FIT4015 Digital communications technology and protocols - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Andrew P Paplinski


Clayton : Andrew P Paplinski


ASCED Discipline Group classification: 020113 Networks and communications

This subject builds on knowledge acquired in a basic Data Communication subject. It has two main components. First, it looks at digital communications technologies with the main emphasis on design issues and technologies of the two lower layers (physical layer and data link layer) of the popular OSI communication stack. Topics covered within this component may include:


  • Channel capacity and transmission medium.
  • Digital encoding and modulation techniques.
  • Modem standards.
  • Interfacing with communications equipment.
  • Multiplexing and switching.
  • LAN technologies and MAC techniques.
  • LAN systems: Ethernet, Token Ring, Wireless LAN, FDDI, etc,.
  • N-ISDN and ATM networks.
  • Satellite communications.

    The second component looks at digitial communication protocols, including a selection of the following topics:


  • the structure, coordination and management of the Internet
  • Internet standards development process
  • Internet link layer protocols: SLIP, CSLIP, PPP, ARP, RARP, etc.
  • the IP (V4 and V6) and ICMP protocols
  • TCP and UDP
  • the Internet addressing structure, including domain naming and the DNS/LDAP systems and protocols
  • bridging systems and spanning-tree protocols
  • Internet packet routing techniques and protocols, e.g. Distance-vector, Bellman, SPF, and related IGP and EGP protocols
  • mobile IP
  • Real Time Protocols: RTP, RTCP, RTSP, SDP, RSVP
  • Security issues
  • Quality of Service (QoS) issues
  • the major common applications: FTP, Telnet, SNMP, SMTP, HTTP, etc.


    Knowledge and Understanding

    On successful completion the student will be able to:

    C1. understand the general architecture of the Internet, the interworking of the key protocols, and the underlying services required for the operation of the network;

    C2. understand the standards development process for protocols and applications operating in the Internet;

    C3. describe the characteristics of the key protocols in the Internet, and the roles they play;

    C4. understand the key quality of service and security issues applying to the Internet.

    C5. knowledge of local area network design and implementation techniques.

    Practical Skills

    Upon successful completion, the student will be able to

    P1. Identify appropriate standard internet protocols for various networking functions.

    P2. select suitable local area network architecture to meet user requirements.

    P3. select apporpriate telecommunications products to meet user requirements.


    You should have knowledge of A good understanding of basic data communication technologies and concepts.

    Unit relationships

    FIT4015 is

    • a core unit of the Master of Digital Communication, and
    • a recommended elective unit in the Master of Computer Science.

    It is a prerequisite for You to have a good understanding of basic data communication technologies protocols and concepts.

    You may not study this unit and

    CSE3821, CPE3004, ECE4411/5411

    CSE4881, CSE4882, ECE4/5044 (new unit in MTC, will run only in alternate even years)

    in your degree.


    Texts and software

    Required text(s)

    Required textbook:

    • William Stallings, "Data and Computer Communications, 8th Edition.", Prentice Hall, 2007.


    Textbook availability

    Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Software requirements

    There is no software requirement


    Hardware requirements

    Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the Faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 8 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

    Recommended reading

    Recommended background reading:


    • Behrouz A. Forouzan, "Data Communication and Networking, Third Edition", McGraw-Hill, 2004.
    • William A. Shay, "Understanding Data Communications and Networks, Third Edition", Thomson Learning, 2004.

    Library access

    You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

    Study resources

    Study resources for FIT4015 are:

    the textbook and lecture notes

    Structure and organisation

    Week Topics
    1 Data Transmission
    2 Transmission media
    3 Signal encoding techniques
    4 Digital Data Communication Techniques
    5 Data Link Control Protocol
    6 Multiplexing and Spread Spectrum
    Non teaching week
    7 Asynchronous Transfer Mode
    8 Cellular Wreless Networks
    9 Local Area Networks
    10 Wireless LANs
    11 Intenetwork Protocol
    12 Transport Protocol
    13 Revision


    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Assessment weighting

    Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 20% each and an examination with a weighting of 60%. Read this section VERY carefully.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    obtain total of at least 50% from assignments and examination.

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    assignment 1 + assignment 2 + examination

    Assessment Requirements

    Assessment Due Date Weighting
    Assignment 1 week 6 20%
    Assignment 2 week 11 20 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available Distribution Method.

    Assignment Submission

    Assignments will be submitted by paper submission to the School Office. Submit the assignment by the due date with the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled in and attached.

    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 10% of the maximum mark per day.

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit lecturer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    Grade Percentage/description
    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    Assignment return

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.


    Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    Communication methods

    Through tutors


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

    Consultation Times

    Friday 9.00-10.00am

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    This person's profile is not available.Image of this person is not available.

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Feb 20, 2007