FIT9020 Data Communications was a compulsory subject for students without comparable undergraduate credit. It did however turn out to be well worth the time. Some of the best parts about this subject were:

  • Tutorials
    • Learning how to use applications such as Wireshark, Kistmet, inSSIDer
    • Learning about the array of network tools included in both windows and *unix systems (netstat, tracert etc)
  • Lectures
    • Much more detailed understanding of how computer networks send and receive data
    • How network routing works

Of course the subject was not perfect, some of the points that I did not enjoy so much were:

  • Excessive time spent on physical communication
  • Heavy lectures which focused on technical details rather than discussion of concepts

I would definitely recommend this subject to anyone who wants a greater understanding of how networks and the internet work. You will get a very detailed practical knowledge base and learn how to use a number of invaluable tools for getting more information about the underlying network communications that make the internet work. Thanks to Andrew Paplinski for running a great subject with very interactive tutorials.

Links to tools:

Wireshark

inSSIDer

kismet

nmap