Network Protocols – Programmer's Compendium

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If you want to understand the underlying principles of networks, this is for you.

The network stack does several seemingly-impossible things. It does reliable transmission over our unreliable networks, usually without any detectable hiccups. It adapts smoothly to network congestion. It provides addressing to billions of active nodes. It routes packets around damaged network infrastructure, reassembling them in the correct order on the other side even if they arrived out of order. It accommodates esoteric analog hardware needs, like balancing the charge on the two ends of an Ethernet cable.

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