Welcome to 14-740

Greetings! I'm looking forward to teaching you the basic principles of computer networks in 14-740, a graduate-level, first-course in networking. My primary objective is for you to learn the fundamental principles underlying computer networks. I'll use a top-down approach to cover topics in the application, transport, network and link layers of the protocol stack. We will also go over advanced topics, including network management, traffic engineering and router internals. Besides learning about the nuts and bolts, you will gain an understanding of engineering tradeoffs made and design principles used in networks and protocol design.

There is no prerequisite of an undergraduate equivalent networking course; but basic computer, programming and probability theory background is required.

All dates and times for scheduled events on any course materials refer to the Pittsburgh time of that event.

Zoom links for lectures and office hours can be found on Canvas.

Admin / Course Documents

Here are some links to various course documents that will be helpful throughout the semester.

Syllabus Textbook Canvas Protocols Study Guide 1 Equation Sheet


You can download the classtimes and due dates in this calendar file (iCalendar format, compatible with Apple Calendar, Google Cal, ...)

Date Topic Reading Deadline
Tue, 1 Sep Networking Introduction KR Ch 1.1 - 1.8
Thu, 3 Sep Architecture Design philosophy [Clark88] Paper Review: Clark88
Tue, 8 Sep Design Principles E2E arguments [Saltzer84]
Thu, 10 Sep ISPs, Backbones and Peering A Business Case for Peering [Norton2010] Paper Review: Norton2010
Guide to Admin Procedures (skim) [RFC 2901]
Tue, 15 Sep The Application Layer -- HTTP KR Ch 2.1 - 2.2
Thu, 17 Sep Domain Name System KR Ch 2.4 Paper Review: Mockapetris88
KR Ch 2.6
Classic DNS [Mockapetris88]
Tue, 22 Sep Peer to Peer Networking KR 2.5 Paper Review: Liang2005
KaZaA Measurement [Liang2005] Lab #0
Thu, 24 Sep Queueing Theory
Tue, 29 Sep Quiz #1
Thu, 1 Oct The Transport Layer; UDP KR Ch 3.1 - 3.3
Tue, 6 Oct Principles of Reliable Transfer KR 3.4 HW #1
Thu, 8 Oct Class cancelled
Tue, 13 Oct TCP KR Ch 3.5 Lab #1
Thu, 15 Oct Congestion Control at the Host KR Ch 3.6 - 3.7 Paper Review: Jacobson88
Congestion avoidance / control [Jacobson88]
Tue, 20 Oct Advanced Congestion Control at the Host
Thu, 22 Oct The Network Layer KR Ch 4.1 - 4.2
KR Ch 4.3.1 - 4.3.3
KR Ch 5.6
Tue, 27 Oct Routing Algorithms KR Ch 5.1 - 5.2
Thu, 29 Oct Internet Routing KR Ch 5.3 - 5.4 Lab #2
Tue, 3 Nov Plug-N-Play Networking; IPv6 KR Ch 4.3.4 - 4.3.5
Thu, 5 Nov Quiz #2
Tue, 10 Nov Network Measurement Better Netflow [Estan2004] Paper Review: Estan2004
Internet Traffic Measurement (Ch1-2) [Estan2003]
Thu, 12 Nov Congestion Control: The Router's View RED Gateways [Floyd93] Paper Review: Floyd93
Tue, 17 Nov Link Layer; Ethernet KR Ch 6.1
KR Ch 6.2 - 6.3 (skim)
KR Ch 6.4.1 - 6.4.2
Thu, 19 Nov Link Layer Devices KR Ch 6.4.3
Tue, 24 Nov Thanksgiving (no class)
Thu, 26 Nov Thanksgiving (no class)
Tue, 1 Dec Virtual Link Layer KR Ch 6.4.4 - 6.5
Thu, 3 Dec Wireless Networks KR 6.1 - 6.3
Sun, 6 Dec Lab 3 Due Lab #3
Tue, 8 Dec Software Defined Networking OpenFlow [McKeown2008] Paper Review: McKeown2008
KR 4.4
KR 5.5
Thu, 10 Dec Data Center Networking Portland [Mysore2009] Paper Review: Mysore2009


The following list of papers and whatnot will be referenced throughout the course. You are expected to read all listed materials, save for those listed as just for fun. You will be tested on them. It behooves you to read the paper prior to the indicated lesson, as the lecture will usually discuss concepts from the paper. You will learn the material much better if you've had a chance to work on it a bit prior to lecture and get a review of the concept in class (as well as an opportunity to ask questions about it). The reverse ordering isn't optimal: If the first time you see the concept is in class, you won't be prepared to critically think about it. Completely sub-optimal (pesimal?) is to wait until the night before the final exam to look at the paper.

BGP Routing Policies in ISP Networks

The Design Philosophy of the DARPA Internet Protocols

Tussle in Cyberspace: Defining Tomorrow's Internet

Internet Traffic Measurement: What's Going on in My Network?

Building a Better Netflow

Random Early Detection Gateways for Congestion Avoidance

Congestion avoidance and control

Delayed Internet Routing Convergence

The KaZaA Overlay: A Measurement Study

Development of the Domain Name System

The Evolution of the U.S. Internet Peering Ecosystem

A Business Case for Peering in 2010

End-to-end Arguments in System Design

What DNS is Not (a just-for-fun reading)

NAT++: Address Sharing in IPv4 (another just-for-fun reading)

Gateway Congestion Control Survey (a just-for-fun reading)

TCP Vegas: New Techniques for Congestion Detection and Avoidance

Issues in TCP Vegas

TCP Hybla: a TCP Enhancement for Heterogeneous Networks

A Compound TCP Approach for High-speed and Long Distance Networks

TCP Congestion Control With a Misbehaving Receiver (just-for-fun)

OpenFlow: Enabling Innovation in Campus Networks



Introduction to Wireshark

This lab is designed to teach you about packet sniffers and how they capture and analyze network traffic. You will also install Wireshark and start to learn how it works.



Having gotten your feet wet with the Wireshark packet sniffer in the introductory lab, you’re now ready to use Wireshark to investigate protocols in operation. In this lab, you will explore several aspects of the HTTP protocol. Before beginning this labs, you might want to review Section 2.2 of the text.


Transport and Network Layers

In this lab, you will continue to use Wireshark, but now you will explore the transport layer. You will examine various UDP and TCP transmissions. You will then examine the IP packet structure as well as ICMP messages.


Link Layer

In htis lab, you will investigate Ethernet and the ARP protocol. Knowledge from Lecture 20 and textbook sections 5.4 and 5.5 will be key. RFC 826 contains all the interesting details of the ARP protocol. You will also need the Lab3 PCAP file.


PCAP file for Lab3

Here is the PCAP file for Lab3.


Basic Tools

This homework assignment is designed to give you some hands on expertise with some basic networking tools. You will learn about traceroute, ping, dig and whois, all of which should give you some good insight into the operation of the network from the application level.


Argus Flow Tools

This homework assignment is designed to give you some hands on expertise with the argus tools as you study what information is available from flow traces. In Fall 2011, my TAs gave a good demonstration of Argus tools. Unfortunately, that video has been lost when a new media server was spun up. However, you might find the slides useful, available here.

Course Videos

These links let you download the MP4 files for each lecture. You will need to view them in a videoplaying app, such as VLC.

Fall 2020 Staff

Professor Bill Nace

Email: wnace@cmu.edu

Office Hours: Tuesdays 3-5pm

Office: HH D208

TA Rohit Nair

Email: rohitn@andrew.cmu.edu

Office Hours: Thursdays 3-5pm

Office: Zoom Link on Canvas

TA Rahul Ramanathan

Email: rramana2@andrew.cmu.edu

Office Hours: Fridays 3-5pm

Office: Zoom Link on Canvas

TA Wenrui Wang

Email: wenruiw@andrew.cmu.edu

Office Hours: Wednesdays 8-9am, Mondays 8-9pm

Office: Zoom Link on Canvas