CSCI-E 131b Communication Protocols and Internet Architectures [REVIEW]

Now that I have completed the class I ought to tell you all about what I thought.

As many people will tell you, Leonard Evenchik is an excellent lecturer. I enjoyed his talks and I never felt "lost" even when I didn't understand the material. He's a great guy and although I did not have much one-on-one time with him I'm sure he would be fun to talk to.

If you can't attend class you can watch his recorded lectures online on the course website. I was pleasantly surprised to find a quality recorded product. The lectures will stream at various sizes and include the power point slides he is covering. If you're lucky enough to take his class when it's held at 1 Story Street, you'll have the better product to watch (many more camera angles).

This class is recorded and held live in the Fall and the Summer. The videos are replayed for those taking it in the Spring. Apparently the Summer class is a little experimental where the staff tries to introduce new technology.

When I took the course "Joe" was my TA and only 5-7 students showed up to section each week. Joe is a really good guy who had a sense of humor and encourage everyone to talk and share our newbie questions (the stuff covered in the class does seem silly for us not to know). I spoke a lot and I was surprised that the other students had the same questions that I had. An added benefit was Joe really helped us understand the homework problems and past lectures.

Okay, so if you're thinking of taking this class I bet you just want to know how hard is it? For me it was not difficult. But I did find the material interesting and the homework fun. Each homework might take 5 to 10 hours to complete and there are 5 of them.

You'll spend a few hours reading each week and most of it will be online material and relate to the homework. The assigned textbook Computer Networks, A Systems Approach (Peterson and Davie) is good but seems to lose importance during the middle chunk of the course.

I found that the book TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols (Stevens) covered that section better and is a better supplement for many of the homework problems. The problem with the later book is that it does not cover many of the modern technologies related to VOIP. Hint: Professor Evenchik is a VOIP expert.

However, you can buy that book on Amazon for $50 new, used for $20.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this class and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the IP stack and networking. It is ridiculous how much better I understand the Internet. If you're already comfortable with TCP/UDP/IP and all those other three-letter-acronyms then this class could be extremely easy. But for a guy like me, with no in-depth networking experience, I found this to be the most useful class I have ever taken.

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    # by ck - July 15, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Thank you very much! I plan to take this as my first course in Fall 2012. Wish me good luck!