University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Computer Networks 2

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Communications and Computer Engineering

DESCRIPTION Computer networks constitute the communications backbone of the ICT industry. Computing without communications would be an entirely different proposition altogether.

The Internet Engineering Task Force oversees the TCP/IP protocol suite which is the defacto standard in Computer Networks. Designed with the ethos of “IP over everything” and “everything over IP” TCP/IP networks have evolved to deliver not only computer data, but also real-time multimedia services including video streaming and voice over IP (VoIP).

Every telecommunications and computer professional must understand TCP/IP based computer networks intimately and in detail, in order to design, diagnose and maintain ICT systems.

This study-unit imparts the necessary knowledge to understand and apply the TCP/IP protocol suite.

Study-unit Aims:

At a high-level, the study-unit aims to:
• Introduce the TCP/IP protocol suite as a layered computer network architecture;
• Present students with an overview of the Network Access Layer on which the TCP/IP depends;
• Introduce the students to the IP layer and the concepts which allow the IP layer to route packets;
• Introduce the students to the UDP and TCP transport layer;
• Introduce the students to Application layer protocols;
• Introduce the students to the Real-Time Protocol and applications in Video Streaming and Voice over IP (VoIP).

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit students will be able to:

• Discuss the ethos of the TCP/IP protocol suite as a layered computer network architecture;
• Discuss the functions of all the fields in the various layers of the TCP/IP protocol suite including RTP;
• Discuss how routing is achieved in TCP/IP networks;
• Compare and contrast routing algorithms;
• Discuss the functions of ports, sockets and connections in TCP and UDP;
• Discuss how TCP achieves Error Control, Flow Control and Congestion Control, and describe the related algorithms;
• Discuss the QoS requirements of real-time multimedia services;
• Discuss how TCP/IP networks can provide the required QoS;
• Discuss the need for RTP in the case of real-time multimedia transmission over TCP/IP networks;
• Discuss how RTP/RTCP/RTSP are used in video streaming services and VoIP services;
• Compare various video streaming modes;
• Compare and contrast VoIP based H.263 and SIP.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit students will be able to:

• Design TCP/IP networks for data communications;
• Monitor and diagnose TCP/IP networks using popular ICMP based tools;
• Simulate the contents of the IPv4 header with internet fragmentation;
• Simulate the operations of Distance Vector and Link State routing algorithms;
• Design and implement a real-time TCP/IP network;
• Compute the delay in a real-time VoIP system;
• Design RTP/UDP/IP real-time streaming and conversational services;
• Select appropriate protocols for multimedia systems.

Main text:

Behrouz A. Forouzan, "Data Communications and Networking", 5th Edition.


STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Tutorial and Practical

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Practical No 20%
Examination (2 Hours and 30 Minutes) Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Saviour Zammit (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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