COMP 3271: Computer Networks

The main emphasis of this course is on the organization and management of local area networks (LANs). The course objectives include learning about computer network organization and implementation, obtaining a theoretical understanding of data communication and computer networks, and gaining practical experience in installation, monitoring, and troubleshooting of current LAN systems. Students are introduced to computer communication network design and its operations, and discuss the following topics: Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) communication model; error detection and recovery; local area networks; bridges, routers and gateways; network naming and addressing; and local and remote procedures. On completion of the course, students should be able, in part to design, implement and maintain a typical computer network (LAN).

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the general principles of data communication.
  • Describe how computer networks are organized with the concept of layered approach.
  • Describe how signals are used to transfer data between nodes.
  • Implement a simple LAN with hubs, bridges and switches.
  • Describe how packets in the Internet are delivered.
  • Analyze the contents in a given data link layer packet, based on the layer con¬cept.
  • Design logical sub-address blocks with a given address block.
  • Decide routing entries given a simple example of network topology
  • Describe what classless addressing scheme is.
  • Describe how routing protocols work.
  • Use C programming language to implement network programs.
  • Design and implement a network protocol.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Introduction and Network Models
  • Module 2: Data and Signals
  • Module 3: Digital and Analog Transmission
  • Module 4: Multiplexing, Error Detention, and Data Link Control
  • Module 5: Media Access Control and Ethernet
  • Module 6: Network Layer and Next Generation IP
  • Module 7: Data-Link and Network-Layer Protocols
  • Module 8: Unicast and Multicast Routing
  • Module 9: Wired Networks and Virtual LANs
  • Module 10: Wireless Networks
  • Module 11: Network Management and Firewalls

Required text and materials

Forouzan, B. A. (2013). Data communications and networking (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Type: Textbook: ISBN: 978-0-07-337622-6

Additional requirements

Students will also require the following computer software and hardware:

  • Linux operating system
  • Text Editor Software
  • Java Programming Language
  • C Programming Language

If students do not already have these programs downloaded on their personal computer, they are responsible for doing so.

Students will also be introduced to C programming language in the course.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Project Part 1: C Programming Language and Sockets 6%
Assignment 1: Computer Networks I 7%
Project Part 2: Basic TCP/IP Socket Programming 6%
Assignment 2: Computer Networks II 7%
Assignment 3: Computer Networks III 8%
Project Part 3: Programming at the Data Link Layer 10%
Project Part 4: A Basic File Transfer Application 6%
Final Exam * 50%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of your course.

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