EE284: Introduction to Computer Networks
Autumn 2010, Professor Fouad Tobagi
About the Course
Structure and components of computer networks; functions and services; packet switching; layered architectures; ISO's
Open Systems Interconnections (OSI) reference model; physical layer; data link layer; error checking; window flow
control; media access control protocols used in local area networks (Ethernet, Token Ring, FDDI) and satellite networks;
network layer (datagram service, virtual circuit service, routing, congestion control, IP); transport layer (UDP, TCP);
session layer; applications.
Undergraduate education in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.
Goal of this course
The goal of this course is to introduce the basic concepts and principles underlying packet-based networks. In addition,
examples of standard technologies and protocols are given to illustrate the concepts. As a one-quarter introduction to
computer networks, the course cannot cover all existing network technologies and protocols. More detailed coverage of
network protocols and standards is provided in EE384A, for which this course is a prerequisite. Aspects pertaining to
multimedia networking and communications are covered in EE384B. Aspects pertaining to wireless LANs are covered in
The course is general and introductory in nature, rather than emphasizing on a specific aspect of networking such as
protocol design, performance evaluation, or software implementation.
Introduction: Circuit Switching & Packet Switching, Structure of Computer Networks, Types of Computer
Layered Protocol Architecture, OSI Reference Model, and the Internet Architecture.
The Physical Layer: Theoretical Basis for Data Communications, Signaling and Modulation, Multiplexing,
Transmission Media, Physical Interfaces and Protocols.
The Data Link Layer: Error Control, Cyclic Redundancy Check, The Sliding Window Flow Control Mechanism,
Performance Considerations, Bit-oriented Data Link Control Protocols (HDLC).
The Media Access Control Protocols: ALOHA, Reservation Aloha, CSMA/CD (Ethernet), Token Passing
MAC Layer Bridging and Spanning Tree Protocol.
The Network Layer: Addressing, Services (Datagram, Virtual Circuit), Routing Algorithms (Bellman Ford,
Dijkstra), Congestion Control, the Internet Protocol (IP).
The Transport Layer: UDP, TCP, TCP Congestion Control.
The Application Layer: FTP.