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Communication Networks (ELEN90061)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeELEN90061
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject provides an introduction to the basic principles, analysis, and design of communication networks. It will cover analytical tools, the layered network architecture, and network protocols.

Analytical tools from queueing, optimisation, control, and graph theories will be used to develop an in-depth understanding of basic principles and the role they play in network design. Queueing theory will be emphasised as the primary methodological framework for analysing network delay which is one of the most important performance measures in data networks.

The concepts taught in this subject will allow a better understanding of the Internet as well as emerging communication paradigms such as Machine-to-Machine communication, Internet of Things, smart grid, and social networks.


Topics covered may include:

  • The layered network architecture with a focus on physical-layer multiple access (TDM, FDM, WDM), link layer protocols and medium access control (MAC), network layer topologies, least-cost routing algorithms and protocols, transport layer protocols and the principles and techniques of practical reliable transport;
  • LAN protocols, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and serial communications;
  • The Internet's network layer including the Internet Protocol (IP) and routing protocols including an introduction to BGP and the operation of forwarding tables in routers and shortest prefix routing;
  • The Internet's transport layer protocols UDP and TCP, including the flow and congestion control algorithms;
  • Network security, application layer, cloud and fog computing, Machine-to-Machine communication, and Internet of Things;
  • Queuing theory: basics, birth-death processes, M/M/x and Markovian queues, networks of queues;
  • Basics of graph theory and social network analysis relevant to communication networks.

Intended learning outcomes


Having completed this unit the student should be able to:

  1. Quantitatively analyse the performance of simple queueing systems and communication networks
  2. Explain the basic principles of communication network design, the layered architecture and network protocols
  3. Design simple communication networks to achieve performance objectives

Generic skills

On completing this subject, students will have developed the following skills:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals;
  • In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline;
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution;
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance;
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning;
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.

Last updated: 3 April 2019