Computer Networks

Lab sessions will take place on Wednesday mornings from 9:15am to 12:05pm in room MF124/125.
Lectures will take place on Wednesday afternoons from 1:15pm – 3:05pm in room MD108.

The Syllabus lists some of the core texts and finer details of this module from an administrative viewpoint. The philosophy of this module is not to confuse you with ‘spagetti code’ for low level network device handling but rather to provide you with a theoretical underlying knowledge of networking and within the labs to deepen your understanding of how digital communications works.


Lecture 1: Introduction to Networks and Introduction to Wireshark
Optional additional reading: A Short History of the Internet by Bruce Sterling.
Optional video clip History of the Internet in 8 minutes

Lecture 2: Physical Layer
Optional additional reading: Physical Layer Overview By Rowan Davies.
Optional video clip: Physical Layer

Lecture 3: Data Link Layer
Optional additional reading: An Architectural Framework for Data Link Layer Security with Security Interlayering By Altunbasak et al.
Optional video clip: Data Link Layer

Lecture 4: Medium Access Control Sub Layer
Optional additional reading: MAC Layer Dynamic Backoff Scheme for Message Delivery Reliability in Wireless Sensor Networks by CBadi et al.
Optional video clip: OSI Model Demystified

Lecture 5: Network Layer
Optional additional reading: Congestion Control in TCP.
Optional video clip: Network Layer

Lecture 6: Transport Layer
Optional additional reading: Transport Layer by Tang et al.
Optional video clip: Transport Layer

Lecture 7: Application Layer
Optional additional reading: A Survey of P2P in various networks by Anita et al.
Optional video clip: The Convergence of Blockchain, Machine Learning, and the Cloud – Steve Lund, TEDx Talk

Lecture 8: Network Security
Optional additional reading: A Survey on Security for Mobile Devices by La Polla et al.
Optional video clip: A gift for the hackers documentary

Lecture 9: Multimedia Networking
Optional additional reading: Can we make operating systems reliable and secure by Tanenbaum et al.
Optional video clip: Principles of Operating Systems

Lecture 10: Blockchain
Optional additional reading Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
Optional video clip: The blockchain explained simply

Lecture 11: Wireless Networks
Optional additional reading: A Study of a Site-Specific Indoor Wireless Models by Al Bado et al.
Optional video clip: Hacking WPA/WPA2 Wireless Security


Week 1

Protocol Layers – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
Command Line Tools – Ping, IPconfig, NSlookup and more.

Week 1 Supplementary Tutorials
Web Page Load Test – Run a diagnostic on to see resource loading waterfall charts, Page Speed optimization checks and suggestions for improvements.
Web Page Load Comparison – Compare 2 sites such as and to see how optimised they are.

Week 2

Ethernet – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
Netstat – Command line tool which presents information on active network connections and overall statistics.

Week 2 Supplementary Tutorials
How well are you protected against non-consensual Web tracking?
Check to see if you have been exposed in a data breach

Week 3

DHCP – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing
DHCP – Viewing DHCP Client and DNS Client Status
Netsim – Simulator on the basics of how computer networks function Part 1

Week 3 Supplementary Tutorials
HTTP vs HTTPS Test – Compare load times of the unsecure HTTP and encrypted HTTPS versions on a page
WayBackMachine – Check out sites such as Ulster, BBC and Hotmail to see how they have progressed (click bar graph at top to get quick views).
Data Center Tour – Video – Technical Deep Dive into the Power, Data and Cooling Infrastructure.

Week 4

ARP – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
Netsim – Simulator on the basics of how computer networks function Part 2

Week 4 Supplementary Tutorials
Bandwidth – Measure your Internet Connection upload & download speeds
Online Network Tools – An easy way to ping, traceroute, resolve names, check countries of origin and ports open.

Week 5

TCP – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing
UDP – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing

Week 5 Supplementary Tutorials
Internet Traffic Reports
Bandwidth Speeds – Compare speed of your Internet Connection on another speedtester

Week 6

Class Test 1 at 09:15 during lab class. March 6th 2024

HTTP – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
Examining the HTTP protocol request in detail

Week 6 Supplementary Tutorials
Phishing IQ Test – Take a test to see if you tell the difference between a legitimate and phishing email?
Think you can Outsmart Internet Scammers? – Take a test to tell the difference between a legitimate website and one that is a phishing attempt
Can you spot a fake email? – Another phishing email IQ test

Week 7

HTML & Javascript – Create HTML Pages & Javascript to validate forms (PDF)
Exposed Amazon S3 buckets. – Search S3 buckets for personal information exposed. First read S3 buckets overview & how to search open Amazon buckets.

Week 7 Supplementary Tutorials
Broken Authentication
SQL Injection
Cross-Site Scripting

Week 8

SSL/TLS – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
RSA, DEP, Browser Security, Hash Generation & Digital Certificates – Practical examples of implementing security Word version

Week 8 Supplementary Tutorials
How long to hack my password – Find out how long your sacred password would take to bruteforce
Live Visualisation of Real-Time Worldwide Attacks. More from Fireeye, Kaspersky and Arbor Networks
Netcraft – Useful site for hackers to see what kind of server a site is running and time since last reboot.
HTTP Delay Estimation – “back-of-the-envelope” visualizations and calculations for Web response times.
Cryptography – Interact with this dynamic substitution cipher form.
Cryptography – Interact with the symbolic pigpen substitution cipher.

Week 9

DNS – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
DNS 2 – Modifying DNS on a local computer and working with the hosts file

Week 9 Supplementary Tutorials
Firewalls – Firewall Visualisation Tool
Shields Up – Test your machines network defenses online
Cryptography – Scroll down and enter text into form to see frequency analysis. The more text entered – the truer the overall frequency count.

Week 10

ICMP – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version
Operating Systems – Examine system processes in detail

Week 10 Supplementary Tutorials
Internet Speeds and Costs Worldwide

Week 11

802.11 – Wireshark Network Packet Sniffing Word version

Week 11 Supplementary Tutorials
Check to see if you are running an exposed local web server

Week 12

Class test 2 at 9:15 during lab class. May 1st 2024

Class Tests

Please note that the first class test will examine you on what we did in lab class & the lecture material from weeks 1 to 5 inclusive. The final class test will examine you on content in labs and material covered in lecture from week 6 to week 11 inclusive.

CLASS Test 1 – 50% (Week 6)
Class test during lab session on material covered in labs from weeks 1 to 5. March 6th 2024

CLASS Test 2 – 50% (Week 12)
Class test during lab session on material covered in labs from weeks 6 to 11. May 1st 2024.

Supplementary Videos
From Nand to Tetris in 14 steps – Noam Nisan presents his approach to teaching the how to build a simple computer system end-to-end
Human Computation – Excellent talk by MacArthur Fellow Prof Luis von Ahn.
15 Years Linux: Past and Future
Sun Solaris: Does the OS really matter – part 1
Sun Solaris: Does the OS really matter – part 2
Visualising Social Networks
Accelerating Innovation: People, Processes, & Technology
Network Security from CISCO.
Galileo – European Satellite Navigation System
How To Break Web Software – A look at security vulnerabilities in web software by Mike Andrews (Google TechTalk)
Google I/O 2012 – SQL vs NoSQL: Battle of the Backends
Human Engine Optimization: Natural Strategies for High Ranking Health
Building Brains to Understand the World’s Data

Other Material
World’s Biggest Data Breaches, Information is Beautiful
11 Steps Attackers Took to Crack Target,
Inside the Cunning, Unprecedented Hack of Ukraine’s Power Grid, Wired
The Security Mindset, Schneier on Security
Cybersecurity unemployment rate at zero, SC Media
Network live IP video cameras directory,
Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It, Andy Greenberg, Wired
Florida man wins over 1 million miles for hacking United Airlines, Jack Corrigan, WGN TV
Computer hackers can now hijack toilets, Sarah Griffiths, Daily Mail
Baby monitor hacker delivers creepy message to child, CBS News
It’s Insanely Easy to Hack Hospital Equipment, Kim Zeller, Wired
Here’s What We Know About the Massive Cyber Attack That Took Down the Internet on Friday, Peter Dockrill, Science Alert
How the Dyn DDoS attack unfolded, Tim Greene, Network World
MEECES to pieces, Deborah Radcliff, Network World
Flight Radar – See flights in the air around the world

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