Module ICE-4412:
Data Networks and Comms

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Jianming Tang

Overall aims and purpose

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

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  1. Fundamental concepts
  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. OSI reference model, data link protocols, addressing, routing, error control, traffic monitoring, flow control and application layer protocols
  6. TCP/IP, UDP, IPV4 and IPV6

  7. Wide Area Networks (WANs), their standards and network interoperability.

  8. X.25 WANs and three-layer X.25 standard
  9. Frame relay WANs and two-layer frame relay standard
  10. ATM networks and three-layer ATM standard
  11. Internetworking, routing and addressing

  12. Local Area Networks (LANs) and LAN networking.

  13. Various LAN topologies, LAN access methods and LAN internetworking
  14. Loop problem for bridge-based LAN internetworking and spanning tree
  15. Wireless Ethernet and standard
  16. Bluetooth and standard

  17. Optical WANs/LANs.

  18. Fundamental concepts involved in optical WANs/LANs
  19. Optical network architectures and topologies
  20. Optical WDM network protocols, protocol evolution and network plane

5.Congestion control and quality of services - Traffic descriptor and traffic profiles - Congestion and congestion control - Congestion control in TCP and Frame Relay - Quality of Service (QoS) - Techniques to improve QoS

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.


Equivalent to 50%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand local Area Networks (LANs) and LAN networking

  2. Understand optical WANs/LANs

  3. Understand wide Area Networks (WANs), their standards and network interoperability

  4. Understand congestion Control and Quality of Services

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

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Examination 70
COURSEWORK Assessment (1) 15
COURSEWORK Assessment (2) 15

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

1) studying lecture slides and relevant books; 2) completing tutorial questions and assignments


25 hours over the whole semester


2 in the middle and 3 at the end


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • 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

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply an understanding and appreciation of continuous improvement techniques
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in an international context;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems for controlling complex systems;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions, especially ones that include embedded microprocessors
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Systematically review factors affecting the implementation of a project, including safety and sustainability;
  • Access and synthesize information and literature sources;
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Analyse and display data using appropriate methods and mathematical techniques;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of current advances and contemporary approaches in the discipline and have strategies for keeping that awareness current;
  • 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
  • Specify, design or construct computer-based systems
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Knowledge of systems architecture
  • 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