Syllabus for
CS-4392-1 Computer Networks

Dr. Michael Sobolewski
Room: CP-310
Office hours: Wednesday 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. or by appointment

Course Information
Computer Networks
Location: CP 204
Time: 3 p.m. - 3:50 p.m., MWF

Course webpage is We will make extensive use of the class WWW site. You should check the WWW page on a near daily basis for updates.

Unlike the other computer network courses, this course is organized in a top-down manner -- that is, it begins at the application layer and works its way down toward the physical layer. The top-down approach has several important benefits. First, it places emphasis on the application layer, which has been the high "growth area" of computer networking. Indeed, many of the recent revolutions in computer networking--including the Web, audio and video streaming, and content distribution--have taken place at the application layer. An early emphasis on application-layer issues differs from the approaches taken in most other courses, which have only a small (or nonexistent) amount of material on network applications, their requirements, application-layer paradigms (e.g., client/server), and the application programming interfaces. Once you understand the applications, then you understand the network services needed to support these applications. You can then, in turn, examine the various ways in which such services might be provided and implemented in the lower layers.
Because the course has the Internet focus, it is organized around a five-layer Internet architecture rather than around more traditional seven-layer OSI architecture. These five layers consist of the application, transport, network, link, and physical layer.
You not only see how popular applications and protocols work, but also learn how easy it is to create their own network applications and application-level protocols. By providing socket programming examples in Java, the central ideas without confusing students with complex code is highlighted. Undergraduates in computer science and electrical engineering should not have difficulty following the Java code. Thus, with the top-down approach, you get early exposure to the notions of application programming interfaces (APIs), service models, and protocols--important concepts that resurface in all of the subsequent layers.

Learning Outcomes
Ability to:
1. distinguish internet, intranet, extranet, the Internet, and grid (4, 5)
2. describe the core and edge of the Internet (4, 5)
3. define and exemplify circuit-switched and packet-switched networks (2, 3)
4. understand and explain application, transport, network, and link layer protocols of the Internet (2, 3)
6. compare and contrast TCP/IP and UDP transport protocols (3, 4)
5. write socket-based programs using HTTP, SMPT, and UDP protocols (2, 4)
7. understand multimedia networking and apply RTSP and RTP protocols (2, 4)

Methods of Assessment of Learning outcomes
a. Two quizzes to assess common networking concepts and terminology
b. Midterm exam
c. Four programming assignments
d. Cumulative final exam

[1] Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach, 4rd Edition, James F. Kurose, Keith W. Ross, ISBN-10: 0-321-49770--8, Addison-Wesley, 2008.

Tentative Course Outline
Computer Networks and the Internet
Application Layer
Transport Layer
Network layer and Routing
Link Layer and Local Area Networks
Multimedia Networking
Security in Computer Networks
Network Management

Quizzes 10% (two quizzes: 5 points ea)
Assignments 40%
Exams 50% (two exams: 25 points ea)

Course Delivery Format/Policies
This course consists of lectures, quizzes, programming assignments on computer network, and three exams.

Quizzes will be held handed out for your practice two-three weeks, just to quickly recap material.
Programming Assignments should be  submitted by email: before the date on which it is due. For late submissions there will be a penalty of 10% for lateness. Late submissions will not be accepted after the day solutions are made available to the class. Please work individually on all assignments. Please study the assignment specifications, code your programs, and test them independently. Stop by my office if you have difficulty in understanding the assignment or the course material discussed in the class.
Exams will be closed-book/notes. Material from handouts, textbooks and assignments will be included in the scope of the exams.

The purpose of these different instruments is to have a positive learning experience, critical thinking about computer networking issues, and some sound grasp of fundamentals. If you feel any of these instruments is not working for any reason, please send me email and I will consider a change in the format of delivery.
Course materials are available on the course homepage: and at Addison Wesley Companion Website.
Student-teacher relationships are based on trust. Acts, which violate this trust, undermine the educational process. Your classmates and the instructor will not tolerate violations of academic integrity (see Statement of Academic Conduct for Engineering Students, College of Engineering Texas Tech University).