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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Principles of Comms, Devices & Networks
Module Code CT1
School School of Electronic Engineering
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Richard Bolger
Semester 2: Richard Bolger
Autumn: Richard Bolger
Module TeachersCiaran Motherway
Richard Bolger
Edel Hester
Philip Carey
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 15
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

A module which provides students with a broad overview of networks and telecommunications from the underlying theories to the networks used in business, which will allow students to consider the functions and services of evolving communication systems.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the history of telegraphy, telephony, communications networks and the origin of the Internet.
2. Explain the theoretical principles of different networks types and the Internet, including different switching types and the basic principles of broadband internet services.
3. Define and explain the core theory behind electrical circuits and use this theory to calculate the resistance, voltage, current and power dissipation in series and parallel resistor networks.
4. Explain the principles of number systems, including representations under different systems and mathematical operations.
5. Define and explain the principles of electric fields, capacitance and inductance, and calculate the forces on electric charges situated in an electric field and the work done in moving such charges.
6. Define and explain the core concepts of magnetism, sketch the magnetic field patterns surrounding simple permanent magnets, and perform calculations involving magnetic flux and magnetic flux density.
7. Explain the major types of transmission media and their construction (including twisted-pair cables, coaxial cables, optical fibre and wireless links) and describe the advantages of these different media and their role in communications systems.
8. Describe logic gate, symbolic and truth-table representations of basic digital circuits and analyse simple combinatorial and sequential logic circuits.
9. Detail the different types of semiconductor memory and their operation.
10. Describe the principles of digital communications, including logical and physical circuits, serial and parallel transmission of data and information/transmission rates.
11. Describe the fundamentals of signals and the real-world physical effects of noise, distortion and attenuation on digital transmissions
12. Describe the core concepts of communication networks, including switching, topologies and the ISO OSI reference model, and demonstrate awareness of the trade-off between quality, performance and cost.
13. Describe the physical operation of wireless networks, including point-to-point microwave systems, cellular systems and wireless LANs.
14. Build and debug electrical and electronic circuits, and determine that the behaviour of real-world circuits is consistent with theoretical models.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Tutorial21Face-to-face tutorials are held in DCU on Saturdays and Virtual Classroom tutorials on weekday evenings according to the timetable
Online activity16Interaction with tutor and fellow students
Independent Study338Reading, study, research and problem solving
Total Workload: 375

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Telecommunications and the Development of Networks

Early History of Communications
The Telegraph
The Telephone
Manually Operated Telephone Exchanges
Electromechanical Exchanges
Common Control Exchanges
Digital Exchanges
The Development of Wireless Telegraphy
Telecommunications and the Computer
Network Classifications
Network Management
Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
Public Data Networks (PDNs)
Local Loop and Unbundling
Broadband Services
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
Cable Modems
The Internet


Number Systems
Binary Number System
Conversion from Binary to Decimal
Conversion from Decimal to Binary
Binary Addition
Binary Subtraction
Signed Binary Numbers
Hexadecimal Numbers
Analogue Signals
Digital Signals
Frequency Content of a Signal
Analogue to Digital Conversion
Digital to Analogue Converters (DACS)
Describing waves
Light Waves
Electromagnetic Waves


The Nature of Electricity
The Atomic Description of Electricity
Principle of Charge Conservation
Electric Current
Electric circuits
Electromotive Force and Potential Difference
DC Circuits
Resistance and OHM’S Law
Resistors in Series
Resistors in Parallel
Kirchoff’s Laws
AC electricity
Sinusoidal Waveforms
Magnetic Fields
Magnetic Flux and Flux Density
Electromagnetic Fields
Magnetic Field Due to a Current in a long
Straight Conductor
Magnetic Field Due to a Current in a Solenoid
Semiconductors – The P N Junction
Unbiased Junction
Forward Biased Junction
Reverse Biased Junction
Junction Diode
Light Emitting Diode (LED)
Semiconductors – The Bipolar Transistor
Construction and Operation
Digital Electronics
Boolean Algebra
De Morgan’s Theorems
Circuit Simplification using Boolean Algebra
Binary Adders
Logic Families & Semiconductor Memory
IC Packaging
IC Complexity
IC Technologies


What is Communication?
Information and Data
Channel Types
Circuit Types
Transmission Methods
Communication Link Configurations
Transmission Speeds
The Nature of Information
Information Rate
Information and Channel Capacity


Twisted Pair Cables
Coaxial Cable
Optical Fibres
Wireless Links
Transmission – Media and Signals
Characteristics of Ideal Media
Signal Robustness and Noise
Signal to Noise Ratio
Error Detection and Correction
Transmission Speeds
Sources of Electrical Noise
The Problem of Noise
Man Made Noise
Atmospheric Noise
Cosmic Noise
Thermal Noise


Communication Networks
Communication Systems
Elements of Communication Systems
Basic Network Structures
Multipoint Circuits
Basic Network Topologies
Hybrid Systems
Switched Networks
Non Switched Networks
Comparison Between Switched and Non Switched Networks
Basic Requirements in Network Design
Terminal Equipment Function
Summary of Communication Networks
The TCP/IP Model
Network Applications
LAN Protocols
Storage Area Networks
TCP/IP Protocol
Internet Protocol
IP Addresses
Subnetting and CIDR
Internet Protocol Version

Transmission Control Protocol
User Datagram Protocol
Network Management
Network Management
Network Management Protocols
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
Management Information Base


Reflection of Light
Refractive Index
Critical Angle and Total Internal Reflection
The Photoelectric Effect
Introducing Optical Fibre Communication
Typical Fibre Optic Communications System
The Use of Fibre Optic Communications
Structure of Fibre
Propagation of Light in the Optical Fibre
Type of Fibre
Single Mode Fibre
Optical Fibre Sizes
Cable Construction
Optical Fibre Attenuation and Dispersion
Pulse Spreading
Cause of Pulse Spreading
Transmission Sources for Fibre Systems
Optical Detectors
Pin Photodiodes
Fibre Optic Systems Design Considerations


Wireless Links
Radio Links
Antennas (Aerials)
Satellite Communication Systems
Infrared Links
Microwave Communications
Point to Point Microwave Transmission
Satellite Communication Systems
Cellular Networks
Basic Principles
Cellular Radio Network Structure
Mobile Tracking and Hand Off
The GSM Network
GSM Area Networks
GSM Specifications
GSM Subscriber Services
GSM Supplementary Services
Mobile Data
Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE)
Third Generation Wireless Systems
Wireless LAN
Wireless LAN Transmission Technologies
Spread Spectrum Transmission
Wireless LAN Hardware
Bluetooth Topology

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment30% Examination Weight70%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Loop QuizOrientation activitiy. Purpose: Introduce students to some of the Learning Resources in Loop and to determine if there are any problems accessing resources. No prior knowledge is required for this exercise.1%Week 7
AssignmentWritten assignment provided and submitted through Loop5%Week 9
AssignmentWritten assignment submitted through Loop12%Week 20
AssignmentWritten assignment provided and submitted through Loop12%Week 27
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    Programme or List of Programmes
    CISCert in Management of IT/IS
    CITCertificate in Information Technology
    HDCNHigher Diploma in Computing and Networks
    ISBSc in Management of Info Tech/Info Syst
    ISDIPDiploma in Management of IT/IS
    ITBSc in Information Technology
    ITDIPDiploma in Information Technology
    ITSDiploma/BSc in Information Technology
    Date of Last Revision29-NOV-10

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