Computer Communication Networks

CSE222A - Winter 2022

Meets on M/W/F from 10:00am to 10:50am on Zoom for now (via Canvas link)
The instructor is Aaron Schulman (aka Aaron Shalev) and he can be contacted via Piazza
Aaron's office hours are Monday from 11-12:00am on Zoom for now (via Canvas link)
The TA is Max Gao Max's office hours are Wed and Fri from 1-2:00pm on Zoom for now (via Canvas link)

CSE 222A is a graduate course on computer networks. The continued exponential growth of the Internet has made the network an important part of our everyday lives. Companies use the network to conduct business, doctors to diagnose medical issues, etc. This course will provide a broad understanding of exactly how the network infrastructure supports distributed applications. Topics covered in the course include: Internet architecture, Internet routing, Software-Defined Networking, datacenters, content distribution networks, and peer-to-peer systems.

This is a research-oriented course focusing on current and classic papers from the research literature. Further, all students will work on an original research project, culminating in a project writeup and conference-style presentation. In the past, the very best of these course projects have resulted (with additional work) in publication in top conferences.

As with many other research seminars, the course will be predominately a discussion of a set of research papers. However, we will also discuss the origins of these research projects, the impact that they had on the research community, and their impact on industry (spoiler alert: the impact on industry generally is hard to predict).


Students should have taken an undergraduate networking course. Although this perquisite is strongly recommended, we will also provide you with access to readings in an undergraduate networking textbook if you would like to catch up on your own time.

Grading Criteria

If you are taking the course for full credit (4 credits - letter grade), grading will be based on the following breakdown: Individual or group project (50%), quizzes (40%), and class participation (10%).

If you are taking the course for partial credit (2 credits - pass/fail), grading will be based on the following breakdown: quizzes (50%) and class participation (50%).

Instructions for Reading Papers Before Class

This class is focused on discussing papers rather than lectures. You should read the assigned papers before each class. While reading the papers, keep in mind that your goal is not necessarily to understand the details about every single paragraph. Rather, you should be able to answer the following high-level questions about the paper before we discuss it in class. If you have any questions while reading, write them down and bring them to class!

  • What is the problem the paper addresses?
  • Why is the problem important?
  • What is the proposed solution?
  • What were the challenges that the authors faced?
  • How did the authors evaluate their solution?
  • What falls outside the scope of this paper?

If you want additional help understanding how to read a paper efficiently, please spend some time reading the following paper: How to read a paper.

Reading Schedule

Day Topic Readings (to be done before each class)
Week 1: Internet architecture
M Jan 3 Lecture: Introduction Slides
W Jan 5 Internet Protocol 1. A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication
2. Turing Award Lecture (video)
F Jan 7 End-to-End Principle
Quiz 1 out, due Monday
End-to-End Arguments in System Design
Week 2: Internet routing
M Jan 10 Lec: How Internet routing works
Project: Form teams (notify staff on Piazza)
Book chapter 3.4 and 4.1
W Jan 12 Route convergence Stable Internet Routing Without Global Coordination
F Jan 14 Routing behavior in the wild
Quiz 2 out, due Monday
End-to-end Routing Behavior in the Internet
Week 3: Measuring the Internet
M Jan 17 No class (MLK Jr. Holiday)
W Jan 19 Why do we measure the Internet? 1. Difficulties in Simulating the Internet
2. Strategies for Sound Internet Measurement
F Jan 21 Measuring Internet Topology
Quiz 3 out, due Monday
Measuring ISP Topologies with Rocketfuel
Week 4: Internet Security
M Jan 24 Lec: Internet Security
Book chapter 8.1 and 8.5
W Jan 26 Distributed Denial of Service How to 0wn the Internet in Your Spare Time
F Jan 28 Scanning for Vulnerabilities
Quiz 4 out, due Monday
ZMap: Fast Internet-Wide Scanning and its Security Applications
Week 5: Wireless Communication
M Jan 31 Lec: Wireless Communication
Project: Proposals due
Book: Chapter 2.7
W Feb 2 Sharing a communication medium 1. THE ALOHA SYSTEM — Another alternative for computer communications
2. "Norman Abramson, Pioneer Behind Wireless Networks, Dies at 88", NY Times - Dec 11, 2020
F Feb 4 Mesh Networking
Quiz 5 out, due Monday
Architecture and Evaluation of an Unplanned 802.11b Mesh Network
Week 6: Peer-to-Peer Communication
M Feb 7 Lec: Peer-to-Peer Book Chapter 9.4
W Feb 9 Distributed Hash Tables Pastry: Scalable, decentralized object location and routing for large-scale peer-to-peer systems
F Feb 11 Lec: Datacenter Networking
Quiz 6 out, due Monday
Week 7: Datacenter Networking
M Feb 14 A telco-based network architecture for data centers A Scalable, Commodity Data Center Network Architecture
W Feb 16 Facebook's datacenter network Inside the Social Network’s (Datacenter) Network
F Feb 18 Google's datacenter network
Quiz 6 out, due Monday
Jupiter Rising: A Decade of Clos Topologies and Centralized Control in Google’s Datacenter Network
Week 8: Alternate Network Architectures
M Feb 21 No class (President's day)
W Feb 23 Lec: Software Defined Networking SDN Book: Chapter 3
F Feb 25 Networks that execute packets
Quiz 7 out, due Monday
Towards an Active Network Architecture
Week 9: Congestion Control
M Feb 28 Improving enterprise management
Ethane: Taking Control of the Enterprise
W Mar 2 Lec: Congestion Control Book: Chapters 6.1-3
F Mar 4 Fixing congestion control
Quiz 8 out, due Monday
BBR: Congestion-Based Congestion Control
Week 10: Project presentations
M Mar 7 Project presentations 1
W Mar 9 Project presentations 2
F Mar 11 Project presentations 3
Week 11: Project writeup
W Mar 16 Project writeup due 6-page paper (not including references) in ACM format