Module Details

CE703-7-AU-CO: Networking Principles

Year: 2017/18
Department: Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Professor Stuart Walker
Teaching Staff: Professor Stuart Walker
Contact details: School Office, e-mail csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770.

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Learning Outcomes

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.

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

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


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Progress Test (multiple choice): worth 10% held in week 10. Assignment 1: worth 20% submitted in week 16. Final Assessment: Test worth 70% (MCQ + 2 out of 3 linear progression design exercises).

Other information



  • Bibliography
  • CLARK, M. P., Networks and Telecommunications: Design and Operation (Second Edition), John Wiley and Sons Ltd; ISBN: 0471973467
  • An expensive but very good book for telecom students
  • SCOTT HINTON, H., An Introduction to Photonic Switching Fabrics, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; ISBN: 0306443791
  • Excellent, very readable
  • AGRAWAL, G.P. Fiber Optic Communication Systems , Wiley; ISBN: 0471542865 Out of print. Copies available in Library
  • BELLAMY, J., Digital Telephony, John Wiley & Sons Inc; ISBN: 0471345717
  • Broad coverage of telecommunication topics - good reference
  • McDONALD, J.C., Fundamentals of Digital Switching, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; ISBN: 0306433478
  • FLOOD, J.E., Telecommunications Switching, Traffic and Networks, Prentice-Hall;
  • ISBN: 0130333093
  • DE PRYCKER, M., Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Prentice Hall;
  • ISBN: 0133421716
  • Out of print. Copies available in Library
  • WATERS, G., (ed) Computer Communication Networks, McGraw-Hill Education - Europe; ISBN: 0077073258
  • Out of print. Copies available in Library
  • TANENBAUM, A.S., Computer Networks, Prentice-Hall; ISBN: 0130384887, Comprehensive and readable overview of computer networking
  • good introductory text