Networking Principles

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
17 June 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC H64112 5G and Emerging Communication Systems,
MSC GH64N1 Computer Systems Engineering

Module description

This course provides an introduction to the architecture and services of modern telecommunication networks. A general introduction illustrates the major features of a network, how they interact and introduce the concept of an intelligent network. Switching is an essential requirement and the ideas behind circuit, packet and cell switching are presented.

The basics of the TCP/IP protocol suite are described. Optical transmission and networking, key features for future networks, are discussed. To present the main concepts involved in current and future telecommunication and information networks, the concepts presented will be supported by the other core courses.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce the architecture and services of modern telecommunication networks illustrating the major features of a network, how they interact, and the concept of an intelligent network.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student is expected to:

1. Explain the architecture and technology involved in a telecommunication network
2. Describe the basic concepts of multi-user communications
3. Compare in detail the features of circuit and packet switched networks
4. Examine the concept of optical networking in terms of transmission, switching and architecture
5. Describe and understand the basic features of the TCP/IP protocol suite
6 Describe the principles of network analysis and solve simple problems using Markov models

Module information

Outline Syllabus

Telecommunication networks:
Introduction to architecture and technology, Network structures, analogue and digital technology, plesiochronous and synchronous transmission, the core network, circuit, packet and cell transmission & switching, the access and mobile network networks.

Multi-user communications and OSI seven-layer model:
Introduction to multi-user communications. Basic concepts: multiple access, time sharing. Resource sharing: circuit switching, packet techniques, evolution to integrated service digital networks. Diverse response to excess demand; blocking, delay, degradation, adaptation. ISO 7-layer model for OSI: layering concepts; protocols and services; functions of each layer; applicability to communication network architectures.

Circuit switching:
Introduction to circuit switching for telephony. Basic requirements: connection and control. Hierarchical network organisation. Common control link switching systems, blocking probability calculation via link independence approximation. Digital circuit switching: time slot interchangers and TDM space switches; TST and STS arrays.

Packet networks:
Packet switched networks, ARQ protocols, congestion and flow control. WAN: ALOHA and slotted ALOHA. LAN: CSMA/CD, token ring, Cambridge ring. Multi-service networks: MAN; DQDB, FDDI, gateways and bridges.

Optical Networks (Transmission, Switching & Architectures):
Network transmission techniques. WDM: principles, limitations on wavelength numbers. Advanced technology: multiplexers, filters, optical amplifiers. Application of advanced technology to WDM systems. Optical time division multiplexing. Subcarrier multiplexing. Optical switching: relational and logical switching, switching bandwidth and power, spatial bandwidth, optical switch elements, space, time and wavelength switching. Network architecture: broadcast and select, wavelength routing, bandwidth limits.

An introduction to TCP/IP
History, function, implementations

Mathematical preliminaries
Probability, conditional probability, random variables, probability density functions, cumulative distribution functions, mean and variance of a random variable, statistical distributions.

Network performance analysis
Markov chains and their properties. Erlang and Engset distributions. M/M/1 and related queues. Blocking, delay and packet loss. Traffic problems using Markov model.

Learning and teaching methods

Classroom only


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Progress Test    10% 
Coursework   Assignment 1 - Exercise in design     30% 
Coursework   Final Assessment Test    60% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Stuart Walker, email: stuwal@essex.ac.uk.
Professor Stuart Walker
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Dr Anthony Olufemi Tesimi Adeyemi-Ejeye
Available via Moodle
Of 31 hours, 30 (96.8%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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