Notes on Computer Networks
These notes formed the main material for a one semester Computer Science course on networks. The
course was last taught in the academic year 2005–6. The course was primarily about the Internet, the
TCP/IP protocol family. The rest of the preface is part of the original written for the course (or “elective
module” as it was called) and it tries to show how the material in these notes relates to the units that made up
the course, and references to sections or chapters in books that provide better, or alternative, explanations.
The notes and books
This is a description of the teaching material, its organisation and how it relates to the units in the Open
Systems and Networks elective module.
The main material for the module is provided by these notes. The notes try to cover the range of material
that I think is appropriate to this course (module), and they are meant to be at a suitable level, ie. depth of
treatment of each topic. This means that there is no required textbook.
However the notes are written by me (Bob Dickerson) and therefore it is possible that they are: shallow,
incomplete, difﬁcult to understand and perhaps wrong. Even if they are not as bad as that it is still very
useful to have alternative explanations for some topics so I am recommending some books as supporting
material. Since the books are only meant to supplement or clarify the notes you should really only consult
relevant sections or chapters of the books after reading the notes; this is because they might have a different
emphasis and on individual topics have too much or too little material. Because the use of a textbook is just
to reinforce the notes it is not compulsory, if you are brave, lazy, or, in fact, the notes are enough, you can
try to manage without extra reading. All the following books are quite good, you can use bits of whichever
one you want:
1. Douglas E. Comer. Computer Networks and...