CSE534 Fundamentals of Computer Networks (Spring 2016)


Spring 2016


Prof. Aruna Balasubramanian

Course Time: 

MW 2.30– 3.50


Javits Lecture Hall 101

Contact Info: 

Office hours: Monday 1.20 – 2.20, Wednesday 4.00 – 5.00. New computer science building, Room 337.
Instructor email: arunab@cs.stonybrook.edu
TA: Javad Nejati (jnejati@cs.stonybrook.edu)
TA Office hours: Tuesdays 2.15 to 3.45, Old computer science building, Room 2203.


  • Further announcements and discussions will be on Piazza.
  • All lecture notes are posted on Piazza. Name of the lecture notes are posted on the page, corresponding to each lecture.
  • 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.


There is no required textbook. If you would like to follow a text book, I recommend

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

Another great book is:
Computer Networks, by Andrew Tanenbaum and David Wetherall


An introductory networking course is recommended but is not a pre-requisite.


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

Midterm and Final exam: 40%
Project: 30%
Paper summaries: 10%
Assignments: 25%

Project:  The project constitutes a third 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. If you want to do a project without any team members, come talk to me. For project sizes that are bigger than 2, I expect considerably more work.

Paper summaries: There are approximately 6 papers assigned for reading. For each paper, you are expected to provide a summary. More details on how to write a paper summary are up on Piazza.

For grading, I will choose the top 4 out of the 6 summaries.

Assignments: There will be 3 assignments in all. The assignments should be submitted via Blackboard. All assignments are due at 9.00pm on the day they are due. You get a 24 hours grace period spanning all 3 assignments, project pitch, and project progress (but your final project needs to be submitted by the deadline or your forfeit the points).

Tentative Schedule: 

Date Topic Readings Notes
1/25/2016 Introduction No reading. Syllabus and overview.

Application Layer

1/27/2016 DNS KR 2.5  Lecture class [lect_dns.pdf].
2/01/2016 CDNs, HTTP/HTTP2 KR 2.2, SPDY  Lecture class [lect_cdn.pdf].
2/03/2016 HTTP/HTTP2, Web Web_IMC11
Summary paper]
Lecture class [lect_http_http2.pdf]
+ Paper reading.
Summary 1 is due in class.
Homework #1 out, due in 2 weeks.

Transport Layer

2/08/2016 TCP basics  KR 3.2, 3.4 [Class Cancelled Due to Snow]
2/10/2016 UDP/TCP basics  KR 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 Lecture class [lect_tcp1.pdf]
2/15/2016 TCP flow/congestion control  KR 3.3 Lecture class [lect_tcp2.pdf]
 2/17/2016 TCP AIMD/Project discussions   Lecture + Project discussions [lect_tcp2.pdf]
Homework #1 due, #2 is out.

Network Layer & others

2/22/2016 Routing protocols   Special class by Samir Das. 
2/24/2016 No class!!  No class. Instructor/TA out of town.
TA and instructor hold additional
office hours for help with project.
2/29/2016 TCP flavors + SPDY SPDY
[Summary Paper]
Lecture class + Summary [lect_tcp3.pdf].
Summary 2 due in class.
3/02/2016 IP and Networking  KR 4.1.1, 4.3.2, 4.4  Lecture class [lect_ip.pdf].
Homework #2 due.
Project pitches are due 3/04.
3/07/2016 Intra-domain routing KR 4.5.1, 4.5.2  Lecture class [lect_bgp.pdf].
3/09/2016 Midterm (Open book/Open notes)    Midterm in class.
3/14/2016 Spring Break No Class  
3/16/2016 Spring Break No Class  

BGP/Data centers

3/21/2016 Inter domain routing  KR 4.6.3 Lecture class [lect_bgp.pdf]
3/23/2016 BGP + Data centers  KR 5.6 Lecture class. [lect_datacenter.pdf]
Homework #3 out.
3/28/2016 DCTCP/D2TCP DCTCP(summary paper) Lecture + Paper
Summary 3 is due in class
3/30/2016 Switching KR 5.4 (except 5.4.4) Lecture class [lect_switches.pdf]

Special topics 

4/04/2016 SDNs Scott Shenker’s Talk  Lecture class [lect_sdn.pdf]
4/06/2016 Middleboxes + Other SDN applications Middlebox paper(Summary paper) Lecture + Paper. [lect_datacenter_networking.pdf]
Summary 4 due in class
4/11/2016 Network modeling No reading Special class by Anshul Gandhi
4/13/2016 Cellular arch/MPTCP  MPTCP Paper
(Summary paper)
Lecture class. [lect_cellular.pdf]
Summary 5 due in class
Homework #3 due.

Link layer/Physical layer

4/18/2016 Link Layer  KR 5.3.1, 5.3.2 Lecture class [lect_data_link.pdf]
Proposal progress due 4/20/2016 
4/20/2016 WiFi Link layer   KR 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3



 Lecture + Paper [lect_data_link.pdf]
4/25/2016 White Space Spectrum Wiffler (Summary paper) or
ViFi (Summary paper)
 Lecture class.
Summary 6 due in class


4/27/2016 Project presentation to Instructor   TBA
05/02/2016 Project presentation to Instructor    TBA
05/04/2016 In-class exam  Midterm  Midterm
Project report due 05/15/2016


Deadlines: Please see tentative schedule below for all deadlines. I will announce them in class as well as post on Piazza.

Discussion policy: All discussions will take place on Piazza. Please be respectful of your fellow classmates and your instructor when posting questions.

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

Office hours policy: Office hours will take place on Mondays 1.20 to 2.20 and Wednesdays 4.00 to 5.00. Some days, the office hours may be rescheduled due to prior instructor commitment. New office hours information will be posted on Piazza.