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Fri 22 Dec 2006

A TCP/IP Primer

Category : Commentary/tcpipPrimer.txt

I found a good primer on TCP/IP.

We've been setting up this network panel for ages (since OS 7, 8 or 9?) :

but what does Subnet Mask really mean, and how does it work to help our Mac find another machine? And what is TCP, or IP, for that matter?

The Mac's a hugely more powerful, productive and useful machine since those early days and it's important to know a little bit more about what goes on underneath, if we want to reap its enormous power. Really, it's a lot of payback for a little bit more work. I've aways felt that Mac users are great for understanding things conceptually and not by rote, and so, if you can find a really understandable, readable guide on basic networking principles, you really ought to dig in. Like Black Elk says, "let's see how it's made and what it means".

So, Daryl's TCP/IP Primer is good place to start :

"The difference between this (a primer) and an FAQ, is that most FAQ's, in practice, tend to be question-and-answer oriented, and generally seem to try to cover ALL issues, not just the ones frequently asked about. This primer is intended as a starting point for someone who has an interest in the subject, but doesn't know where to start or what questions to ask. This should also help to broaden the understanding of people who have worked with TCP/IP for a while, but either haven't had the time to study all the less-than-useful theory behind the subject, or have been somewhat overwhelmed by the many theoretical details and have missed the big picture."

Also, I've found this IP subnet mask/CIDR calculator widget. (CIDR - what's that? You'll find that covered in the primer.) It's great for fiddling with, to get an idea what's going on when you flip those IP numbers. Great companion tool to have while you're reading the primer.

Posted at 4:11AM UTC | permalink


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