ECE 5565 Network Architecture and Protocols | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


5565: Principles and concepts of networking and protocols, with emphasis on data link, network, and transport protocols. Contemporary and emerging networks and protocols to illustrate concepts and to provide insight into practical networks including the Internet. Quantitative and qualitative comparisons of network architectures and protocols.

Why take this course?

Computer networks and the associated protocols form the basis for modern data communications that is at the heart of information technology and the Internet. Knowledge of networking and protocols is important not only for networking professionals, but also for engineers and computer scientists concerned with communications, computer systems, or distributed applications. The design, deployment and management of effective computer networks and protocols requires the ability to analyze the performance of network designs, analyze the efficiency and correctness of protocols, and use network management tools to determine current network operating parameters. This course sequence provides requisite knowledge for network and protocol researchers, network and protocol designers, and advanced network managers.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the relationships and features of each layer in the ISO Open Systems Interconnect reference model;
  • Describe the features and evaluate the performance of automatic retransmission request schemes for error recovery in point-to-point links;
  • Describe the features and evaluate the relative performance of common medium access control protocols;
  • Describe the features and evaluate the first-order performance of standard switched data networks;
  • Describe the features and evaluate the first-order performance of standard routing protocols for internetworks;
  • Explain the operation of standard congestion control and flow control algorithms and their use for traffic management and quality of service;
  • Explain the operation of protocols in the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite;
  • Describe the requirements imposed by differentiated services on resource management, admission control, and congestion control;
  • Describe software and hardware technologies to realize high data rate networks; and
  • Create and analyze state transition diagrams that describe the behavior of TCP and other common protocols.

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Basic Definitions and Layered Protocol Models 5%
Direct Link Networks - Ethernet, FDDI 15%
Packet and Cell Switching - Routing, ATM 20%
Internetworking - IP, Multicast 10%
End-to-End Protocols - UDP, TCP, RPC 15%
End-to-End Data 5%
Congestion Control 15%
High-Speed Networking 15%