6.263/16.37: Data Communication Networks
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 . 37-212
Professor Muriel Médard - medard@mit.edu
Professor Dina Katabi - dk@mit.edu
Office hours: w: 1:45-2:45 (32 – D626)
Course web page:   http://web.mit.edu/6.263/www/  
Informal Recitation:  TBD
Course overview
This is a first class on the fundamentals of data communication networks, their architecture, principles of operations, and performance analyses. One goal will be to give some insight into the rationale of why networks are structured the way they are today and to understand the issues facing the designers of next-generation data networks. Much of the class will focus on network algorithms and their performance. Students are expected to have a strong mathematical background and an understanding of probability theory (6.041 is a pre-requisite.). Topics discussed will include: layered network architecture, Link Layer protocols, high-speed packet switching, queueing theory, Local Area Networks, and Wide Area Networking issues including routing and flow control.
Requirements & Grading
About one problem set per week (10% of grade)
Project (20% of grade)
Quiz 1 (35 %)
Quiz 2 - during finals week (35%)
Prerequisite Policy: Prerequisites:  6.041, or an equivalent class in probability.  The prerequisite (6.041) should have been taken prior to 6.263, because from the beginning we assume solid knowledge of material from 6.041. Our experience in the past has been that those students with insufficient background fared poorly in 6.263 and did not benefit from the class. As mentioned in class, 6.263 is focused on probabilistic modeling and analysis of protocols, and on queueing theory, both of which heavily rely upon the prerequisite. In particular, classes in signal processing, previous classes in networking, or having taken 18.05, 15.066J, 6.042, DO NOT satisfy the prerequisite. Furthermore, taking 6.041 simultaneously with 6.263 is not sufficient.
Textbook:  Bertsekas & Gallager, Data Networks (2nd Edition)
Supplementary Texts & References
1)       Computer Networks, Peterson and Davie
2)       High performance communication networks, Walrand and Varaiya
3)       Computer Networks by A.S. Tanenbaum
4)       TCP/IP Illustrated by Stevens
5)       Queueing Systems, Vol 1: Theory, by Leonard Kleinrock
Project:  This project will involve reading one or two important research papers and reporting on them.  More information will follow.