University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Data Communications

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Communications and Computer Engineering

DESCRIPTION This study-unit lays down the theoretical foundation of communications. The main models used to design and analyze data communications systems, the characterization of the data they carry in the frequency and time domains, and the basic types of devices used will be introduced. The characteristics of the physical media will be discussed. The main baseband, analogue and digital modulation techniques will be studied.

This leads to the study of link layer techniques including multiplexing and multiple access techniques, CSMA/CD, CSMA/CA and error control techniques.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims at providing a solid background in data communications theory. The concept of how voice and video can be turned into data and transmitted over data networks will covered. The first two layers of the 7 layer model will be covered. This will prepare the students for Communications Systems and Computer Networks in Year 3.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Describe, discuss and criticize the models used to model and study data communications networks;
- Describe and analyse how voice and video can be represented and transmitted as data;
- Describe, compare and analyse copper, optical and wireless media that are used to convey information;
- Describe and compare baseband and passband modulation schemes to convey data over physical media;
- Describe, compare, contrast and analyse multiplexing and media access multiple techniques that are used to convey information over shared channels;
- Describe and analyse how signals are encoded;
- Describe and analyse how errors can be prevented, detected and corrected;
- Describe and analyse network dimensioning and the affect of queues.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Model data communications systems and networks;
- Quantify the time and frequency domain characteristics of information sources;
- Describe typical data communications devices;
- Describe the characteristics of physical media and quantify their information capacity;
- Describe baseband and passband modulation techniques;
- Describe multiplexing and multiple access techniques used at the link layer;
- Describe how errors can be prevented, detected and corrected at link layer;
- Describe how a network can be dimensioned.

Main Text:

- Behrouz A. Forouzan, Data Communications and Networking, McGraw-Hill, Fifth edition, 2012.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Practicum & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Practical Yes 20%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Anthony Sciberras (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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