ECE 256: Wireless Networking & Mobile Computing
Cross listed as CS 215

Semester:                   Spring 2012
Time and Location:   M/W 1:15pm to 2:30pm, (Location: 125 Hudson Hall)
Prerequisites:             ECE 156 or CS 114 or permission of instructor

Instructor:                  Romit Roy Choudhury :
Office hours:             By appointment (203 Hudson Hall)

TA:                            Mahanth Gowda <>
                                  Office hour: Thursday 2:00pm at Hudson 209A

                                  Sanhita Ganguly <>
                                  Office hour: Monday 3:00am at Hudson 115

Grading:                     Class presentation, participation:      10%
                                   Homework (Paper reviews, etc.):     20%
                                   1 mid-term exam:                              20%
                                   Semester-long project:                      50%

       Industries engaging with ECE 256 class projects ...



    Course Overview:
  • There is no textbook for this course. I will cover majority of the topics through lectures on important concepts, and presentation of related papers. The remaining classes will comprise of student-led presentations. Each student will be required to present 1 paper in the entire semester.
  • For each class, students are required to read 2 of the assigned papers and write reviews for them (in certain cases there will be only 1 paper for review). Most of the papers are from top networking conferences. The reviews should be emailed to the TA before class starts. Also, a printed copy should be submitted in class.
  • Several additional papers will be recommended for reading. You should make an effort to read them, but I understand your time constraints.
  • There will be one mid-term exam (open notes, open laptop), and no final exams.
  • The most important component of the course will be the final research project. You are expected to do these projects in groups of 2 (preferrably). I encourage you to think about the project problem early, discuss your ideas with me, read papers in the area, formulate your solution, and finally implement it.

    Links to Supplementary Material:

  • Selected projects from previous years, and projects from similar courses in other universities, have been published in conferences:
  • How to read, write, and present papers: ppt
  • Some good conferences and workshops in Wireless Networking and Mobile Computing:
    • ACM Mobicom, MobiHoc, MobiSys, Sigcomm, NSDI, Hotnets, HotMobile
    • IEEE Infocom, ICNP, ICDCS, SECON, WoWMoM

Course Topics:

+ Course Logistics and Content Overview
+ Undergraduate Networking Primer

+ Wireless Basics (Physical Layer and MAC)
+ Medium Access Control
       ~ Randomized Channel Access
       ~ TDMA
       ~ Smart Antennas
       ~ Multi-Channel Protocols
       ~ Transmission Rate Control
       ~ PHY aware MAC protocols

+ Mobile Phones -- The New Platform for People-Centric Sensing
       ~ Social and Personal Applications
       ~ Localization
       ~ Human Mobility
       ~ Location Privacy

+ Routing
       ~ Purely Distributed Multihop Routing
       ~ Location Based Routing
       ~ Opportunistic Routing

+ Wireless Transport
       ~ Loss Discrimination
       ~ Receiver Based Approaches
       ~ Event Based Reliability for Sensing Applications

+ Emerging Topics
       ~ Link Layer Multicast
       ~ Rural Mesh Networking
       ~ Device Fingerpriting

+ Capacity of Wireless Networks
       ~ Gupta Kumar Transport Capacity

Schedule for the remaining class presentations:

3:00pm: Le Qi, Hang Yin: Towards Mobile Phone Localization without War-Driving
3:15pm: Kip: Turducken: Hierarchical Power Management for Mobile Devices
3:30pm: Hanxiao Mao, Haoran Liu: Effectiveness of RTS/CTS Handshake in IEEE 802.11 based Ad Hoc Networks
4:00pm: Alex, Jannie: On striping traffic over multiple IEEE 802.11(b) channels

1:00pm: Rohan and Brandon: CenseMe
1:30pm: Itay: Mobile-Assisted Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks
2:00pm: Qiang Fu and Xi Du: RADAR: An in-building RF-based User location and Tracking System.
4:00pm: Qiong Zhang, Yao Xiao: A New Routing Protocol for Reconfigurable Wireless Networks, 
4:30pm: Parikshit, Rahul: Catnap
5:00pm: Hanxiao Mao, Haoran Liu: Effectiveness of RTS/CTS Handshake in IEEE 802.11 based Ad Hoc Networks

Project Groups:

1. Puneet Jain, Xiaomeng Li and Songchun Fan: Indoor Object Positioning System
2. Ashley, Troy, Brandon: The World is Your Playground: Extending Smartphone User Input Beyond the Screen
3. Haoran Liu and Hanxiao Mao: Applying queue theory in wireless networking control
4. Qiong Zhang, Yao Xiao, and Jianye Yin: Human Recognition
5. Hang Yin and Le Qi: Human Recognition using Mobile Phones
6. Long Ma, Weisong Tie, and Yue Xu: Localization on road based on SmartPhone sensors
7. Ran Li, Lin Deng, and Yao Rong: Pre-fetching based on Signal Strength Prediction in Mobile Network
8. Marcus Molchany, Rohan Kshirsagar and Andrew Bailey: SecurePhone: Security Through Detecting the Smartphone Owner’s Identity
9. David Lue and Rayn Sakaguchi: CommLoc: An Energy Efficient Localization Method for Common Commuting Routes
10. Ming-Hsiung Hsueh, Xi Du, and Qiang Fu: Indoor Localization using WiFi and Images
11. Akie Hashimoto, Itay Cnaan, and Rahul Solanki: Wi-Fi access points localization and location awareness in a reverberant environment   
12. Xia Li, Difan Zhao, and Shiyuan Wang: GSM Based Smartphone Energy Optimization for WiFi Networking
13. Liancheng Shen and He Wang: Human Feature Extraction Using Mobile Phone Sensors
14. Kip Coonely: Collecting the Dross: Wireless Energy Harvesting for Improved Device Performance
15. Jannie and Alex: Adaptive channel advertising
16. So Shibo Li, Jian Yu and Yuxuan Dai: Indoor or Outdoor? A prediction using mobile phone sensors
17. Jiaqi Yan: XXX: A distributed computing and File System platforms on mobile smart phones
18. Jiaji Huang, Xin Jiang and Zheng Zhai: Where was I? Trail Record with Arbitrary Phone Orientation
19. Ying Wang, Neng Xue and Tianxu Wang: Can you answer the phone? : Automatic Recognition of Human’s idle/free Status
20. Sam Baek: RoadSense: Vehicular Localization Based on Road Conditions Using Mobile Phones
21. Parikshit Chaubal: Analysis of wifi scanning techniques in smartphones

Course Calendar
Topics & Reading Assignments
Jan 18 (Wed)
Course Logistics: Course structure, grading, project, reading papers, etc.

Content Overview:
(1) Wireless Networks -- WLANs, ad hoc, mesh, sensor, and RFID networks
(2) Mobile Computing -- Mobile phones, DTN, social networks, security

Begin Undergraduate Networking primer (ECE 156)

[ ppt ]

Link recap
[ ppt ]

Jan 23 (Mon)

Browse on your own.
No need to write reviews
Undergraduate Networking primer (ECE 156)

  1. A Brief History of WiFi
  2. M. Satyanarayanan (CMU), Fundamental Challenges in Mobile Computing
  3. OXYGEN Project at MIT
  4. YouTube Videos: Participatory Sensing, SixthSense, Skinput, MobiUs, Oasis, Intel 3D camera
  5. CITRIS Project at Berkeley
[ ppt ]

Transport recap
[ ppt ]
Jan 25 (Wed)

Review due today, and for subsequent classes.
Channel model, modulation basics, antenna technologies
Medium Access Control I: The CSMA/CA regime (IEEE 802.11 PHY & MAC)

  1. MACAW: A Medium Access Protocol for Wireless LANs, V. Bharghavan, A. Demers, S. Shenker, and L. Zhang, ACM SIGCOMM 1994
  2. First 20 pages of IEEE 802.11 Tutorial -- Mustafa Ergen (UC Berkeley) ... (Full IEEE 802.11 Standard for your reference)
Recommeded Reading:

[ ppt ]
Jan 30 (Mon)

Last day to select
your slot for class presentation.
Medium Access Control II: The TDMA regime (Bluetooth, graph coloring, etc.)


  1. DRAND: Distributed Randomized TDMA Scheduling for Wireless Ad Hoc Networks. Injong Rhee, et al., ACM MobiHoc 2006
  2. ZMAC: A Hybrid MAC for Wireless Sensor Networks, Rhee, Warrier, et al. ACM Sensys 2005
  3. Bluetooth (Don't review, only surf)
Recommeded Reading:

[ rand ppt ]
[ zmac ppt ]
Feb 1 (Wed)

No review due today

Spend some more time on Medium Access Control I and II

We will continue discussing medium access control

Feb 6 (Mon)
Medium Access Control III: Directional Antennas

  1. Utilizing Directional Antennas for Wireless Ad Hoc Networks Roy Choudhury, Yang, Vaidya, Ramanathan, ACM Mobicom 2002
  2. Link Layer Multicast using Smart Antennas: No Client Left Behind, Souvik Sen, Jie Xiong, Rahul Ghosh, Romit Roy Choudhury, IEEE ICNP 2008
Recommeded Reading:
[ ppt ]
[ ppt ]
Feb 8 (Wed)
Medium Access Control V: Rate Control

  1. A Rate Adaptive MAC Protocol for Multi-Hop Wireless Networks, Holland, Vaidya, Bahl, ACM Mobicom '01
  2. OAR: an opportunistic auto-rate media access protocol for ad hoc networks Sadeghi, Kanodia, Sabhrawal, Knightly, Kluwer Wireless Networks Journal, 2005
Recommeded Reading:
[ ppt ]

Feb 13 (Mon)
Medium Access Control IV: Multichannel and multi-radio networks

  1. Multi-channel MAC for Ad Hoc Networks, So, Vaidya, ACM Mobihoc 2004
  2. Partially Overlapping Channel NOT Considered Harmful, Mishra, Srivastava, Banerjee, et al., ACM Sigmetrics 2006
Recommeded Reading:
1. Neng and Tiangxu
[ ppt ]

2. Ming-Hsiung and Songchun
[ ppt ]
Feb 15 (Wed)
Cross-Layer Protocols

  1. ZigZag Decoding, S. Gollakota, D. Katabi (Sigcomm 2009)
  2. AccuRate: PHY Informed Rate Selection in Wireless Networks, Sen, Roy Choudhury, Nelakuditi (NSDI 2010)
  3. Listen Before You Talk, but on the Frequency Domain, Sen et. al., Hotnets 2010.
Recommeded Reading:
  • Taking Sting out of Carrier Sense
  • Shuffle
  • SoftRate

[ teach on blackboard ]

Feb 20 (Mon)

No reviews due today

Buffer class -- finish up on wireless networking discussion ... prepare for shift to mobile computing.

Feb 22 (Wed)

Converge on project partners.

Start thinking about projects ... Read papers over Spring Break.
Mobile Phones as People-Centric Sensors

  1. MicroBlog: Sharing and Querying Content using Mobile Phones and Social Participation, S. Gaonkar, et. al., ACM MobiSys 2008
  2. CrowdSearch: Exploiting Crowds for Accurate Real-Time Image Search on Mobile Phones, Yan, et. al. ACM MobiSys 2010
  3. A Survey of Mobile Phone Sensing, N. Lane, E. Miluzzo, et. al. (Dartmouth)
Recommeded Reading:
1. Romit
 [ ppt ]

2. Shibo and Jian
[ ppt ]
Feb 27 (Mon)

Deadline to declare project partners.

If you don't have a partner, stay back after class.
People Centric Applications
  1. Chameleon: A Color-Adaptive Web Browser for Mobile OLED Displays, Dong et. al., ACM MobiSys 2011
  2. PhonePoint Pen: Using Mobile Phones to Write on Air
Recommeded Reading:
  • SixthSense (TeD Talk Video)

1. Liancheng and Troy
[ ppt ]

2. Romit
[ ppt ]
Feb 29 (Wed)


Spring Break

March 12 (Mon)

Converge on project topic by today
(Email topic to Romit)
Localization -- What IP is to the Wired Internet, Location will be to Mobile Social Networking

  1. Accuracy Characterization for Metropolitan-scale Wi-Fi Localization, Y. Cheng et al., ACM MobiSys 2005
  2. SurroundSense: Mobile Phone Localization Via Ambience Fingerpriting, Azizyan et. al. ACM MobiCom 2009
Recommended Reading:

1. Ying Wang and Xia Li
[ ppt ]

2. Romit
[ ppt ]
[ ppt ]
March 14 (Wed)
Energy and 3G offloading in Mobile Phones
  1. Augmenting Mobile 3G Using WiFi, Aruna Balasubramaniam, et. al. ACM MobiSys 2010
  2. WiFi Energy Management via Traffic Isolation, Manweiler, et. al., MobiSys 2011
Recommended Reading:
  • NAPman: Network-Assisted Power Management for WiFi Device (ACM MobiSys 2010)
  • Catnap: Exploiting High Bandwidth Wireless Interfaces to Save Energy for Mobile Devices (MobiSys 2010)
1. Sam Baek and Ran Li
[ ppt ]

2. Yao Rong and Lin Deng
[ ppt ]

Human Mobility

  1. SignalGuru: Leveraging Mobile Phones for Collaborative Traffic Signal Schedule Advisory, Koukoumidis et. al., ACM MobiSys 2011
  2. Did You See Bob? Human Localization using Mobile Phones, Constandache, et. al. ACM MobiCom 2010

Recommeded Reading:

1. Xin Jiang and Puneet Jain
[ ppt ]

2. Akie and Ashley
[ ppt ]
Mar 21

Nothing to review for "Basics of Location Privacy".
Review only paper 2.
Location Privacy

  1. Basics of Location Privacy: Psudonymns, K-anonymity, CliqueCloak, CacheCloak, ...
  2. Caché: Caching Location-Enhanced Content to Improve User Privacy, Amini, et. al., ACM MobiSys 2011

1. Romit
[ ppt ]

2. Difan Zao and He Wang
[ ppt ]
Mar 26

Project Proposal I
due today

No review for


  1. Programming Micro-Aerial Vehicle Swarms With Karma, Sensys 2011.
  2. Mid term review
Recommended Reading:

1. Long Ma and Yuxuan
[ ppt ]

2. Romit 

Mar 28

Review Dynamic Source Routing paper only
Wireless Ad Hoc Routing I: Source routing, Distance vector routing, Location Based

  1. Dynamic Source Routing in Ad Hoc Wireless Networks, Johnson, Maltz, Journal of Mobile Computing (MONET), 1996
  2. Ad Hoc On Demand distance Vector Routing, Perkins, Royer, IEEE Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications, 1999
  3. Location Aided Routing in Mobile Ad Hoc Networks, Ko, Vaidya, ACM Mobicom 1998
  4. Grid Location Services

Recommeded Reading:

[ ppt ]

Apr 2

Review any one paper.
Wireless Ad Hoc Routing III: Mesh networking

  1. A High Throughput Path Metric for Wireless Multihop Networks, De Couto, et al. ACM Mobicom 2003
  2. ExOR: Opportunistic Multi-hop routing for Wireless Networks, Biswas, Morris, ACM Sigcomm 2005 (Best Paper Award)
Recommeded Reading:

1. Jiaji Huang and Zheng Zhai
[ ppt ]

2. David and Rayn
Apr 4
Mid Term (Open Book)

Review only the paper on "Improving TCP performance ..."

Wireless TCP I: Wireless Issues with TCP

Recommeded Reading:

[ ppt ]
[ ppt ]

Review only
"Multi Radio Diversity ..." paper

Assorted Topics

  1. Block-switched Networks: A New Paradigm for Wireless Transport
  2. SMACK: Smart ACKnowledgment Scheme for Broadcast Messages in Wireless Networks
  3. Multi Radio Diversity and Packet Combining
Recommeded Reading:

1. Jiaqi Yan and Xiaomeng Li

2. Yue and Weisong

3. Jianye Yin and Shiyuan Wang

No need to review
Capacity of Wireless Networks:

  1. The capacity of wireless networks, Gupta, Kumar, IEEE Transactions on Information Thory, 2000
Recommeded Reading:
Course Concluded -- Overview of Course as a Recap

Final Project Presentation Session

Additional Presentations:

  • You are allowed to discuss the papers with colleagues, however, your reviews must be in your own words.
  • While presenting papers in class, please acknowledge the source of slides, pictures, text, etc.