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Advanced Computer Networks

Instructor: Assistant Professor Shweta Jain


In the current information and mobility age, ubiquitous access to information is a reality and networked systems have become part of human existence. New network architectures and paradigms such as mobile ad-hoc networks, opportunistic networking and sensor network have been proposed since the invention of TCP/IP. Some ideas have been successful and are still relevant research topics while work on other is being phased out. Study of research topics that led to the developments in the past several decades, insight into the future of networking research and mastery of new research tools are important to prepare for graduate level research in this area. This course is designed to provide a stepping stone for students interested in pursuing networking research.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce advanced topics in computer networks. Algorithms and protocols at the application, transport, network and medium access layers as well as experimentation, simulation and modeling techniques will be covered. The course explores emerging research challenges in the field of information and content centric networks, last mile network access from wireless and mobile devices and new networking paradigms such as the Internet of Things. Potential topics include (a) principles of individual advanced network architectures such as MANET, mesh networks, sensor networks and opportunistic networks, (b) new directions in hybrid/heterogeneous networks for last mile connectivity, content distribution and people-centric applications (c) network simulation tools and testbeds such as ns3, click-modular router and GENI. This course assumes students with graduate level knowledge in Computer Networks, familiarity with Operating Systems, Statistics and proficiency in at least one programming language. The first part of this course is organized in traditional lectures, and the second part is organized in seminars. Students will have chance to study the state-of-art research in Computer Networks field that is particularly interesting to them, and work on a research paper accordingly. Course projects are required and involve programming and working with the Linux operating system. A tentative outline of topics is as follows:

List of Topics

  • Device to Device Communication Architectures: Algorithm and protocols designed for MANET, mesh, cellular and opportunistic networks. Students will read several classic research papers to understand the design choices and vision.
  • Content based Network Architectures: Principles of data dissemination, aggregation and caching that are applied to sensor networks, Internet of Things and other content based paradigms. Students will survey recent research publications on opportunistic networks and next generation content based networking ideas.
  • Applications: P2P, Social Networks, Cloud computing applications will be discussed for the IP network and similar applications for next generation networks. These discussions will be mainly led by students and moderated by the instructor.
  • Simulation and Experimentation: Introduction to performance analysis of new networking ideas using the Network Simulator -v3 (ns3), Click Modular Router and the GENI testbed. Students will complete lab exercises that demonstrate various capabilities of the aforementioned tools..

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Present the design principles and core ideas behind several advanced computer network architectures to academic audiences.
  • Lead discussions on current topics in network protocols, algorithms, applications and architecture research in both device to device communication and content networking paradigms.
  • Design simulation and experiments to demonstrate the working of computer network protocols and algorithms.


The student learning goals will be evaluated based on the following criterion:

Objectives Weight
Midterm (Design principles of classic ACN research topics) 15
Research discussions (Final paper reflecting on new ideas) 25
Project 1 (Simulation using ns3) 20
Project 2 (Click Modular Router Experiment) 15
Project 3 (GENI Experiment) 15
Final Exam (Design principles of current ACN research topics) 30