COS 460 Computer Networks

Spring 2006, Stephen Houser, University of Southern Maine

Contact Information

Instructor: Stephen Houser Class: 11:45pm-1:00pm Monday & Wednesday
Phone: 780-4588 (work) EMail: houser AT
Office: Luther Bonney 144 Office Hours: 1:00 to 2:00 Monday & Wednesday


Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, Fourth Edition, L.L. Peterson and B.S.Davie, Morgan Kaufman, 2003.


From the USM Course Catalog: A description of computer networks organized as a layered architecture based on the OSI Reference Model. Protocols and services of each layer are examined in detail. Specific local area networks, metropolitan area networks, and wide area networks will be considered. Prerequisites: COS 285, COS 251. Cr 3.

O.k. so it's not quite that any longer. We will not explore the OSI network model as much as in the past. The focus of the course will be the TCP/IP protocol stack, as it has far surpassed the OSI in actual use.

As the class is dual-listed as an undergraduate and graduate course, the graduate students can expect to do a bit more work than the undergraduates.

By the end of the class you should know:


The class will be graded on the three (3) exams, a few homework assignments, and a multiple part project. The exams will cover all material covered before the exam.

The project will deal with network client and server concepts. We will work out the details of the project by the 5th week ofclass and will consist of multiple parts (or milestones), at or about the 10th and 15th weeks of class.

Graduate students will have an additional related assignment.

Grading Policy

Grades are based on a combination of homework, projects, the final exam, and class participation.

Exams 33% each (2 exams = 66%)
Homework and Projects 34%


It cannot be stressed enough that attendance is very important. Many topics will be covered in class that may not be covered in the book. You are responsible for acquiring material missed due to absence.

Exam make-ups should be scheduled well ahead of time. If that is not possible, you need to make arrangements to take the exam outside of regular class time. Do not assume you can make up a missed exam (University policy).


The following is a preliminary schedule we will try to follow.

The reading chapters are out of the class textbook. They try to cover material we will be talking about in class.

Your best bet is to read the material before class, attend class, and then re-skim the material after class to get the best comprehension. Or the other way around.

Week Material Covered Reading
1, 2 Foundation: Architecture, Software, & Performance Ch. 1
3, 4 Direct Link Networks: Encoding, Framing, & Ethernet Ch. 2
5, 6 Packet Switching: Datagrams, Bridges, & Switches Ch. 3
7, 8 Internetworking: IP, Routing, & the Internet Ch. 4
9, 10 End-to-End Protocols: UDP, RPC, & Transport
Mid-term Examination
11 Congestion Control and Resource Allocation Ch. 6
13 End-to-End Data Ch. 7
13 Network Security Ch. 8
14, 15 Applications and Project
Final Examination
Ch. 9

Other Information

Should you need services or accommodations due to a disability to fully participate in the class please speak with me or contact the Office of Academic Support for Students with Disabilities, Luther Bonney 242.

Class cancellations are posted on USM's web site and on the Storm line at 780-4800.