Advanced Wireless Networking: ELEC 538


An introductory networking course such as ELEC 437 or COMP 429 or a digital communications course such as ELEC 430.

Course Objectives
Develop knowledge and skills to understand and critically evaluate research advances in wireless networking.

Develop skills for technical debate and thesis defense.

Course Description
This course is held in a debate format: A research paper will be assigned one week in advance. Two teams of students will be chosen to debate and lead the discussion. One team will be designated the offense and the other the defense. In class, the defense team will present first. For 30 minutes the team will discuss the work as if it were their own thesis defense. The team should make a compelling case why the contribution is significant and Ph.D. worthy. The team should present the paper’s new knowledge, methods and experiments, including new insights, new fundamental understanding of wireless networks, and new techniques as compared to what was previously know. This will include the context of the contribution, prior work, and potential impact on the research community, industry, standards.

The defense team will be graded on their ability to convey the contribution in an organized, coherent, and compelling way. The presentation should go well beyond a paper “summary.” The defense should not critique the work other than to try to pre-empt attacks from the offense (e.g., by explicitly limiting the scope of the contribution).

After the defense presentation, the offense team will state their case for 20 minutes. This team should critique the work, and make a case for missing links, unaddressed issues, lack of impact, close similarities to prior work, inappropriateness of the problem formulation, etc. The more insightful and less obvious the criticisms, the more points. Avoid unsubstantiated or conclusory criticism such as “the results are obvious” or “the proposed system is impractical.” Instead, focus on well-reasoned, factual, and justified analysis based on prior work.

Next, the offense and defense will be allowed follow up arguments, and finally, the class will question either side either for clarifications or to add to the discussions and controversy and make their own points on either side. I will moderate this discussion.

The goal for the defense team is to learn to assess the contribution of a piece of work, anticipate likely attacks, and defend it from criticism. The goal of the offense team is critical analysis of research.

Grading and Workload

  • 15% Paper summaries/reviews
  • 15% In-class participation
  • 70% In-class debate presentations
  • For each class, non-presenters only will hand in two paragraphs, each of no more than 300 words. The first will summarize the assigned article, and the second will present your opinion on the paper’s major contribution and major weakness (i.e., your best point if you were on the respective defense and offense teams). Since papers will be discussed in class, no late work will be accepted. Paper summaries and reviews are due before class on their respective due dates.

    Each student will debate no more than 4 times.

    Course Outcomes
    Students completing the course will understand recent research in topics such as Wi-Fi, 5G/6G, Internet of Things (IoT), and wireless security.
    Students will be able to defend and critically analyze research.

    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.