CSCI P438: Introduction to Computer Networks

Fall 2012

General Course Information

Time: 11:15am-12:30pm, Mondays and Wednesdays
Location: Lindley Hall (LH) 008

Professor: Dr. Raquel L. Hill
Email: ralhill (at
Office: Lindley Hall (LH) 230E
Office Hours: MW 3:30-4:30 or by appointment

Associate Instructor: TBD

Course Summary and Pre-requisites

Our goal in this class is to learn about computer networks. We will do this by understanding how the networks work today and why they are designed the way they are. The course will primarily focus on the Internet but will also cover other past and present network technologies to put things in perspective. Since applications play an important role in the evolution of the Internet we will also study DNS, peer-to-peer networks, multicast, and security.

Topics to be covered include: Error control, medium access, routing, congestion control, end-to-end transport, TCP/IP, IEEE 802.11 networks, security, and applications.

Pre-requisites: This course has no formal prerequisites. However, we will be programming extensively in C/C++ in this course. Students should have programming experience in this language. The A290 courses for C or C++ may be helpful preparation for students and may be taken concurrently with this course. Please contact the instructor if you have concerns about your programming background.

Textbook and Additional References

Required textbook: Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach (6th edition) by Jim Kurose and Keith Ross Addison-Wesley, 2013.

Grading and Exams

The approximate grade break-up for the class is as follows:

Course Policies and Guidelines

Honor Code

Students are expected to follow the IU Computer Science department honor code. For this class, students may discuss general concepts about assignments with colleagues but may not share details or copy the final solution. Projects will be completed in small groups, with each project member being required to provide feedback about the other members of his or her group. Students must cite all references they used while completing the assignment and the extent to which they leveraged this reference. This includes all relevant discussions with classmates, Web sites, and textbooks. In no case may solutions, code, or report information be copied from another source. Any violations of this policy will be dealt with strictly.


All assignments are due in class on the due date and must be submitted in hard copy. No email submissions of written assignments will be accepted. Illegible assignments will not receive credit, so type them whenever possible.


Each project will be due at 11:55pm on the assigned due date. We will be using the Oncourse system for project submission.All projects must include a project report describing the references used and any defects in the project. The project will require a demonstration or presentation. The instructor reserves the right to allocate an appropriate percentage of the grade for that project to the demonstration or presentation.

Late Submission Policy

Every student is allowed up to two (2) grace days during the entire semester for all the projects and the assignments combined. Once those have been used up, the written assignments will not be accepted and the programming projects will be accepted with a 25% penalty in grade for each day they are late. Grace days may not be divided into fractions (12 hours for one assignment, 12 hours for another). When using a grace day for a project, all group members must use a grace day. If any group member does not have a grace day available, no grace day may be used on the project.


Both the midterm and final examinations will be closed book and closed notes. However, to avoid testing on formula memorization, students will be allowed to use a one page reference sheet. This reference sheet may be dual sided and must be of standard A4 or US Letter size.

Course Grading

Any issues in the grading of projects and assignments must be resolved within 10 working days of receiving the grade. After this 10 day period, the allocated grade is considered final.

Computer Usage During Class

The use of laptops or other electronic devices in class is prohibited.


Students are expected to regularly attend the class. Anyone missing more than 3 classes will receive 1/3 grade reduction (e.g. A- to B+) for each class missed after 3rd.