ECE/CS 438: Communication Networks (Fall 2015)


: This course will introduce students to the key concepts underlying wired and wireless networking. The layered architecture of the network protocol stack will be the focus of discussion. Alongside, a variety of case studies will be drawn from the Internet, combined with practical
programming exercises. At the end of the semester, students will well understand several concepts, including the Internet architecture, HTTP, DNS, P2P, Sockets, TCP/IP, BGP, Routing protocols,
wireless and sensor networking, WiFi, cellular and satellite networks, security, etc.

Time and Location:   M/W 3:00 to 4:20pm @ 1015 ECE Building
Instructor:                  Romit Roy Choudhury (
Office hours:              M/W 4:20 to 5:20pm @ 263 CSL

Course TA:               Frederick Douglas < >
Office Hours:            Friday 11-12 noon Siebel 0207

Course TA:              Mahanth Gowda <>
Office Hours:           Monday 12-1pm CSL 261

Course TA:              Yumen Cao <>
 Office Hours:          Tuesday 1-2pm CSL basement cafeteria


Textbook:                  Computer Networking (A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet)
                                  J. F. Kurose and D. W. Ross, 3rd or later edition, Addison-Wesley.
                                  (Other editions are fine).

Grading Information:
Homework:                              15%
Programming assignments:      25%
1 mid-term exam:                     25%
Final Exam:                              35%

4 Credit Students: Need to complete a mini-project and submit a report at the end of the semester. Topics for mini-projects will be suggested, but students are free to choose their own topics so long as the instructor approves. Mini-project = 10%.

Course Calendar
The schedule may change over time due to unforeseen events, intructor travel, evolving student interests, etc.

Topics of Discussion
Homeworks, Prog. Assignments, etc.
Aug 24

Course overview, Logistics, etc.

Aug 26

Internet Terminology, Introduction to Basic Terms and Concepts:
Network edge, core, circuit and packet switching, delay, etc.
Prog. Assignment 0 -- Beej's guide
No due date -- will not be graded
Aug 31 Application Layer, client-server, peer-peer, services, introduction to HTTP

Sep 2
Application layer: HTTP, FTP, Email, DNS, P2P
Sep 7

Socket programming, intro to transport-layer services,
Prog. Assignment 1 -- Socket programming

Sep 9

Application layer: HTTP, FTP, Email, DNS, P2P

Transport layer: reliable data transfer, pipelined data transfer protocols, TCP case study

Transport layer: flow control, connection management,
congestion control, ATM, TCP case study
Homework 1 -- Application

Transport layer: TCP congestion case study, Network layer: service model, what is inside a router?

Continued TCP

TCP Wrap Up -- Clarifications Prog. Assignment 2 -- TCP   Due Date: Oct 16, 7pm

Internet Protocol (IP), introductions, router architecture, virtual circuits

Internet Protocol (IP), addressing, NAT, ICMP, IPv6, tunneling

Routing algorithms: link state 

Routing algorithms: link state, distance vector

Routing algorithms: distance vector, Internet routing
Mid term review
Homework 2 -- Transport and TCP
mid-term-thoughts.ppt Routing algorithms: BGP, broadcast using centre-based
trees, RPF

5-link.ppt Link Layer: introduction and service model.

MIDTERM Prog. Assignment 3 -- Routing

Link Layer: service model, error correction and FDMA, Aloha

Link Layer: CSMA/CD, LAN addressing ARP, etc., Ethernet
6-basic-wireless.ppt Wireless Networks (channel characteristics, MAC) ...

Wireless WiFi 802.11 protocol
Some Slides on MAC and 802.11 -- see 1-12 & 46-54
Wireless WiFi 802.11 protocol Homework 3 -- Link layer

Wireless Mobility principles, cellular networks
Prog. Assignment 4 -- Link layer


7pm, Thu, Dec 17

ECE/CS 438 Final Exam