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EEC173B – Design Projects In Communication Networks

4 units – Spring Quarter

Lecture: 3 hours

Discussion: 1 hour

Prerequisites: EEC 173A or ECS 152A

Grading: Letter; completion of lab projects substitutes for the final exam.

Catalog Description:

Advanced topics and design projects in communication networks. Example topics include wireless networks, multimedia networking, network design and management, traffic analysis and modeling, network simulations and performance analysis. Offered in alternate years. Cross-listed with ECS 152C.

Expanded Course Description:

This undergraduate course intends to illustrate the design, management and operational principles of telecommunication networks. Students have weekly lab assignments to reinforce the concepts and provide hands-on-experience. By the end of the quarter, the students will be able to use concepts learned in class to develop systematic approaches to address design problems, including scalability, complexity, and robustness issues of large-scale network systems, properties and configurations of underlying hardware components, heterogeneous channel characteristics and emerging applications. In addition, we also emphasize the training of students in writing and oral communication skills. Students are required to submit written project proposals and reports. They will be asked to make an oral presentation of their projects at the end of the quarter.

  1. Potential Project Topics
    1. Wireless networks/Mobile computing
      1. Mobile IP
      2. Ad Hoc Routing
      3. Reliable transport over wireless
    2. Network measurements, design and management
      1. Control vs. data forwading plan (routing, traffic engineering)
      2. Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
      3. Capacity planning; over-provisioning; load balancing
    3. Multimedia networking
      1. Protocols: SIP, RTP/RTCP
      2. Adaptive streaming
      3. Receiver design: payout buffer, error concealment
  2. Methodologies
    1. Hands-on experiments and prototying AND/OR
    2. Simulations
      1. Discrete-time simulator like ns-2 AND/OR
    3. Performance modeling and analysis
      1. Network and traffic models (Poisson, self-similarity, heavy tailed distributions)
      2. Queuing delay model; Little’s theorem

Computer Usage:

The class requires extensive use of computer workstations. The course contains a series of design projects with 2-3 students per team. The projects are designed to reinforce certain concepts and to familiarize the students with network measurement/management tools and simulators.


  1. Depends on project topic, instructor’s notes and selected papers.
  2. D. Comer, Computer Networks and Internets with Internet Applications, Prentice Hall.
  3. J. Burke, Network Management: Concepts and Practice: A Hands-On Approach, Prentice Hall.

Engineering Design Statement:

The course emphasizes techniques for designing and analyzing network elements, from the application to the link layers. Students are presented with open-ended problems that require them to explore various approaches to network design, to choose between alternatives and to justify solutions based on performance and cost/complexity considerations. The laboratory projects are design-oriented and experimental in nature.

Relationship to Outcomes:

Students who have successfully completed this course should have achieved:

Course Outcome ABET Outcome
An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering A
An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data B
An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems E
An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility F
An ability to communicate effectively G
A knowledge of contemporary issues J
An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. K


Professional Component:

Engineering Depth; Project

Engineering Science: 2 credits
Engineering Design: 2 credits