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Course Plan in a Nutshell

This course will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of computer commutations and networking.  Communication Theory, Computer Networks, Internet Infrastructure and Network Security will be some of the major areas to be covered in this course.  The theoretical concepts of computer communications will form an important part of the course. It will be supplemented by practical examples in the application of computer communications and networking. In particular, the topics to be covered include the following:

  • Communication Theory

  • TCP/IP and Other Communications Protocols

  • Communication Hardware and Software

  • Network Theory

  • Network Hardware and Software

  • Peer-to-Peer Network Applications

  • Network Security 

  • Wireless Networking

The first half of the Quarter will focus on the theoretical concepts, application examples and demonstrations. The TCP/IP protocol will feature prominently during this period. A hands-on Windows networking session is planned for the second half of the quarter.  It would include the setting of a peer-to-peer wired and wireless network. In addition, the configuration of a firewall will be discussed in some detail. The coverage is intended to help the students set up  and secure a peer-to-peer network at a business.  The concepts and the hands-on demonstrations will also help the students in setting up their own home network and to connect the network to either a DSL or a cable modem link.


The students completing this course would:

  • learn the basic theory of computer communications

  • become familiar with communication and networking technologies such as, for instance, packet switching and circuit switching

  • obtain a good understanding of TCP/IP protocol which, incidentally, is the primary transport and internetworking protocol of the Internet

  • become aware of communication software such as FTP

  • have a good understanding of the functional network architectures such as the  peer-to-peer, client-server and thin-client network architectures

  • have a grasp of the physical network architectures or topologies such as the bus, ring and star architectures and the practical implications of these topologies in choosing and installing a network

  • become aware of basic hardware and software resources used in building networks

  • have gained knowledge of networking hardware and software in terms of their functionality and operation

  • be able to set up a peer-to-peer network and understand the concept of sharing resources on the network

  • be introduced to issues relating to network security and security safeguards that should be implemented in an organization

  • be introduced to a number of topics covered under different sections of the Microsoft certification examination

Delivery of Instruction

The delivery of instruction will partly be based on a DVD containing multimedia instructional modules produced by the instructor. It contains multimedia lectures and demonstrations. The DVD will be distributed free of charge in the class. The students are required to return the DVD immediately after they make one legal copy for their own purpose.

This evolving website will also play an important role in the dissemination of course related information. In-class meetings may be reduced by a certain percentage of time to enable the students to take full advantage of Technology Mediated Learning (TML). 


The primary reference for this course will be the course material contained in this website and the DVD based instructional material mentioned earlier. There is also a web page on this site that has links to references from various sources obtained mostly from the Internet. They have mostly been captured in Adobe PDF format and made available for downloading on the web page entitled "References".

The textbook also contains useful information on the material covered in the course. The websites hosted by computer magazines and companies involved with communications and networking are recommended as supplementary references. Examples in this case include websites hosted by CISCO, Microsoft and Windows Networking.


1. Raymond Panko, Business Data Networks and Telecommunications, Fourth Edition, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-035914-9

(c) Professor N. Ganesan, All Rights Reserved.