What's new in the 8th edition?

We think one important reason for the success of our book has been that it 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 practice, and its accessible style and approach toward learning about computer networking. Nevertheless, the eighth edition has been revised and updated substantially.

Readers of earlier editions of our book may recall that in moving from the 6th to the 7th 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 (along with 4G/5G networks), 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 deeper detail in this edition. And as we’ll see in Chapter 7 of this 8th edition, the separation of the data and control planes is now also deeply embedded in 4G/5G mobile cellular network architectures, in its “all-IP” approach to 4G/5G core networks. The rapid adoption of 4G/5G networks and the mobile applications they enable are undoubtedly the most significant changes we’ve seen in networking since the publication of our 7th 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's become a critical part of an introductory networking course.

In addition to these changes, we’ve also updated many sections throughout the book and added new material to reflect changes across the breadth of networking. In some cases, we have also retired material from the previous edition. As always, material that has been retired from the printed text can always be found on our book’s Companion Website. The most important changes in this 8th edition are the following:

We have also retired Chapter 9, on multimedia networking, from this edition. Over time, as multimedia applications became more prevalent, we had already migrated Chapter 9 material on topics such as video streaming and content distribution networks into earlier chapters. As noted earlier, all retired material from this and earlier editions can be found on our book’s Companion Website.

A PDF of the Table of contents for the 8th edition is here.

We gratefully acknowledge the programming and problem design work of John Broderick (UMass '21), which has really helped to substantially improve this site.

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