I co-authored the textbook The Power of Networks: Six Principles That Connect Our Lives (PoN) with Mung Chiang. It’s about the fundamental principles of networking, told in a language that is accessible to anyone. You can check out the book’s website here.

Princeton University Press published this book in 2016, available as a hardcopy and on Kindle. An earlier version of this book was self-published through Amazon in 2013. PoN is used as the basis for our MOOC.

Networking Principles

PoN covers the broad range of social, economic, and technical networks that surround us every day. It includes topics ranging from the technical networks that enable our smartphones to connect to the Internet, to the social networks that emerge from the ways in which we interact with our friends and peers. We consider different aspects of these networks that are commonly asked questions, such as: Why will WiFi be faster at your home than at your local coffee shop? How do search engines like Google order their search results from the literally trillions of webpages? How do content providers like Netflix recommends movies for you to watch?

Each of the six parts of the book covers one of the fundamental networking principles. These are simple phrases, like "Ranking is Hard" and "Divide and Conquer", which unify several networking topics. Each part contains two or three chapters on topics that tell the story of that principle.

No Complicated Math

Different from other networking texts, this book does not delve into extensive mathematics or technical details. While these details are certainly necessary for full system specifications, they are not required to convey the key concepts underlying these networks. The math included in this book is no more complicated than adding and multiplying numbers.

Instead of equations, we worked to fill this book with a plethora of figures, pictures, and illustrations to convey each principle both textually and pictorially.

Use for Courses

This book can be used as the basis for an introductory networking course, taught to college or high school students. Supplemental material is available for free. Instructor resources, including lecture videos, slides, questions, and homework assignments, can be obtained by filling out the information here.

We have used the material in book to teach over 100,000 students online since 2013. It is also being used as the basis for introductory college courses at schools in the US, Asia, and Europe.