Chris Pollett> CS158a
( Print View )

Student Corner:
[Lecture Notes]
[Discussion Board]

Course Info:
[Texts & Links]
[Course Outcomes]
[Outcomes Matrix]
[Course Schedule]
[Class Protocols]
[Exam Info]
[University Policies]

HW Assignments:
[Hw1] [Hw2] [Hw3]
[Hw4] [Hw5] [Quizzes]

Practice Exams:
[Midterm] [Final]

CS158a Spring 2023 Sec2 Home Page/Syllabus

Computer Networks

Instructor: Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Office Hours: MW 3:00-4:15pm
Class Meets:
Sec2 MW 4:30-5:45pm in MH222


To take this class you must have taken:
CS 47
with a grade of C- or better.

Texts and Links

Required Texts: Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, 6th Edition. L. Peterson and B. Davie
Online References and Other Links: Wireshark.


From the catalog: Introduction to computer networks, including network layered architectures, local and wide area networks, mobile wireless networks, Internet TCP/IP protocol suite, network resource management, network programming, network performance, network security, network applications.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

By the end of this course, a student should be able to:

CLO1 -- Understand layered architectures, OSI and TCP/IP models.

CLO2 -- Describe in detailed the seven layers in the OSI model, major functionalities in each layer, and the relationship with the TCP/IP model. Also be able to do the same for TCP/IP model.

CLO3 -- Analyze the performance metrics of networks, including bandwidth, delay, and error rate.

CLO4 -- 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.

CLO5 -- Understand network protocols, RIP and OSPF, and the details of IPv4 and IPv6.

CLO6 -- 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.

CLO7 -- Use networking tools including telnet, ping, traceroute, bing, and Ethereal to evaluate simple network characteristics.

CLO8 -- Understand concepts of data compression, network security (cryptography, message authentication, integrity check, key management) and protocols (IPSec, SSL, PGP). and advanced networking topics including VoIP.

Course Schedule

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

Week 1:Jan 25 Ch 1.1-1.2 Network Applications and Requirements
Week 2:Jan 30, Feb 1 Finish Ch 1 Network Architecture and Performance
Week 3:Feb 6, Feb 8 Network Tool Pass 1, Ch 2.1-2.3 Direct Links, Framing
Week 4:Feb 13(Hw1), Feb 15 Ch 2.3-2.6 Error-Detection, Reliable Transmission, Multiaccess Networks
Week 5:Feb 20, Feb 22 Ch 2.7-2.8 Wireless and Cellular Networks
Week 6:Feb 27, Mar 1 Ch 3.1-3.3 Switching and Ethernet, Internetworks
Week 7:Mar 6, Mar 8 Ch 3.4-3.5, 4.1 Routing, Switch Implementation, SDNs, Global Internet (BGP)
Week 8:Mar 13, Mar 15 Finish Ch 4, IP, IPv6, Multicast, Mobile Routing, and Network Tools
Week 9:Mar 20, Mar 22(Midterm) Review
Week 10:Mar 27, Mar 29 March Break
Week 11:Apr 3, Apr 5(Hw3) Ch 5.1-5.2 UDP and TCP
Week 12:Apr 10, Apr 12 Ch 5.3-5.4 Other Transport Protocols RPC, RTP, QUIC
Week 13:Apr 17, Apr 19 Ch 6 Congestion Control, Quality of Service
Week 14:Apr 24, Apr 26(Hw4) Ch 7 End-to-End Data
Week 15:May 1, May 3 Ch 8 Network Security
Week 16:May 8, May 10 Ch 9 Application Layer
Week 17:May 15(Hw5) Review
The final will be Wednesday, May 17 from 2:45pm-5:00pm


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 8 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.

Course Requirements, Homework, Quiz Info, and In-class exercises

This semester we will have five homeworks, weekly quizzes, and weekly in-class exercises.

Every Monday this semester, except the first day of class, the Midterm Review Day, and holidays, 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 with no partial credit being given. Out of the total of thirteen quizzes this semester, I will keep your ten best scores.

On Wednesday's, we will spend 15-20 minutes of class on an in-class exercise. You will be asked to post your solution to these exercises to the class discussion board. Doing so is worth 1 "insurance point" towards your grade. A "insurance point" can be used to get one missed point back on a midterm or final, up to half of that test's total score. For example, if you scored 0 on the midterm and have 10 insurance points, you can use your insurance points, so that your midterm score is a 10. On the other hand, if you score 18/20 on the midterm, you can use at most 1 insurance point since half of what you missed (2pts) on the midterm is 1pt.

Links to the current list of homeworks and quizzes can be found on the left hand side 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 using the Canvas link for the name of the homework. Hardcopies or e-mail versions of your assignments will be rejected and not receive credit. Homeworks will always be due by midnight according to the Canvas server 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.

Classroom Protocol

I will start lecturing close to the official start time for this class modulo getting tangled up in any audio/visual presentation tools I am using. Once I start lecturing, please refrain from talking to each other, answering your cell phone, etc. If something I am talking about is unclear to you, feel free to ask a question about it. Typically, on practice tests days, you will get to work in groups, and in so doing, turn your desks facing each other, etc. Please return your desks back to the way they were at the end of class. This class has an online class discussion board which can be used to post questions relating to the homework and tests. Please keep discussions on this board civil. This board will be moderated. Class and discussion board participation, although not a component of your grade, will be considered if you ask me to write you a letter of recommendation.


The midterm will be during class time on: Mar 22.

The final will be: Wednesday, May 17 from 2:45pm-5:00pm.

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. The final will cover material from the whole semester 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.


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.

University Policies and Procedures

Students registered for a College of Science (CoS) class with an in-person component should view the CoS COVID-19 and Monkeypox Training slides for updated CoS, SJSU, county, state and federal information and guidelines, and more information can be found on the SJSU Health Advisories website.

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at Below are some brief comments on some of these policies as they pertain to this class.

Academic Integrity

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. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development.


If you need a classroom accommodation for this class, and have registered with the Accessible Education Center, please come see me earlier rather than later in the semester to give me a heads up on how to be of assistance.