We are living in the IT(Information Technologies) times. The IT provides us many powerful tools that have significantly changed our way of life, work and business operations. Among all the IT advancements, Internet has the most impact in every aspect of our society for the past 20 years. From Internet, people can get instant news, communicate with others, use it as a super-encyclopedia and find anything that they are interested in via search engines at their finger tips; Company can conduct business to business(B2B), business to consumer(B2C), with great efficiency; Government can announce polices, publicize regulations, and provide administrative information and services to the general public. Internet not only provides unprecedented convenience to our daily life, but also opens up new areas of disciplines and commercial opportunities that have boosted overall economy by creating many new jobs. It is reported that Internet will become a $20 trillion industry in the near future.
The Internet has also made significant progress and rapid adoption in China. According to the 14th Statistical Survey Report on the Internet Development in China announced on Jul 20, 2004 by CNNIC(China Internet Network Information Center), there are about 87 million Internet users as counted by the end of June 30, 2004, in mainland China, second only to the US; There are about 36 million computer hosts; The number of domain names registered under CN is 382216; The number of “www” websites is 626,600. It should be also noted that China has started its CNGI(China Next Generation Internet) project at the beginning of 2000, right after US and Europe started the similar initiatives. China now is becoming one of the most important and influential members not only in the World Trade Organization, but also within the Internet community.
To build the Internet and many other networks, engineers and organizations around the world have created many technologies over the past 20 years, in which network protocol is one of the key technology areas. After years of development on the communication standards and generations of networking architecture, network communication protocols have become a very complex subject. Various standard organizations have defined many communication protocols and all major vendors have their own proprietary technologies. Yet, people in the industry are continuously proposing and designing new protocols to address new problems in the network communications. It has become a huge challenge for IT and network professionals at all levels to understand the overall picture of communication protocols and to keep up with the pace of its on-going evolutions.