CIS 4840‎ > ‎


 Course Overview

This course focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of computer communications and networking. Communication Theory, Communication Trends, Emerging and Traditional Communication Applications, Internet Infrastructure, Network Security, Cloud Computing, Wireless and Mobile Communications and Computer Networks will be some of the topics covered in this course.  These topics will be covered from a communications and networking perspective. The theoretical concepts of computer communications will form an important and integral part of the course. It will be supplemented by practical examples in the application of computer communications and networking.


The first half of the quarter will focus on the theoretical concepts. Communication protocols and standards such as the TCP/IP suite of protocols will feature prominently during this part of the quarter. The second half of the quarter will mostly be concerned with the applications of computer communications and networking. The applications will include demonstrations and hands-on lab sessions that would explore both wired and wireless communications using the Windows operating system. In addition, both the theory and application of secured communication will be covered with a demonstration showing the configuration of a firewall. The emerging area of Cloud Computing will also be explored during the latter part of the quarter. In particular, hosting applications in the cloud using a cloud service such as Azure will be explored.



The students completing this course will be able to:
  • demonstrate an understanding of the basic theory of computer communications and networking
  • differentiate between major communication technologies such as packet switching and circuit switching
  • explain the ISO/OSI model
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the TCP/IP suite of protocols
  • identify the prominent hardware and software used in communications
  • describe the Internet infrastructure a
  • explain the standards and technologies used in the functioning of the Internet 
  • compare and contrast the functional and physical architectures of computer networks
  • implement a peer-to-peer network and share network resources
  • outline wireless communication technologies and applications 
  • describe different types of secured communications
  • explain the functionality of hardware and software firewalls
  • understand emerging technologies in computer communications and networking

 Weekly Plan

The weekly plan for the topics to be covered in the lectures, demonstrations and hands-on exercises are as follows: 
 Week                      Lecture Topic                                      Lab Assignment
 1 Introduction to Communications
 2 Analog and Digital Communications None
 3 Data Transmission Concepts None
 4 ISO/OSI and TCP/IP Fundamentals
 5 TCP/IP Applications Configuring a Host file, remote computing with FTP and Telnet, remote website management and TCP/IP command line processing.
 6 Communication Hardware and InfrastructureFamiliarization with communication media, communication ports, and network hardware. 
 7 LAN Theory Demonstrations of the following: Network hardware, Windows resource sharing and thin-client computing. 
 8 Peer-to-Peer and Wireless Networking Configuring a peer-to-peer network, testing and troubleshooting client connectivity, exploring the network, file and printer sharing and wireless networking.  
 9 Security and Reliability Demonstration of VPN, firewall configuration (switching, Network Address Translation (NAT) and DHCP) and advanced wireless security.
 10 Project Presentations Presentations
 10 Cloud Computing Applications Bonus Lecture
 11 Final Examination  


 Assessment and Letter Grade

Three examinations, two midterm examinations and one final examination, will be conducted during the course of the quarter.  In addition, the students are required to participate in a group project. The cumulative score on which the letter grade is based will be computed from the scores received for the three examinations and the project work. The approximate percentage contributions from the three examinations and the project towards the final grade are as follows:
Examination   Contribution
 Midterm 1  20%
 Midterm 2  25%
 Final  40%
 Project  15%
 Total  100%
The final letter grade will be assigned based on a curve representing the cumulative score distribution of the students in the class.

Students are required to carry a valid student ID with them at all times both during regular class meetings and during examinations.  
Midterm Examinations 

The first and the second mid-term examinations will be held on the fourth and seventh weeks respectively. For the night classes, the examination will begin at 8:00 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m. For the classes that meet twice a week during the day time, the examinations will be held on the second class meeting of the fourth and seventh weeks respectively. In this case, the examination will commence at the beginning of the class meeting. The duration of each midterm examination is 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

The tests will be composed primarily of multiple-choice questions. For each examination, the number of questions will vary between 100 and 125 depending on the material covered prior to the examination. In each examination, the focus will be on material covered from the time of the last examination. In other words, the material covered in each exam is not cumulative. Student are required to bring two Scantrons to each examination. Both midterm examinations are closed-book examinations with the exception of a cheat-sheet allowed as a reference during the examination.

An listing of the topics covered in each examination is as follows:
Midterm Examination 1
Week  Topic  Questions (Approximate)
 1  Communication Trends  
 2  Overview of Analog and Digital Technologies  

 Digitization of Data  

 Digitization of Audio  

 Digitization of Image  

 Digitization of Video  
 3  Electronic and Optical Transmission  
   Formatting of Information for Transmission  
   Asynchronous and Synchronous Transmission  

 Serial and Parallel Transmission Standards  

  Error in Communications
Midterm Examination 2
Week  Topic  Questions (Approximate)
 4  ISO/OSI Model

 Overview of TCP/IP  

 IP Addressing Explored  

 Subnetting and Routing
 DNS and Host Name Resolution  

 TCP/IP in the Windows

 TCP/IP Commands  
 6  Communication Media
  Microcomputer and Communications
   Internet Infrastructure

Final Examination

The final examination will be held on the date and time printed on the Class Schedule. The duration of the examination is 2 hours and 30 minutes. Emphasis will be placed on the material covered after the last midterm examination. The examination may also include an essay component in addition to the section containing multiple-choice questions. The number of multiple-choice questions will vary between100 to 125, again depending on the material covered after the second midterm examination.  

Two Scantrons are therefore required for the final examination. The number of essay questions, if present, will vary between 2 and 4. The final examination will also be a closed-book examination with the exception of a cheat-sheet allowed during the course of the examination to be used as a reference

Examinations are not cumulative in their coverage. An outline of the topics covered in the final examination are as follows:
Week  Topic  Questions (Approximate)
 LAN Definition and Function

 LAN Functional Architectures  

 Topologies and Protocols

 Network Hardware

 8  P2P: Configuration Overview  

 Network Adapter Configuration  
  Client Configuration

 Protocol Configuration  

 Naming and Joining a Network

 Troubleshooting a Client  

 Creating a User

 Folder Sharing

 Sharing Network Resources

  Sharing Network Printers
 9  Introduction to Security

  Network Reliability
  Introduction to Firewalls
  Software Firewalls

 Hardware Firewalls  
    Advanced Hardware Firewall Features

Examination Schedule 
Examination   Week  Time  Coverage
 Midterm 1  4th
Midterm 1 Schedule
 Weeks 1-3
 Midterm 2  7th Midterm 2 Schedule
 Weeks 4-6
 Final  11th  As printed in the schedule  Weeks 7-10

Policy on Make-up Examination

A make-up examination is not normally offered except under compelling circumstances. Emergency situations may be considered only with appropriate documentation. Excuses will not be accepted during the week immediately preceding the midterm or final examinations. In this case, any request for the assignment of an incomplete grade will be rejected.

In the extreme event that a make-up examination is conducted, the penalties assigned due to the delay in conducting the examination will be as follows:

Examination Delay Penalties

  • 1 Week 15% 
  • 2 Weeks or more 25%
No examination will be conducted prior to the scheduled examination dates. There will not be a make-up examination conducted for the final examination.

A group project is required as part of the course. The number of students in each group can vary from three to four. The project may explore new technologies in communications or experiment with the actual implementation of a particular communication application. The project requirements are described in detail on the webpage entitled Project.  Also, the names of the students in each group, the project topic and the presentation schedule are listed on this Project webpage.   

 Delivery of Instruction
This evolving website will play an important role in disseminating course related information. In-class meetings may be reduced by a certain length of time to enable the students to take full advantage of Technology Mediated Learning (TML). TML will be facilitated by this website and the ongoing development and release of multimedia instructional modules.

The primary reference for this course will be the course material presented on this website. 
The textbook also contains useful information on the material covered in the course. Websites hosted by computer magazines and companies involved with communications and networking are recommended as supplementary references. Examples in this case include websites hosted by CISCO, Microsoft and Windows Networking.


The recommended textbook shown above can be purchased at the University bookstore.

Student ID and Enrollment
  • Students are required to carry a student ID with them at all times, both during regular class meetings and during examinations.
  • Students not enrolled in the class will not be given a grade even though they sit for examinations and complete their lab assignments. A grade change request will not be approved in this case.
  • It is the responsibility of the students to check and ensure, on the second week of the quarter, that they are officially enrolled in the class.

Electronic Delivery of Instruction
  • Information about the course will largely be disseminated through this website
  • Course slides, notes and video tutorials for each week of lecture are available on this website for downloading 
  • Students are required to bring a headphone with a volume control to each class meeting
  • A USB flash disk with a minimum of 16G Bytes of storage space is recommended for downloading newer multimedia lecture modules
  • Duration of class meetings may be reduced by an appropriate length of time to facilitate Technology Mediated Learning (TML)
Examinations and Grading
  • The cumulative grade is composed of individual grades received from the three examinations and the project work
  • The letter grade is assigned based on a curve depicting the distribution of the cumulative scores of students in the class
  • The two midterm examinations will be conducted on the 4th and 7th weeks of the quarter respectively
  • The final examination will be held on the date and time printed on the class schedule obtained from the following link: Final Exam 
  • A cheat-sheet is allowed for both the mid-term and the final examinations
  • A make-up examination is not normally offered
Class Project
  • A group project is to be completed where the end result would be a group presentation
  • The project report is essentially the presentation slides to be submitted electronically 
  • Students will be required to create a OneDrive folder for storing and sharing the project presentation
  • Project presentations are scheduled for the ninth and tenth weeks of the quarter 
  • The presentation slides are due immediately after the in-class presentation
  • A separate report other than the presentation slides is not required
  • Appropriate citations must be included for material from sources obtained and included in the slides

Office Hours and Location (Fall 2015)

Location: Simpson Tower 609                 Phone:  323 343-2928         Email:   
Office Hours: Please see the bottom section of the home page.

(c) Nanda Ganesan, Ph.D. All rights reserved.