WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department
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New Undergraduate Networks Courses:
Fall 2009

Version: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 16:08:22

The Computer Science Department has decided to split CS 4514 "Computer Networks: Architecture & Implementation" into two new courses. Starting in the Fall 2009 semester, we will:

  • Stop offering CS 4514
  • Offer CS 3516 "Computer Networks"
  • Offer CS 4516 "Advanced Computer Networks"

As you prepare to register for courses for AY 09-10, note that the two new courses are currently labeled with the numbers CS351X and CS451X. See the 2009-2010 CS course schedule for more details. Note that the title of CS451X may be incorrect on the Registrar's draft schedule.

This change is designed to provide students with the ability to learn computer networking concepts in a broad way without a significant networks programming project. CS3516 will contain some socket programming, but the goal is to make the course load reasonable for IMGD tech majors and RBE majors.

By offering a second course, CS4516, we will be able to cover new topics such as wireless networks and wireless sensor networks in more depth. The second course is intended for those students who want to concentrate in the systems/networking area or those students planning to work in the computer networks field. Note that CS4516 is a Category II course. Unless enrollment is high, the CS Department will only offer this course once every other year.

Course Descriptions:

CS3516 - Computer Networks
Cat I
This course provides a broad view of computer networks. The course exposes students to all seven layers of OSI Reference Model while providing an introduction into newer topics such as wireless networking and Internet traffic concerns. The objective is to focus on an understanding of fundamental concepts of modern computer network architecture from a design and performance perspective. Topics covered include: physical layer considerations, network protocols, wide area networks, local area networks, wireless networks, switches and routing, congestion, Internet traffic and network security. Students will be expected to do systems/network programming and make use of simulation and measurement tools to gain an appreciation of current network design and performance issues.
Recommended background: CS2303 or CS2301.
Intended audience: computer science, RBE and IMGD majors.

CS4516 - Advanced Computer Networks
Cat II
This course provides an in-depth look into computer networks. While repeating some of the areas from CS3516, the goal is to go deeper into computer networks topics. This in-depth treatment in topics such as routing, congestion control, wireless layer protocols and physical signaling considerations will require the use of basic queuing theory and probability to provide a more formal treatment of computer networks performance. Other topics covered include: LAN and WLAN technologies, mobile wireless networks, sensor networks, optical networks, network security, intrusion detection and network management. Students will be expected to do more sophistical network programming than seen in CS3516 and will conduct laboratory activities involving measuring the performance of modern networking applications running on both wired networks and infrastructure wireless networks.
Undergraduate credit may not be earned both for this course and for CS 513.
Recommended background: CS 3013, CS3516 and knowledge of probability. Intended audience: computer science majors.

Responses to questions:

1. If I have already taken CS 4514, can I take CS 3516 or CS4516 for credit?

Answer: No. Students completing CS4514 prior to A09 who are interested in furthering their knowledge in networks cannot take either of these courses. Instead, they should consider taking the grad course, CS577 "Advanced Computer Networks", in the Fall 2009 semester. Undergrads have successfully completed this graduate level course in the past.

2. Can I take CS 4516 without previously taking CS 3516?

Answer: Maybe. This is WPI and we do NOT have hard pre-requisites. However CS4516 will assume prior knowledge of computer networking basics plus exposure to socket programming in C or C++. If you are considering this path, talk to either Professor Claypool or Kinicki to make sure you are adequately prepared to take CS4516.

3. What course(s) are recommended prior to CS 3516?

Answer: The course description says only Systems Programming (either CS2301 or CS2303) is needed. Taking CS3013 "Operating Systems" prior to CS3516 is helpful, but this background is not essential to doing well in CS3516.

4. What specific advice is there for non CS majors?

Answer: One of the goals of this change is to make it possible for more students (especially IMGD and RBE majors) to take a course in computer networks. Thus, non CS majors who have passed Systems Programming should be able to successfully complete CS3516.


If you have any other specific questions, please send an email or meet with Professors Claypool or Kinicki.


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webmaster at cs.wpi.edu / Wed Aug 19 17:03:44 EDT 2009