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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

Schedule of Lectures — Spring 2019

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 Introduction: Internet, network edge, packet vs circuit switching, network core
Chapter 1.1-1.3

Jan 14 3 Intro (cont'd): delay, loss, throughput, protocol layers, attacks, history
Chapter 1.4-1.7
HW 1
Jan 16 4 Application Layer (AL): principles, HTTP
Chapter 2.1, 2.2
Jan 21 No class (MLK Holiday)
Jan 23 5 AL (cont'd): email (SMTP), directory service (DNS)
Chapter 2.3-2.4
Jan 28 6 AL (cont'd): peer-to-peer (P2P) applications, content distribution networks (CDN), socket programming
Chapter 2.5-2.7
HW 2, Project 1 HW 1
Jan 30 7 Transport Layer (TL): overview, multiplexing/demultiplexing, UDP
Chapter 3.1-3.3
Feb 4 8 Discussion of Project 1
TL (cont'd): reliable data transfer (stop-and-wait)
Chapter 3.4.1
Feb 6 9 TL (cont'd): reliable data transfer (go-back-N, selective repeat)
Chapter 3.4.2-3.4.4
Feb 11 10 TL (cont'd): TCP functionality
Chapter 3.5
HW 3 HW 2
Feb 13 11 TL (cont'd): principles of congestion control
Chapter 3.6
Feb 18 12 TL (cont'd): TCP congestion control
Chapter 3.7
Feb 20 13 PageRank HW 3
Feb 25 14 Network Layer-Data Plane (NL-DP): overview, router architecture
Chapter 4.1,4.2
Feb 27 15 NL-DP (cont'd): Internet Protocol (IPv4, addressing, DHCP)
Chapter 4.3.1-4.3.3
Project 2 Project 1
Mar 4 No class (reading day)
Mar 6 In-class midterm exam
Mar 11 No class (Spring break)
Mar 13 No class (Spring break)
Mar 18 16 Discussion of midterm exam
Discussion of Project 2
HW 4
Mar 20 17 NL-DP (cont'd): NAT, IPv6, SDN
Chapter 4.3.4-4.3.5, 4.4
Mar 25 18 Network Layer-Control Plane (NL-CP): link state and distance vector routing algorithms
Chapter 5.1, 5.2
Mar 27 19 NL-CP (cont'd): OSPF, BGP
Chapter 5.3, 5.4
Project 2
Apr 1 20 NL-CP (cont'd): SDN control plane, ICMP, SNMP
Chapter 5.5-5.7
Apr 3 21 NL-CP (cont'd): broadcast and multicast routing HW 5, Project 3 HW 4
Apr 8 22 Data Link Layer (DLL): services, error detection/correction, multiple access protocols
Chapter 6.1-6.3
Apr 10 23 DLL (cont'd): multiple access protocols, LANs
Chapter 6.3-6.4
Apr 15 24 DLL (cont'd): link virtualization, data center networking, retrospective
Chapter 6.5-6.7
Apr 17 25 Multimedia Networking (MN): applications, streaming, VoIP
Chapter 9.1-9.3
HW 5
Apr 22 26 MN (cont'd): RTP, SIP, network support for multimedia
Chapter 9.4-9.5
Apr 24 27 Project 3
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:

  • 45% — Three programming projects (15% each)
  • 10% — Five homework assignments (2% each)
  • 20% — In-class midterm exam (closed book)
  • 25% — 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

Yuepeng Qi ( is the TA for this course.

His office hours are: Wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm and Fridays 4:15-5:15pm in EBII-3045. You may also contact him by email or arrange to meet outside these hours 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.