no one asked for them- it's very useful for things like dial-up modem pools, for example. It's interesting that machines ignore any new addresses broadcast in that way, but will update any they already have in their cache. Arp actually gets 37 pages of detailed treatment, and everything else is equally expounded.
Tony Lawrence 2000/05/04 Rating:
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If we define Futurism as an exploration beyond accepted limits, then the nature of limiting systems becomes the first object of exploration. (Frank Herbert)