Table of Contents
The two courses Network Infrastructure and Network Applications focus on Networking in every aspect. The first semester will focus upon Infrastructure , the stuff that enables networking, and the second semester will focus upon Applications . They may be taken independently and in either order.
For those of you familiar with common layered descriptions of networking the division is that the first semester focusses on the transport layer and everything underneath that it depends upon, and the second semester focusses on the transport layer and everything that depends upon it. That is the focus of the first semester is Infrastructure and of the second is Applications. They overlap precisely at the transport level because that is in fact important to understand for everyone, whether their ultimate interest is "the top" or "the bottom".
Just recently a very nice paper made this quite clear. All of you know that one of the most important applications of networking now and in the future is called VoIP (Voice over IP) which is a way of carrying voice traffic, and other traffic that was once carried exclusively over "telecommunications" networks (belonging to phone companies).
There is much interest and there are many issues regarding the performance of VoIP and giant numbers of proposals relating to the problem and possible solutions. Modern telephony over the Internet extends across multiple Internet Service Providers rather than being restricted to a single (telco) provider, and it turns out that the design and implementation and operation of a "routing protocol" called BGP is a major factor in that performance. So the infrastructure and the application, which may seem independent as layers, are intimately tied together.
Sweat, probably more than you, especially given the following two factors.
Each week two lectures will be prepared and presented and posted on the class website. The instructor will also present on his personal website what he hopes you will do about those lectures. More about that later on.
It is very important that you develop both a conceptual understanding of a topic and actual experience with it. Real examples will be presented and you will be expected to work with them, but in the context of an understanding of what they are about as much as learning to follow detail without knowing why.
The first lecture on the topic will often focus upon the conceptual, making sure that you understand why the topic is needed, something of its history, something about various ways in which it could be and is provided on various systems, and something about problems that may be encountered in providing it.
The second lecture of the topic will usually focus upon the specifics. Details are not important in that they could change, but they are vital in that they must be compatible in order for networking to work.
As some of you have heard your instructor is writing a book to be entitled Object-Oriented TCP/IP Networking subtitled with Java and Unix . Some preliminary materials about this book are available at netbook .