IPv6: The New Internet Protocol
Author: Christian Huitema
Publisher: Prentice Hall 1996
Reviewer: Danny Yee
Huitema's IPv6 is a concise but comprehensive description of the new Internet protocol. It begins with a very brief account of the motivation for a new protocol and the background to its selection (the competition between the different contenders), then plunges straight into the technical details: a chapter describing the basic packet format; one on routing and addressing; chapters on auto-configuration, security, and support for flows; a chapter on transition issues; and a final chapter in which Huitema offers his personal opinion of the major decisions made in the protocol design.
Each of the chapters goes into some detail. The chapter on security, for example, describes the Photuris key exchange system quite thoroughly, while the chapter on flows enters a little into the issues of fair queuing. Each chapter also discusses the points which were controversial in the decision process: such things as the length of the addresses, the mandation of potentially unexportable security support, the relationship between IP and ATM, and the choice of a dual-stack approach to IPv4-IPv6 integration rather than use of header translation. I felt that IPv6 had much more meat to it than Bradner and Mankin's longer IPng (Addison-Wesley 1995), but the two books are really complementary, with the latter dealing more with the historical context and the framework within which the decision was made than with IPv6 itself (the difference in titles is appropriate).
IPv6 is a very nice little volume, marred only by poor proof-reading—there were far too many simple grammatical mistakes, and at least one spelling error which any automated spell-checker should have found. Anyone interested in the technical details of IPv6 will want a copy—even if you are prepared to wade through the relevant RFCs, IPv6 provides annotated references to these and other important papers at the end of each chapter.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of IPv6: The New Internet Protocol from Prentice Hall, but I have no stake, financial or otherwise, in its success.
Danny Yee (firstname.lastname@example.org) All book reviews by Danny Yee are available via anonymous FTP: anatomy.sy.oz.au in /danny/book-reviews (index INDEX).
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