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The switch book: the complete guide to LAN switching technology [Book

Article  in  IEEE Network · December 2000

DOI: 10.1109/MNET.2000.885663 · Source: IEEE Xplore


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Ioanis Nikolaidis
University of Alberta


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(Continuedfrom page 5) a safe, but influential, distance. The dif- protocols and layer 2 switching. For exam-
ferences of switching at Layers 2 , 3 or 4 ple, the catchy title “Diary of a Loopy
The Switch Book: The are briefly discussed in the fourth chap- LAN” serves as prelude to the spanning
Complete Guide to LAN ter. Rather than hurt the value of the book, tree protocol. Nonexperts will find it
Switching Technology the lack of network layer specifics adds easy to delve into Seifert’stext, whichcom-
to the pleasure ofreadingit. Indeed, if you bines conceptual and technical discussion,
Rich Seifert, 2000, John Wile)’ & Sons, are of the opinion that routing is the sprinkled with quotes of what its author
0471-34586-51 698 pages/ hardcover crucial techniquebehindnetworking,you calls “Seifert’s Laws of Networking.”
This book by Rich Seifert should not be will be rightlv immessed bv the oDtions The first part of the book is a presentation
misunderstood as a routing/switching that exilt for r i u t i n g MAC frames. of principles behind the 802 standards, 802
book. It is a bridging/routing book, Seifert’s prose can be light but remains MAC protocols, the definition of bridges,
dedicated to MAC protocols, bridges, insightfuland attracts thereadertounder- transparent bridges, 802.1D, remote
LANs, VLANs, and so on. IP is kept at stand concepts and issues behind MAC bridges, problems of bridging dissimilar
LANs, principlesof LAN switching,aswell
as two routing issues: loop resolution
(hence, spanning tree protocols and span-
ning tree Catents) and source routing. The
second part of the book, on advanced top-
ics, spans from flow control, link aggre-
gation, and multicast pruning to virtual
LANs, VLAN standards (specifically
802.lQ), priority operation (including
802.lp), andmanagement.Thebookends
with an architectural overview of switch
design principlesand architectures (shared
memory, shared bus, crosspoint, input
vs. output queuing, and the HOL prob-
lem). Seifert stays clear of providing exam-
ple configurations of specific products.
Instead, he presents the features expect-
ed of products and how they are combined
in networks. In summary, the book is a fair-
ly comprehensive introduction to bridg-
inghwitching tuned to a newcomer to
the area who wishes to find out how to
solve (if they can be solved) internet-
working problems using br,idges and
switches alone. As Seifert’s law of net-
working #16 (p. 417) states: “Solutions to
network problems usually involve the
invention of new protocols.” And, maywe
add, invention of a totally new layer

EDITOR’S NOTE/cont’d from page 2

(H. Newton and R. Horak, 2000), and
Thomas’ Concise Telecom and Network-
ing Dictionary (T. M. Thomas 11, 2000).
This may give an indication that the
number of acronyms and terms in net-
working have saturated and exceeded
the capacity of the human brain. Even
though I may have come close, so far I
have easily resisted the temptation to
attach disclaimers alerting readers to
the hazards of choking on the number
of acronyms in some articles.
My experience as Editor-in-Chief
has been a wonderful one. I hope you
have enjoyed the articles in IEEE Net-
work that we have published in the last
two years, and I hope you will continue
t o find our magazine to be the first
address for tutorial and survey articles
on hot topics in computer networking.

54 IEEE Network NovemberDecember 2000

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