Telecommunication Networks and Systems

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
08 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGH641 Communications Engineering,
BENGHP41 Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHPK1 Communications Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGHQ41 Communications Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
MENGH642 Communications Engineering

Module description

The module describes the fundamental principles of telecommunication systems and networks covering both RF/MW and optical fibre communications by a unified approach. Following an overview of modern and future telecommunication networks and an introduction to basic principles of information and its processing in communications, the main transmission and demodulation techniques of the information-carrying analog and digital signals are considered in depth for RF/MW and optical systems.

Lightwave communication systems, their key components and operation principles are discussed next. This provides an integral understanding of how modern communication systems operate at all levels from top to bottom. The analysis is extended to consider multi-channel optical fibre transmission system employing wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) optical technology, the cornerstone of modern photonic networks. Operation of key elements and switching sub-systems such as optical cross-connects (OXCs) and optical add-drop multiplexers (OADMs) and the others are studied in detail.
The concluding part of the module deals with transmission system engineering, including analysis of the effect of various impairments on the system performance, system optimisation, and power budget. Consideration of basic issues of telecommunication network deployment, management and network survivability and protection completes the module.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to describe the fundamental principles of telecommunications and networks for both RF, wired and optical fibre communications.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, student will be expected to be able to:

1. Discuss the main features of modern telecommunication networks.
2. Explain the principles of information, its measure, coding, transmission, and detection.
3. Explain signal transmission fundamentals.
4. Describe the main components of lightwave telecommunication systems and their operation.
5. Describe multi-channel optical fibre transmission systems and explain their elements.
6. Discuss transmission system engineering.
7. Explain basics of network deployment and management and network survivability.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

Modern Telecommunication Networks:

Telecommunication network evolution. Hierarchical network architectures. Network topologies.
Services. Circuit switching and Packet switching in networks.
Modern and emerging technologies (RF and fibre-optic, channel multiplexing (WDM, TDM)).
Brief overview of optical networks (Generations of optical networks).

Principles of Information:

Concepts of information, messages, signals.
Analog and digital messages. Sampling and PAM. Analog-to-digital conversion (PCM) technique.
Information entropy. Data compression and source coding. Huffman coding algorithm.
Channel coding. Hamming coding algorithm.
Signals and noise.
Channel capacity.
Fundamental limitations of communication systems. Shannon-Hartley law and Shannon bound.

Signal Transmission Fundamentals:

Basic elements of communication systems.
Signals and spectra.
Non-coherent and coherent communication systems (RF/Microwave and Optical Systems).
Principles of modulation and demodulation (detection) of analog and digital signals.
Baseband and bandpass transmission.
Digital modulation techniques (ASK, PSK, DPSK, QPSK, QAM, FSK).
Transmission formats (RZ and NRZ), their advantages and drawbacks.
Demodulation and detection. Noise; SNR; BER in communication systems.
Optical signal processing.

Components of Lightwave Telecommunication Systems:

Main active and passive components of the optical-fibre links and their operation:
(i) Fibres: Waveguiding; Attenuation; Dispersion; Non-linear effects. Recent developments in fibre technology (Photonic crystal fibres; Plastic fibres).
(ii) Optical transmitters: Semiconductor laser diodes (FP multimode laser; DBR and DFB single-mode lasers; Wavelength tunable laser diodes). LEDs. Direct and external modulation of optical signals.
(iii) Optical fibre amplifiers: EDFA; Raman and Brillouin amplifiers.
(iv) Optical receivers/detectors: p-i-n photodiode; Avalanche photodiode (APD).
(v) Optoelectronic regenerators.

Multi-Channel Optical Fibre Transmission Systems:

Optical Time Division Multiplexing (OTDM) and Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM).
WDM network elements:
(i) Optical multiplexers and de-multiplexers.
(ii) Optical filters.
(iii) Optical couplers.
(iv) Optical cross-connects (OXCs).
(v) Optical Add-Drop Multiplexers (OADMs).
(vi) Optical switches. Recent advanced switching technologies: 2D and 3D MEMS; Electro-Optics; Liquid crystals.

Transmission System Engineering:

Impairments in optical links and their effect on signal transmission (attenuation, dispersion, non-linearity, interference, crosstalk).
System optimisation and performance enhancement.
Power budget in communication systems and networks.

Network Management and Network Survivability:

Deployment considerations. Architectural choices. Designing transmission layer: Long-haul networks; Metropolitan area networks (MANs); Access network; Local area networks (LANs).
Network management functions: Performance; Faults; Configuration; Security.
Network survivability: Basic concepts and layer protection

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and classes


  • Carlson, A. Bruce; Crilly, Paul. (2009) Communication Systems, London: McGraw-Hill Education - Europe.
  • Agrawal, G. P. (c2010) Fiber-optic communication systems, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Ramaswami, Rajiv; Sivarajan, Kumar N.; Sasaki, Galen H. (2008) Optical Networks, San Francisco: Elsevier Science & Technology.

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 Weighting
Coursework Assignment 1 - Written Report 24/04/2020 66.67%
Practical Progress Test - week 24 33.33%
Exam 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Nick Zakhleniuk
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 Yunfei Chen
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 33 hours, 32 (97%) 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

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