15-441: Computer Networks Syllabus


The required textbook for the course is Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, third edition, by Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie. It is available in the CMU Bookstore. Almost all the material that we will cover is in the textbook.

There are a few recommended texts which are useful references (especially if networking becomes your career). You can get the best price on them by ordering from an on-line bookstore.

Finally, if you have not taken 15-213, you may find its textbook useful as a gentle, software-focused introduction to computer architecture.


This year marks the introduction of a new set of recitations for 15-441. Please select one recitation section to attend (the content will be identical). Recitations will cover systems hacking techniques designed to save you time and pain on the projects, will go into more detail about certain topics such as TCP, and will have review sessions before exams.


Your final grade for the course will be based on the following weights for the individual assignments:

The midterm will be an in-class, closed-book exam, covering all material up to that point in the course. The final exam will be a closed-book exam, covering m aterial from the whole year, with emphasis on the second half of the course.

Project 1 will focus on the implementation of an IRC-like chat server, focusing first on ensuring familiarity with socket programming, and second on an implementation of routing protocols within the application. Project 2 will focus on file transfers and the protocol components necessary for efficient and reliable file transfer (retransmission, congestion control, caching, etc.) All projects are to be done in groups of two students.

The homework will combine both textbook-like questions as well as hands-on experimental exercises. There will be three homework assignments.

Because of the importance of understanding both the theoretical and hands-on elements of networking, students must pass all three components of the course (homeworks, exams, and the projects) in order to receive a passing grade for the course. This does not affect the actual letter grade assignment unless one of the components is not completed to a passing standard.


Also available as an ical file that you can subscribe to. Note that the video links are from Spring 2005 and are provided as a "best match" to the specified lecture, in the hope that they might be useful for review.

Date Instructor Topics Notes Readings
Tue 08/29 DGA Introduction
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1]
Chapter 1
Wed 08/30 DGA/SS First week of class, no recitation
Thu 08/31 DGA Protocol Stacks and Layering
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1]
Start finding project partners! Note the very early checkpoint. Optional: End to End Arguments in System Design
Tue 09/05 DGA Application Layer Examples
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project 1 Assigned 9.2
Wed 09/06 DGA Recitation Intro: Overview, version control
[pdf] [ps] [ppt]
Revision control notes [pdf] [ps].
Also see the online Subversion book.
Thu 09/07 gnychis Sockets programming
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1] [Video 2]
Tue 09/12 Steenkiste Physical Layer, Link Layer Basics
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project 1 checkpoint 1 (version control basics) due 2.1-2.5
Wed 09/13 danwent Makefiles and Project 1 Q& A
[pdf] [ps] [ppt]
Files used in Andrew unix demo [tar.gz].
Also see the some notes on editors.
Thu 09/14 Eckhardt Switching & Flow Control
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1]
Instructors out of town this week 2.6-2.10
Tue 09/19 SS Ethernet
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Wed 09/20 DGA Design: Modularity and Testability
[pdf] [ps] [ppt]
You ain't heard it like this before
Thu 09/21 SS IP forwarding & addressing
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Tue 09/26 SS IP Packets & Routers
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project 1 checkpoint 2 (standalone IRC server) due 4.3
Wed 09/27 danwent Debugging
[pdf] [ppt]
Techniques and tools. Files: debug macro .
Notes on debugging.
Thu 09/28 SS Routing: RIP & OSPF
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Tue 10/03 SS Multicast
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Wed 10/04 vyass Automation
[pdf] [ppt]
Time to learn Ruby!
Thu 10/05 SS Routing: BGP
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Tue 10/10 SS DNS
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Wed 10/11 vyass Midterm exam review and QA
Thu 10/12 DGA IPv6, tunneling, NAT, VPN, etc.
[pdf] [ps] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project 1 due 3.3-3.5
Wed 10/18 No recitation
(we're grading midterms and you're tired!)
Thu 10/19 DGA Virtual circuits, ATM, MPLS
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Tue 10/24 SS Transport Intro
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
HW2 Clack Lab Due
Animations for the next few lectures
Wed 10/25 gnychis Project 1 Post-Mortem
Bring out your dead!
Thu 10/26 SS TCP & Congestion Control
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Proj 2 Assigned 5.2
Tue 10/31 SS More TCP & Congestion Control
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Wed 11/01 danwent Project 2 Overview and Q & A
Thu 11/02 DGA Web + CDNs + Caching
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1] [Video 2]
Tue 11/07 SS TCP Performance
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Wed 11/08 danwent Congestion Control & Project 2
Thu 11/09 DGA P2P
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Tue 11/14 DGA Router queueing and QoS
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project2 Checkpoint2 Due 6.5, 7.2, 9.3
Wed 11/15 vyass P2P Research and Advanced Topics
[pdf] [ppt]
Thu 11/16 DGA QoS & Mobile (IP & TCP)
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
2.8, 4.2.5
Tue 11/21 danwent Security - Security Intro, Cryptography, and SSL
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project2 Checkpoint3 Due 8.1-8.2
Wed 11/22 Thanksgiving Holiday
Thu 11/23 Thanksgiving Holiday
Tue 11/28 vyass Security - firewalls, DoS, etc.
[pdf] [ppt] [Video 1]
Project2 Checkpoint4 Due 8.3-8.5
Wed 11/29 gnychis bittorrent optimizations for project 2 contest
Thu 11/30 DGA Wireless neworks, ad-hoc wireless, and sensor networks
[ppt] [Video 1]
Tue 12/05 DGA/SS Networking Futures
[Video 1] [Video 2]
Proj 2 due
Wed 12/06 None No recitation
(get some sleep after project2!)
Thu 12/07 DGA Class Review
[Video 1]
Tue 12/12 SS Final Review
Fri 12/15 DGA/SS FINAL EXAM. 5:30 - 8:30pm on Friday. In DH 2302

Last updated: Thu Dec 14 20:01:19 EST 2006 [validate xhtml]