CIS 553: Networked Systems

Spring 2018

Room: Berger Auditorium, Skirkanich Hall
Time: Tuesday and Thursday 10:30am-12:00pm
External Sites: Piazza and Canvas
Office hours: Monday 11am-12pm (470 Levine North) or by appointment

Teaching assistants:

Course Description

CIS553 is a graduate course in Computer Networking that gives a top-to-bottom treatment of computer networking.

The course begins with an overview of communications systems, then progresses through a series of logical "layers", each of which carries out roles in the networked system. We start with (1) "physical layers" such as radio, optical fiber and copper wiring, and rise through a series of functional abstractions (naming, addressing, routing, ...) that comprise a "stack" of protocol layers used by applications. These include: (2) the link layer which uses the physical layer to communicate, and manages device identity and access to the medium; (3) the network layer which connects sets of participants using link layers; (4) the transport layer which provides services required by applications such as reliable byte-streams.

The course will involve six programming projects and two written exams. Programming projects were adapted with permission from Nick Feamster's COS 461.

Undergrads interested in this course should email the instructor directly, cc to Mike Felker (mfelker@seas) to get permissions to enroll in this course.

Optional Textbooks

Computer Networks: A Systems Approach (5th Edition). Larry L. Peterson and Bruce S. Davie.
Computer Networks (5th Edition). Andrew S. Tanenbaum and David J Wetherall.
Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach (6th Edition). James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross


CIS 121 (Programming Languages and Techniques II), equivalent programming experience, or permission of instructor. Data structures and basic probability. Course projects will be in C++, Python, and Go, but prior experience in these languages is not strictly necessary.


Late Policy

You start with of 72 "slip" hours, subtracted in 1-hour increments. If your balance reaches zero, you will receive half credit for any assignment that you turn in, as long as you turn it in within one week of the due date.


Schedule is in flux. Please check back regularly.

Optional readings refer to the Peterson/Davie book, unless otherwise specified. Equivalent material can be found in the other textbooks.
Date Topic Remarks Optional Reading
Jan. 11 Class Introduction Internet History
Jan. 16 Internet Architecture and Layering 1
Jan. 18 Layering Recap and the Physical Layer 2.1, 2.2
Jan. 23 Link Layer Pt. 1 2.1-2.4
Jan. 25 Link Layer Pt. 2 Programming Project 1 Due
(Virtual Machine Setup, Sockets)
2.6, 3.1
Jan. 30 IP Addressing 3.2.3, 3.2.5, 4.1.3
Feb. 1 Intradomain Routing 3.3
Feb. 6 Interdomain Routing 4.1
Feb. 8 No class (Eagles Parade)
Feb. 13 Discovery Programming Project 2 Due
(Routing Algorithms)
Feb. 15 Transport Protocols (UDP and TCP) 5.1, 5.2
Feb. 20 Congestion Control 6.3
Feb. 22 Buffers and Router Design 3.2.4, 3.4, 6.2, 6.4
Feb. 27 Review 1 Programming Project 3
(TCP window size and bufferbloat)
Mar. 1 Exam 1 Problem set 1 (start early!)
Mar. 6 No class (Spring Break)
Mar. 8 No class (Spring Break)
Mar. 13 Exam 1 Review 3.2.8
Mar. 15 Network Measurement and HTTP
Mar. 20 Class Canceled
Mar. 22 Networking for HTTP Programming Project 4 Due

Exam 1 corrections
Mar. 27 DDoS Attacks Guest lecture
Mar. 29 Security and Video Streaming
Apr. 3 Datacenters
Apr. 5 Cloud vs. Internet Programming Project 5 Due
(Network Security - DNS Reflection)
Apr. 10 Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Guest lecture
Apr. 12 Wireless
Apr. 17 Censorship
Apr. 19 Review 2 Programming Project 6 Due
(HTTP Client and Proxy)
Apr. 24 Exam 2 Problem set 2 (start early!)