Syllabus: Data Communications 1 (CS 261)

As future information systems managers, it is crucial that today's students possess a solid background in data communications and networking. Managers of IS/IT organizations must learn to communicate effectively with technical professionals even if they never really work at the "keystroke" level. This course has been authored to bring to the classroom the most current issues and concerns surrounding local area networking (LAN), voice/data transmission, wide area networking (WAN), the Internet and intranets, and network security.

Since information system managers are often expected to research, recommend or approve the purchase of complex and costly hardware and software, the student will determine where best to allocate costs to maximize value and minimize expense. Since, with each passing day, communications solutions become outmoded or relegated to alternate functions, the student will learn how to choose (and support) newer technologies. We will be exploring the resource channels available to data communications professionals for obtaining the latest standards for interoperability. This research will result in the attendee understanding how to gather data on products and their compatibility with an existing infrastructure.

CS 261 is the pre-requisite for CS 361 which is the logical follow-up, building upon the skills and knowledge previously obtained.The courses must therefore be taken in the correct order, and never concurrently.

Textbook: Ara, Nicholas; Fundamentals of Data Communications, 15th Edition, New York: AR&D Corp., 2008.

Important: It is the instructors policy that students attend ALL sessions. Excessive absences will adversely affect the final grade. This policy will hold true for late assignments and "make-up" exams, which will result in a DISCOUNTED GRADE.

Note: The outline shown below is meant as a guideline. Individual topics are subject to change depending upon technology "bulletins", regulatory rulings, etc., that may preempt or postpone a scheduled topic. All classes will be held in room 2B04.

Schedule for Fall 2008

Week 1 - September 6

Lecture Topic: Course Introduction - Chapter 1, Discussion of Course Objectives, Student Introductions, basic discussion of computer hardware and transmission circuits. Overview of code sets and protocols. Research assignment described (tba).

Week 2 - September 13

Lecture Topic: Data Represntation in Data Communications - Character code sets, physical switching, modulation & multiplexing techniques, synchronous vs. asynchronous vs. isochronous.

Week 3 - September 20

Lecture Topic: Media Selection Considerations and Criteria - Copper wire options, Optical Fiber, SONET, DWDM, radiated communications, terrestrial radio and microwave, electromagnetic spectrum.

Week 4 - September 27

Exam 1 - Data Representation

Lecture Topic: LANs/WANs - Elements, servers, workstations, network interface cards, addressing and software.

Week 5 - October 4

Lecture Topic: LANs/WANs, continued - Transmission management via bridges, routers, gateways, switches, in consideration of network security and administration.

Week 6 - October 11

Lecture Topic: LAN Topologies and Protocols: Ring Topologies - Controlling media access, workstation prioities, hardware error handling and recovery, active/standby monitoring.

Week 7 - October 18

Lecture Topic: LAN Topologies and Protocols: Bus Topologies - We will explore current transmission methodologies in bus architures including multi-megabit Ethernet offerings. This will draw up the media selection criteria, learned earlier in the course. In each case, we will maintain an awareness of cost considerations, choosing options based on a the total cost of operation (TCO) to provide an IT service.

Week 8 - October 25

Exam 2 - Local and Wide Area Networks

Lecture Topic: 10/100 mbps Configurations - 10/100BASE components, link integrity testing, fast Ethernet.

Week 9 - November 1

Lecture Topic: 10/100 mbps Configurations, continued - Physical medium, medium independent interfaces, reconciliation sublayer, physical coding sublayer, PMA and PMD.

Week 10 - November 8

Lecture Topic: Fast Ethernet LAN Configurations (>100 mbps configurations) - We will explore the specifications for network medium, fiber optic, auto-negotiation, Fast Link Pulse and full duplex (FDX)Ethernet links.

Week 11 - November 15

Exam 3 - 10/100 Mbps Configurations

Topic: WANs and Alternatives - Bit-oriented protocols in networking, X.25, ISDN, PRI/BRI legacy solutions compared with current technology, evaluation of "pros and cons".

Week 12 - November 22

Lecture Topic: Broadband WAN offerings by common carriers - Including Frame Relay, ATM, SONET, fractional offerings, cost consideration, determining capacity vs. actual need.

No Class on November 29

Week 13 - December 6

Lecture Topic: Network Security, Design, and Management - Authorization, authentication and accounting, data encryption, digital certificates, secure sockets layer (SSL) and HTTPS, router-based security, access and extended access lists, firewalls.

Week 14 - December 13

Lecture Topic: Wireless Communications - Fundamental concepts of wireless and cellular protocols such as AMPS, TDMA, CDMA, spread spectrum, near/far considerations, handoffs, commercial applications and business processes, growth phase and life-cycle of cellular technology.

Week 15 - December 20

Final Exam - Network Security and Wireless Communications

Course Summary: Where do we go from here? - Open items, course review, next steps: Overview of CS 361 Data Communications II, hands-on workshop approach, labs, demonstrations, sample products, etc.

See You in Data Comm II !!

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