Introduction to Data Networks

Course description: it is an introductory course aimed at learning basic principles of networking. The course covers the following topics: the evolution and convergence  of data networks; packet and circuit switching; the OSI reference model; types and features of networks; basics of Quality of Service (QoS). This course does not look at any specific protocols or equipment, while focusing on fundamental concepts. We therefore recommend that this course be completed before taking any of the other courses outlined in this roadmap.

Course(s) to be taken before this course: none.

Chapters of the book on which this course can be based: chapters 1 to 7 of Part 1 Networking Basics.

Learning advice

  • You may want to consider whether and to what extent Chapter 1 Evolution of Computer Networks should be included in this course. The problem is that on one hand, the study of the history of any area of science and technology, as noted in that chapter, helps not only satisfy one’s natural curiosity but also fully appreciate the meaning of main achievements in that area. On the other hand, this appreciation of the events and technologies discussed in chapter 1 may be difficult for a reader who is only making his/her first steps in studying networks.  We have attempted in our book to outline the networking evolution in such a way that it could be understood by someone having only general understanding of the basic underlying technologies. You may however wish to compress this topic, or to move it into the final part of this course or to exclude it entirely.


  • This course may be extended by including the introduction to network operating systems and application (this topic is not covered in the book)