CSCI-4964 Computer Communication Networks Syllabus

Instructor: Buster Holzbauer ()

Office Hours: Friday 10:30am to noon, Amos Eaton 205

Graduate TA: Prem Datre ()

Office Hours: Tuesday 11am - 1pm, Amos Eaton 118

Assignments and lectures will be posted via Submitty as the course progresses. We will also use the Submitty Discussion Forum to communicate. Note: if you are off campus you will need to use the VPN to access Submitty - I am waiting for Submitty admins to fix this.

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, perhaps some wireless network materials. Basics of security. 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 at scale, we will be experimenting with the material to make it more CS-intensive. Given that it is my first time teaching the course to larger audience and that the number and length of lectures is different, 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:

Homework assignments will be submitted through Submitty and must be typed and submitted as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file with each problem starting on a new page. You are welcome to use a word processor such as Microsoft Word, LaTeX, or a solution of your choosing. There will be a 20% deduction for poorly organized submissions or PDFs consisting of scanned/photographed paper. Where applicable, show your work.

Programming assignments will be submitted through Submitty as well, though there may not be any autograding. Assignments will not be accepted over e-mail. While you will not be graded on programming style, we recommend trying to write readable and well-designed code to assist in partial credit. If autograding is used we may require a particular language, otherwise Python, C/C++, and Java are acceptable in this course.

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 Success / 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: Topics are subject to change:

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

May 211.1 - 1.3Syllabus, Introduction, Circuit and Packet Switching
May 241.3 - 1.5Network Structure, Delay, Loss, and Throughput, Layering ModelsHW1 Assigned
May 282.1.1 - 2.1.3, 2.2.1 - 2.2.4Layering Models, Transport/Application Layer, HTTP
May 312.2.5, 2.7, 2.3HTTP, SMTP, IMAP, POP3, Python Socket CodeHW1 due | PA1: HTTP Assigned
Jun 42.6, 2.4Streaming, DNS
Jun 72.5, 3.1, 3.2P2P, Transport Layer, Multiplex/DemuxPA1 due | HW2 Assigned
Jun 113.3, 3.4.1UDP, TCP overview, Reliable Data Transfer
Jun 143.4.2 - 3.4.4, 3.5.1 - 3.5.4Pipelining, Go Back N / Selective Repeat, TCP ReliabilityHW2 due | Homework 3 Assigned
Jun 183.5.5 - 3.5.6, 3.6, 3.7TCP Flow Control / Connections, CA Principles, TCP CA
Jun 214.1 - 4.3.2Network Layer, Routers, IP DatagramsHW3 due
Jun 254.3.3 - 4.4IP Addressing / NAT / Longest Prefix Matching
Jun 28EXAM 1 (Ch 1-3) | HW4 Assigned
Jul 7PA 2: Reliable Data Transfer Assigned
Jul 95.1 - 5.3Exam 1 Discussion, Routing Table, Link-State, DVR, OSPF
Jul 125.4 - 5.5BGP, SDN, ICMP,HW5 Assigned
Jul 13HW4 due (note: This is a Saturday)
Jul 165.6, 6.1-6.3Link Layer, Error Detection, Multiple Access
Jul 196.4Ethernet, Switched LANsHW6 Assigned
Jul 20HW5 due (note: This is a Saturday)
Jul 22PA 2 due (note: This is a Monday)
Jul 236.6 - 6.7Data Centers, "The Big Picture" review, VLSM review problem
Jul 26No lecture - Study day / Work on PA3HW6 due | PA3: Routing Assigned
Jul 30EXAM 2 (Ch 4-6)
Aug 28.1 - 8.2EXAM 2 Discussion, Cryptography Concepts
Aug 68.3 - 8.5End-Point Authentication PGPHW7 Assigned
Aug 98.6 -8.7, 8.9SSL, IPSec/VPN, Firewalls/IDPPA 3 due
Aug 13Review
Aug 16HW7 due (at start of class) | FINAL EXAM