CSE 534: Fundamentals of Computer Networks (Spring 2017)


Spring 2017


Aruna Balasubramanian

Course Time: 

MW 2.30 -- 4.00



Contact Info: 

Office hours: Monday 12.30 – 2.20, New computer science building, Room 337. 
Instructor email: arunab@cs.stonybrook.edu
TA: Conor Kelton (ckelton@cs.stonybrook.edu​) and Laraib Malik (laraib.malik@stonybrook.edu​)
TA Office hours: Wednesdays 1.00 to 2.20, New Computer Science 348


  • Sign up for Piazza.
  • A tentative schedule is up.
  • The Web page is up.


The goal of this course is to cover the introductory topics in networking. We will go through the standard protocols in each layer of the OSI stack and discuss design patterns commonly used in networking protocols. We will cover some of the new topics in networking including data centers and SDNs.


I will teach the course top-down. There is no required textbook, but the recommended book is

Computer Networks, A Top Down Approach by Kurose and Ross [KR]


An introductory networking course is recommended but is not a pre-requisite. However, if you do not have a computer science background or if you are accepted with academic proficiency requirement, please come talk to me.


(Tentative) There are several components in this class: Assignments, Projects, Exams, and Summaries.  The grading criteria are as follows:

Midterm and Final exam: 40%
Project: 25%
Paper summaries: 5%
Assignments: 30% (10% each)

Project:  The project constitutes a fourth of your grade. Around 3 weeks into the semester, we will discuss possible project ideas. You should choose a project and submit a project proposal. Mid-way through the course, you will present a report on project progress. At the end, you will present your projects to the instructor and submit a project report.

I encourage students to do the project in groups of 2 or 3. If you want to do a project without any team members, come talk to me. Of course, the scope of the project is different if you have 1 versus 2 versus 3 team members. All project-related reports should be submitted before 9.00PM on the day they are due. 

Paper summaries: There are approximately 5 papers assigned for reading. For each paper, you are expected to provide a summary. More details on how to write a paper summary will be up on Piazza. Paper summaries should be submitted at 2.30PM  on the day they are due (that is, just before class starts).  No extensions are allowed. If you dont submit by the deadline, you forfeit the points.

For grading, I will choose the top 3 out of the 5 summaries.

Assignments: There will be 3 assignments in all.  Assignments should be submitted before 9.00pm on the day they are due. 

We will use Blackboard for submissions. If you want to resubmit after you already submitted one version of your assignment/project/summaries, you may do so. But you are allowed a maximum of 2 resubmissions (i.e., a maximum of 3 attempts).  You get a 24 hours grace period spanning all 3 assignments. There is no grace period for your project reports and summaries. I should note here that I almost never give extensions on any submissions.


Tentative Schedule: 

Date Topic Readings Notes
1/23/2017 Introduction No reading. Syllabus and overview.

Application Layer

1/25/2017 DNS KR 2.5 [lect_dns.pdf]
1/30/2017 CDNs, HTTP/HTTP2 KR 2.2 [lect_cdn.pdf]
2/01/2017 HTTP/HTTP2, Web   [lect_http_http2.pdf] Homework #1 out 2/2. 

Transport Layer

2/06/2017 TCP/UDP Web_IMC11
Summary paper]
[lect_tcp1] Summary 1 is due before class starts.
2/8/2017 More TCP, Flow control  KR 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 [lect_tcp2]
2/13/2017 Congestion control, AIMD  KR 3.3 [lect_tcp2]
2/15/2017 TCP flavors and revisit 


Homework #1 due.
2/20/2017 Project discussion SPDY [Summary] Project discussion. Summary 2 due before class starts. 
2/22/2017 DNSSec/Wireshark discussion Special class Special class by TA Conor Kelton. He will go over DNSSec and Wireshark. Homework out before 2/23.

Network Layer

2/27/2017 Internet Protocol   [lect_ip]
3/01/2017 Networking Protocols  KR 4.1.1, 4.3.2, 4.4  [lect_ip, lect_routing]
3/06/2017 Inter-domain Routing KR 4.5.1, 4.5.2 [lect_routing, lect_bgp1]
3/08/2017 Intra-domain Routing KR 4.6.3

Homework #2 due 3/09. Project pitches are due 3/10.

3/13/2017 Spring Break No Class No class
3/15/2017 Spring Break No Class No class


3/20/2017 Switching layer   [lect_switching] Special TA office hours at 4.00 to 5.00 in Room 348 to discuss homework #1


3/22/2017 Midterm Midterm Midterm

Special Topics

3/27/2017 Datacenter networking KR 4.6.3 [lect_datacenter_networking] Homework #3 out 3/30.
3/29/2017 No class No class No class, and no TA office hours.
4/3/2017 DCTCP/D2TCP DCTCP(summary paper) [lect_datacenter_tcp] Summary 3 due in class.
4/5/2017 Datacenters + SDNs   [lect_datacenter_tcp][lect_sdn]
4/10/2017 SDNs, Network Function Virtualization Middlebox paper(Summary paper)  [lect_sdn]​ Summary 4 due in class. 
4/12/2017 Middleboxes MPTCP paper (Summary paper) [lect_middleboxes] Summary 5 due in class. 

Link layer/Physical layer

4/17/2017 MPTCP   Homework #3 due 4/18 at 11.59PM.
4/19/2017 Link layer KR 5.3.1, 5.3.2  
4/24/2017 Link layer   Proposal progress due 4/25/2017 at 9.00PM.


4/26/2017 Physical layer/Cellular    
05/01/2017 No class   No class
05/03/2017 In-class exam  2nd Midterm 2nd Midterm in Room 120, New computer science
05/10/2017 Project presentation 2.00 to 4.30pm  
05/11/2017 Project presentation 2.00 to 4.30pm Project report due 9.00pm 05/12/2016


Deadlines: All deadlines are tentative in the beginning. The firm deadlines will be announced at least 3 weeks before they are due. The announcements will be made in class as well as on Piazza.

Discussion policy: All discussions will take place on Piazza. Please be respectful of your fellow classmates and your instructor when posting questions. You are expected to read your Piazza posts frequently. I will be posting important announcements on it. 

Important: Questions posted on Piazza can take up to 24 hours for a response from the instructor or the TA. If you ask a question very close to an assignment deadline, they may go unanswered.

Office hours policy: Instructor office hours are Mondays 12.30 to 2.20. Some days, the office hours may be rescheduled due to prior instructor commitment. New office hours information will be posted on Piazza.

Grading policy: I will not be able to give any individual student extra credit for additional work or projects. However, for projects that are especially good, I may award additional points. This is at my discretion.