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Dr. George N. Rouskas

Professor and Director of Graduate Programs
IEEE Fellow

Dr. George N. Rouskas

Professor and Director of Graduate Programs
IEEE Fellow

CSC 401 — Data and Computer Communications Networks

Spring 2019 Schedule of Lectures

Lecture slides, assignments, and solutions available from the course Moodle space

Date Lecture # Topic Assignment Due
Jan 7 1 Overview, goals, logistics
Jan 9 2
Jan 14 3
Jan 16 4
Jan 21 No class (MLK Holiday)
Jan 23 5
Jan 28 6
Jan 30 7
Feb 4 8
Feb 6 9
Feb 11 10
Feb 13 11
Feb 18 12
Feb 20 13
Feb 25 14
Feb 27 15
Mar 4 16
Mar 6 17
Mar 11 No class (Spring break)
Mar 13 No class (Spring break)
Mar 18
Mar 20
Mar 25
Mar 27
Apr 1
Apr 3
Apr 8
Apr 10
Apr 15
Apr 17
Apr 22
Apr 24
April 29
Final exam




Students who wish to take this course must have completed a course on Probability and Statistics for Engineers (ST 370 or equivalent) and a course on Operating Systems (CSC 246 or equivalent).

Students must also have good working knowledge of a high-level programming language such as C, C++, or JAVA. The programming projects can be challenging, hence good programming experience is required.


This course deals with the principles and issues underlying the provision of wide area connectivity through the interconnection of autonomous networks. Emphasis will be placed on Internet architecture and protocols as they are today and as they are likely to evolve in the future. Case studies of particular protocols will demonstrate how fundamental principles are applied in practice. They will also provide the opportunity to practice a critical skill: sifting through details for the key idea. The functional requirements of internetworking will be motivated by selected examples of networked client/server applications. The projects are designed to give you first hand experience in building networked applications and/or in analyzing and evaluating the performance of protocols and applications.

At the conclusion of the course you should be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of the fundamental problems, tradeoffs, and design issues that arise in internetworking, as well as identify and critically evaluate internet technologies and solution approaches;
  • understand the details of several particular protocols, as example implementations of fundamental principles, and digest descriptions of specific protocols, extracting the fundamental concepts;
  • implement complex networked applications using the BSD sockets interface;
  • identify and employ appropriate tools for evaluating protocol performance;
  • apply basic concepts to new networking environments.

I encourage and expect you to participate actively in the learning process. In particular, I welcome your comments and questions as we cover material in class. One-way lectures quickly become boring, both for you and for me. By asking lots of questions your understanding of the material will be deepened significantly, and the course will be much more fun!


We will follow the top-down approach of the textbook.

Part I: Introduction. A brief history of computer networks and the Internet, edge vs. core, protocol layering, connectionless vs. connection-oriented service, packet switching vs. circuit switching, performance metrics.

Part II: Internet Protocol Layers. The main part of the course will cover the application, transport, network, and data link layers of the Internet protocol stack (layers 5 through 2, in ISO parlance), in this order:

  • application layer (web and HTTP, ftp, mail, DNS, P2P file sharing) and socket programming;
  • transport layer (UDP and TCP), congestion control;
  • network layer (virtual circuits vs. datagrams, router operation and design, Internet Protocol), routing algorithms, routing protocols in the Internet, broadcast and multicast routing;
  • data link layer (error detection and correction, multiple access protocols, addressing, technologies), Ethernet, PPP, hubs and switches, link virtualization.

Part III: Advanced Topics. Time permitting, we will address more advanced networking topics, including selected topics in:

  • wireless and mobile networks;
  • multimedia networking;
  • network security.


Students are required to purchase the following textbook:

  • J. F. Kurose and K. W. Ross, Computer Networking, 7th ed., Pearson. ISBN: 0-13-359414-9

I also suggest the following books as reference:

  • W. R. Stevens, TCP/IP Illustrated, Vol. 1: The Protocols, Addison-Wesley
  • W. R. Stevens, UNIX Network Programming, Prentice Hall
  • D. E. Comer, Internetworking with TCP/IP, Vol. 1: Principles, Protocols, and Architectures, Prentice Hall


Students are required to complete all assignments and show all work in order to receive full credit. The final grade will be determined using the following weights:

  • 40% — Four programming projects (10% each)
  • 10% — Five homework assignments (2% each)
  • 30% — Two in-class exams (closed book, 15% each)
  • 20% — Final exam (comprehensive, closed book)


Attendance: Attendance is not mandatory but strongly encouraged. Students are responsible for making up any course material they miss.

Assignments: No hard copies of assignments or solutions will be handed out. New assignments and solutions will be announced in class and/or the course mailing list, and will be available on the course web page.

Submission: Students must submit their assignments as PDF or Word files using the submit facility. The deadline for submission is midnight (Eastern time) on the day due. Any deadline extensions are up to the discretion of the instructor, and will be announced to the whole class. Extensions may be provided to individual students only in advance of the submission deadline and only under extenuating circumstances.

Late Submission: No late assignments will be accepted and no partial credit will be given for late assignments without a valid excuse.

Cheating: Homework and projects are individual assignments and students are required to submit their own solutions. All students are bound by the University's academic integrity policies (refer to the relevant section below).

Teaching Assistant

TBD ( is the TA for this course.

His office hours are: TBD in 1229B EB2, or you may contact him to arrange for an online chat or video call at a mutually convenient time.

Feel free to contact the TA for any questions about the course.

Office Hours

My office is in Room 2306 of the EB II building.

My office hours are 4:15-5:15pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. Distance students may either call me during those times, or may arrange to stop by or call at a different mutually convenient time.

Academic Integrity

Students are required to respect the NC State academic integrity policies.