Programmable Networks and Services

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
25 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

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

Module description

Digital Convergence is the bringing together of communications, information, media and transactions from multiple service providers, across multiple network infrastructures and delivery to any device. This should be done in a way that offers a consistent service experience regardless of a user's location.

This module will begin with the definition and description of converged networks and services and identify current and emerging services and network architectures. The introduction will also include an overview of the key next-generation network architectures that are being deployed today.

The course will dive into programable and virtualized networks, as key enablers in connecting the Internet of Things (IoT) for digital transformation. To this end, the course will introduce principles of software-defined networking and network function virtualization. It will then introduce principles of service cloudification and networking, including service mesh.

In order to understand the design of any network, it is important to understand the service characteristics in terms of customer usage patterns and traffic behaviour; these fundamentally determine the desired Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and ultimately the network and service architectures. Ensuring satisfactory user experience for multiple services will be addressed in detail by means of various Quality-of-Service (QoS) mechanisms.

When a user is mobile and traversing multiple networks and administrative domains, ensuring a seamless service is a demanding task that requires the convergence of fixed and mobile networks. An overview of the problems and proposed solutions will be described, focusing on the 5G architecture and how it employs network programmability/virtualization. The course will conclude with a clean-slate future Internet architecture called Information Centric Networking (ICN) that can go beyond the current IP networks.

The content of this module is relevant to IP Networking Principles covered in CE707. If CE707 is an option in your course structure then we strongly recommend choosing this option to take in conjunction with CE709.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • To understand the design of any network and the service characteristics in terms of customer usage patterns and traffic behaviour, describing the service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure satisfactory user experience.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Analyse and evaluate architectures for a converged network and services.

  2. Define a cloud-network specification for virtualised converged services.

  3. Critically assess the architectures of cloud orchestration and network management platforms.

  4. Define specifications for programmable networks and cloud virtualisation technologies (e.g. containerisation).

  5. Develop methods of implementing QoS strategies and service management.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

  1. Converged IP network architectures, requirements and definitions, issues and options for deployment, next generation network technologies.

  2. Taxonomy of services, VoD, IPTV, web services, P2P, streaming media.

  3. Emerging-Future services and types of mobility support.

  4. Converged network and service management solutions including programmability, virtualization and information centric networking.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures and coursework


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Progress Test    25% 
Coursework   Written Assignment    75% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Early Exams 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

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
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Mays Al-Naday, email: mfhaln@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Mays Al-Naday
School Office, e-mail 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 21 hours, 20 (95.2%) 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.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.