Internet Principles


  1. To introduce networked computer systems in general, and the Internet in particular.
  2. To introduce the basic principles that govern their operation.
  3. To introduce the design and organisation principles of successful computer networks.
  4. To introduce the key protocols and technologies that are used in the Internet.


  • Introduction to Computer Networks and the Internet [2 lectures]
  • The OSI seven layer model:
    1. application & presentation layers, including DNS, email, WWW, and multimedia protocols [5 lecture]
    2. the transport layer – including the TCP & UDP protocols [5 lectures]
    3. the network layer - including routing and congestion handling, quality of service [4 lectures]
    4. the data link layer – including error correction, and the medium access sublayer [4 lectures]
    5. the physical layer – physical communications media [4 lectures]
  • Network security issues, including public key encryption, cryptography, authentication & integrity [6 lectures].

Recommended Texts

James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross (2010): Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach (5th edition), Addison-Wesley.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should:

  1. Understand the basic theoretical principles of computer communications networks (eg the notion of band width, Shannon’s law etc);
  2. Understand how the notion of layering and abstraction apply to the design of computer communication networks;
  3. Understand the structure and function of the OSI seven layer model of computer networks;
  4. Understand the organisation of the Internet, and how this organisation relates to the OSI seven layer model;
  5. Understand the principles of the key protocols that govern the Internet.

Learning Strategy

Formal Lectures and Labs: In a typical week, students will be expected to attend three hours of formal lectures and will have the opportunity of one hour of supervised computer lab time in which they can receive guidance regarding the continuous assessment tasks of the module. Lectures will introduce students to the academic content and practical skills which are the subject of the module, while computer practicals will allow students to practise those skills.

Private Study: In addition, students will be expected to devote 7 hours of unsupervised time to solving continuous assessment tasks and private study. Private study will provide time for reflection and consideration of lecture material and background reading.

Assessment: Continuous assessment will be used to test to what extent practical skills have been learnt, in particular, assessment tasks will be solved individually or in small groups. A written examination at the end of the module will assess the academic achievement of students.