Advanced Computer Networks

What's new?

  • May 15: No exercise session. For questions regarding the exercise please contact the assistant.
  • Apr. 17: VM password is acn1234
  • Apr. 17: published one sample exam.
  • IMPORTANT: You may skip Assignment 7, but Question 5 in Assignment 7 (designing an exam question) is mandatory. Please commit your exam questions to your SVN repo under the folder of questions.  
  • substats.txt is updated for Assignment5
  • Mar. 7: Exam date is published.


This course covers a set of advanced topics in computer networks. The focus is on principles, architectures, and protocols used in modern networked systems, such as the Internet itself, wireless and mobile networks, high performance networks and data center networks.

The goals of the course is to build on basic networking course material in providing an understanding of the tradeoffs and existing technology in building large, complex networked systems, and provide concrete experience of the challenges through a series of lab exercises.

The focus of the course is on principles, architectures, and protocols used in modern networked systems. Topics include:

  • Wireless networks and mobility issues at the network and transport layer (Mobile IP and micromobility protocols, TCP in wireless environments).
  • Data center and high-performance networking.
  • Network virtualization.


The course consists of lectures, exercises, and a written examination. The end of semester exam will be 2 hours, with no supporting material allowed. The final assessment will be a combination of exercises and examination grades. The exam will account for 70% of the final grade, the programming assignments for 30%, and the students have to submit solutions for a minimum number of the paper exercises. There will be 8 paper exercises given out during the semester and the students can skip at most 2 of these assignments.  

Exam Date / Time / Location: Wednesday, June 11 / 10 - 12am / HG D 7.1

Sample exam: pdf


Course Hours

  • Lectures: Tue 13-15h, CAB G 51
  • Exercises: Thu 14-16h, CAB G 52

Additional material



Week no. Lecture Date Topic Materials
1 1  Feb. 18 Intro, Network design principles Slides 
2 2  Feb. 25 More Principles Slides 
3 3  Mar. 04 Wireless Networks: Fundamentals Slides 
4 4  Mar. 11 Wireless Networks: Bluetooth Slides 
5 5  Mar. 18 Wireless Networks: 802.11 Slides 
6 6  Mar. 25 Wireless Networks: Cellular Slides 
7 7  Apr. 01 Wireless Mobility Slides 
8 8  Apr. 08 Wireless TCP Slides 
9 9 Apr. 15  High Performance Networking Slides 
10 - Apr. 22  -- Easter holiday --  
11 10  Apr. 29 Datacenter Fabric Slides 
12 11 May 06  Network Virtualization Slides 
13 12 May 13  Networking Virtual Machines Slides
14 13  May 20 Datacenter TCP Slides
15 14  May 27 Layer-7 switching / Q & A Slides



Week no. Assign. Date Topic Materials
1    Feb. 20 No exercise session   
2 A1 Feb. 27 Network design principles A1-pdf  Slides
3 A2 Mar. 06 More principles, wireless fundamentals A2-pdf  Slides 
4 A3 Mar. 13 CDMA, Bluetooth, sensor networks A3-pdf  Slides
5 A4 Mar. 20 WLAN, cellular networks A4-pdf  Slides
6 A5 Mar. 27 WLAN, cellular networks A5-pdf  Slides
7 A6 Apr. 03 Mobility A6-pdf  Slides
8 A7 Apr. 10 Wireless A7-pdf  Slides
9 P1 Apr. 17 HPN & RDMA project P1-pdf  Handout  Ref-VM
10 -- Apr. 24 -- Easter holiday -- -
11 -- May 01 -- Labor day -- -
12 P2 May 08 P1 demo, OpenFlow project P2-pdf
13 -- May 15    
14 -- May 22 P2 demo, Q & A  
15 -- May 29 -- Ascension Day -- -


Reading list

Lecture 1

  • You Don't Know Jack about Network Performance. Kevin Fall, Steve McCanne. ACM Queue. [link]
  • Improving performance on the internet. Tom Leighton. ACM Communications. [link]
  • On the Naming and Binding of Network Destinations. Jerome Saltzer. [link]

Lecture 2

  • The Design Philosopy of the DARPA Internet Protocol. David Clark. [link]
  • End-to-End Arguments in System Design. Jerome Saltzer, David Reed, David Clark. [link]
  • A Model, Analysis and Protocol Framework for Soft-State based Communication. Suchitra Raman, Steven McCanne. [link]
  • Transmission Control Protocol Specification. Jon Postel. [link]
  • Cross-Layer Visibility as a Service. R.R. Kompella, A. Greenberg, J. Rexford, A.C Snoeren, J. Yates. [link]
  • A Blueprint for Introducing Disruptive Technology into the Internet. Larry Peterson, Tom Anderson, David Culler and Timothy Roscoe. [link]
  • Overcoming the Internet Impasse through Virtualization. Tom Anderson, Larry Peterson, Scott Shenker, Jonathan Turner. [link]
  • Resilient Overlay Networks. David Anderson, Hari Balakrishnan, Frans Kaashoek, Robert Morris. [link]

Lecture 3

  • Link-level Measurements from an 802.11b Mesh Network. Dan Aguayo, John Bicket, Sanjit Biswas, Glenn Judd, Robert Morris. [link]
  • Digital Modulation in Communication Systems. HP Whitepaper. [link]
  • MACAW: A Media Access Protocol for Wireless LANs. Vaduvur Bharghavan, Alan Demers, Scott Shenker, Lixia Zhang [link]

Lecture 4

  • XORs in the Air: Practical Wireless Network Coding. Sachin Katti, Hariharan Rahul, Wenjun Hu, Dina Katabi, Muriel Medard, Jon Crowcroft. [link]
  • Versatile Low Power Media Access for Wireless Sensor Networks. Joseph Polastre, Jason Hill, David Culler. [link]
  • An Energy-Efficient MAC Protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks. We Ye, John Heidemann, Deborah Estrin. Infocom 2002.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy. Joe Decuir, IEEE Communications Society.

Lecture 5

  • Robust Rate Adaptation for 802.11 Wireless Networks. Starsky Wong, Hao Yang, Songwu Lu, Vaduvur Bharghavan. [link]

Lecture 6

  • [optional] Practical VoIP and related protocols: Gerald Maguire. [link]

Lecture 7

  • Where is that phone. Geolocating IP Addresses on 3G Networks. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Iqbal Mohomed, Venugopalan Ramasubramanian [link]
  • MobileIP [link] [link]

Lecture 8

  • Mobility Support Using SIP. Elin Wedlund, Henning Schulzrinne. [link]
  • MAUI: Making Smartphones last longer with code offload. Eduardo Cuervo, Aruna Balasubramanian, Dae Ki-Cho, Alec Wolman, Stefan Saroiu, Ranveer Chandra, Paramvir Bahl. [link]

Lecture 9

  • High-Performance Datacenter Networks: Architecture, Algorithms and Opportunities. Synthesis Lecture on Computer Architecture. Morgan & Claypool. [link]
  • An Overview of the Bluegene/L Supercomputer. [link

Lecture 10

  • Portland: Scalable, Fault-Tolerant Layer 2 Data Center Network Fabric. [link]
  • VL2: Scalable and Flexible Data Center Network. [link]
  • A Guided Tour of Data Center Networking. [link]

Lecture 11

  • OpenFlow: Enabling Innovation in Campus Networks. [link]
  • Can the Production Network be the Testbed? [link]
  • OpenFlow Switch Specification. [link]
  • DevFlow: Scaling Flow-Management for High-Performance Networks. [link]
  • A Survey of Virtual Lan Usage on Campus Networks. IEEE Communications Magazine, 2011

Lecture 12

  • I/O Virtualization. ACM Queue. [link]
  • kvm: the linux virtual machine monitor. [link]
  • virti-io: towards a de-facto standard for virtual I/O devices. [link]

Lecture 13

  • Data Center TCP (DCTCP). [link]
  • Improving Data Center Performance and Robustness with Multipath TCP. [link]
  • Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Multipath TCP. [link]

Lecture 14

  • Host Anycasting Service. [link]
  • TCP Splicing for Application Layer Proxy Performance. [link]