CS 4251 - Computer Networking II - Fall 2015

TTh 9:35am -- 10:55am
Molecular Sciences & Engr 1222

Special Announcements

1. Sumbitting a class evaluation to CIOS is mandatory.  It will be a homework that is worth 5 points out of a total of 100.

General Information (from GT catalog)

Credits: 3.00
Principles of computer networks, including medium access, ARQ protocols, routing, congestion avoidance and control.
Emphasis on design options and tradeoffs. Includes significant network application programming.
Lecture: 3.00
Pre-requisites: CS 3251 (may be waived upon request)

Instructor: Prof. Jun (Jim) Xu

TA: Mr. Thomas Wolf


Required: Communication Networks (2nd Edition). by Leon-Garcia and Widjaja, McGraw Hill, 2004 (ISBN: 0-07-246352-X). You should be able to buy it online at reasonable prices.

Note: I recommend against buying the first edition because there is a significant amount of revision in the 2nd edition, including homework problem sets.

Grade and Its Division

Grade assignment guideline: Usually, grades A and B each will be given to at least 1/4 of the class.  I won't hesitate to give out more A's and B's if more students do well in the class.  Grade division will be explained later in the following.

Percentage of Grade  Distribution Date
Programming Project
after Midterm
Thursday, 10/15/2015, 9:35 - 10:55
Thursday, 12/10/2015, 8:50 - 10:50
Course Survey
Will announce later

Class attendance is highly encouraged as classroom discussion may not be covered in the textbook.  Should you miss a class, you are responsible for the materials covered and homeworks assigned. 

Homework assignments and the programming project

There will be about 4 homework assignments.  In addition, this class will have a lightweight programming project to familiarize you with TCP/IP socket programming (You might find it a bit too easy if you have taken 3251 here, but several other students may not have such a background.).  C or C++ language should be used to program the lab assignment in this class.  Java is not allowed because it prevents the students from learning the sophistication of TCP/IP socket programming.   Homework assignments and the project will be distributed and collected via T-square.

The assignments and the programming project need to be done without any personal assistance from other individuals.  An honor code is implicit with each assignment.  Academic dishonesty will be dealt with harshly by the instructor and escalated to the department, college, and/or university, if necessary.

Grades are non-negotiable (i.e., "binding") at 5pm one week after they are returned.

I am strict on homework and project deadlines.  However, I am willing to give you 2 no-penalty late days (not prorated) for the entire semester.  Once you have exhausted that, your late homework and project will not be accepted.  So please use them sparingly if you have to.

Midterm and final exams

The course will include a midterm exam and a final exam (dates specified above).  Students are responsible for the materials covered in both the lectures and the textbook.  The exam dates are firm.  Only emergency situations (illness, death of an immediate family member, etc.) may be excused.  Formal proof of the situation (e.g., from a medical doctor) in writing is required.


Tentative outline of the class

1. Motivation: What is a communication network? Why do we need it? What do we need it for?
Chapter 1

2. Network architecture: A abstract model of a very complex communication network system.
Chapter 2

3. Physical layer and data link layer
Chapter 3 and Chapter 5

4. Circuit switching in the context of telephony as a case study of network architecture
Chapter 4

5. Local area networks and media access control
Chapter 6

6. Packet switching networks in the context of TCP/IP
Chapter 7 and Chapter 8

7. Circuit switching revisited in the context of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
Chapter 9 and Chapter 10

8. Selected topics such as security and network applications
Chapter 11 and some other chapters

The following schedule and topics are very tentative, and is not binding.

Intro & Review, ISO/OSI
Fundamental Limits (Shannon, Nyquist) 
Physical Media, Modulation
Error Detection & Correction
Media Access, Bridges
Media Access, TCP/IP protocol 
TCP/IP protocol, Routing algorithms
Routing algorithms, OSPF, BGP
TCP flow and congestion control
Spring break
Network security
Network security
ATM, circuit switching, MPLS
ATM, circuit switching, MPLS
possibly wireless networks, final review
Finals' week