EE E4710 An Introduction to Network Engineering

Call number 76253

[Go to Syllabus / Get Homeworks][Get this info in postscript,pdf ]
Lecturer/Manager  Professor Dan Rubenstein
Office hours: Location: CEPSR 816
Weekly time: Tue 4-5pm, Wed 11-12pm
Also at other times by appointment 
Office phone: (212) 854-0050
Email address:
Day & Time Class  
Meets on Campus:
Mon,Wed 9:10-10:25am 
Location: Mudd 1024
Credits for Course: 3
Class Type: Lecture
Teaching Assistant: Tianbai (Richard) Ma (
  • Office: CEPSR 8LE5
  • Office Hours: M 2:30-3:30pm, Th 4:30-5:30pm
  • Mailbox: Outside 1312 Mudd
  • Phone: TBD
  • Prerequisites: 
  • SIEO W3658 or equivalent intro probability course
  • ELEN E3701 (theory of communication) recommended but not required.
  • Description: 

    The material covered in this course compliments the material being covered in COMS 4119: Computer Networks. Both courses can be taken for credit. Both courses will cover topics that relate to the current Internet, but the manner in which these topics will be addressed is significantly different, in that COMS 4119 will focus more on software and protocol issues (programming, header formats, etc.) and ELEN 4710 will focus more on theoretical and modeling issues (protocol analysis, graph and stochastic program models). 4710 will contain more math, while 4119 will contain more programming.

    Topics: Covers theoretical fundamentals of network engineering. Topics include theoretical underpinnings of the physical layer; design, protocols and analysis of the data-link layer and medium access sublayer; design, routing algorithms and prefix addressing for the network layer, and evaluation of congestion control and connection setup/teardown algorithms for the transport layer.  

    Required text(s): 
    • Dimitri Bertsekas and Robert Gallager Data Networks (2nd ed.), Prentice Hall, 1992. ISBN 0-13-200916-1. 

    Reference text(s): 
    • Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks (3rd ed.), Prentice Hall, 1996. ISBN 0-13-349945-64 

    • James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross, Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet, Addison-Wesley, 2000. ISBN 0-20-147711-4 

    • Alberto Leon-Garcia and Indra Widjaja, Communication Networks: Fundamental Concepts and Key Architectures, McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN 0-07-022839-6. 

    • Srinivasan Keshav, An Engineering Approach to Computer Networking, Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-63442. 

    • Jean Walrand and Pravin Varaiya, High Performance Communication Networkse (2nd ed.), Morgan Kaufmann, 1999. ISBN 1-55860-574-6 . 

    • Jean Walrand, Communication Networks: A First Course (2nd ed.), McGraw-Hill, 1998. ISBN 0-256-17404-0. 
    Homework(s):  Non-CVN students: Unless otherwise specified, homework will be due one week after it is assigned and should be turned in by the beginning of class. At that time, a physical copy of the assignment must be received. If you will not attend class on that day, you should slide the homework under my office door (CEPSR 816) or in my mailbox (Mudd 1312) by 9am on the day it is due. Before class but after 9am, I will collect the homeworks from my office and mailbox. E-mailed/faxed homework and late assignments will not be accepted unless approved in advance. Approval will only be given under extreme circumstances. You are expected to produce your work in a timely manner. CVN students have an extra 48 hours to turn in homework.

    You may discuss and work on questions with other students in the class. However, you should write your solutions on your own. In other words, if I were to later ask you to re-derive one of your homework solutions or to solve a similar problem when you were without your friends, you should be able to do so or have a clear understanding of how to approach the problem. This can only be learned by doing, so you should do your homework. 

    Midterm exam:  10/13 during classtime, closed book, no calculators 
    Final exam:  Date/time TBD 
    A note on effort:  Your grade will mainly be a reflection of how you perform on the midterm and final. Homework grades don't have much of an effect, as long as homework is turned in (i.e., most students typically get most of the problems right). You should do the homework so that you learn the material. If you find yourself copying or getting solutions from someone else without putting in the effort of solving them yourself, you'll probably find yourself doing poorly on the exams. You won't get much sympathy from me if you come crying to me at the end of the term that you did well on the homework yet poorly on the midterm and final.

    If you are worried about doing poorly on the midterm and final, despite the fact that you do follow the material, my advice is to be proactive: show me that you understand the material. Be active in class, come to office hours and show me what you have done on the problem and where you are finding the concepts confusing. I highly value such participation. However, coming to office hours and just listening to me does not demonstrate your knoweldge of the material.  

    Grading:  Assignments 20%, midterm 35%, final 45%. On-campus students can also improve their standing by class / office hour participation 
    A note on exams:  I am more interested in your gaining an understanding of and developing an intuition for why certain rules, laws, and techniques hold and are used. I am less interested in your ability to memorize these rules, laws and techniques and blindly apply them without intuition as to why they work. Thus, I will try to design the midterm and final questions to test your understanding of the concepts, not your memorization skills. I realize that some memorization will undoubtebly be required, but hopefully the memorized concepts will be those that can be rederived via your intuition.
    Computer hardware and software requirements:  None 
    Homework submission:  Due 1 week after assignment before class. 

    Course Outline

    Schedule subject to change.
    Date   #   Topics/chapters covered   Reading (before class)   Assigned   Due  
    9/8   1   Intro / Internet Protocol Stack   Chapter 1      
    9/13   2   Probability refresher: discrete     HW #1 [PS,PDF] (due 9/20)    
    9/15   3   Probability refresher: continuous        
    9/20   4   Physical Layer     HW #2 [PS,PDF] (due 9/27)   HW #1 (solutions) [PDF]  
    9/22   5   Datalink Layer: Error Detection and Correction   Chapter 3-3.3      
    9/27   6   Datalink Layer: stop & wait, sliding window and their analysis   Section 2.3     HW #2 (solutions) [PDF]  
    9/29   7   Datalink Layer: Medium Access sublayer, collision avoidance: TDMA, FDMA, CDMA        
    10/4   8   Network Layer: Shortest path routing algorithms   Chapter 4-4.2, 4.4      
    10/6   9   Prof. Rubenstein out of town: NO CLASS        
    10/11   10   Network Layer: Distance Vector and Link State     HW #3 [PS,PDF] (due 10/25)    
    10/13   11   Network Layer: Multicast, Tunneling        
    10/18   12   Prof. Rubenstein out of town: NO CLASS        
    10/20   13   Prof. Rubenstein out of town: NO CLASS        
    10/25   14   Network Layer: Addressing (CIDR)   Chapter 5-5.2     HW #3 (solutions) [PDF]  
    10/27   15   MIDTERM EXAM        
    11/1   16   Election Day: NO CLASS        
    11/3   17   Network Layer wrapup        
    11/8   18   Transport Layer: reliability     HW #4 [PS,PDF] (due 11/15)    
    11/10   19   Transport Layer: congestion control        
    11/15   20   Transport Layer: congestion control II (AQM)        
    11/17   21   Transport Layer: multimedia (jitter control, ...)     HW #5 [PS,PDF] (due 11/24)   HW #4 (solutions) [PDF]  
    11/22   22   Transport Layer: Multicast group concept        
    11/24   23   Transport Layer: Fairness I (TCP, max-min)   Chapter 2.4-2.6     HW #5 (solutions) [PDF]  
    11/29   24   Transport Layer: Fairness II (proportional)     HW #6 [PS,PDF] (due 12/6)    
    12/1   25   Transport Layer: wrapup        
    12/6   26   Application Layer: DNS model   Chapter 2.9, Chapter 6   HW #7 [PS,PDF] (due 12/13)   HW #6 (solutions) [PDF]  
    12/8   27   Application Layer: P2P model        
    12/13   28   Large-scale phenomena: self-similar traffic, heavy-tailed distributions       HW #7 (solutions) [PDF]  
    12/22     Final Exam 9am-12pm, Mudd 1024        

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