ECE 5486 Networks and Protocols | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Performance evaluation via analysis, simulation, and experimental methods of networks and network protocols. Wireless and mobile network technologies and protocols; wireless local area networks, cellular systems, sensor networks and the Internet of Things (IoT). Mobility in the Internet and application support for mobility. Master of Information Technology (MIT) students only. Partially duplicates ECE/CS 5565-5566. Prerequisite: 5485

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. This second course in the sequence builds on this material by developing performance models for networks based on these protocols and considers their extension to mobile, sensor, and other state-of-the-art networks. For MIT students 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.




Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Design simulations, based on standard traffic and network models, to evaluate the performance of computer networks and protocols
  • Analyze the communication technologies used in personal, local, and wide area wireless and mobile networks
  • Evaluate the medium access protocols in contemporary wireless standards for personal area networks, local area networks, and metropolitan area networks, and assess the systems' co-existence mechanisms
  • Investigate the security threats to wireless networks and evaluate potential countermeasures to address such vulnerabilities
  • Analyze the operation of routing, service discovery, and management protocols used in ad hoc networks and sensor networks
  • Assess the requirements for wireless networks in the Internet of Things and evaluate approaches to meet these requirements.
  • Verify that TCP/IP protocol suite supports seamless mobility
  • Investigate the use of middleware and network protocols in applications to support mobile users

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

1. Introduction to wireless networks 5%
2. Simulation, analysis and experimentation 10%
3. Introduction to analytical models 10%
4. Traffic models 5%
5. Wireless local area networks and example systems and methods 20%
6. Cellular networks and example systems and methods 15%
7. Mobility and the TCP/IP protocol suite 15%
8. Ad hoc and sensor networks, IoT 15%
9. Application support for mobility 5%