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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  The TCP/IP Guide: Introduction and "Guide To The Guide"

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Structure and Organization of The TCP/IP Guide
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Chapters of The TCP/IP Guide

Due to the hierarchical structure just described, there are only six “top-level” sections in this Guide, which I sometimes called chapters. You will probably find that it usually makes the most sense to begin with these higher-level sections and work your way down to the more detailed topics they contain. Here is a brief description of each, to get you started:

  • Introduction and “Guide To The Guide”: You’re reading it! J

  • Networking Fundamentals: This is a background chapter that provides lots of useful general information on networks for those who may be very new to the entire subject. It has subsections that explain what networking is, discuss key networking characteristics, describe networking standards, provide information on binary mathematics and much more. If you are experienced with networks and computers in general you may wish to skip this (or at least, skim it and only read the topics that interest you).

  • The Open System Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model: A description of the important OSI Reference Model, which is used extensively to explain networking architectures and protocol layering concepts. Unless you already know and understand the OSI model, this section is worth reading before getting into the “meat” of the Guide.

  • TCP/IP Protocol Suite and Architecture: This is the first section that is specifically about TCP/IP; it introduces the protocol suite and discusses it in general terms. This includes a look at its history, a description of the TCP/IP architectural model and an overview of key protocols. It should be the place to start reading about TCP/IP for virtually everyone using this Guide, as it provides necessary background information and a context for understanding the more detailed chapters below.

  • TCP/IP Lower-Layer (Interface, Internet and Transport) Protocols (OSI Layers 2, 3 and 4): This large chapter describes all of the TCP/IP protocols that operate at layers 2 through 4 of the OSI model, and is organized by layer for easier reference by function. This chapter encompasses about half the entire Guide; it includes all of the most important “core” TCP/IP protocols, including IP, IPv6, ICMP, UDP, TCP and much more.

  • TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7): This chapter is also very large, as it covers all the TCP/IP application protocols and services that correspond to the upper three layers of the OSI Reference Model. This includes protocols such as DNS, DHCP, SNMP, FTP and HTTP, as well as applications such as electronic mail, the World Wide Web and diagnostic utilities.

As you can see, most of this Guide is actually contained in the last two chapters, since TCP/IP is primarily defined by the functions of its various protocols.


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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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