Sample Course Project

The team (Yuhui Feng, Ganga Reddy Tankasala, Jia Guo, Wei Tang) has built a very cool project called,HackCellular, in 2015 Fall. This project replays the identified security issues from our prior work on their own phones. It will allow everyone to do it yourself. The below is the demo made by this team. More details can be found at here.

Course Description

This course is a networking seminar, covering a broad range of hot topics in mobile networking. In particular, we focus on three major themes: (1) operational cellular networks (mainly 4G LTE networks), (2) next generation mobile networks (4G beyond and 5G), and (3) cutting-edge techniques to boost networking performance, energy efficiency, real-time operations,user experience, OTT applications, to name a few. Students will learn key principles in networking research, understand the state-of-art and recent trends, master a suite of research skills (e.g., paper reading, critique, critical thinking, problem solving, report writing, team work, communication, and presentation), and gain experience of carry out original research through course projects. Hopefully, through this course, students will generate publishable results from course projects or find some interesting topics for your long-term research.


As a research seminar, we assume that students already have a solid understanding on networking fundamentals (eg., TCP/IP, WiFi networks). The students must take undergraduate/graduate networking class CSE3461/5461 or equivalent courses before. Course project is an important part of this class. Good programming skills and project experience is a must (not a plus).

Textbook and Course Materials

No textbooks are required.

This course is based on research papers from top-tiers conferences, such as Sigcomm, Mobicom, Mobisys, NSDI. Recommended papers can be offered in class. Students are encouraged to pick other high-quality papers from top venues, relevant to your research topics and interests.

Grading Policy

  • Project: 50% (team of 2-3 members)
  • Paper presentation: 25% (each: 1-2 papers)
  • In-class participation: 25% (including critique: 10% and discussion leads)

Paper reading list and presentation signup

Check the reading list and sign up paper presentation early here

Previous Course

You can refer to here for more resource (e.g., paper reading, lecture slides).

Schedule (Tentative plan)

Date Topic Note
08/26/2015 Course Introduction How to Read and Comment Papers
How to Read, Write, Present Papers by Prof. Nitin H. Vaidya (UIUC)
How to present (critique) a paper (by Prof. Ashwin Ram (Gatech)
How to write papers

Look for your team members and define your course project now.
08/28/2015 How to Read and Comment Papers
In-class reading practice: CCS'14 paper , answer the questions here
Course projects
Please build your team and start projects early. Please discuss and work on your group projects ASAP!
Please practice paper reading (quick reading) as your homework.
Please check the reading list and sign up paper presentation early here (more papers will be added later. Two will present one paper.)
Suggested readings (optional) for next lecture: [e2e], [adaptation] ,
09/02/2015 Networking principles in wireless/mobile networks Slide
relevant papers: [e2e], [adaptation] , [cross-layer] (principles),
Self-learning: Android programming
Android Developer
Android programming (mainly by Dr. Erran Li and online sources)
Minilab assignment: please complete one Android program next week. It is a training which is needed in most course projects.

In case of need, please learn other development skills (depending on your project), for example,
iOS (by Dr. Erran Li) and online sources,
Linux wireless (802.11 WiFi)
, ARO open source
, OpenBTS

09/04/2015 Networking principles in wireless/mobile networks
Project and team sign-up. Please finish project proposal including problem statement, basic solution idea, and related work (survey) by 09/16/2015
1st-paper reading and critique sign-up (due: 09/16/2015) at here
09/09/2015, 09/11/2015 No class. Please finish Android MiniLab, Project sign-up (proposal) and paper reading and critique sign-up.
09/16/2015 From principle to practice: Wireless TCP Slide
Wireless TCP Overview and Snoop, Project discussion

Project kickoff and discussion
Please sign-up the paper presentation and critique: first-round due on 09/16/2015, sign up here
09/18/2015 In-class presentation: TCP ex Machina: Computer-Generated Congestion Control, SIGCOMM'13; An Experimental Study of the Learnability of Congestion Control, SIGCOMM'14 ( by Jie Zhao )
09/23/2015 Lecture: Cellular Network Overview (architecture, key difference from WiFi and main research topics) ( slide )
09/25/2015 Lecture: Cellular Network Overview (cont'd)
Lecture: The peril of the evolution (Security on Mobile Data Charging) ( slide )
Relevant papers on mobile data charging: Real Threats to Your Data Bills: Security Loopholes and Defense in Mobile Data Charging, CCS'14 , Can We Pay for What We Get in 3G Data Access?, Mobicom'12 Mobile Data Charging: New Attacks and Countermeasure, CCS'12 Accounting for Roaming Users on Mobile Data Access: Issues and Root Causes, Mobisys'13
Please work on the project and prepare the first progress report. You are expected to finish the preliminary work, including survey and feasibility study or basic design.
No class.

Turn-in: each project group needs to send me a progress report. Sync-up: each group needs to ync up with me during office hours or before/after lecture, regarding your project progress between 10/1/2015 - 10/7/2015.
10/2/2015 Lecture: The peril of the evolution (Security on Mobile Data Charging)
10/7/2015 Lecture: The peril of the evolution (Voice Solutions in LTE ) ( slide )
Relevant papers on VoLTE and CSFB (voice solution in LTE):
How Voice Calls Affect Data in Operational LTE Networks, Mobicom'13
How Voice Call Technology Poses Security Threats in 4G LTE Networks, CNS'15
(next time) Insecurity of Voice Solution VoLTE in LTE Mobile Networks, CCS'15
(next time) Breaking and Fixing VoLTE: Exploiting Hidden Data Channels and Mis-implementations, CCS'15
10/9/2015 Topic: RRC in Cellular Network
In-class presentation: Discovering Fine-grained RRC State Dynamics and Performance Impacts in Cellular Networks, Mobicom'14 ( slide )
Presenter: Xiaohu Zhao, Haotian Deng
Discussion Lead: Jihoon Yun
10/14/2015,10/16/2015 No class due to CCS'15 trip. No class due to fall break
Project mid-term checkpoints.
10/21/2015 In-class presentation: Performance Characterization and Call Reliability Problem Diagnosis for Voice over LTE, Mobicom'15 ( slide )
Presenter: Jiaqi Xu, An Zou
Discussion Lead: Xiaohu Zhao,Chenqi Zhou,Jia Guo
10/23/2015 Topic QoS and User experience in Cellular Networks
In-class presentation: Modeling Web Quality-of-Experience on Cellular Networks, Mobicom'14 ( slide )
Presenter: Yue Shen, Xinhang Li
Discussion Lead: Wei Tang, Chenqi Zhou, Yuhan Xu
10/28/2015 Topic: QoS and Video streaming on Cellular Networks
In-class presentation: piStream: Physical Layer Informed Adaptive Video Streaming Over LTE, Mobicom'15 ( slide )
Presenter: Gan Fang
Discussion Lead: Yuhan Xu, Wei Tang

Lecture: The peril of the evolution (Voice Solutions in LTE ) (cont'd) ( updated slide)
10/30/2015 Lecture: The peril of the evolution (Voice Solutions in LTE ) (cont'd) ( updated slide)
Topic: Radio/PHY Analytics for cellular networks
In-class presentation: LTE Radio Analytics Made Easy and Accessible, SIGCOMM'14 (slide)
Presenter: Zou An
Discussion Lead: Jiaqi Xu, Yuhui Feng
Relevant papers on VoLTE security:
Insecurity of Voice Solution VoLTE in LTE Mobile Networks, CCS'15
Breaking and Fixing VoLTE: Exploiting Hidden Data Channels and Mis-implementations, CCS'15
11/4/2015 (two talks) Topic: Cellular + WiFi Lecture: Inter-networking and offload between WiFi and Cellular
In-class presentation: A Practical Traffic Management System for Integrated LTE-WiFi Networks, Mobicom'14 (slide)
Presenter: Zhuoran Li
Discussion Lead: Jia Guo, Yue Shen, Xinhang Li
Topic: Cellular + WiFi In-class presentation: Large-scale Measurements of Wireless Network Behavior, SIGCOMM'15 (slide)
Presenter: Wei Tang
Discussion Lead: Jiaqi Xu, Zou An
11/6/2015 (two talks) Topic: Misc (wireless charging) In-class presentation: Wireless Power Hotspot that Charges All of Your Devices, Mobicom'15 (slide)
Presenter: Ganga Reddy Tan
In-class presentation: Control Channel Design for ManyAntenna MUMIMO, Mobicom'15 (slide)
presenter: Jihoon Yun
11/11/2015 no class (veteran's day)
11/13/2015 Topic: Protocol and network analysis Lecture: identify problematic protocol interactions, SIGCOMM'14 and TON'15 (slide)
Relevant papers on Protocol verification, Control-plane protocol interactions in cellular networks, SIGCOMM'14
11/18/2015 (two talks) Topic: Protocol and network analysis In-class presentation: CellIQ : Real-Time Cellular Network Analytics at Scale, NSDI'15, (slide)
Presenter: Yuhan Xu, Chenqi Zhou
Discussion Lead: Yuhui Feng, Jia Guo, Yue Shen, Xinhang Li
In-class presentation: Central Control Over Distributed Routing, SIGCOMM'15 (slide)
presenter: Yuhui Feng, Jia Guo
Discussion Lead: Jihoon Yun, Xinhang Li
11/20/2015 (TBD) Topic: updates from projects (each group updates what you have done and raise questions and discussions)
11/25/2015, 11/27/2015 no class, thanksgiving
12/2/2015 Topic: 5G or mobility support, etc.
12/4/2015 (SEI) No class (We have a final course presentation on 12/9).
12/9/2015 (4PM-7PM, Baker 272) SEI
Course project presentation (20 minute per group, 3 hour)
Pizza and drink will be offered
12/16/2015 : project report due