Introduction to Communication Networks: ELEC 437



The topics that we will cover are self-contained so that a background in networking is not required. ELEC 303 (Introduction to Probability) or similar (e.g., STAT 331) is a required prerequisite.

Course Objectives

Develop knowledge and skills to design and analyze communication networks with a focus on wireless networks and performance evaluation.

Course Outcomes

Students completing the course will clearly understand the following networking concepts:

  1. Medium access
  2. Routing
  3. Traffic Modeling
  4. Congestion Control
  5. Scheduling

Students will be able to apply analytical models and simulation tools to networking problems.

Detail Topics

      Performance evaluation techniques: Renewal theory, Markov chains, utility maximization
      Medium access in wireless networks: ALOHA, CSMA, 802.11, LTE
      Scheduling and fairness: max-min fairness, utility, multi-hop scheduling
      Congestion control: fluid models, NUM, TCP
      Routing: link state, distance vector, BGP
      Traffic management: statistical multiplexing, delay bounds, quality of service


      40% Homework assignments
      25% Midterm
      30% Final exam
      5% Class participation


You may discuss homework assignments with classmates but all solutions must be original and individually prepared. Late work will be penalized at 15% of its full credit per day up to a maximum of 4 days, after which no late work will be accepted.

Required Textbook

A. Kumar, D. Manjunath, and J. Kuri, Communication Networking: An Analytical Approach. Elsevier, 2004.

Rice Honor Code

In this course, all students will be held to the standards of the Rice Honor Code, a code that you pledged to honor when you matriculated at this institution. If you are unfamiliar with the details of this code and how it is administered, you should consult the Honor System Handbook at This handbook outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of your academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process.

Disability Support Services

If you have a documented disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: 1) make sure this documentation is on file with Disability Support Services (Allen Center, Room 111 / / x5841) to determine the accommodations you need; and 2) talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs.

Syllabus Change Policy

This syllabus is only a guide for the course and is subject to change with advanced notice.