Queen's School of Computing

CISC 435/3.0 Computer Networks

Original Author: Hossam Hassanein
Last Revised: November 15, 2006

Calendar Description

Fundamental concepts in the design and implementation of computer communication networks, protocols, and applications. Overview of network architectures; applications; network programming interfaces (e.g., sockets); transport; congestion; routing and data link protocols; addressing; local area networks; wireless networks; mobility management.

Prerequisite: CISC 324/3.0. CISC 340/3.0 is recommended.


This course introduces the underlying concepts and principles of modern computer networks, with emphasis on protocols, architectures, and implementation issues. Students will first learn how to implement network applications (e.g., e-mail, ftp) using existing network protocols and architectures. Students then study how these protocols and architectures work by using the layered organization of the Internet in a top-down fashion: Application, Transport, Network and Data Link.



  • What is the Internet? What is a protocol?
  • The Network Edge, Core, and Access Networks
  • Physical Media
  • Delay and Loss in Packet-Switched Networks
  • Protocol Layers and Their Service Models
  • Internet Backbones, NAPs and ISPs

The Application Layer

  • Principles of Application-Layer Protocols
  • The World Wide Web: HTTP
  • File Transfer: FTP
  • Electronic Mail in the Internet
  • The Internet's Directory Service: DNS
  • Socket Programming
  • Overlay Networks

The Transport Layer

  • Transport-Layer Services and Principles
  • Connectionless Transport: UDP
  • Principles of Reliable of Data Transfer
  • Principles of Congestion Control
  • TCP Congestion Control

The Network Layer

  • Introduction and Network Service Model
  • Routing Principles
  • Hierarchical Routing
  • IP: the Internet Protocol
  • Routing in the Internet
  • What is Inside a Router?

The Link Layer and Local Area Networks

  • The Data Link Layer: Introduction, Services
  • Error Detection and Correction
  • Multiple Access Protocols and LANs
  • LAN Addresses and ARP
  • Ethernet
  • PPP: the Point-to-Point Protocol

Wireless Networks

  • Wireless Access
  • WiFi: IEEE 802.11
  • Handling Mobility

Possible Texts

  • Computer Networking: A top-down approach featuring the Internet, Kurose and Ross, 3rd edition, Addison Wesley, 2004.

  • Computer Networks, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, 4th edition, Prentice Hall, 2002.

  • Data & Computer Communications, William Stallings, 8th edition, Prentice Hall, 2007.