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COMP20081: Computer Networks (2007-2008)

This is an archived syllabus from 2007-2008

Computer Networks
Level: 2
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: COMP10031 and COMP10092 or (MATH10111 and MATH10131 and MATH10212 and MATH10232)
Co-requisites: No Co-requisites
Duration: 11 weeks in first semester
Lectures: 22 in total, 2 per week
Examples classes: 6 in total, 1 per fortnight - AT least some available via Moodle in 2007/8
Labs: 10 hours in total, 5 2-hour sessions, partly credited to COMP20910/COMP20920
Lecturers: Andy Carpenter, Nick Filer
Course lecturers: Andy Carpenter

Nick Filer

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lecture 1.1 Tue 11:00 - 12:00 -
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lecture 1.1 Thu 15:00 - 16:00 -
Sem 1 w2,4,7,9,11 Lab UNIX Thu 09:00 - 11:00 G
Sem 1 w2,4,7,9,11 Lab UNIX Fri 09:00 - 11:00 H
Sem 1 w2,4,7,9,11 Lab UNIX Tue 13:00 - 15:00 F
Sem 1 w3,5,8,10,12 Examples UNIX Thu 09:00 - 10:00 F
Sem 1 w3,5,8,10,12 Examples UNIX Fri 09:00 - 10:00 G
Sem 1 w3,5,8,10,12 Examples UNIX Tue 14:00 - 15:00 H
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 80%
Coursework: 0%
Lab: 20%
Degrees for which this unit is optional
  • Artificial Intelligence BSc (Hons)


Computer networks have become an essential tool enabling users to obtain information and to co-operate on applications. This course unit aims to give an understanding of the principles of data communication and computer networks. It will cover the principle of network protocols, structures, standard and services mainly concentrating on wired networks but with a mention of wireless in places.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit you will:

Understand the characteristics and applications of various networking technologies. (A)
Understand how a collection of communication protocols co-operate and communicate to achieve the overall communication function. (A)
Have a working knowledge of at least one protocol at each of the main levels of the OSI seven layer reference model. (A)
Carry out network designs using appropriate hardware and software components to provide specified services for a given site. (B)
Be able to calculate message delays and throughput for a given application. (B)
Be able to specify the implementation of a simple protocol. (C)
Understand packet forwarding and the role of routing protocols. (A)
Understand error detection and recovery mechanisms. (A)
Understand how features such as flow control and quality of service are achieved. (A)
For given scenarios, demonstrate an understanding of 6, 7 and 8. (B)
Appreciate how internetworking demands changes in the operation of basic techniques. (A)
Be able to design and implement a program that allows client-server file transfer. (C)

Assessment of Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are assessed by examination Learning outcomes 6 and 12 are assessed in the laboratory.

Contribution to Programme Learning Outcomes

A3, B1, C5, C6, D4, D5.


Communication and network architectures

e.g. the OSI & TCP/IP models. (2)

Data communication concepts and protocol basics

Synchronisation, digital encoding, transmission media, error control, flow control. (3)

Datalink protocols

HDLC, PPP, Media Access Control (MAC) protocols. (1)

Network (LAN) technologies

The Ethernets series (802.3), Wireless LANs, public data network services (dial-up, digital leased line, packet switching, frame-relay). (4)

Internetworking facilities

Switches, bridges, routers, and gateways. (2)

Internetworking issues

Addressing schemes, packet formats, packet forwarding, error reporting, scalability of solutions, IP as an example solution. (4)

Routing protocols

Static vs adaptive, distance vector vs link state, RIP and OSPF as examples. (2)

Transport layer issues

End-to-end communications, flow control, round trip delays, TCP, UDP and AAL as examples. (3)

Application protocols

e.g. telnet, SMPT, HTTP. (2)

Network level services and network management

Name lookup and DNS, SNMP and RMON. (1)

Reading List

Core Text
Title: Computer networks: a systems approach (5th edition)
Author: Peterson, Larry L. and Bruce S. Davie
ISBN: 9780123850591
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Edition: 5th
Year: 20011
Both lecturers on this course for 2007/8 will be using this text as the main text.

Core Text
Title: Computer networking: a top-down approach (6th edition)
Author: Kurose, James and Keith Ross
ISBN: 9780273768968
Publisher: Pearson Education
Edition: 6th
Year: 2013
The structure of this text closely follows that used in the lectures.