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Local Area Networks CS576 / EE536 Fall 1995


This course includes a class project. Because of the diversity of the students, the intent is for students to select from a wide spectrum of possible projects. I strongly encourage students to work in groups of at least two people. With a class of this size, this is an important issue.

Students should select a project that they find interesting and that they are qualified to undertake. The following is a suggested list of possible project types:

  1. An in-depth research paper/term paper on some aspect of local area or metropolitan area networks not covered in the course. This is the least technical choice in that no programming or building of hardware is required. The paper could be along the lines of a survey with a specific issue in computer networks. An in-depth look into a new technology like FastEthernet could be an excellent choice.

  2. A mathematical treatment of a specific problem in LANs or MANs. This could be an in-depth explanation of a proposed variation on MAC layer protocol which included an analysis of the performance trade-offs of the new technology. I think of this primarily within the software or algorithm domain, but treatment of appropriate new ideas in hardware could be acceptable.

  3. A computer program which simulates some aspect of LANS or MANs Prior knowledge of simulation techniques would be required. A variation on this is extensive use of an existing, available LAN simulation tool to conduct a performance study.

  4. The design, implementation and testing of an actual LAN or MAN performance measurement experiment. This requires access to a LAN where such experiments could be tolerated. This project could involve developing special benchmark programs to be used in your experiments or it could involve using existing traffic analysis or network management tools. The more tools the student has, the more effort is expected on comparison and analysis of data. This is the type of project I would like to encourage, but only if you have adequate access to a LAN under test.
NOTE: If you do not have a good idea for a class project or need help in getting a group partner, please discuss this with me by October 2nd.

The project has three due dates:

  1. Proposal (Due: October 9, 1995)

    Each group must email me a proposal which defines the project and generally explains the work to be done. The proposal should clearly indicate the nature of the project and the deliverables for the end of the semester. The expectation is that a proposal will be short - between the equivalent of one of two typed pages.

    Proposals will be approved or disapproved for resubmission but not graded.

  2. Progress Report (Due: November 13, 1995)

    This report should clearly state the current status of the project. By this time background work should be conducted including bibliographies and specific design issues resolved. If the project involves analysis or investigation of specific LAN strategies or algorithms, a discussion of the problem and preliminary analysis should be reported. Reports must be typed and less than ten pages (not including figures). This report will be graded.

    If the project is a large programming effort, by this time the design should be completed and your report should discuss the design and indicate the current state of the implementation. I am not interested in looking at code, but rather a top-level status report.

    If your project involves LAN mesurement, be sure to discuss implementation problems encountered and provide a good sense that the future of the project contains no fatal roadblocks.

    Note: This report can easily be the basis for the final report. The key at this point is to demonstrate that a sufficient amount of work has been completed.

  3. Final Project and Report (Due: December 15, 1995)

    The final report should be a well-presented technical report discussing your project. If your project is primarily a programming effort, you should explain how the program works, give specific sample runs and analyze the results. The final report may include parts of your progress report. The report should be ten to twenty pages in length. Please turn in your graded progress report with your final report.

Please Note: I encourage you to accomplish the whole project in a paperless manner using the World Wide Web.

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Fri Sep 8 08:53:29 EDT 1995