Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Telecommunications Engineering (cod. 9205)

Learning outcomes

This course intends to consolidate the knowledge of theoretical aspects of Communication and Computer Networks with practical experience, by means of hands-on experiments on network equipment and services. The student will learn how to design and manage a typical corporate telecommunication network and will gain the basic competencies of a network administrator. Laboratory sessions constitute a relevant part of the course schedule and will be based on both physical and virtual equipment.

Course contents

The course covers advanced technical aspects of communication networks, with reference to consolidated technologies as well as state-of-the-art solutions for modern network infrastructures.

The course topics are firstly introduced and discussed from the theoretical point of view with traditional lectures, and then their practical aspects are analyzed with laboratory sessions using both open-source and commercial network equipment.

Specific topics covered by the course are as follows:

  • Interior routing protocols for IP networks: RIP, OSPF.
  • Exterior routing protocols for IP networks: BGP.
  • Advanced protocols for IP-based core networks: MPLS.
  • Emerging network paradigms: Software Defined Networking.
  • Introduction to virtualization technologies and related networking issues.

IMPORTANT: being this an advanced practical course on networking, students must already possess the required background knowledge to be able to fruitfully attend. Background knowledge will be verified at the beginning of the classes, in order to help students in deciding whether to attend the course.

In order to fruitfully attend the course, a solid understanding of networking basics is required, including:

  • layered network architectures and reference models (ISO-OSI, TCP/IP)
  • local area network (LAN) protocols and technologies
  • virtual LAN (VLAN) technologies
  • TCP/IP protocol suite
  • classless IP addressing, use of netmask, subnetting
  • practical experience and use of protocol analyzers, including Wireshark and tcpdump.


Lecture slides will be made available to the students, in electronic format.

Additional materials for consultation purposes include:

  • M. L. Merani, M. Casoni, W. Cerroni, Hands-On Networking. From Theory to Practice, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2009, ISBN-13: 9780521869850
  • Y.-D. Lin, R.-H. Hwang, F. Baker, Computer Networks: An Open Source Approach, McGraw-Hill, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-07-131587-6
  • K. R. Fall, W. R. Stevens, TCP/IP Illustrated, Vol. 1, 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-321-33631-6
  • Linux man and info commands
  • Suggested documentation available on-line
  • Linux user's manuals
  • Commercial router and switch user's manuals

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures (to introduce specific topics and focus on operational aspects) and practical laboratory activities.

Significant part of the course schedule is dedicated to lab sessions, which are essential to gain a deep knowledge of the practical aspects of communication networks and services.

To motivate students and stimulate their interest, each lab session focuses on achieving practical goals that are also functional to perform the following ones. Lab sessions are also intended to stimulate teamwork skills.

Assessment methods

The final examination will assess the ability of each student to understand the advanced aspects of communication networks. The final test is composed of a brief written test, followed by an oral part during which each student will be asked to complete one of the practical lab exercises in a limited time, illustrating the steps to the instructor.

Teaching tools

Linux-based workstations with specialized software.

Software protocol analyzer.

Commercial IP routers and Ethernet switches for lab activities.

Office hours

See the website of Gianluca Davoli


Industry, innovation and infrastructure

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.