This book has been written in precise and technical language with the intention of eliminating marketing hype and other inappropriate descriptions. (Indeed the book is no light read as the topics covered are taken most seriously by myself.) The terminology used is derived from standard use (i.e. internationally approved through the standardization process), and new terms are defined to avoid any confusion. However, occasionally, even among the creators of the technology, the terminology is not consistent so I have chosen those terms which seem most appropriate for consistency throughout the text. Although I personally do not always feel comfortable with the terms that have been endorsed, I do believe that the developers always try to advance the most appropriate terminology and so should not be castigated unduly afterwards.
Routing and Switching: Time of Convergence? provides a global and complex overview of the issues surrounding internetworking, together with sufficient detail to satisfy the internet professional as well as provide a proper understanding of the underlying principles. The primary aim of the text is to show what is behind the evolution in network interconnection, and give some clue as to where industry developments and standardization efforts are heading: to gain performance by avoiding unnecessary processing in the internetworking device, whether router or switch.
To make the book easier to use I have broken the text into sections of reasonable length and included a wealth of illustrations and tables to complement the individual topics. More importantly, I have included highlighted Snapshots and Hints to summarize the important concepts in a nutshell to aid comprehension, while the Quick Tips will help the reader to get to the bottom of ideas that may not be quite so obvious. Also included throughout are highlighted references to the appropriate standards and RFCs — Standards and RFC Watches — with additional details of the organizations from which they originate. The chapters or major sections also conclude with a complete list of all standards and RFCs mentioned throughout the text.
A word of caution should be added here. Due to the speed of developments in the areas on which this book concentrates it has not been possible to avoid mentioning enhancements which are ‘only’ at the proposal stage (usually in the form of Internet Drafts). New drafts appear every day and a great many of them will — directly or partially — relate to the topics of interest here. I have tried to concentrate on those proposals which have already gathered significant attention and seem viable for future development. However, readers should consider sections where ‘work in progress’ is mentioned with care and check how far any proposals have been taken by the time the book is read. For similar reasons I have not included the links to or names of such drafts as they may well be renamed, their current versions become obsolete, or their status may have changed by the time the section is read.