Section 1
Winter 2014


CIS484 Communications Systems (4)

Prerequisite: CIS 100 or permission of instructor.

Winter 2014


Time: Monday & Wednesday 4:20pm-6:00pm

Location: Salazar Hall, Room C345



Song Xing, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Information Systems
Office: Simpson Tower, Room 605
Phone: (323)343-2917

Office hours: Monday 12:10pm-4:10pm. Send the instructor email for an appointment for other times. 

Objectives:  This course will provide students with a fundamental concepts of data and voice communications and an up-to-date tutorial on leading-edge digital networking technologies. It encompasses a wide range of data and computer communications from the physical layer details of transmission media and signaling up to and including the most popular application services. Coverage includes digital data and signals, telecommunications systems, LANs and WANs, the Internet, communication system architecture and protocols, wireless systems, multimedia communications, and network security, etc., with practical applications.

Raymond Panko & Julia Panko, Business Data Networks and Security, 9th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2013, ISBN 0-13-274293-4.

J. S. Beasley & P. Nilkaew, Networking Essentials, 3rd Ed, Pearson IT Certification, 2012, ISBN: 978-0789749031 (optional, online at CSULA Library Site for free reading).

  • If you are on campus, you can go directly to this link. If you are off campus, you will need to go to Campus Library’s website first, then select the Safari Books Online option. You will next be asked to login with you campus User Name and Password. Once you login with you campus credentials, you should be able to search and read the book.

Tentative Topics:

  1. Introduction to Computer Network Communications (LAN/MAN/WAN, network topologies, the Internet).
  2. Data Communication Fundamentals (analog/digital data, signal propagation over different media, data encoding techniques).
  3. Communication and Protocol Architectures (client/server and P2P, OSI and Internet models).
  4. Local Area Networks (LANs) (Ethernet LANs, wireless LANs, LAN troubleshooting).
  5. Telecommunications (PSTN, cellular telephony, VoIP).
  6. Wide Area Networks (WANs) (Frame Relay, ATM), Switching (circuit and packet, virtual circuit), and Multiplexing (FDMA/TDMA/CDMA).
  7. Internet Access (DSL, cable, 3G/4G, WiMax, satellite broadband).
  8. TCP/IP and Internet Technology (internetworking devices, IP addressing, routing, TCP/UDP, DNS, DHCP, NAT).
  9. Network Security (security threats, access control, firewalls, VPN, cryptographic systems).
  10. Networked Applications (WWW, E-mail, E-commerce, cloud computing).
The schedule of lecture topics and reading assignments is listed on the Schedule page of the course web site. The detailed lecture slides will be posted on the Lectures page of the course web site before the class begins. The References & Other page of the course web site also lists many useful links for helping people to study the course.


There will be regular homework assignments, a mid-term exam, and a final exam. A final grade will be determined using the following weights: Homework 10%, Mid-term Exam 42%, Final Exam 46%, Class participation and attendance 2%.


Homework assignments must be done individually. Failure to do so will result in a violation of the Academic Honor Code. The following cases will be considered as violations: identical answers and extremely similar answers.

The extension of the homework due day is possible and will be announced in the class. People who submit the homework on time will earn extra credits if there is an extension. However, any submission will not be accepted after the homework sloutions are posted online.


The tentative date for the mid-term is Feb 12, Wednesday, 4:20pm-6:00pm. The Final exam is scheduled for Mar 17, Monday, 4:30pm-7:00pm.

The exams will contain the True/False questions, Multiple Choice questions, and a couple of small questions. The final exam is not cumulative and it will only cover the material talked after the mid-term exam. The study guides and exam sample questions will be posted on the Homework page of the course web site. You are allowed to use one page note in two exams.

Make-up exams will be given only in unusual circumstances beyond the student's control. Arrangements for make-up exams must be made in advance.

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is mandatory. Send the instructor ( email in advance if you have to miss a class due to emergency or sickness.

Last modified on Friday, 3-Jan-14.