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Module ICP-2011:
Computer Networks

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Jianming Tang

Overall aims and purpose

This module introduces students of diverse backgrounds to different types of computer networks and their interoperability to ensure that they understand the operating principles and practice of widely implemented computer networks, associated key techniques and standards, how data is processed and transmitted between computers across networks, as well as network future developing trends.

Course content

1) OSI reference model, data link protocols, addressing, routing, error control, traffic monitoring, flow control and application layer protocols 2) Data network architecture, data network types and their future developing trend 3) Types of commonly used data traffic. Data flow and key factors affecting data flow 4) Communication architectures and protocols 5) TCP/IP, UDP, IPV4 and IPV6 6) X.25 WANs and three-layer X.25 standard 7) Frame relay WANs and two-layer frame relay standard 8) ATM networks and three-layer ATM standard 9) Internetworking, routing and addressing 10)Various LAN topologies, LAN access methods and LAN internetworking 11)Loop problem for bridge-based LAN internetworking and spanning tree 12)Wireless Ethernet and standard 13) Bluetooth and standard
14) Fundamental concepts involved in optical WANs/LANs 15)Optical network architectures and topologies 16)Optical WDM network protocols, protocol evolution and network plane 17)Network performance description 18)Congestion control techniques 19) Congestion control in TCP and congestion control in Frame Relay 20) Quality of Service (QoS) 21)Techniques for improving QoS

Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria







Understand fundamental concepts about all the computer network layers, desirable properties, basic structure and operations of a representative data network

Can understand key concepts, describe how data networks work and explain the general architectures of data networks Able to explain how various parts fit together to form a real data networks, and provide considerable detailed descriptions of how different layers are working together for data transmission across complicated data networks Able to provide details of the operation of a whole realistic data networks that uses a mixture of techniques for satisfying end-users’ specific service demand.

Wide Area Networks (WANs), standards and network interoperability

Able to describe the operating principle and practice of various WANs. Able to explain key issues that plays important roles in determining the QoS performance of different WANs. Able to explain in detail how all different parts interact, and describe opportunities and challenges as well as future evolution trends of WANs

Local Area Networks (LANs) and LAN networking

Able to explain the basic fundamentals and applications of various LANs Able to describe in a detailed way how these LANs are implemented in practice by putting different parts together. Able to provide an in-depth discussion of specific LANs and corresponding protocols required for an application scenario, as well as technical challenges and opportunities for practical implementation.

Optical WANs/LANs

Can describe the basic operating principles of an optical network Can differentiate optical networks and traditional WANs/LANs in terms of architectures, protocols and performance Demonstration of an insight into the process of data transmission over complicated networks including both traditional and newly developed optical networks

Congestion Control and Quality of Services

Capable of analysing advantages and disadvantages of various congestion control techniques for different data networks Understand why congestion control is needed and fundamental congestion techniques used in data networks Have a relatively in-depth understanding of TCP congestion control

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Examination 80

Teaching and Learning Strategy


24 hours over 12 weeks (4 hours will be tutorials in lecture slots)

Private study

ASSESSED assignments, including tutorial questions, problems, essays etc.

Private study 56

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Use of such knowledge in modelling and design
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Analyse if/how a system meets current and future requirements
  • Deploy theory in design, implementation and evaluation of systems
  • Knowledge of management techniques to achieve objectives
  • Specify, design or construct computer-based systems
  • Evaluate systems in terms of quality and trade-offs
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Deploy systems to meet business goals
  • Methods, techniques and tools for information modelling, management and security
  • Knowledge of systems architecture
  • Specify, deploy, verify and maintain information systems
  • Defining problems, managing design process and evaluating outcomes
  • System Design
  • Knowledge and/or understanding of appropriate scientific and engineering principles
  • Knowledge and understanding of mathematical principles
  • Knowledge and understanding of computational modelling
  • Specify, deploy, verify and maintain computer-based systems
  • Principles of appropriate supporting engineering and scientific disciplines


Reading list

1)W.J. Beyda, “Data Communications: From Basics to Broadband”, Prentice Hall, 2005 2) B.A. Forouzan, “Data Communications and Networking,” (4th Edition) McGraw Hill, 2007 3) F. Halsall, “Computer Networking and the Internet (5th Edition),” Addison Wesley, 2005

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module