EE E6762 Broadband Networks: Special Topic - Large-Scale Multimedia Networking

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SUMMER STUDENTS 2002: Look at this before continuing on.
SUMMER STUDENTS 2001: Look at this before continuing on.

Please also see the handout from the initial lecture about the course (postscript)
Lecturer/Manager  Professor Dan Rubenstein
Office hours: Location: CEPSR 816
Weekly time: Tu, 2-4pm or by appt 
Office phone: (212) 854-0050
Email address:
Day & Time Class  
Meets on Campus:
Wed 1:35-4:05pm 
Location: 1024 Mudd
Credits for Course: 3.0
Class Type: Seminar
Teaching Assistant: NONE
  • EE6761 or equivalent
  • Familiarity with data structures and algorithms.
  • A course in probability is recommended. 
Description:  The Internet was conceived as a means to transmit data with very loose timing and quality of service (QoS) requirements. Applications such as FTP, e-mail, static web-page delivery, and MP3-swapping work well in this environment. However, it is believed by many that the Internet can be extended to be the dominant carrier of multimedia communication, such as broadcast radio, broadcast TV, telephony, televideo-conferencing, and gaming. Already, numerous multimedia applications are being deployed. However, transmission quality, over the Internet is often poor, and, at best, unpredictable, leading to a continued dependence on alternative means for most multimedia communication (e.g., telephone networks, television [cable], radio [AM/FM]). It is clear that in itscurrent state, the Internet cannot meet the requirements of existing and upcoming multimedia applications. This seminar will explore ways in which researchers are proposing changes to how we use the Internet to support and deliver multimedia-based applications. The seminar will focus on four apsects of this problem
  • What is the current status of multimedia networking?
    • What are the applications in use today?
    • What protocols are being used or designed for use upon the current networking infrastructure?
    • What is the current networking infrastructure? (how do multicast, DSL, cable, wireless, autonomous domains, etc.)
  • What can be done at the application and transport layers to improve performance of multimedia communication?
    • Congestion Control: TCP-friendliness, flow aggregation
    • Traffic distribution: proxies, overlay architectures, mirroring, pyramid broadcasting
  • What can be done at the network layer to improve performance of multimedia communication?
    • QoS routing
    • traffic classification / reservations / admission control and policing (e.g., IntServ, DiffServ)
  • How should resources be divided?
    • Fairness: how should bandwidth be shared "fairly" among applications with varying requirements and needs?
    • Pricing: how should the network charge for its use?
The structure of the course will be seminar-style. Much of the reading will be drawn from current papers and on-line documentation. Students will be expected to write short summaries of the papers for each class, and (depending upon class size), either do a presentation in class or do a project.  
Required text(s): 
  • Most likely, no text will be required

Reference text(s): 
  • 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. 

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

  • Larry L. Peterson and Bruce S. Davie Computer Networks: A Systems Approach (2nd ed.), Mogran-Kaufmann, 1999. ISBN 1-55860-514-2 

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

  • Also, additional readings, class notes, copies of slides and reference documents will be available on Columbia machines. 
Homework(s):  Each week, every student should either produce a conference-like review of one of the papers, or a paragraph describing what the papers "left out", i.e., what still needs to be done. The one-paragraph description is preferred, but students have the option of the review if they do not have any ideas on where future work should lead for a given area.  
Project(s):  TBD - depends on the number of students enrolled. 
Paper(s):  A list of suggested papers will be available shortly. Students interested in the course should feel free to suggest topics, areas, or specific papers that they wish to see.. 
Midterm exam:  There is no midterm 
Final exam:  There is no final exam 
  • Off-campus (CVN, NTU) students: 100% based on summaries of papers
  • On-campus: 50% based on summaries of papers, 50% based on class participation (presentation, discussion, and optional project)  
  • Computer hardware and software requirements:  Computer account. Access to the web to download papers. Access to a Linux or Solaris machine is assumed if a project becomes part of the course.. 
    Paper review submission:  TBD: either provided on-line, by e-mail, or turned in during class. . 

    Course Outline

    Schedule subject to change.
    Date  Week #  Topics/chapters covered 
    1/17  Course Overview, organization. Background: existing protocols and applications
    1/24  Current network structure
    1/31  TBD
    2/7  TBD
    2/14  TBD
    2/21  TBD
    2/28  TBD
    3/7  TBD
    3/14  SPRING BREAK
    3/21  10  TBD
    3/28  11  TBD
    4/4  12  TBD
    4/11  13  TBD
    4/18  14  TBD
    4/25  15  TBD

    For information on taking this class remotely via the Columbia Video Network, please contact