CIS 5850‎ > ‎


 Course Overview

This course focuses mainly on the theoretical and practical aspects of computer communications and networking. Communication Theory, Network Architectures and Applications, Internet Infrastructure and Security, Cloud Computing Applications Wireless and Mobile Communications and peer-to-peer and client-server network implementations will be the major topics discussed in the class. The theoretical concepts of computer communications and networks will form an important and integral part of the course. It will be supplemented by practical examples of configuring a server and a few of its services. These services include the web service, the media streaming service and the network services such as DHCP and DNS services. Building an organizational computing infrastructure consisting of servers and clients in the cloud will be a contemporary topic of discussion in this course. Overall, the course draws from the strengths of the data communications course and the networking course offered at the undergraduate level but would scale the contents to include new developments in both the networking and communication fields.


Logistically, the first half of the quarter will focus on the theoretical concepts. Communications protocols and standards such as the TCP/IP protocol will feature prominently as a topic of discussion. The second half of the quarter will mostly be concerned with actual hands-on exercises in configuring a client-server network both at a physical location in the cloud. the application of computer communications. It would 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 of the configuration of a firewall.



The students completing this course would become familiar with the:
  • basic theory of computer communications and networking
  • ISO/OSI model and the TCP/IP protocol
  • hardware and software used in communications and networking
  • Internet infrastructure and standards
  • functional and physical network architectures
  • configuration and management of a peer-to-peer network
  • software and hardware firewall
  • installation and management of a small network server
  • configuration and management of a web server
  • configuration and management of a media server
  • emerging technologies in 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 None
 2 Communication Theory
 3 TCP/IP Protocol Suite
TCP/IP command line processing.
 4 Introduction to LANs
 5 P2P LANs and Firewalls
Configure a Windows P2P LAN and manage both users and resources; Explore software firewalls; Configure hardware firewalls.
 6 Windows Server Configuration
Install and manage a Windows Server.
 7 Web Server Configuration
Configure and manage a Web Server.
 8 Media Server Configuration
Configure and manage a Media Server.
 9 Project Presentations 1
 10 Project Presentations 2
 11 Final Examination  


 Assessment and Assignment of Letter Grade

The cumulative score on which the letter grades are based for the course will be computed based on the weights assigned to the individual components as follows:  
Examination   Contribution
 Midterm 1  20%
 Midterm 2  25%
 Final  40%
 Project  15%
 Total  100%
Note that there will be three examinations conducted comprising two mid-term examinations and one final examination. In addition, each student is required to participate in a group project. The percentage contribution from each component of the assessment criteria is provided only as a guideline. The actual percentages may vary marginally from the stated values depending on the number of questions given in the examinations and the emphasis placed on the class project. 
The 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 two 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 and cover the entire duration of the class.

The test will be composed primarily of multiple-choice questions. The number of questions will be 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. Two Scantrons are therefore recommended for the examination. The mid-term and the final are closed-book examinations with the exception of a cheat-sheet allowed during the course of each examination for use as a reference.

The coverage in each examination is not cumulative. The sections covered in each of the two midterm examinations are listed below.
Midterm Examination 1
Week  Topic  Questions (Approximate)
 1  Overview of Communications; Analog and Digital Technologies;
 2  Electronic and Optical Transmission; Digitization of Information; 
 Data Packets and Packet Switching
; Serial and Parallel Transmission;
Modulation and  Multiplexing;  Errors in Transmission
 3  Overview of TCP/IP; IP Addressing Explored; Subnetting and Routing;
 DNS and DHCP; TCP/IP in Windows; TCP/IP Commands and Applications
Midterm Examination 2
Week  Topic  Questions (Approximate)
 4  LAN Definition; Functional Architectures; Topologies and
 5  Networking Hardware and Infrastructure; Setting Up a P2P
 Network; Managing Users and Resources; Software Firewalls;
 Hardware Firewalls

Final Examination

The final examination will be held on the date and time printed on the Class Schedule. The duration is 2 hours and 30 minutes. Emphasis will be placed on the material covered after the last mid-term 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 be in the neighborhood of 100 to 125, again depending on the material covered during the period following the second 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 for use as a reference. 

Examinations are not cumulative in their coverage. The section covered in the final examinations are listed below with the approximate number of questions from each section.  
Week  Topic  Questions (Approximate)
 Windows Server Installation and Management
 7  Web Server Configuration and Management
 Media Server Configuration and Management

 9  Questions from Project Presentations
 10 Questions from Project Presentations

Examination Schedule 
Examination   Week  Time  Coverage
 Midterm 1  4th Wednesday, January 27th, 4:20 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Weeks 1-3
 Midterm 2  7th Wednesday, February 17th, 4:20 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Weeks 4-5
 Final  11th Monday, March 16th, 10:45 a.m. to 1:15  p.m.  Weeks 6-10

Policy on Make-up Examination

A make-up examination will not be conducted except under extreme and compelling conditions of personal distress.
Unfortunate circumstances relating to you or to an immediate family member may be considered only with appropriate documentation. Excuses will not be accepted during the week immediately preceding the midterm or final examinations. Any request for the assignment of an incomplete grade during this period will automatically 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  Penalty
 1 Week  15%
 2 or more Weeks   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.

The students will form groups of three or four students and carry out a class project. 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 under the web page entitled Project.  Also, the names of the students in each group and their email addresses are listed in the Project page along with the project topic chosen by each group.  

 Delivery of Instruction
The delivery of instruction will largely be based on the teaching material produced and hosted by the instructor on this website. The course material includes PowerPoint slides, multimedia lectures and demonstrations, copies of in-class notes, examination reviews and Internet references hosted on this website. 
In other words, this evolving website will also play an important role in the dissemination of course related information.

 References and Textbook
The primary reference for this course will be the course material hosed on this website. The following supplementary textbook is also recommend:

The textbook also contains useful information on the material covered in the course. The 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.

Electronic Delivery of Instruction
  • Information about the course will largely be disseminated through this website
  • Course slides for each week of lecture are available on this website for downloading 
  • The DVD produced by the instructor that contain the multimedia modules will be used as important teaching material
  • The DVDs will be distributed in the class to the students free of charge and they should be returned to the instructor immediately after making one legal copy for personal use by the student
  • 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 time period to facilitate Technology Mediated Learning (TML)
Examinations and Grading
  • The cumulative grade is composed of individual grades from the three examinations and the project work
  • The letter grade is assigned based on a curve representing the distribution of the cumulative score
  • The two midterm examinations will be held on the 4th and 7th weeks of the quarter respectively
  • The final examination will be held on the date and time printed in the class schedule
  • 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 and the submission of the presentation slides in electronic form
  • Project presentations are scheduled for the ninth and tenth weeks of the quarter 
  • The presentation slides are to be submitted immediately after the in-class presentation
  • The report is to be submitted on CD containing the PowerPoint slides or made available on a flash disk to be downloaded to the instructor's flash disk
  • The site addresses of all the websites referenced in the project must be included in the report and the references used in the presentation must all be clearly acknowledged on the slides

Office Hours and Location  

Location: Simpson Tower 615                  Phone:  323 343-2928         Email:   
Office Hours: MTW 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and MT 11:35 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.

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