Advanced Topics in
Communication Networks
Fall 2021

This course covers advanced topics and technologies in computer networks, both theoretically and practically. In the Fall 2021, the course will cover advanced topics in Internet routing and forwarding.

The goal for this course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of existing and upcoming Internet routing and forwarding technologies used in large-scale computer networks such as Internet Service Providers (e.g., Swisscom or Deutsche Telekom), Content Delivery Networks (e.g., Netflix) and Data Centers (e.g., Google).

Besides covering the fundamentals, the course will be “hands-on” and will enable students to play with the technologies in realistic network environments, and even implement some of them on their own during labs and a final group project.


Nov 9 The AdvNet 2021 project is starting today! Check out the project documentation for all required info.

Nov 8 You can now find online the AdvNet 2020 exam.
Please do keep in mind that the course material has changed significantly.
In particular, this year you can expect questions asking to write snippets of P4 code.
Oct 19 The introduction of this year's project is now available.
👉   Recording of the intro given during today's lecture

The project is done in groups of three students (freely composed).
Please register your groups by next Tuesday (Oct 26)!
👉   Group registration link
Sept 21 Today the lecture officially starts! Unfortunately, we must remind you of not-as-fun-as-networking things...

Important Special COVID regulations Important
In order to attend the course in-person
  • Face masks are compulsory for everyone at all times, except for short breaks to eat or drink.
  • A valid COVID certificate is required.
Students unable or unwilling to present a valid certificate will not be allowed in the lecture hall.
If you are in this situation, we invite you to attend the course remotely;
the lecture and exercise sessions are live-streamed, and you can ask questions via MS Teams.
Naturally, the session recordings will be available as well.

With that out of the way, we look forward to kick-starting the course in a couple of hours
Sept 16 The semester is about to start, and we are super excited to kick it off with you next Tuesday
If you intend to take the course, please already join the dedicated team in Microsoft Teams.

Important To be able to join the team, you must have an MS Cloud subscription from ETH.
Here are the instructions to get one if you don't have it already.
If you are not an ETH student, please contact us .
Jul 26 Website for the Fall 2021 course edition goes live. Please stay tuned for more contents.
If you are interested in the lecture contents from last year, click here


Professor. Laurent Vanbever


  • Romain Jacob   Head TA
  • Edgar Costa Molero
  • Alexander Dietmüller
  • Albert Gran Alcoz
  • Roland Meier
  • Ege Cem Kirci
  • Jurij Nota
  • Leonardo Rodoni

Research group. Networked Systems

MS Teams


Location & time

Tuesday 2:15 pm–4 pm in ML E 12

Exercise sessions
Tuesday 4:15 pm–6 pm in ML E 12


The course will cover advanced topics in Internet routing and forwarding such as:

  • Tunneling
  • Hierarchical routing
  • Traffic Engineering and Load Balancing
  • Virtual Private Networks
  • Quality of Service/Queuing/Scheduling
  • IP Multicast
  • Fast Convergence
  • Network virtualization
  • Network programmability (OpenFlow, P4)
  • Network measurements


  • Communication Networks (227-0120-00L), Computer Networks (252-0064-00L) or equivalents.
  • Good programming skills (in any language) are expected as both the exercises and the final project will involve coding.

Performance assessment

  • 6 ECTS credits
  • 60% of the final grade will be based on the final (written) exam, while the remaining 40% will be based on one graded group project (as a continuous performance assessment task). The project will start around week 3-5. Students repeating the course must decide at the beginning of the semester if they want to keep their previous project grade and inform the instructor accordingly.
Week 1
Lecture   Introduction, Course organization, Introduction to PISA and P4
Exercise   Introduction to P4
Week 2
Lecture   Introduction to PISA and P4 (continued)
Exercise   Introduction to P4
Week 3
Lecture   Stateful constructs, Tofino, and Load balancing
Exercise   Load balancing in P4
Week 4
Lecture   Probabilistic data structures
Exercise   Heavy-Hitter detector and Count-min Sketch
Week 5
Lecture   Traffic Engineering and MPLS
Exercise   MPLS
Week 6
Lecture   RSVP-TE and QoS
Exercise   RSVP
Week 7
Lecture   Fast convergence
Exercise   Loop-Free Alternate (LFA)
Week 8
Lecture   Fast convergence (end) and P4 in our Research
Exercise   Loop-Free Alternate (LFA) - Part 2