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Analysis of computer networks (2nd ed.)
Gebali F., Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, Cham, Switzerland, 2015. 589 pp. Type: Book (978-3-319156-56-9)
Date Reviewed: Oct 9 2015

Readers looking for all of the classical models used to predict the behavior of computer networks may be interested in this book. Gebali presents the material, interesting for a teacher or a graduate student, in a single volume that can also be used by a specialist as a refresher on theory.

The first seven chapters introduce basics. Probability theory (chapter 1) and the fundamentals of random processes (chapter 2) are discussed at the beginning. Then, the most popular type of random processes used in network modeling, Markov processes, are elaborated in the four subsequent chapters: general issues (chapter 3), modeling of the steady state (chapter 4), theory of reducible Markov chains (chapter 5), and periodic Markov chains (chapter 6). The next chapter uses this material to present some basic queueing models.

The next nine chapters focus on various aspects of computer networks and elaborate on examples of their modeling. This part starts with flow control protocols (chapter 8), automatic repeat request protocols (chapter 9), media access control (MAC) protocols (mainly carrier sense multiple access (CSMA)-like) in chapter 10, and the 802.11 protocol (chapter 11). As this is the second edition, the changes are remarkable, as would be expected. New chapters on modeling are added: on the behavior of the WiMAX protocol (chapter 12), on wireless fading channels (chapter 13), and on software-defined networks (chapter 14). On the other hand, the author cut chapters on switching and network interconnecting, apparently treating them as outdated. Various ways of modeling networks are given in chapter 15. The last chapter deals with scheduling algorithms. The book contains quite broad appendices on basic mathematical formulas of various kinds used in network modeling, on solving difference equations, on generating function transforms, and finally on matrix theory. Additionally, here and there some MATLAB procedures are given to illustrate the concepts.

The way the material is presented is clear, and the author uses some examples to explain the ideas (in fact, some new examples, especially on basic issues, are added to this latest edition). However, the examples are too frequently aimed at presenting the mathematical or numerical calculations rather than practical engineering material. Nowadays, an attractive book should be a little more focused on teaching how the mathematical concepts can be applied in practical engineering. Therefore, I prefer a way of covering the examples in the context of networking, for instance, like the one performed in a classic by Trivedi [1]. Additionally, having many books on network performance modeling, I would like to be provided not only with the theoretical material, but also with much more software to be easily used. Although some is given, I think that it would be good to present it in relation to all of the covered topics, especially the ones related to practical examples. Now, it is not done consequently. Fortunately, the author has prepared a companion website where the related software can be added. Overall, this book can be used as a good appendix to an academic course on network behavior modeling, to learn the fundamentals in a solid way.

Reviewer:  Piotr Cholda Review #: CR143842 (1512-0994)
1) Trivedi, K. S. Probability and statistics with reliability, queuing, and computer science applications. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2002.
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