Computer Communications - ECE 3600 A

The objective of this course is to study the basic concepts of communication networks, protocols and their performance.  

Students taking this course will have to read material before class, study the homework and/or any exam solutions given out to them, and submit homework on-time. Throughout the duration of the course we will have three quizzes that each would count for the 10% of the final grade. The final exam and the (roughly) biweekly homework will count towards a 35% and 30% of the final grade, respectively. Finally, 5% of the final grade will be determined based on your class participation (Note: Participation is not equal to attendance!).

Prerequisites for this course are elementary calculus, probability and circuits. Attendance is not mandatory but highly recommended.

Basic Information

Instructor: Manos Antonakakis
Office: Klaus 3366A  
Class Location: Klaus 1456
Class Date/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 13:35 to 14:55
Class office hours: Tuesday & Thursday 15:10 to 16:10 
    (Appointment via email would secure time slot with you. Please include [3600] in the subject line.)

Teaching assistant: Panagiotis Kintis
Office hours: Friday 10:00 - 13:00 
Email address:
Location: Van Leer C449

J. F. Kurose, K. W. Ross, Computer Networking, A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet, Addison-Wesley. (5th edition or later)

Course Outline 

  • Introduction 
    • Computer Communication Networks 
  • Application Layer 
    • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and others 
  • Transport Layer 
    • Transport Control Protocol
    • Flow Control and Congestion Control 
  • Network layer 
    • IP addresses and forwarding 
    • Routing
  • Data Link Layer 
    • Framing, Error Detection and Recovery 
    • Medium Access Protocols
  • Physical Layer 
    • Digital Data Communication Techniques 
    • Transmission Media 
  • Introduction to advanced topics (if time permits)
    • DNS Security
    • Botnets 


Date Day Reading Assignment  HW & Quiz
6-Jan Tue. 1st Chapter: Intro
8-Jan Thu. 1st Chapter: Intro
13-Jan Tue. 1st Chapter: Intro HW 1 out
15-Jan Thu. 2nd Chapter: Application Layer
20-Jan Tue. 2nd Chapter: Application Layer HW 1 due
22-Jan Thu. 2nd Chapter: Application Layer 
27-Jan Tue. 2nd Chapter: Application Layer
29-Jan Thu. Quiz 1 In class
3-Feb Tue. 3rd Chapter: Transport Layer HW 2 out
5-Feb Thu. 3rd Chapter: Transport Layer 
10-Feb Tue. 3rd Chapter: Transport Layer
12-Feb Thu. 3rd Chapter: Transport Layer HW 2 due
17-Feb Tue. 4th Chapter(a): Network Layer
19-Feb Thu. Quiz 2 In class
24-Feb Tue. 4th Chapter (a): Network Layer  HW 3 out
26-Feb Thu. 4th Chapter (a): Network Layer 
3-Mar Tue. 4th Chapter(b): Network Routing 
5-Mar Thu. 4th Chapter(b): Network Routing  
10-Mar Tue. 4th Chapter (b): Network Routing HW3 due & HW4 out
12-Mar Thu. 4th Chapter (b): Network Routing
Spring Break
24-Mar Tue. 5th Chapter: Link Layer, LANs 
26-Mar Thu. 5th Chapter: Link Layer, LANs  HW 4 due
31-Mar Tue. 5th Chapter: Link Layer, LANs 
2-Apr Thu. Quiz 3 In class
7-Apr Tue. 8th Chapter: Security 
9-Apr Thu. 8th Chapter: Security  HW 5 out
14-Apr Tue. 8th Chapter: Security 
16-Apr Thu. 6th Chapter: Wireless & Mobile  HW 5 due
21-Apr Tue. 6th Chapter: Wireless & Mobile
23-Apr Thu. 7th Chapter: Multimedia
30-Apr Thu. Final Exam 2:50pm - 5:40pm
Chapters 1: Quiz 1
Chapter 2-3: Quiz 2
Chapter 4-5: Quiz 3
Chapters 1-5, 8: Exam 2:50pm - 5:40pm

Course Expectations, Requirements and Policies 

All students must follow the Georgia Tech Honor Code

I. Course requirements

  • Three in class quizzes 
  • Biweekly (roughly) homework
  • One final exam
  • Class participation

II. Grading Scale 

There is no curve in this course. However, we may elect to include extra credit assignments at various times during the semester. The grading breakdown is as follows: NOTE: Grading subject to minor changes. 
  • Quizzes 30%
  • Homeworks 30%
  • Final 35%.
  • Class participation 5%.

III. Letter Grades

Letter grades are given according to the following cutoffs with no rounding:
90.0 <= A <= 100 
80.0 <= B < 90.0 
70.0 <= C < 80.0 
60.0 <= D < 70.0 
0 <= F < 60.0

IV. Appealing Grades 

You have the right to question your grade on any assignment and quiz; but you must initiate discussion about the grade within one week of receiving the grade. All re-grade requests should be sent via email to the TA for your section. In the email, include your T-square id and a clear description of which questions you would like reviewed and why.

Grade issues addressed outside of the requirements listed above will not be considered. Pay attention to your grades. If something doesn't look right, address it immediately! Be sure to follow the guidelines outlined in the "Problem Escalation Policy".

It is your responsibility to ensure that all the grades in T-Square are correct before finals week. After that, the only grade appeal will be about grading your final. 

V. Problem Escalation Policy 

If you need help and/or have a problem, you should contact the following people in the following order:
(1) Your TA
(2) Your Head TA
(3) Your Instructor (e-mail)

If you are not comfortable talking to your TA about a particular issue, please contact the professor ASAP.

VI. Excused Absences and Late Homework Policy

If you must miss an exam for a school-approved reason, it is your responsibility to provide adequate documentation and get approval. If you miss your quiz without prior approval or a valid excuse, you may be approved to take a makeup examination, but you will be penalized 25% of the maximum score possible. 

***CAUTION: the preprinted note from the infirmary stating that you visited the infirmary is not sufficient documentation.*** Please contact the Dean of Students with your excuse and they can provide you with the proper documentation.

Late submission of homework is possible but with the following penalty scale: 
  •  Within an hour of the deadline: Max possible points reduced by 15%. 
  •  Within a day of the deadline: Max possible points reduced by 50%. 
  •  Within a week of the deadline: Max possible points reduced by 75%. 
  •  Anytime after a week of the deadline: Homework gets 0 points, regardless.

VII. Open Door Policy 

The instructor maintains an open door policy. You are free to visit me during the posted office hours or, if you prefer a different time, arrange an appointment (via email) with me. It is very important to contact me as soon as you feel that you might need to. Problems, unlike fine wines, typically do not to improve with age.

The last day you may drop the class for the Fall 2015 term is February 27th. By that date, the students will have feedback on the first two homework assignments and the first quiz. 

Full Disclosure: Portion of the class policies have been stollen from the syllabus of CS 1371, created by Charles E. Phillips.