KU EECS 663: Introduction to Communication Networks

The University of Kansas,
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
KU EECS 663: Introduction to Communication Networks


Prof. James P.G. Sterbenz <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu>

Time and Location

Spring 2006
19:10–22:00 Thu. in 254 Regnier

Office hours

Thu. 17:00–19:00 in 125U Regents Center
+1 913 897 8538
or by appointment
+1 785 864 7890
+1 785 864 8846

Note: I will generally be in one of my Lawrence offices (Nichols or Eaton) except for Thu., on which I'll be in my Kansas City office in Regents Center during office hours before class. You should email or call before expending effort to find me.


The regular use of the Internet is mandatory for this course and required by the EECS department. This class web page contains course information and important deadlines, lecture notes, and homework assignments. All students are expected to fully read the Web page and check frequently for updates, particularly in the schedule table for readings, homework assignments, and notes.

Email will also be used to convey important course information. Students are required to regularly check email, and to always check email Thu. afternoon before class for last minute announcements. Students are recommended to supply a telephone number, only to be used in urgent matters.

Email correspondence must be sent to <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu> and the subject line must begin with the exact string “EECS663”; email to other addresses or with other subject lines are unlikely to be properly filtered and replied. If you don't receive a reply within 48 hours, resend, as email is not a reliable application.

Telephone contact to one of my office numbers is welcome in matters needing discussion. Please only use my mobile phone in urgent matters.

In case of inclement weather, call +1 785 897 8499 after 14:00 to determine if the Edwards Campus is closed. If it appears that I will not be able to make it to Kansas City but campus is open, I'll email the class list and leave a message with reception at +1 913 897 8400.

Course Details


Comprehensive in-depth introduction to communication networks with emphasis on the Internet and various access networks, but also covering the PSTN (public switched telephone network - wired and wireless) mobile ad hoc networks, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) networks. Extensive examples of protocols and algorithms will be presented at all levels, including: client/server and peer-to-peer applications; transport protocols, the end-to-end arguments and end-to-end congestion control; network architecture, forwarding, routing, signalling, addressing, and traffic management, quality of service, queuing (basic M/M/1 and Little's law); LAN architecture, link protocols and MAC algorithms; physical media characteristics and coding; network security and information assurance; network management.

This course consists of lectures and assigned readings from the primary textbooks. Supplementary readings are occasionally be required, and optional material is recommended for students that wish a greater understanding of the material. Students are responsible for mastering all required reading material, even if not covered in the lectures.


Basic working knowledge of computer systems and the Internet; basic programming skills

Tentative Schedule

Schedule for dates beyond the next class are tentative and subject to change. Reading is to be done before the beginning of the first class for which it is listed.

EECS 663 Schedule
Date Lecture Reading Homework Notes
Subject Updated Key Protocols Required Optional Problems Due
26 Jan. Administrivia 31 Jan
26 Jan. Preliminaries
26 Jan.
2 Feb.
Introduction and History PSTN
ARPANET, Internet
K1: 6, 13, 14–17, 20–21
2,9 Feb. Applications 13 Feb FTP (intl, sec), HTTP, ICP (appl)
NNTP (ext, msg)
SMTP (msg), MIME (types, text, intl, disp)
POP (ext), IMAP
IRC (arch, chan, client, serv)
Telnet (opt, bin, echo, supr, satus, time, list, others)
Napster, Gnutella, BitTorrent, DHTs (Chord)
K2: 3, 5, 9, 15 K2
Ethereal Lab 1
16,23 Feb. Transport Layer 23 Feb UDP, TCP K:3
K3: 3, 16, 18, 19, 20, 27, 28 K2
Ethereal Lab:
2 Mar. exam 1 – upper layers
network architecture, applications, and transport layer
9,16 Mar. Network Layer:
DNS (concept)
IP (subnets, CIDR arch, MTU, req), IGMP, ICMP
IPv6 (addr, ND, autoconfig, MTU), ICMPv6
DHCP, NAT (term)

ATM (sig)
MPLS (labels, TTL, null, RSVP-TE, attrib), GMPLS
PSTN, E.164
S:5.2–5.3.4; 5.4–5.5
K4: 2, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 13 Mar. K3
Ethereal Lab:
Exploring TCP
23 Mar. spring break
30 Mar. Network Layer:
K4: 20, 23, 27, 29, 31, 34, 39 3 Apr K3
Ethereal Labs:
6 Apr. Link Layer 802.1, 802.2, 802.3
K5: 1, 3, 4, 9, 11, 17 10 Apr. K5
Ethereal Lab:
802.3 Ethernet
13 Apr. Physical Layer bits coded over
electrons, IR photons, RF waves
S:5.1–5.1.1 [R1983]:6,12
13 Apr. Wireless and Mobile; MAC M-IP
802.11 WiFi, 802.15 WPAN
802.16 WiMAX, 802.20 MBWA
K:6 [MM2004] K5: 13, 15
K6: 1, 4, 6, 7, 12
19 Apr. K5
Ethereal Lab:
20 Apr. Multimedia,
Session Control,
and QOS
IntServ, DiffServ
K:7 [W2005]:4–6
K7: 3, 5, 6, 11, 14, 17, 19, 21 1 May
27 Apr. exam 2 – lower layers
network, link, and physical layers
4 May Security and Survivability IPsec (AH, ESP)
MD5, SHA-1
K:8 [S2003]
4 May Network Management SNMP K:9 [S1994]:25
11 May project presentations
18 May final exam
exam 3 – mobile, wireless, security, and management
comprehensive portion covering exams 1–3

Reading assignments: K = Kurose & Ross, S = Sterbenz & Touch

Required reading contains material that may be on exams, even if not explicitly covered in class.
Optional reading is directly relevant to material covered in the lectures and will provide additional perspectives and insight on the material. While reading the RFCs and other specifications listed in the key protocols column is optional, it is highly recommended that you download and scan these to become familiar with the sort of information they contain.

Lecture notes will generally be posted shortly before the corresponding class. In some cases they may be updated later in which case the last modified date will be entered in the updated table entry.


Grading will be on a modified curve in which students are grouped (generally by modes in the distribution). Exams and homework will receive numerical scores; the term paper will receive a letter grade (with + and – discriminators) that will be converted to a numeric value for determining final weighted average. Final grades at KU do not have the + and – modifiers. Employer reimbursement and immigration status cannot be a consideration in the final grade.

EECS 663 Final Grade Modes
Aexceptional exam results and outstanding paper
Bmastery of material and solid paper
Cslacking but know basic material and marginal paper
Dvery poor performance on exams or paper
Fnon-performance on exams or paper, or academic misconduct in class

If you are having difficulty in the class I strongly recommended you discuss this early and not wait until exam time. Students are responsible for understanding course drop policies and deadlines.

EECS 663 Grading
15%exam 1
15%exam 2
15%exam 3 (portion of final exam)
15%comprehensive portion of final exam
10%class participation
20%term paper and presentation (extra credit possible)

Assignments and Exams


Homework problems are due by email to <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu> by the 23:59 midnight on the specified day (generally the Mon. following the corresponding class). The subject line must begin with the exact string

EECS663 homework

(this is for automatic email filters). Homeworks to other email addresses or with other subject lines will be ignored. If you do not receive an acknowledgement from the instructor within 48 hours, resend the email (with no modifications). You are expected to read all homework questions by the Thu. class preceding the due date, so that any questions can be raised before or at the beginning of class.

Homework should be submitted inline (not as an attachment) as plain text, unless otherwise instructed in the notes column. Turn off text formatting features in your emailer if they are on by default or choice. If you paste in from a word processing program you may have to clear formatting before you send. Use * for multiplication (if an operator is needed), ^ for exponentiation (or superscript in general) and _ for subscripting. For example, represent aN0 = 10–6 as aN_0 = 10^-6. Spell out lambda for λ wavelength as well as any other greek characters, and use u for micro as a prefix, e.g. um is μm ( micrometer).

You are welcome to discuss the homework problems and solution strategies with one another, but are expected to individually work out the detailed solutions. Do not copy solutions from one another.

The homework grade will consist of a combination of credit for credible submission and the grading of a small, random subset of homework problems. Solutions will be posted for all homework assignments. Late homework will generally not be accepted.

Term Paper

Each student will submit a term paper intended to research a particular area of networking beyond the lectures and required textbook reading. The paper should be technical in nature, but be more than only a technical description of a particular topic. Comparisons of competing technologies, historical development, and future prospects, are all ways in which this can be accomplished. Papers may include reporting of simulation or implementation, but this is not required.

We will discuss potential topics in class on 16 Feb. but it is highly recommended to first think about what area of networking interests you. You are encouraged to come up with your own ideas, but here are a few possibilities:

If you are planning to do an M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation in the area of networking, you may use this opportunity to begin the background reading on a topic.


A one page proposal is due 22 Feb. at 23:59 (midnight) by email to <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu> with Subject: line of EECS663 proposal.

The proposal will not be graded, but rather will serve as the basis for us to agree on a suitable topic. You may be asked to adjust or resubmit your proposal. I recommend that you follow the formatting requirements for the final submission to avoid problems at the last minute.


Each student will do a short oral presentation (approximately 10 min.) to the class on 11 May. This will contribute to the term paper grade. Presentation foils (slides) will be due in electronic form by email to <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu> with Subject: line of EECS663 presentation in either Powerpoint or PDF by midnight 10 May so that they can be preloaded for classroom display.


Submission requirements: The final paper is due 11 May at 23:59 (midnight) by email to <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu> with Subject: line of EECS663 term paper.

Formatting requirements: The paper must be 10 – 15 pages in length (not including references), unless prior arrangements have been made well in advance of the due date. Papers may be submitted in either PDF (preferred) or MS-Word source (.doc). Other formats may be acceptable if approved in advance. Margins should be 1 – 1.5 inches, use 12 point in a reasonable font (for example Times New Roman), single spaced. The paper should begin with the title, as well as author name, affiliation, email address, and optional URL.

Papers deviating from these requirements will not be graded.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

All sources in your written work must be properly referenced; I consider plagiarism an extremely serious offense that will result in an F for the course in addition to the possibility of more serious sanctions. If you use a source from the literature or the idea of another for your work you must reference it. If you quote or copy a block of text, it must be cited and included in quotation marks (if a sentence or less in length) or in block quote style (if more than a sentence in length). If you paraphrase text (reword a phrase, sentence, or paragraph), you must also quote or blockquote followed by “[paraphrased]” in addition to proper citation.

The USC academic integrity quiz is also useful reading. If you have any doubt, talk to me – inexperience in past writing or coming from an environment where plagiarism was permitted will not be an acceptable excuse for academic misconduct.

Note that a paper that consists mostly of quotes and blockquotes is not likely to receive an acceptable grade, even if properly cited. You are expected to demonstrate your own understanding and knowledge.

I understand that English is not a native language for many students, and while it is important to use the best writing skills you can, you will be far better off submitting your own imperfect English than the work of others. I recommend that you take intermediate notes from which you write your own words. I strongly recommend that you not write in one window while displaying the work of others in another window; this is asking for trouble. “Unintentional” paraphrasing is also not an acceptable excuse for academic misconduct.


Exams will be closed book and take approximately 1/2 of a class period.

Additional details for each exam will be posted prior to each.

Exam 1: Upper Layers

Exam 2: Lower Layers

Exam 3 (portion of final exam)

Final Exam (comprehensive portion)

Reference Material

Required Textbooks

James F. Kurose and Keith F. Ross,
Computer Networking, third edition,
Pearson Addison Wesley, 2005.

James P.G. Sterbenz and Joseph D. Touch,
High-Speed Networking: A Systematic Approach to High-Bandwidth Low-Latency Communication,
John Wiley, New York, 2001.

Note: this book will be the primary textbook for EECS 745 on the Edwards Campus in the Fall of 2006

Supplementary Textbooks

These books provide additional depth in key areas that will be covered in this course. The majority of them are on three-day reserve in the Edwards Campus Library.

General Networking and Communication

[GW2004] (on reserve)
Alberto Leon-Garcia and Indra Widjaja,
Communication Networks: Fundamental Concepts and Key Architectures,
2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, 2004.
(Slightly more analytical than Kurose & Ross, has a bit more emphasis on lower layers, and is currently used in the Lawrence section of EECS 663.)

[PC1993] (full text available online)
David M. Piscitello and A. Lyman Chapin,
Open Systems Networking: TCP/IP and OSI,
Addison-Wesley, 1993.
(Classic that provides both the Internet and OSI protocols and philosophy)

[S1994] (on reserve)
W. Richard Stevens,
TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols,
Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1994.
– and –
[S1996] (on reserve)
W. Richard Stevens,
TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 3: TCP for Transactions, HTTP, NNTP, and the UNIX Domain Protocols,
Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1996.
(The definitive guides to the Internet protocol suite, but a bit dated and lacking recent protocol enhancements.)

[R1983] (on reserve)
R.F. Rey, ed.,
Engineering and Operations in the Bell System, 2nd ed., AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill NJ, 1983.
(The definitive reference on the PSTN architecture and systems in the US through divestiture.)

Mobile and Wireless Networking

[MM2004] (on reserve)
C. Siva Ram Murthy and B.S. Manoj,
Ad Hoc Wireless Networks: Architectures and Protocols,
Prentice-Hall Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2004.
(Comprehensive coverage of mobile and wireless data networking and telephony; likely to be used as the primary textbook in a forthcoming graduate EECS course in mobile wireless networking.)

The Web

[KR2001] (on reserve)
Balachander Krishnamurthy and Jennifer Rexford,
Web Protocols and Practice: HTTP/1.1, Networking Protocols, Caching, and Traffic Measurement,
Addison-Wesley Pearson, Boston, 2001.
(In-depth coverage of Web protocols and operation.)

Peer-to-Peer Systems

[SW2005] (on reserve)
Ralf Steinmetz and Klaus Wehrle,
Peer-to-Peer Systems and Applications,
LNCS 3485, Springer, Berlin, 2005.
(Comprehensive survey of peer-to-peer architectures and systems.)

Switching and Routing

[P2000] (on reserve)
Radia Perlman,
Interconnections: Bridges, Routers, Switches, and Internetworking Protocols,
2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 2000.
(Addressing and routing protocols for LANs, data networks, and the Internet.)

[WZ2001] (on reserve)
Ralph Wittmann and Martina Zitterbart,
Multicast Communication: Protocols and Applications,
Morgan-Kaufmann Academic Press, San Francisco, 2001.
(Broad survey of group communication protocols and algorithms.)

[A1998] (on reserve)
Gerald R. Ash,
Dynamic Routing in Telecommunications Networks,
Mc-Graw-Hill, New York, 1998.
(Routing in the PSTN.)

Security and Information Assurance

[S2003] (on reserve)
William Stallings,
Cryptography and Network Security: Principles and Practices,
3rd ed., Prentice-Hall Pearson, Upper Saddle Hill NJ, 2003.
(Detailed coverage of security and cryptography, including AES.)

QOS and Congestion Control

[W2001] (on reserve)
Zheng Wang,
Internet QoS: Architectures and Mechanisms for Quality of Service,
Morgan-Kaufmann / Academic Press, San Francisco, 2001.
(QOS in the Internet: RSVP, integrated and differentiated services).

[W2005] (on reserve)
Michael Welzl,
Network Congestion Control,
John Wiley, Chichester UK, 2005.
(Congestion control for TCP and the Internet, including recent and proposed enhancements.)

Additional Readings

This reading list will be augmented from time to time during the course.

Dan Pei, Dan Massey, and Lixia Zhang,
Finite State Machines for BGP,
UCLA CSD Technical Report TR040047, 2004,
available from http://www.beyondbgp.net/pubs/2004/bbgp_uclatr040047.pdf.
Steve Bishop, Matthew Fairbairn, Michael Norrishy, Peter Sewell, Michael Smith, and Keith Wansbrough,
“Rigorous Specification and Conformance Testing Techniques for Network Protocols, as applied to TCP, UDP, and Sockets”,
Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM 2005,
Philadelphia, Aug. 2005, pp. 265–276.

Additional Sources

RFCs (request for comments) are the freely available specifications on the Internet architecture and protocols. RFCs are produced by the IETF; its working groups represent ongoing Internet design and engineering.

Most International standards must be purchased, however some ISO standards are freely available, including the key networking standards. Individuals are permitted to download 3 free ITU standards by registering. This would be sufficient to download the SDH and OTN link protocol standards most relevant to this class, and perhaps the X.25 standard if you have historical interest in connection-oriented packet switched networking. Note that ISO 8208 substantially duplicates X.25 and is a reasonable substitute if you are limited in the number of ITU standards you can download.

Similarly, ANSI standards must be purchased, and are absurdly expensive: the SONET T.105 set of specifications costs in excess of $1500, ordered either from ANSI or ATIS. Unless you work for a large telecom company with a corporate subscription or are independently wealthy, these documents are inaccessible. The Telcordia (formerly Bellcore) SONET specifications GR 253 CORE: SONET Transport Systems: Common Generic Criteria are even more expensive. As long as ANSI and ATIS are interested only in profit and not educational outreach, the very similar SDH specifications can be used to understand the SONET/SDH architecture and topology.

IEEE Standards are available from IEEE Xplore, but a subscription is required (KU does not have a full IEEE subscription). IEEE 802 networking specifications (including 802.3, 802.11, 802.15, and 802.16) are freely available once they have been published for 6 months. The publication date of IEEE Standards Association has the ability to determine the publication date of standards, which is useful to see when new 802 standards will become freely available. Unfortunately, the current Ethernet standard is 802.3-2005, which will not be available for free until approximately 9 June 2006. This standard updates 802.3-2002 and rolls in a number of the individual standards updates resulting in a much cleaner overall document.

The Web is a wonderful source of information: definitive & accurate, marketing spin, opinion, and total nonsense. The Wikipedia frequently has good information and may be a good starting point, but sources such as this should generally not be used as definitive references, nor should trade rags and the popular press.

Last updated 20 April 2006 – Valid XHTML 1.1Lynx inspectedW3C AAA Conformance
©2003–2006 James P.G. Sterbenz <jpgs@eecs.ku.edu>