Fall 2019

A spreadsheet version of the syllabus, for those who want a more schematic overview.

Class 1

September 3

Concepts

  • Introductions
  • Technological Metaphor as a way of seeing the world:
    • Medieval: Clock, gave rise to mechanical view of universe, Netwonian physics
    • Victorian: Steam engine, gave rise to thermodynamic view of universe (Boyle, et al)
    • Late 20th century: Computer, computational view of universe (Hawking et al)
    • Early 21st century: Network, network view of universe (Linked, et al)
  • Network dynamics
    • Centralized, distributed, and decentralized networks
    • Dyads, triads, and the links between them
    • Complete networks and incomplete networks
    • Link dynamics: Conversation, aggregation, broadcast, unicast, multicast, group
    • Rings vs stars vs complete nets
    • Link direction and symmetry
    • Density of links and its effect on robustness
    • Hubs, routers, switches, and endpoints
    • Networks of all flavors
      • Internet, PSTN, power grid, transportation
    • “The reference lie”: the OSI stack as a metaphor for communications networks

Technique

Assignment

Set up a Linux host. See Assignments page for details.

Reading

Class 2

September 10

Concepts

  • Network topologies from Linked: degrees of separation, small worlds
  • Network Geography
    • Addressing: IP, DNS, DHCP, etc.
    • IP address space and here’s the XKCD version. Here’s another map of IP address space.
    • IANA number space
    • Tiers of ISP — turtles all the way downHow the Internet gets to you
    • Packets vs. Circuits
    • Smart networks and dumb networks, end-to-end principles
    • Network geography using network tools:
      • ping — are you alive and can I contact you?
      • nslookup — what’s your name?
      • whois — who owns you?
      • traceroute — how do I get to you?
      • arp — address resolution protocol: what MAC address is linked to what IP address?

Technique

Assignment

Traceroute Project. See Assignments page for details.

Reading

Class 3

September 17

Field Trip

Netrality, 325 Hudson St. Our host will be Hunter Newby, Founder & CEO of Allied Fiber and Netrality, and co-founder and former chief strategy officer for Telx.  We’ll meet in the ITP lobby and take the subway together to be at the lobby of 325 Hudson ready at 4PM sharp. The entrance is on Vandam St.

Please do some background reading and research and come prepared with questions for our host based on our discussion of internet structures so far.

Reading

Class 4

September 24

Concepts

Technique

Reading

Class 5

October 1

Presentation

 Traceroute Project

Concepts

  • The electrical transmission grid
  • Network topologies from Linked: power laws, network “continents”
  • Intro to the power grid

Technique

Reading

Class 6

October 8

Concepts

  • Packet analysis

Technique

Assignment Due

Talk to me about the topic you’ve chosen for your explanatory article

Assignment

Packet Analysis. See Assignments page for details.

Reading

Fall Break: October 15

Class 7

October 22

Concepts

  • The transport layer: UDP and TCP

Technique

  • UDP, netcat, UDP datagrams
  • TCP sockets using netcat and in node.js

Reading

Class 8

October 29

Presentation: Packet analysis assignment

Concepts

  • Firewalls and access

Technique

  • Sockets and firewalls
  • All about ufw and its log files

Assignment

Firewall log analysis. See Assignments page for details.

Reading

Class 9

November 5

Assignment Due

  • First draft of explainer article due. You’ll be assigned someone else’s draft to read today.
  • Firewall log analysis

Concepts

Technique

Assignment

RESTful Control Surface Assignment. See Assignments page for details.

Week 1: Decide on your application, then describe and sketch the interface and the specify the REST interface.

Reading

Class 10

November 12

Presentation

  • Describe your application and present your REST API. Don’t build the project, just describe it and its functions. You’ll be assigned someone else’s specification to build this week.

Concepts

  • REST in more detail

Technique

  • Discuss how to make RESTful interfaces for projects

Assignment

RESTful Control Surface Assignment. See Assignments page for details.

Week 2:  Build the web interface for the REST system you specified, and test it. 

Class 11

November 19

Presentation

  • Show your working web interface. Report on the tests you did with the other groups.

Assignment

RESTful Control Surface Assignment. See Assignments page for details.

Week 3: Build the working physical prototype for the system you were assigned from another group. Test your web interface with the other group’s physical interface, and vice versa.

Concepts

  • Presentation layer, encryption techniques

Technique

  • HTTPS servers
  • node.js crypto library

Class 12

November 26

Presentation

  • REST connection test

Reading

Class 13

December 3

Assignment due:

Final draft of explanatory article due. Finish your final draft and link it to the class notes page by Friday at 6PM, so you and your classmates can read each others’ articles over the weekend.

Presentation

Show your physical prototype working with your companion groups. RESTful web interface project.

Concepts

  • Radio Spectrum
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa, ZigBee, etc

Class 14

December 10

  • Final discussion and wrap-up