CSC4290: Introduction to Computer Networking (Fall 2014)

Lectures    | Exercises   | TinyExams   |  Project   |  Related resources 

Course mailing list: generalweb section only  

  • TinyExam #0 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014.
  • TinyExam #1 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
  • TinyExam #2 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. 
  • TinyExam #3 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014.

Instructor: Dr. Hongwei Zhang
                  hongwei AT wayne DOT edu  
                  +1 313 577 0731
Class timings: MW 4:30pm - 5:50pm
Office hours: MW 5:50am - 6:30pm, or by appointment         
Class webpage:
Teaching Assistant: TBA
TA Office hours:  TBA

Overview (flyer)  

This course is designed for senior undergraduate and junior graduate students who are interested in the fundamentals of computer networks. Topics include network architecture, multiple access control, packet switching, routing and flow control, congestion control and quality-of-service, Internet protocols (e.g., IP, TCP, and BGP), network security, network management, and elements of distributed computing (e.g., naming, caching, and replication). We examine these topics from the perspectives of both the Internet and emerging networking technologies (such as wireless sensor networks, mobile ad hoc networks, and disruption tolerant networks).

In short, the objective of this course is to help students appreciate the underlying principles of computer networks, to help students build the foundation for understanding advanced topics in networked systems (such as those that will be covered in CSC 7290), and to help students build up their skill set necessary for making innovative contributions to both networking technologies and applications.


Undergraduate courses in software systems and computer architecture (e.g., CSC 2200, CSC 3100, or equivalent); or consent of instructor.


[R0] Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie, Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, 5th edition, Morgan Kaufmann.

Recommended references:
[R1] George Varghese, Network Algorithmics, Morgan Kaufmann, 2005.  
[R2] Mohamed G. Gouda, Elements of Network Protocol Design (1st edition), John Wiley & Sons, ISBN: 0471197440.
[R3] Anurag Kumar, D. Manjunath, Joy Kuri, Communication Networking: An Analytical Approach, Morgan Kaufmann, 2004. ISBN: 0124287514.
[R4] Dimitri Bertsekas and Robert Gallager, Data Networks (2nd edition), Prentice Hall, ISBN: 013200916.
[R5] Sheldon M. Ross, Introduction to Probability Models, Academic Press, 2006.

Flowchart of topics


Additional reading: Leonard Kleinrock's vision | Leonard Kleinrock's Keynote speech at INFOCOM'06 


Exercise #0   (Solution)
Solution to Exercise #1 
Solution to Exercise #2 
Solution to Exercise #3 
Solution to Exercise #4 
Solution to Exercise #5 


TinyExam #0 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. 
TinyExam #1 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
TinyExam #2 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
TinyExam #3 will be held in class at 4:30pm on Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014.


Literature review of one of the following fields: 


Evaluation criteria:
Your performance in project will be evaluated based on the following metrics:
Some data:
Current assignment/selection of projects in class  (Webcasting: 0  1 )

Related resources


Lecture: Attendance is required. Advance notice and permission are required if students cannot attend certain lectures due to hard constraints.

Homework: Homework assignments will be designed to stimulate independent thinking among the students. They will be due at the beginning of class, usually a week after they are given.  Homework assignments will not be accepted after the due date. An exception to this rule is that you give in advance a strong and convincing reason.

Exams will be scheduled in advance. Unless prior arrangements are made, a grade of zero will be recorded for missed exams.

Grading: The tentative grade weighting for the semester will be:
Class participation: 10% 
TinyExams: 50%
Project: 40% 
TinyLabs: bonus points
A:  93-100
A-: 90-92
B+: 85-89
B:   80-84
B-:  75-79
C+: 70-74
C:   65-69
C-:  60-64
F:    0-60
A regrading request will cause the entire exam/homework/project to be regraded, and thereby the overall grade can increase or decrease.


I expect you to carefully read all material handed out in class. I also expect you to read the book according to the reading assignments announced in class. You are encouraged to discuss the material presented in class with other students, but definitely do not collaborate with anyone in solving the homework problems. The Wayne State University Student Code of Conduct applies. Feel free to discuss our expectations and grading criteria with the grader or me during the semester.

If you have a documented disability that requires accommodations, you will need to register with Student Disability Services (SDS) for coordination of your academic accommodations. The Student Disability Services (SDS) office is located at 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library in the Student Academic Success Services department. SDS telephone number is 313-577-1851 or 313-577-3365 (TDD only). Once you have your accommodations in place, I will be glad to meet with you privately during my office hours to discuss your special needs. Student Disability Services’ mission is to assist the university in creating an accessible community where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in their educational experience at Wayne State University. <>Please be aware that a delay in getting SDS accommodation letters for the current semester may hinder the availability or facilitation of those accommodations in a timely manner. Therefore, it is in your best interest to get your accommodation letters as early in the semester as possible.

Class add deadline: Effective Fall 2011, students must add classes no later than the end of the first week, including online classes. During the second week of the semester, students must personally request departmental permission in order to register. If departmental permission is granted, students must register themselves for the class in Pipeline during the second week. Receiving departmental permission is NOT the same as registering for the class! Students may continue to drop classes (with full tuition cancellation) through the first two weeks of the term.

Class withdrawal deadline: Effective Fall 2011, the withdrawal deadline becomes the end of the 10th week of classes. After the deadline, the Withdraw option will not be available in Pipeline. The Registrar’s Office does not grant exceptions to this deadline.