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48740 Communications Networks

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Engineering: Electrical and Data Engineering
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:

Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 48720 Network Fundamentals OR 31270 Networking Essentials OR 41092 Network Fundamentals
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject has been designed as a second subject in the networking thread of the ICT engineering undergraduate program. On completion of this subject, students have learned the skills to systematically analyse network operations and performance, and also have the ability to appreciate approaches in designing communication and computer networks. The first half of the subject concentrates on the study of communication architecture. The weekly session materials provide students with the necessary background in understanding operations of TCP/IP, the mostly widely implemented protocol stack in computer networks, on a layer-by-layer basis. Topics include flow control; error detection and correction; packet switching; and routing and transport protocols. The second half of the subject concentrates on broadband switching technologies, networking design concepts and performance measures associated with integrated services networks. Topics include local area networks (LANs); wide area networks (WANs); networking devices (bridges, hubs and switches); internetworking; the internet protocol (IP); distributed applications; and multimedia services. Students acquire a reasonable understanding of current standards and their role in relation to future developments.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Apply fundamental and advanced concepts of communication networks and protocols
2. Analyse systematically, network operation and performance
3. Apply concepts and knowledge in problem solving and design of simple networks
4. Interpret the fundamental concepts of telecommunications architecture, protocols, layers & types of networks
5. Design simple networks and systematically analyse network operation and performance

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following faculty Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs) and Engineers Australia (EA) Stage 1 competencies:

  • Apply systems thinking to understand complex system behaviour including interactions between components and with other systems (social, cultural, legislative, environmental, business etc.), which is linked to EA Stage 1 Competency: 1.5 (A.5)
  • Identify and apply relevant problem solving methodologies, which is linked to EA Stage 1 Competencies: 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 (B.1)
  • Apply abstraction, mathematics and/or discipline fundamentals to analysis, design and operation, which is linked to EA Stage 1 Competencies: 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2 (C.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

This is a central subject in communication networks. The subject is delivered in "flipped learning" mode and consists of quizzes, tutorials (with some content overview) and laboratories over an 11-week period. All of the assessment tasks are compulsory. It is the responsibility of the student to read UTSOnline regularly in order to keep abreast of any announcements or changes.

This is a 6cp subject. It includes 11 weekly 3 hour face-to-face `sessions' which start with a quiz on that week's material, and then proceeds to a tutorial and then a lab, also on that week's material. Attendance at the weekly sessions is not compulsory but is highly recommended. For example the quizzes are an essential part of the assessment process and can only be done in class with a password that is handed out in class.

Sessions are supported by UTSOnline material, however this material does not cover everything that is examinable. It is critical that the relevant sections of the textbook be read in detail, and it is the responsibility of the student to do this ahead of the weekly sessions.

You must study the material for the subject BEFORE coming to class. The material for the quiz is not taught at all before the quiz. You will not succeed in the quiz unless you have done the preliminary study. The tutorial, which directly follows the quiz, is designed to strengthen your ability to use what you have learned.

UTSOnline will be used in this subject for online group discussions on particular topics, a question and answer forum and subject announcements.

As a student in this subject you are expected to attend and participate in all quizzes, tutorials, and laboratories, actively contribute to online discussions if relevant, complete your lab report by the due date, and participate fully in your group work. An average student aiming to pass the subject will need 150 hours of work per session.

Content (topics)

This subject covers all of the fundamental issues from Layer 2 to Layer 7. It covers communication protocols (OSI, TCP/IP), data link layer issues (media access control, flow control, error control, framing), circuit and packet switching, signaling, multiplexing (TDM, FDM), network layer issues (addressing, address resolution, fragmentation and reassembly, identification, subnetting, supernetting, routing, routers, etc) internetworking, local area networks (bridges, switches, Ethernet, token ring, FDDI), wide area networks ( Frame Relay, ATM), transport layer issues (TCP, UDP, congestion control), and distributed applications (SMTP, DNS, SNMP, HTTP).

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Final Exam

Intent:

Formal examination to assess the student's overall ability with the material as well as the level to which the learning outcomes have been met.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.1 and C.1

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Length:

120 minutes

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness of the answer 50 1, 2, 3, 4 A.5, B.1
Application of theory 50 1, 2, 3, 4 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Weekly online quizzes

Intent:

To assess the level of understanding of the weekly material that must have been studied before the start of the weekly sessions.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.1 and C.1

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Length:

30 to 40 minutes each week

Criteria:

Level of understanding of the weekly material.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness of the answer 50 1, 2, 3, 4 A.5, B.1
Application of theory 50 1, 2, 3, 4 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Practical Lab Report

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.1 and C.1

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Length:

60 minutes per week

Criteria:

The labs are based on the use of the Wireshark package. In particular, the weekly exercises are set up to strengthen the material covered that week, as well as general topics in networking. The reports are individual and are marked according to the following criteria:

1) How well has the subject material been understood 2) How well has the student linked these understandings with the material in the sessions 3) The quality with which the student has demonstrated insights gained from doing the Wireshark labs.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness of the answer 50 1, 2, 3, 4 A.5, B.1
Application of theory 50 1, 2, 3, 4 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

To pass the subject, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The Final Exam mark must be greater than or equal to 50%.
  2. Subject overall subject mark must be greater than or equal to 50

Required texts

1) William Stallings: Data & Computer Communications 10th ed (or 9th or 8th if absolutely necessary)

2) Chris Sanders: Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems

(The subject cannot be completed without both of these books)

References

There are many thousands of books on the subject of Communications Networks, plus many good Internet resources. Wikipedia often has very good items. The following is a list of books that may be helpful.

  • Joe Casad, "Sams Teach Yourself TCP/IP in 24 hours", Sams 2009.
  • Carne, E, B (1999) “Telecommunications Primer” Prentice Hall, 2nd Ed.
  • D.E Comer “Internetworking with TCP/IP." Volume 1, Principles, protocols, and architecture”.
  • Forouzan, “TCP/IP Protocol Suite”, McGraw Hill.
  • J.E. Goldman and P.T.Rawles, “Applied Data Communications” 3rd Ed Wiley.
  • L.Garcia and Widjaja, “Communication Networks”, McGraw Hill.
  • J. D. Gibson, “The Communications Handbook”, ed. IEEE Press.
  • Halsall, “Data communications, computer networks, and open systems”, Addison-Wesley.
  • Kurose and Rose, “Computer Networking: A Top Down Approach”, Addison-Wesley.
  • Rappoport, “Wireless Communication: Principles and Practice”, Prentice Hall.
  • W.R Stevens, “TCP/IP Illustrated”, Addison Wesley.
  • J.Schiller, “Mobile Communications”, Addison Wesley.
  • S. Tanenbaum, “Computer networks”, Third Edition, Prentice Hall

Other resources

Students must have a valid login to UTS Online and be registered for 48740 Communication Networks on UTS Online. If you do not have a valid login to UTS Online you have to contact ITD helpdesk on 9514 2222.

UTS online will be used as the major means of communication between subject co-ordinator, tutors and students. Any changes in schedules, due dates will be updated in UTS online. It is the responsibility of the student to read the UTS Online regularly and answer review questions that have been posted on the web page or UTS Online. UTS online will also be used to provide grades, reference web sites and other information.

The subject makes extensive use of Wireshark. This is available in the lab.