This book is now in its fourth edition. Each edition has corresponded to a different phase in the way computer networks were used. When the first edition appeared in 1980, networks were an academic curiosity. When the second edition appeared in 1
988, networks were used by universities and large businesses. When the third edition appeared in 1996, computer networks, especially the Internet, had become a daily reality for millions of people. The new item in the fourth edition is the rapid growth of wireless networking in many forms.
The networking picture has changed radically since the third edition. In the mid-1990s, numerous kinds of LANs and WANs existed, along with multiple protocol stacks. By 2003, the only wired LAN in widespread use was Ethernet, and virtually all WANs were on the Internet. Accordingly, a large amount of material about these older networks has been removed.
However, new developments are also plentiful. The most important is the huge increase in wireless networks, including 802.11, wireless local loops, 2G and 3G cellular networks, Bluetooth, WAP, i-mode, and others. Accordingly, a large amount of material has been added on wireless networks. Another newly-important topic is security, so a whole chapter on it has been added.