82093 - Laboratory of Networking M

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

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 and scientific 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 all the required background knowledge to be able to attend. Background knowledge will be verified at the beginning of the classes and students who are not qualified will be strongly discouraged to attend the course.

The background knowledge required to attend this course includes solid competence on and strong understanding of networking basics, such as:

  • 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, such as wireshark and tcpdump.


Lecture notes 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 module consists of lectures (to introduce specific topics and focus on operational aspects) and practical laboratory sessions.

Significant part of the module schedule is dedicated to lab experiments, 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 exercise is finalized to achieve practical goals that are also functional to perform the following ones. Lab exercises are also intended to stimulate teamwork skills.

Assessment methods

The final examination will assess the student's ability to understand the advanced aspects of communication networks. Each student will be asked to discuss a final report on the lab exercises performed during the course and, possibly, a final project.

Teaching tools

Software protocol analyzer.

Linux-based workstations with specialized software.

Commercial IP routers and Ethernet switches for lab experiments.


Office hours

See the website of Walter Cerroni