Lecture 1: Computer Networks Overview

Computer Networks

Welcome to Computer Networks. You may be enrolled in any one of INT21CN, INT31CN or INT31BCN but it's all really the same subject, and this is the first lecture.

These notes relate to the subject schedule, which you should receive as a handout in the first lecture.

Subject Coordinator (and lecturer/tutor at Bendigo session):
Phil Scott. I will normally be in my office during working hours. My office phone number is 5444 7277. See also, electronic mail. We may have the assistance of another tutor for some of the classes, see later.

Textbooks and references
In particular, how come there's no text book? What should we do in relation to buying a book? Are there other sources of information for this subject? These issues will be discussed in the lecture.

Comes in two parts:

Subject Offering

This subject is offered in conventional classroom mode at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, and this lecture concentrates on this offering. It is also offered at Nilai College in Malaysia and at ACN in Sydney. Locally appropriate introductory lectures will be presented at those sessions.

When are the lectures?
Monday at 5pm, Wednesday 10am.

Can the lecture times be changed?

What happens with tutes?
Tutorials are held in two groups: the Tuesday group and the Wednesday/Thursday group. You must register for the tutorials of your choice using our On-line Tute Registration System. Please use this facility, and report any problems which you may have with it. You need to know your LTU, Bendigo Unix/Windoze login name and your student number for authentication using this system, but NOT your StudentOnLine ID and password.

In addition to the tutorials, a set of practical exercises will (may?) be available as a link from the bottom of each tutorial worksheet. You may wish to work through these in your own time -- class/laboratory time is not allocated for this purpose. These exercises are designed to enhance your learning in Computer Networks, and may be of particular value to any "operational" learners in the class.

Support Services

The Subject Area -- What's It About?

Computer Networks are now of central importance to all of Information Technology. With the explosive growth of the Internet, they are rapidly becoming of crucial importance to all of modern society. It is absolutely certain that you will need to know about networks and network technology to survive in the IT workplace.

This subject is provides a "top-down" overview of the technology and design of computer networking systems. We begin with network applications and application protocols, then progress "downwards" through the various "layers" -- transport, network, link and, finally, physical. Then in (approximately) the second half of the unit we cover a range of "miscellaneous" topics, principally encryption, network security and network management. The Internet ("TCP/IP") protocols are used exclusively: it's fair to say that the Internet is now "The Only Game In Town", and other protocol architectures are nowadays of purely "academic" interest.

This subject aims to give a solid overview of the technologies and philosophies that are needed to understand how computer networks are built, and can be used. It also examines, in part, why some apparently illogical things are the way they are, and how human foibles can affect technology.

One crucial aspect of the subject is that it will not shy away from discussion of the "P" word (politics) where this seems necessary to understand the technology.

There is no tutorial for this lecture.
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