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Computer Networking Problems and Solutions: An innovative approach to building resilient, modern networks

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Computer Networking Problems and Solutions: An innovative approach to building resilient, modern networks


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  • Provides both depth and interactive understanding
  • A problem/solution/implementation pattern that facilitates understanding how to approach problems, rather than simply providing information about specific technologies that become quickly obsolete
  • A proven system of learning that enables engineers to keep pace with fast changing technological innovation
  • Explanations by three engineers experienced in explaining complex ideas to engineers of all levels of skill


  • Copyright 2018
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 832
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 1-58714-504-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-58714-504-9

Master Modern Networking by Understanding and Solving Real Problems

Computer Networking Problems and Solutions offers a new approach to understanding networking that not only illuminates current systems but prepares readers for whatever comes next. Its problem-solving approach reveals why modern computer networks and protocols are designed as they are, by explaining the problems any protocol or system must overcome, considering common solutions, and showing how those solutions have been implemented in new and mature protocols.

Part I considers data transport (the data plane). Part II covers protocols used to discover and use topology and reachability information (the control plane). Part III considers several common network designs and architectures, including data center fabrics, MPLS cores, and modern Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN). Principles that underlie technologies such as Software Defined Networks (SDNs) are considered throughout, as solutions to problems faced by all networking technologies.

This guide is ideal for beginning network engineers, students of computer networking, and experienced engineers seeking a deeper understanding of the technologies they use every day. Whatever your background, this book will help you quickly recognize problems and solutions that constantly recur, and apply this knowledge to new technologies and environments.

Coverage Includes

· Data and networking transport

· Lower- and higher-level transports and interlayer discovery

· Packet switching

· Quality of Service (QoS)

· Virtualized networks and services

· Network topology discovery

· Unicast loop free routing

· Reacting to topology changes

· Distance vector control planes, link state, and path vector control

· Control plane policies and centralization

· Failure domains

· Securing networks and transport

· Network design patterns

· Redundancy and resiliency

· Troubleshooting

· Network disaggregation

· Automating network management

· Cloud computing

· Networking the Internet of Things (IoT)

· Emerging trends and technologies

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Troubleshoot Failure Domains and Information Hiding in your Networks

Table of Contents


Part I: The Data Plane

Chapter 1: Fundamental Concepts

Art or Engineering?

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

Packet Switched Operation

Flow Control in Packet Switched Networks

Fixed Versus Variable Length Frames

Calculating Loop-Free Paths

Quality of Service

The Revenge of Centralized Control Planes


Why So Complex?

Defining Complexity

Managing Complexity through the Wasp Waist

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 2: Data Transport Problems and Solutions

Digital Grammars and Marshaling

Digital Grammars and Dictionaries

Fixed Length Fields

Type Length Value

Shared Object Dictionaries


Error Detection

Error Correction


Addressing Devices and Applications



Flow Control


Negotiated Bit Rates

Final Thoughts on Transport

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 3: Modeling Network Transport

United States Department of Defense (DoD) Model

Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Model

Recursive Internet Architecture (RINA) Model

Connection Oriented and Connectionless

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 4: Lower Layer Transports



Error Control

Data Marshaling

Flow Control

Wireless 802.11


Data Marshaling, Error Control, and Flow Control

Final Thoughts on Lower Layer Transmission Protocols

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 5: Higher Layer Data Transports

The Internet Protocol

Transport and Marshaling


Transmission Control Protocol

Flow Control

Error Control

TCP Port Numbers

TCP Session Setup



Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 6: Interlayer Discovery

Interlayer Discovery Solutions

Well-Known and/or Manually Configured Identifiers

Mapping Database and Protocol

Advertising Identifier Mappings in a Protocol

Calculating One Identifier from the Other

Interlayer Discovery Examples

The Domain Name System


IPv4 Address Resolution Protocol

IPv6 Neighbor Discovery

The Default Gateway Problem

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 7: Packet Switching

Physical Media to Memory

Processing the Packet



Why Route?

Equal Cost Multipath

Packet Processing Engines

Across the Bus

Crossbars and Contention

Memory to Physical Media

Final Thoughts on Packet Switching

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 8: Quality of Service

Defining the Problem Space

Why Not Just Size Links Large Enough?


Preserving Classification

The Unmarked Internet

Congestion Management

Timeliness: Low-Latency Queueing

Fairness: Class-Based Weighted Fair Queueing


Other QoS Congestion Management Tools

Queue Management

Managing a Full Buffer: Weighted Random Early Detection

Managing Buffer Delay, Bufferbloat, and CoDel

Final Thoughts on Quality of Service

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 9: Network Virtualization

Understanding Virtual Networks

Providing Ethernet Services over an IP Network

Virtual Private Access to a Corporate Network

A Summary of Virtualization Problems and Solutions

Segment Routing

Segment Routing with Multiprotocol Label Switching

Segment Routing with IPv6

Signaling Segment Routing Labels

Software-Defined Wide Area Networks

Complexity and Virtualization

Interaction Surfaces and Shared Risk Link Groups

Interaction Surfaces and Overlaid Control Planes

Final Thoughts on Network Virtualization

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 10: Transport Security

The Problem Space

Validating Data

Protecting Data from Being Examined

Protecting User Privacy

The Solution Space


Key Exchange

Cryptographic Hashes

Obscuring User Information

Transport Layer Security

Final Thoughts on Transport Security

Further Reading

Review Questions

Part II: The Control Plane

Chapter 11: Topology Discovery

Nodes, Edges, and Reachable Destinations



Reachable Destination


Learning about the Topology

Detecting Other Network Devices

Detecting Two-Way Connectivity

Detecting the Maximum Transmission Unit

Learning about Reachable Destinations

Learning Reactively

Learning Proactively

Advertising Reachability and Topology

Deciding When to Advertise Reachability and Topology

Reactive Distribution of Reachability

Proactive Distribution of Reachability

Redistribution between Control Planes

Redistribution and Metrics

Redistribution and Routing Loops

Final Thoughts on Topology Discovery

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 12: Unicast Loop-Free Paths (1)

Which Path Is Loop Free?


Alternate Loop-Free Paths

Waterfall (or Continental Divide) Model

P/Q Space

Remote Loop-Free Alternates

Bellman-Ford Loop-Free Path Calculation

Garcia’s Diffusing Update Algorithm

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 13: Unicast Loop-Free Paths (2)

Dijkstra’s Shortest Path First

Partial and Incremental SPF

Calculating LFAs and rLFAs

Path Vector

Disjoint Path Algorithms

Two-Connected Networks

Suurballe’s Disjoint Path Algorithm

Maximally Redundant Trees

Two-Way Connectivity

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 14: Reacting to Topology Changes

Detecting Topology Changes

Polling to Detect Failures

Event-Driven Failure Detection

Comparing Event-Driven and Polling-Based Detection

An Example: Bidirectional Forwarding Detection

Change Distribution


Hop by Hop

A Centralized Store

Consistency, Accessibility, and Partitionability

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 15: Distance Vector Control Planes

Control Plane Classification

Spanning Tree Protocol

Building a Loop-Free Tree

Learning about Reachable Destinations

Concluding Thoughts on the Spanning

Tree Protocol

The Routing Information Protocol

Tying Bellman-Ford to RIP

Reacting to Topology Changes

Concluding Thoughts on RIP

The Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol

Reacting to a Topology Change

Neighbor Discovery and Reliable Transport

Concluding Thoughts on EIGRP

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 16: Link State and Path Vector Control Planes

A Short History of OSPF and IS-IS

The Intermediate System to Intermediate System Protocol

OSI Addressing

Marshalling Data in IS-IS

Neighbor and Topology Discovery

Reliable Flooding

Concluding Thoughts on IS-IS

The Open Shortest Path First Protocol

Marshalling Data in OSPF

Neighbor and Topology Discovery

Reliable Flooding

Concluding Thoughts on OSPF

Common Elements of OSPF and IS-IS

Multiaccess Links

Conceptualizing Links, Nodes, and Reachability in Link State Protocols

Validating Two-Way Connectivity in SPF

Border Gateway Protocol

BGP Peering

The BGP Best Path Decision Process

BGP Advertisement Rules

Concluding Thoughts on BGP

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 17: Policy in the Control Plane

Control Plane Policy Use Cases

Routing and Potatoes

Resource Segmentation

Flow Pinning for Application Optimization

Defining Control Plane Policy

Control Plane Policy and Complexity

Routing and Potatoes

Resource Segmentation

Flow Pinning for Applications

Final Thoughts on Control Plane Policy

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 18: Centralized Control Planes

Considering the Definition of Software Defined

A Taxonomy of Interfaces

Considering the Division of Labor

BGP as an SDN





CAP Theorem and Subsidiarity

Final Thoughts on Centralized Control Planes

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 19: Failure Domains and Information Hiding

The Problem Space

Defining Control Plane State Scope

Positive Feedback Loops

The Solution Space

Summarizing Topology Information

Aggregating Reachability Information

Filtering Reachability Information

Layering Control Planes


Slowing Down

Final Thoughts on Hiding Information

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 20: Examples of Information Hiding

Summarizing Topology Information

Intermediate System to Intermediate System

Open Shortest Path First



The Border Gateway Protocol as a Reachability Overlay

Segment Routing with a Controller Overlay

Slowing Down State Velocity

Exponential Backoff

Link State Flooding Reduction

Final Thoughts on Failure Domains

Further Reading

Review Questions

Part III: Network Design

Chapter 21: Security: A Broader Sweep

The Scope of the Problem

The Biometric Identity Conundrum


The Problem Space

The Solution Space

Defense in Depth

Access Control

Data Protection

Service Availability Assurance

The OODA Loop as a Security Model





Final Thoughts on Security

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 22: Network Design Patterns

The Problem Space

Solving Business Problems

Translating Business Requirements into Technical

What Is a Good Network Design?

Hierarchical Design

Common Topologies

Ring Topologies

Mesh Topologies

Hub-and-Spoke Topologies

Planar, Nonplanar, and Regular

Final Thoughts on Network Design Patterns

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 23: Redundant and Resilient

The Problem Space: What Failures Look Like to Applications

Resilience Defined

Other “Measures”

Redundancy as a Tool to Create Resilience

Shared Risk Link Groups

In-Service Software Upgrade and Graceful Restart

Dual and Multiplanar Cores

Modularity and Resilience

Final Thoughts on Resilience

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 24: Troubleshooting

What Is the Purpose?

What Are the Components?

Models and Troubleshooting

Build How Models

Build What Models

Build Accurate Models

Shifting between Models

Half Split and Move

Using Manipulability

Simplify before Testing

Fixing the Problem

Final Thoughts on Troubleshooting

Further Reading

Review Questions

Part IV: Current Topics

Chapter 25: Disaggregation, Hyperconvergence, and the Changing Network

Changes in Compute Resources and Applications

Converged, Disaggregated, Hyperconverged, and Composable

Applications Virtualized and Disaggregated

The Impact on Network Design

The Rise of East/West Traffic

The Rise of Jitter and Delay

Packet Switched Fabrics

The Special Properties of a Fabric

Spine and Leaf

Traffic Engineering on a Spine and Leaf

A Larger-Scale Spine and Leaf

Disaggregation in Networks

Final Thoughts on Disaggregation

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 26: The Case for Network Automation

Automation Concepts

Modern Automation Methods



Automation with Programmatic Interfaces

On-box Automation

Network Automation with Infrastructure Automation Tools

Network Controllers and Automation

Network Automation for Deployment

Final Thoughts on the Future of Network Automation: Automation to Automatic

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 27: Virtualized Network Functions

Network Design Flexibility

Service Chaining

Scaling Out

Decreased Time to Service through Automation

Centralized Policy Management

Intent-Based Networking


Compute Advantages and Architecture

Improving VNF Throughput

Considering Tradeoffs




Other Tradeoffs to Consider

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 28: Cloud Computing Concepts and Challenges

Public Cloud Business Drivers

Shifting from Capital to Operational Expenditure

Time-to-Market and Business Agility

Nontechnical Public Cloud Tradeoffs

Operational Tradeoffs

Business Tradeoffs

Technical Challenges of Cloud Networking


Populating Remote Storage

Data Gravity

Selecting Among Multiple Paths to the Public Cloud

Security in the Cloud

Protecting Data over Public Transport

Managing Secure Connections

The Multitenant Cloud

Role-Based Access Controls

Monitoring Cloud Networks

Final Thoughts

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 29: Internet of Things

Introducing IoT

IoT Security

Securing Insecurable Devices Through Isolation

IoT Connectivity

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)


IPv6 for IoT

IoT Data

Final Thoughts on the Internet of Things

Further Reading

Review Questions

Chapter 30: Looking Forward

Pervasive Open Automation

Modeling Languages and Models

A Brief Introduction to YANG

Looking Forward Toward Pervasive Automation

Hyperconverged Networks

Intent-Based Networking

Machine Learning and Artificial Narrow Intelligence

Named Data Networking and Blockchains

Named Data Networking Operation


The Reshaping of the Internet

Final Thoughts on the Future of Network Engineering

Further Reading

Review Questions

9781587145049 TOC 11/27/2017


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