Due: April 11 (By 11:59pm)


The success of the Internet heavily depends on a wide range of well-defined protocols. Protocols are languages that computers use to communicate with each other. This assignment will help you better understand how protocols play important roles in the Internet and in other networks. A second objective of this assignment is to improve your writing skills, in particular, your paper structure and presentation style, use of visual aids, and using the Internet to search for content and literature. (You may not agree now, but some day you will recognize that your communication skills are as important as any other skill you have learned at UCSB.)


Write a 1500-2000 word essay describing a networking protocol. Besides using the textbook, you very likely will make use of various online resources and articles. Feel free to add in charts, pictures or graphs that you find relevant to your essay. Proper citations are mandatory.

In writing this essay, you will want to pick a specific network protocol that is or was widely used in the Internet. However, you are strongly encouraged not to choose a protocol from among those we will discuss in gory detail (e.g. IP (v4 or v6), TCP or UDP) this quarter. There are other protocols that we will only survey (e.g. HTTP, PPP, OSPF and BGP), that might therefore be reasonable choices. And finally, there are even more protocols that we will not have time to discuss at all (e.g. 802.11, DOCSIS or SMTP) that you might be interested in learning about. (Note: be aware, some protocols (e.g. FTP), are so simple that it would be hard to write much about.)

In your essay, you will need to describe the context in which your protocol operates as well as details about what your protocol does and how it does it. However, the exact content of your essay and its format are up to you. To help guide you, consider the following questions:

A good starting point to this assignment would be to read: TCP/IP Overview and History. (3 pages).


1. Tips on writing a good essay: http://www.hrm.strath.ac.uk/links/docs/academic-writing.pdf. Google for more!

2. Any paper that quotes or refers to the work of another person should include a "citation" or reference to that work. A guide to writing citations can be found at http://www.hamline.edu/administration/libraries/bush/handouts/citations.html.

Please email/meet the TA if you need any help or guidance with your assignment.


The assignment is due by April 11th by 11:59pm. Late submissions will not be accepted.

The assignment should be submitted using the course web site.  The preferred file format is HTML or PDF format. Because the web site only allows one file to be submitted,  if you have multiple files, you should use a commonly available (tar or zip) to combine your four files into a single file.

Grading Guidelines

The following guidelines will help you better understand how your essay will be graded.

Cheating Policy

This assignment is to be done individually. Cheating will not be tolerated. Please read the UCSB Academic Code of Conduct to find out more about Student Conduct and Discipline. Of particular relevance to this assignment is the need to properly cite material you have used. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism.