You are here: Home » Study Plan » Subject


Subject: PROTOCOLS AND NETWORK (A.A. 2024/2025)

degree course in COMPUTER SCIENCE

Course year 3
Teaching units Unit Protocolli e architetture di rete
Information Technology (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: INF/01 CFU: 9
Teachers: Luca FERRETTI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download




The course aims to provide basic knowledge on computer network protocols and architectures. The focus is on the TCP/IP protocol stack and on a few of the most popular application layer protocols.

The course includes laboratory sessions that allow to further study network protocols through experimental analysis and that provide proficiency in installing, configuring and debugging computer networks by using commands and tools of Linux-based operating systems.

At the end of the course the student should know the most popular protocols adopted in modern computer networks as well as be able to comprehend the main design criteria of protocols and architectures for computer network communications. The student should also be able to create and debugging computer networks in Linux-based operating systems.

Admission requirements

Operating systems: theoretical knowledge (with a focus on structure and components, process management, interprocess communication), proficiency in using command line and main programs of Linux-based operating systems.

Course contents

The course focuses on topics related to communications in computer systems connected through local or geographical networks. It considers the TCP/IP suite protocols, Internet architecture and routing mechanisms, client/server paradigm, naming (case study: DNS system), and historical network applications, and a main focus on World Wide Web.

A few of the main topics of the the course are:
- Concepts of protocols stacks [1 CFU]
- Host-to-Network layer, focus on the Ethernet protocol [1 CFU]
- IP layer: Autonomous systems, Internet routing algorithms, Router architectures [2 CFU]
- Transport layer: UDP and TCP protocols, network sockets [2 CFU]
- Domain Name System: name servers, resource records, zones, lookup protocols [1 CFU]
- Application layer [1 CFU]
+ World Wide Web and HTTP
+ Electronic mail (Email)
- Concepts of secure protocols and network architectures [1 CFU]
+ Digital Certificates
+ Secure Email
+ Firewalls

Laboratory sessions adopt virtualized Linux-based operating systems to allow installing, configuring and analyzing computer network protocols by using popular programs and tools.

Teaching methods

Theoretical lessons carried out with the support of slides. Laboratory sessions where each student can use its own personal computer to replicate tutorials or to solve exercises proposed by the teacher. Lessons are given in Italian language. Attending is not mandatory but strongly recommended. Non-attending students are invited to contact the teacher.

Assessment methods

The examination consists of two parts and aims at testing knowledge and practical ability of all the educational objectives described above. - In the first part, the student must demonstrate the ability to solve a problem given by the teacher along the lines of the problems analyzed and solved within hands-on exercises throughout the course. This parts takes a maximum of two hours, plus correction and discussion which are operated just after the exam together with the teacher. - In the second part, the student must demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and practical issues discussed in the classroom, and takes from 20 to 40 minutes. Final exam grade is computed as the arithmetic average rounded to the nearest integer of the grades of the two parts.

Learning outcomes

Knowing and understanding of:
- the design concepts and criteria of a network protocol stack and the details of the TCP/IP stack
- the details the Ethernet protocol and of network architectures based on Ethernet
- the details of the IPv4 protocol and concepts of the IPv6 protocol
- the criteria and design principles of routing algorithms and concepts of existing standard routing protocols
- the details of the UDP and TCP protocols
- the details Network Address Translation mechanisms
- protocols and architectures associated with Domain Name Systems (DNS), electronic emails and World Wide Web

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
- analyze network protocols given network traces
- design simple local networks, including IP addresses and network topologies
- use commands and programs of Linux-based operating systems to configure and debug computer netowkrs


Il libro di testo consigliato per lo studio è:

- Versione italiana: "Reti di Calcolatori e Internet. Un approccio top-down", J. Kurose, K.W. Ross

- Versione inglese (originale): "Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach" J. Kurose, K.W. Ross

Il libro non è obbligatorio per il conseguimento della materia, ma è consigliato per una più completa trattazione di alcuni argomenti. È inoltre maggiormente consigliato agli studenti che non riescono a frequentare il corso con continuità.