CSCI-4964 Computer Communication Networks Syllabus

Instructor: Buster Holzbauer ()

Office Hours: After lecture / Amos Eaton 205 by appointment

Assignments and lectures will be posted via link on the syllabus as the course progresses. Due to the limited enrollment this semester, announcements will be done over e-mail, as will electronic assignment submissions.

Pre-requisites: CSCI 2300 Intro to Algorithms; CSCI 2500 Computer Organization or ECSE 2660 "COCO"

Topics: Introduction to the internet / computer networks, application layer, transport layer, network layer, link layer concepts, queueing, perhaps some wireless network materials. Other topics may be added.

About the Course: This course is based on ECSE-4670 Computer Communication Networks, and it is quite likely you cannot receive credit for both courses. Since this is the first time this is being offered in the Department of Computer Science, we will be experimenting with the material to make it more CS-intensive. Given that it is my first time teaching the course, that the number and length of lectures is different, and that we have an unsually small enrollment, the format of the course may also be a little different from a typical course.

The exams will contain quantitative problems, true/false questions and short-answer questions. The focus will be on understanding of concepts, and problem-solving skill. Exams will be open-book/notes, but will be time-constrained. Material from lecture slides, text and reading/homework assignments will be included in the scope of exams. Exams will be administered in class.


The grading scheme might change slightly but the approximate breakdown is:

Grades will use traditional cutoffs of:

Late Work Policy: There are no late days in this course, all work is expected to be submitted by the deadlines provided in assignment handouts/the syllabus. If you have a legitimate excuse you should get it approved through Student Experience / your class dean.

Textbook: The textbook we use is the 7th edition of "Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach " by Kurose and Ross. [Amazon]

Academic Integrity: Student-teacher relationships are based on trust. Acts which violate this trust undermine the educational process. Violations of academic integrity will not be tolerated. Please refer to the Rensselaer Handbook for definitions of various forms of academic dishonesty and the applicable penalties. We take cheating very seriously; you can expect to be punished for violations of academic integrity. Cheating will result in a 0 on the gradeable in question and full letter reduction of the semester grade. A second offense will result in an automatic F in the course.

Schedule: This will be updated as the semester progresses:

All due dates refer to 11:59:59 PM unless otherwise specified.

DateSectionsTopicsHomeworks/Exams/Lecture Links
May 221.1 - 1.3Syllabus, Introduction, Circuit and Packet SwitchingLecture 1
May 251.3 - 1.4Network Structure, Delay, Loss, and ThroughputLecture 2 | Homework 1
May 291.5, 2.1.1 - 2.1.2Layering Models, Application Layer OverviewLecture 3
Jun 12.1.3 - 2.2Transport/Application Layer, HTTPHW1 due | Lecture 4 | PA1: HTTP
Jun 52.3, 2.6SMTP, IMAP, POP3, StreamingLecture 5
Jun 82.4 - 2.5DNS, P2PPA1 due | Lecture 6 | HW2 | ibm-dns-filtered-trace.pcap
Jun 123.1 - 3.3Transport Layer, Multiplex/Demux, UDP, TCP overviewLecture 7
Jun 153.4.1 - 3.4.2TCP flow control, Reliable Data Transfer, PipeliningHW2 due | Lecture 8 | Homework 3
Jun 193.4.3 - 3.4.4Go Back N, Selective RepeatLecture 9
Jun 223.5TCP operation / flow controlHW3 due | Lecture 10 | PA2
Jun 26EXAM 1
Jun 293.6, 3.7Congestion Avoidance Principles / TCP CALecture 11 | HW4
Jul 104.1 - 4.3.2Network Layer, Routers, IP DatagramsLecture 12 | PA 2 due
Jul 134.3.3 - 4.4IP Addressing / NAT / Longest Prefix MatchingHW4 due | Lecture 13 | HW5
Jul 175.1 - 5.3Routing Table, Link-State, DVR, OSPFLecture 14
Jul 205.4 - 5.7BGP, SDN, ICMP, SNMPHW5 due | Lecture 15 | PA3
Jul 246.1 - 6.3Link Layer, Error Detection, Multiple AccessLecture 16
Jul 276.4 - 6.7Ethernet, Switched LANs, "The Big Picture" reviewLecture 17
Jul 31EXAM 2 | HW6
Aug 38.1 - 8.4Cryptography Concepts, End-Point AuthenticationPA 3 due | Lecture 18
Aug 78.5 - 8.8PGP, SSL, IPSec/VPN, WEPLecture 19 | HW7
Aug 108.9Firewalls/IDP, Review Part 1HW6 due | Lecture 20
Aug 14Review Part 2Lecture 21
Aug 17HW7 due (at start of class) | FINAL EXAM