Book Review: "ISDN and Broadband ISDN with Frame Relay and ATM"

Book Review: "ISDN and Broadband ISDN with Frame Relay and ATM"

Post by Rob Slad » Sat, 31 Jul 1999 04:00:00


"ISDN and Broadband ISDN with Frame Relay and ATM", William Stallings,
1999, 0-13-973744-8

%C   One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ   07458
%D   1999
%G   0-13-973744-8
%I   Prentice Hall
%O   800-576-3800 416-293-3621 201-236-7139 fax: 201-236-7131
%P   542 p.
%T   "ISDN and Broadband ISDN with Frame Relay and ATM"

When Stallings' name is on the cover, you generally know two things:
1)  the book is a textbook.
2)  the book is a classic reference in the field.

Chapter one is an introduction, both to the book as a whole, and to
the drive towards broadband communications.

Part one is an overview of the basic concepts in digital communications.

Chapter two looks at analogue and digital information.  The problems
and protocols of the subscriber line are reviewed in chapter three.
The fundamental ideas of networking are explored in chapter four.

Part two turns to the specifics of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital
Network) itself.  Chapter five lays out the foundations for ISDN,
making a number of points that generally get lost in the "gee whiz"
over high speed Internet access.  The architecture and components are
given in chapter six.  Details are provided, in chapters seven to
eleven, on the physical layer, data link layer, network layer,
services, and Signalling System Number 7.

The relation of frame relay to ISDN is discussed in part three.
Chapter twelve talks about frame mode architecture, and the reduction
in overhead as compared to packet switching such as X.25.  Congestion
is a part of any packet network, and chapter thir* looks at the
various answers provided by frame relay.

Part four moves on to broadband ISDN.  The overall architecture is
reviewed in chapter four*.  Chapter fif* looks in detail at the
protocols, starting to consider ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and
SONET (Synchronous Optical Network).

Part five deals more particularly with ATM.  Chapter six* deals
with components and performance.  Traffic and congestion issues are
covered in chapter seven*.

Ancillary material for use in a course is well prepared and presented.
Most chapters have a summary, suggestions for further reading, and
exercises.  The questions are well thought out, and sometimes very
thought provoking indeed.  Some chapters have appendices, giving
additional content related to the topic at hand.  A Web page at provides further elements for use
by instructors.

Solid coverage of a hot topic.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKISFRAT.RVW   990513

======================  (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world
owes you nothing.  It was here first.                   - Mark Twain;  or


1. Book Review: "Basics Book of Frame Relay" by Motorola


Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
Kelly Ford, Promotion/Publicity Coordinator
P.O. Box 520    26 Prince Andrew Place
Don Mills, Ontario  M3C 2T8
416-447-5101  fax: 416-443-0948

1 Jacob Way
Reading, MA   01867-9984
800-822-6339  617-944-3700
Fax: (617) 944-7273
5851 Guion Road
Indianapolis, IN   46254
"The Basics Book of Frame Relay", 0-201-56377-0

The preface states that this is an easy-to-read introduction to frame
relay for busy communications professionals who presumably want to
know something about the new technology besides the fact that it is
generating a lot of interest.  Fine.  I fit the bill perfectly.  I'm a
communications (specifically *data* communications) professional.  I'm
busy.  Let's get to the frame relay.

Not so fast.  First, we have an introduction that wants to tell me I
should be interested in frame relay.  Look, I got the book, didn't I?
Then, we have a chapter one which wants to tell me what a "protocol"
is, and about packet switching.  Pack it in, guys: I'm a professional,
remember?  Then, we get another *two* chapters of sales pitches!

Buried in the verbiage, there is a *bit* of information about frame relay:

-   it has higher throughput than X.25 (how?  less error correction and
-   you can connect anything to it (how?  probably the same way you do now--
    with difficulty);
-   you can connect voice to it (maybe.  or maybe that's *cell* relay, or ATM);
-   it has faster response time (how?  don't know);
-   it has higher throughput, again (how?  by letting you use more bandwidth,
    if it is available.  Huh.)

On the other hand, it takes less than an hour to read.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1993   BKBSFRRL.RVW  931125
Permission granted to distribute with unedited copies of the TELECOM
Digest and associated mailing lists/newsgroups.

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