Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Arizona 
Home Syllabus Lectures Assignments Grading Resources

Course Description

ECE 478/578 presents the fundamental principles of computer networks and data communications. Emphasis is given on current technologies and architectures for establishing direct link and packet-switched networks, sharing access to a common communication medium, internetworking and routing, end-to-end flow control, congestion control and recourse allocation, and network security.


Computer Networks, A Systems Approach, 5th edition,
Larry L. Peterson and Bruce S. Davie, Morgan Kaufmann, 2011.

Data Networks, 2nd edition,
D. Bertsekas, and R. Gallager, Prentice Hall, 1992.

Computer Networks, 5th edition,
A. S. Tanenbaum and Davis Wetherall, Prentice Hall, 2010.

Computer Networking, A Top-down Approach, 5th edition,
J. Kurose and K. Ross, Addison Welsey, 2009


ECE 175 - Computer Programming for Engineering Applications (C Programming).

Course Objectives

Upon the completion of this course, students should have achieved the following objectives:

More specifically, students will gain fundamental understanding of the following topics:

Introduction to Computer Networks

Direct-Link Networks

Medium Access


End-to-End Protocols

Congestion Control and Resource Allocation


Network Security

Important Dates

Last day to drop a course so it does not appear on the record of enrollment: February 7, 2012.
Midterm Exam: March 8, 2012 (tentative).
Last day to drop a course with a withdrawal of “W.” Students must be passing the course in order to withdraw at this time. Signature of the Instructor is required: March 7, 2012
Final exam: May 10, 2012, 8:00AM - 10:00 AM

Course Assignments and Exams

Homework will be assigned on a weekly basis on the topics covered in class. There will be approximately 8 homework assignments of equal weight. Assignments will be posted every Thursday and will be due at the start of the class the following Thursday. There will also be one midterm exam, three group projects and a final exam. The final exam will be held on Thursday May 10, 8:00AM - 10:00 AM HARV 302

Homework Assignment Guidelines

The homework, exam and project grades will be based upon the following components:

Course Grading Policies

Homework is due at the time that it is specified in the homework handout (all homework handouts will be posted on the class website. Late homework will not be accepted, and will receive 0 points.

The grading distribution for the course is as follows:

Homework Assignments: 20%
Midterm: 20%
Group Project: 30%
Final Exam: 30%
Total: 100%

Grading scheme:

Percentage Letter Grade
90% - 100% A
80% - 89% B
70% - 79% C
60% - 69% D
<60% F

Make-up exams: A make-up exam may only be given under extraordinary circumstances. The student requesting a make-up exam should contact the instructor well in advance and provide written documentation for the reason that he/she will not be able to attend the regularly scheduled exam. It is up to the discretion of the Instructor to accept the justification provided by the student.

Students with Disabilities

If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with me so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that disability-related accommodations are necessary, please register with Disability Resources ((520)621-3268; DRC center) and notify me of your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations. Make sure that such a request is set forth at least 2 weeks before the first exam to allow sufficient time for any preparations that may be needed.

Plagiarism Policy

The University of Arizona Code of Academic Integrity (Section 2.1a) is based on the guiding principle that a student's submitted work must be the student's own. In ECE 478/578, this policy will be applied to all work submitted for a grade, including exams, quizzes, homework, and lab assignments. Copying previously posted solutions or solution manuals is strictly forbidden; anyone violating this policy will receive zero credit for homework that was plagiarized. All work must be original. The minimum penalty for submitting work that is not your own is an E grade. Repeated violations may result in expulsion from the university.

Absence Policy

According to University policy, the instructor will honor absences due to holidays or special events observed by organized religions and absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean’s designee).

Student Conduct

Students are expected to treat the class and the instructor with respect. No cellphone ringing and texting is allowed during the lecture. For further info, please see here.