First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Engineering
Course unit
INP3050962, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
IN0521, Degree course structure A.Y. 2009/10, A.Y. 2018/19
bring this page
with you
Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination COMPUTER NETWORKS
Department of reference Department of Information Engineering
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge ANDREA ZANELLA ING-INF/03
Other lecturers SIMONE FRISO 000000000000

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses ING-INF/05 Data Processing Systems 9.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 1 24.0 4
Lecture 8.0 62 138.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2018
End of activities 18/01/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2009 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2 A.A. 2018/2019 01/10/2018 15/03/2020 ZANELLA ANDREA (Presidente)
FRISO SIMONE (Supplente)
1 A.A. 2017/2018 01/10/2017 15/03/2019 ZANELLA ANDREA (Presidente)
MILANI SIMONE (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Students are expected to be familiar with the most basic networking and communication concepts and terms (ISO/OSI model, packet-based networks, routing), and basic mathematical and probability theory background. Basic computer skills are required for the lab experiences. Introductory courses on Linux and MATLAB fundamentals are offered on a volunteer basis by lab technicians before the beginning of the course (see for further details).
Target skills and knowledge: The course provides the fundamentals of modern telecommunications networks, both from a practical and theoretical perspective, including the essential mathematical tools for the design and dimensioning of a communication network, and its performance analysis.

The course will provide the following knowledge and skills:
1. To know and understand the architecture of the Internet.
2. To know the characteristics of the different types of data sources and their mathematical modeling.
3. To understand the main protocol design principles.
4. To know and understand the operating principles of the main network protocols (MAC, DLL, IP, UDP, TCP, FTP, HTTP).
5. To understand the role and functioning of the fundamental elements of the Internet, such as NAT, DHCP, DNS, SMPT servers.
6. To master the mathematical tools need to dimension a simple communication network and evaluate its performance.
7. To be able to set up and run a simple local network
8. To become familiar with fundamental tools for network configuration and diagnostics (packet sniffer, Tcpdump, ping, iperf, ifconfig,...).
Examination methods: The final exam will be the same for both ATTENDING and NON-ATTENDING students since it does not rely on in-class activities. The exam consists of two parts, namely:
1) a Written exam at the computer [worth 25 points]: it consists of 16 multi-choice questions that have to be answered in 20 minutes without using books, notes or any other consultation material, followed by 2 numerical questions that have to be answered in 10 minutes, possibly using book and notes.
2) Lab test [worth 10 points]: the students will be required to take a lab test that may consist in creating a network with a given topology using the network emulator "netkit" (which is freely available and will be used in some of the lab experiences during the course). The experience may require to complete the routing tables of some nodes based on a given network planning scheme, and may also require to configure some servers, or to perform some connectivity measurements or to analyze the trace file generated by a packet-sniffer. Students will be given 90' to accomplish these tasks.

During in-class lectures, the students may be offered to participate to some (in class or at home) activities, such as peer-reviewing of other students' reports, participating in-class discussion and taking part to problem-solving competitions. The active participation to such initiatives may bring a few extra points (up to 4) to the students.

The final grade will be based on the sum "S" of the points gained by the students in the two tests and for the other activities, according to the following scheme:
* if S<=30, the grade will be equal to "S"
* if S=31 or S=32, the final grade will be "30"
* if S>=33, the grade will be "30 e lode" (summa cum laude).

Students will be offered four attempts to pass the written and the lab tests: two at the end of the first semester (Jan.-Feb.), one at the end of the second semester (Jun.-Jul.), one in the recovery session (Sep.). The written and lab tests will always be offered on the same days, but the students can decide whether to take either one of them or both. Students can take all the attempts they are offered, in the order they prefer. However, every attempt overwrites the previous results for that part of the exam, i.e., only the points gained in the last taken attempt will be considered for each part of the exam.

Students that have passed the written exam with at least 17 points have the possibility to ask for an ORAL EXAM, irrespective of the results obtained in the lab test. The oral exam will cover the whole syllabus of the course and the final grade will only be based on the performance of the student during this exam, irrespective of the results obtained in the other tests.
Assessment criteria: The evaluation criteria to assess the achievement of the course's educational goals are the following:
1. Completeness of the acquired knowledge
2. Level of understanding of the design principles of network protocols
3. Ability to discuss the pros and cons of the different network protocols
4. Ability to dimension a network through the proposed techniques
5. Knowledge of the technical terminology
6. Competence and coherence in the interpretation of performance curves and traces generated by network analytics tools
7. Capability of applying the learned knowledge to network problems other than those addressed in the course
8. Level of familiarity with basic network configuration and management tools
Course unit contents: The beginning of the course is devoted to a quick review of basic networking and performance analysis concepts, such as terminology, standards, protocols structure, communication device. The major part of the course is devoted to the study of the most prominent networking protocols and algorithms, with reference to state of the art technologies. In particular, the course will be introductory to the architecture and the protocols of Internet and to the performance analysis of the most common medium access control, link layer and transport protocols. The theoretical lessons will be completed by practical experiences in lab, which will cover the following topics: basic network configuration and diagnostic tools (with Netkit), Static routing (with Netkit and with Cisco router), configuration of DHCP, DNS, and Firewall.

More specifically, the syllabus of the course is organzied as follows.

1. Introduction to the course. Course structure & Labs. Exam procedures and rules.
2. Network architectures: PAN, LAN, WAN. Internet architecture: autonomous systems, Internet Service Providers, Network Access Ponts. Governing bodies: IETF, IANA, ICANN, RIR, IEEE.
3. ISO/OSI model. Concepts of layers, protocols, interfaces. Embedding principle.
4. Data Link Layer. DLL services and functionalities. MAC protocols. Example of practical MAC protocols (Ethernet, IEEE 802.11n, Bluetooth LE, LoRa).
5. Internetworking fundamentals: Internetworking devices (hubs, bridges, switches, and routers).
6. Addressing architecture. IP addresses architecture, public & private. DHCP, Intranet, and NAT. ARP. IP protocol. ICMP.
7. Routing: Autonomous systems. IGP (RIP, OSPF), BGP.
8. Transport layer: principle of congestion control and flow control. UDP, TCP protocol description. Performance analysis of TCP. Congestion control and Quality of Service aspects.
9. Applications: Client-server paradigm. Main application protocols (SMPT, FTP, HTTP). DASH protocol for dynamic video streaming over HTTP. Introduction to security aspects.
10. Quality of service. Performance metrics. Quality of service and quality of experience. Types of data source, CBR, VBR, Bursty, delay-sensitive/elastic. Basic traffic source modeling. Introduction to the Software Defined Networks principle.

The lab experiences are the following.
LAB1: Intro bash linux+netkit + wireshark
LAB2: static routing with netkit
LAB3: ARP protocol
LAB4: intro to Cisco router operating system (IOS) and static route programming
LAB5: Firewall & iptables
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course consists of both classroom and lab lectures. Classroom lectures are mainly theoretical in nature and are oriented to the acquisition of basic knowledge of the protocols, as well as methodologies for the design and analysis of network performance. The lab lessons are typically organized in shifts and aim to allow the student to experiment with the concepts learned on real devices. During the course, homework and exercises to be carried out on a voluntary basis will also be offered to check the level of learning and broaden the knowledge.

The frontal teaching activities involve the use of tablet computers (transparencies + digital ink). The lab experiences will involve the use of the network emulator netkit, lab PCs with root privileges, and CISCO routers.
Additional notes about suggested reading: A textbook for the topics related to protocol description will be suggested. Lecture notes, slides, papers, and other material will be handed out during the course

All the material will be made available on the moodle (e-learning) website of the course.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Behrouz Forouzan, "Data Communications and Networking". --: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math; 5 edit, 2012. Cerca nel catalogo
  • N. Benvenuto and M. Zorzi, Principles of Communications Networks and Systems. --: Wiley, 2011. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Behrouz Forouzan, "Reti di calcolatori e Internet". --: McGraw-Hill Companies, ISBN-13:9788, 2008. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Working in group
  • Problem solving
  • Peer assessment
  • Auto correcting quizzes or tests for periodic feedback or exams
  • Students peer review

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Decent Work and Economic Growth Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Sustainable Cities and Communities