COSC 4377 - Introduction to Computer Networks

Spring 2012

MW 1:00-2:30pm at PGH347

InstructorOmprakash Gnawali


The goal of this course is to provide foundational knowledge about networking, with a focus on understanding how the various systems that constitute the Internet work. Several hands-on projects will give the students an opportunity to design and implement networked applications and services. Students should expect to spend a lot of time programming.


The course description lists COSC 2320 and COSC 2410 as the pre-requisites for this course. If you did well in these courses, you are ready for this course. It is still helpful if you have taken one or two other courses in which you had to spend some time programming the assignments or projects.


Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach by Kurose and Ross. Although we will use 5th edition for the course, most of the content is also available in 4th edition. The library will have two copies of 5th edition on reserve.


There are two lectures every week. The lectures cover the principles and the concepts, immediately applicable to the programming projects. Many lectures will also discuss the projects and solutions of past projects and occassional public code reviews.


The exams will cover everything covered or mentioned during the class. You can bring one page (not double sided!) of hand written notes to the exam. The second exam will not cover the material already covered by the first exam. There will be no make-up exam.

Homeworks and Projects

Most homework assignments will be short programming, measurement, and analysis tasks. There will be 1-2 homeworks with little hands-on component. We will also have 1-2 projects that will require substantial programming effort. We will use Blackboard for homework and project submissions. Your homework must compile and execute on the provided Linux machine.

Late HW or projects

You must submit your assignments by midnight the day it is due. You have the option of submitting your HW within two days after the deadline but your score for that HW will be capped at 80%. If you are more than two days late, you will receive no credit for that HW.

Class participation

You are expected to participate actively during the class. There will be several opportunities to contribute on specific projects during the semester.


Two in-class exams40%
HWs and projects55%
Class participation5%

The final grade is curved, but modified to take into account your mastery of the material.

Topics Covered (subject to change)

  • Internet Overview
  • HTTP
  • Congestion Control
  • TCP and UDP
  • Network performance metrics
  • Network diagnostics tools
  • Intra and Inter-domain Routing
  • Network Address Translation
  • Security
  • MAC protocols
  • Physical layer overview
  • Programming networked services


If you cannot submit your homework, projects or be in class for the exam due to family, personal, or medical emergencies, you must document your case with the appropriate UH officials.

Academic Honesty

All the work you submit will be yours. If we find any evidence of plagarism, you will get an F in the course. Please refer to the Student Handbook for details: