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CS158aSpring 2009Sec2Home Page/Syllabus

Computer Networks

Instructor: Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Office Hours: MW 3pm-5:15pm
Class Meets:
Sec2 MW 5:30pm-6:45pm in MH225


To take this class you must have taken: CS146 and CS147 with a grade of C- or better.

Texts and Links

Required Texts: Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, 4th Edition. by RL. Peterson and B. Davie
Online References and Other Links: Wireshark.
Cisco Networking Laboratory.

Topics and Outcomes

The goal of this course is to provide computer science students with fundamental knowledge of computer communication networks, including various communication protocols of local area networks, the internet, and wireless networks. By the end of this course, you should be able to: (1) Understand layered architectures. (2) Describe in detailed the seven layers in the OSI model, major functionalities in each layer, and the relationship with the TCP/IP model. (3) Analyze the performance metrics of networks, including bandwidth, delay, and error rate. (4) Describe local area network protocols including Ethernet, Token Ring, and Wireless LAN, and their major schemes such as Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) in IEEE 802.1D. (5) Develop a software simulator for local area network protocols. (6) Understand network protocols, RIP and OSPF, and the details of IPv4. (7) Develop a software simulator simulating RIP, OSPF, forwarding and subnetting in IPv4. (8) Understand TCP and UDP, and develop software for servers and clients of socket programming, and use them to measure the performance (including throughput and bandwidth) of real networks. (9) Use networking tools including telnet, ping, traceroute, bing, and Wireshark to evaluate simple network characteristics. (10) Understand concepts of data compression, network security and protocols.

Below is a tentative time table for when we'll do things this quarter:

Week 1: Jan 26, Jan 28 Read 1.1-1.3
Week 2: Feb 2, Feb 4 Finish Ch 1
Week 3: Feb 9, Feb 11 Read Ch 2.1-2.3
Week 4: Feb 16, Feb 18 Read Ch 2.4-2.6
Week 5: Feb 21, Feb 23 Read Ch 2.7-2.9
Week 6: Mar 2, Mar 4 Read Ch 3.1-3.3
Week 7: Mar 9, Mar 11 Finish Ch 3
Week 8: Mar 16, Mar 18 Review
Week 9: Mar 23, Mar 25 Spring break
Week 10: Mar 30, Apr 1 Read Ch 4.1-4.2
Week 11: Apr 6, Apr 8 Read Ch 4.3-4.4
Week 12: Apr 13, Apr 15 Finish Ch 4
Week 13: Apr 20, Apr 22 Read Ch 5.1-5.3
Week 14: Apr 27, Apr 29 Finish Ch 5
Week 15: May 4, May 6 Read Ch 6.1-6.2
Week 16: May 11, May 13 Read Ch 6.3, Review
The final will be Monday, May 18 from 5:15-7:30


HWs and Quizzes 50%
Midterm 20%
Final 30%

Grades will be calculated in the following manner: The person or persons with the highest aggregate score will receive an A+. A score of 55 will be the cut-off for a C-. The region between this high and low score will be divided into eight equal-sized regions. From the top region to the low region, a score falling within a region receives the grade: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-. If the boundary between an A and an A- is 85, then the score 85 counts as an A-. Scores below 55 but above 50 receive the grade D. Those below 50 receive the grade F.

If you do better than an A- in this class and want me to write you a letter of recommendation, I will generally be willing provided you ask me within two years of taking my course. Be advised that I write better letters if I know you to some degree.

Homework and Quiz Info

This semester we will have five homeworks and weekly quizzes. Every Monday this semester, except the first day of class, the Midterm Review Day, and Spring Break; there will be a quiz on the previous week's material. The answer to the quiz will either be multiple choice, true-false, or a simple numeric answer that does not require a calculator. Each quiz is worth a maximum of 1pt. Out of the total of fourteen quizzes this semester, I will keep your ten best scores.

Links to the current list of homeworks and quizzes can be found on the left hand frame of the class homepage. After an assignment has been returned a link to its solution (based on the best student solutions) will be placed off the assignment page. Material from assignments may appear on midterms and finals. For homeworks you are encouraged to work in groups of up to three people. Only one person out of this group needs to submit the homework assignment; however, the members of the group need to be clearly identified in all submitted files. Homeworks for this class will be submitted and returned completely electronically. To submit an assignment click on the submit homework link for your section on the left hand side of the homepage and filling out the on-line form. Hardcopies or e-mail versions of your assignments will be rejected and not receive credit. Homeworks will always be due by the start of class on the day their due. Late homeworks will not be accepted and missed quizzes cannot be made up; however, your lowest score amongst the five homeworks and your quiz total will be dropped.

When doing the programming part of an assignment please make sure to adhere to the specification given as closely as possible. Names of files should be as given, etc. Failure to follow the specification may result in your homework not being graded and you receiving a zero for your work.


The midterms will be during class time on: Mar 18.

The final will be: Monday, May 18 from 5:15-7:30.

All exams are closed book, closed notes and in this classroom. You will be allowed only the test and your pen or pencil on your desk during these exams. Beeper or cell-phone interruptions will result in immediate excusal from the test. The final will cover material from the whole quarter although there will be an emphasis on material after the last midterm. No make ups will be given. The final exam may be scaled to replace a midterm grade if it was missed under provably legitimate circumstances. These exams will test whether or not you have mastered the material both presented in class or assigned as homework during the quarter. My exams usually consist of a series of essay style questions. I try to avoid making tricky problems. The week before each exam I will give out a list of problems representative of the level of difficulty of problems the student will be expected to answer on the exam. Any disputes concerning grades on exams should be directed to me, Professor Pollett.

The engineering department on campus has developed a series of labs to teach students about Cisco networking equipment. If you do at least four of these labs and turn in transcripts of them to me before the last day of class, I will give half credit back on the score of either your midterm or the final, whichever benefits you more.


If you believe an error was made in the grading of your program or exam, you may request in person a regrade from me, Professor Pollett, during my office hours. I do not accept e-mail requests for regrades. A request for a regrade must be made no more than a week after the homework or a midterm is returned. If you cannot find me before the end of the semester and you would like to request a regrade of your final, you may see me in person at the start of the immediately following semester.

Academic Honesty

Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University, and the University's Academic Integrity Policy requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The policy on academic integrity can be found at

Specifically, for this class, you should obviously not cheat on tests. For homeworks, you should not discuss or share code or problem solutions between groups! At a minimum a 0 on the assignment or test will be given. A student caught using resources like Rent-a-coder will receive an F for the course and be referred to University for disciplinary action.

Additional Policies and Procedures

The campus policy to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is:
"If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities register with DRC to establish a record of their disability."

More information about SJSU policies and procedures can be found at the following links: