Advanced Topics in
Communication Networks
Fall 2023

This course covers advanced topics and technologies in computer networks, both theoretically and practically.

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.


Dec 5 The solutions for the security block are now online in gitlab.
Nov 29 The solutions for week 2's exercise session are now (finally) online. Week 3's solutions will be coming soon.
Nov 28 Materials for the eleventh lecture are now online.
Nov 21 Materials for the tenth lecture are now online.
Nov 14 Materials for the ninth lecture are now online.
Nov 7 Please tell us what of think of the lecture thus far by filling in a short and anonymous survey.
Oct 24 Materials for the sixth lecture are now online.
Oct 23 The solutions for the programmability block are now online in gitlab.
Oct 17 Materials for the fifth lecture (and second programming exercises) are now online.
Oct 10 Materials for the fourth lecture (and first programming exercises) are now online.
Oct 3 Materials for the third lecture are now online.
Sep 26 Materials for the second lecture are now online.
Sep 19 Materials for the first lecture are now online.
Mar 20 Website for the Fall 2023 course edition goes live. Please stay tuned for more contents.
If you are interested in the materials from the previous years, you will find everything in the p4-learning repository on GitHub.


Professor Laurent Vanbever


Research group Networked Systems

Chat room #adv-net-23 (Please read the Instructions)


Location & time

Tuesdays, 2:15 pm–4 pm

Exercise sessions
Tuesdays, 4:15 pm–6 pm

 In-person     ML E 12
Recordings   ETH Video Portal (accessible with an ETH login)


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

  • Hierarchical routing
  • Fast Convergence
  • Network security
  • Network verification
  • Network measurements
  • Network programmability
  • Sustainable networking
  • Transport protocols
  • Video streaming (not this year)


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

Performance assessment

  • 6 ECTS credits
  • Final written exam
Week 1
 Lecture    Introduction, Course organization. Hierarchical routing (Part 1)
Exercise   None this week. Start in week 2.
Week 5
 Lecture    Data-plane programmability (Part 2)
Exercise   Load Balancing
Week 7
 Lecture    Network Verification (Part 2)
Exercise   Building a simple, but functional (!) network verifier (Part 2)
Extra readings
Week 9
 Lecture    Network measurements (Part 1)
Exercise   Implementing a Bloom Filter and a Count-MinSketch in P4
Extra readings
Week 10
 Lecture    Network measurements (Part 2)
Exercises   Network inference