ECE 5485 Networks and Protocols | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Fundamental principles and concepts of computer networks; application, transport, network, and data link protocols. Contemporary and emerging networks; Internet protocols. Principles of quality of service, network security, and network management. Master of Information Technology (MIT) students only.

Why take this course?

Computer networks and the associated protocols form the basis for modern data, voice, and video communications that are at the heart of information technology and the Internet. Knowledge of networks and protocols is important for network designers, network administrators, developers of networked applications, and managers supporting networks and networked applications. The design, deployment, and management of effective computer networks and protocols requires the ability to understand networks and protocols, analyze the performance of network designs, analyze the efficiency of protocols, and use network management tools to determine current network operating parameters. The presentation of this broad knowledge base on computer networks and protocols requires the time available in a two-course sequence. Broadly, the first course in the sequence concentrates on network standards and protocols. This course sequence provides the requisite knowledge in networks and protocols required for network designers, network administrators, distributed application developers, and network and telecommunications managers.


5484, CS 5044

5484, CS 5044

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate the abstraction layers in the Open Systems Interconnect reference model
  • Analyze the mechanisms for error recovery in point-to-point links
  • Evaluate the relative performance and operation of common medium access control protocols
  • Evaluate the first-order performance of standard switched data networks and standard routing protocols for internetworks
  • Contrast the operation of standard congestion control and flow control algorithms and their use for traffic management and quality of service
  • Analyze the operation of protocols in the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite
  • Evaluate the operation of commonly used application layer protocols, including the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
  • Investigate the integration of common network management protocols in network management tools and network monitors to determine network performance and operational problems
  • Formulate network security requirements and review mechanisms to achieve those requirements

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

1. Networks, the Internet, and protocols 5%
2. Application layer and example protocols 15%
3. Transport layer, example protocols, and congestion control 15%
4. Network layer, Internet Protocol, and routing 20%
5. Link layer and local area networks and example networks 15%
6. Multimedia and quality of service 10%
7. Network security 10%
8. Network management 10%