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FIT4015 Digital communications technology and protocols - Semester 1 , 2008

Unit leader :

Asad Khan

Lecturer(s) :


  • Asad Khan

Tutors(s) :


  • Malik Khan


Unit synopsis

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.

    Learning outcomes

    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.


    Unit relationships


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


    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.


    Continuous improvement

    Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

    One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

    Student Evaluations

    The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

    If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

    Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

    Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

    Unit staff - contact details

    Unit leader

    Dr Asad Khan

    Lecturer(s) :

    Dr Asad Khan

    Contact hours : Tuesday 10am to 12pm

    Tutor(s) :

    Mr Malik Khan

    Teaching and learning method

    Communication, participation and feedback

    Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are 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.

    Unit Schedule

    Week Topic Key dates
    1 Data Transmission  
    2 Transmission media  
    3 Signal encoding techniques  
    4 Digital Data Communication Techniques  
    Mid semester break
    5 Data Link Control Protocol  
    6 Multiplexing and Spread Spectrum  
    7 Asynchronous Transfer Mode  
    8 Cellular Wireless Networks  
    9 Local Area Networks  
    10 Wireless LANs  
    11 Internetwork Protocol  
    12 Transport Protocol  
    13 Revision  

    Unit Resources

    Prescribed text(s) and readings

    Required textbook:

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


    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.

    Recommended text(s) and readings

    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.

    Required software and/or hardware

    There is no software requirement


    Equipment and consumables required or provided

    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.

    Study resources

    Study resources we will provide for your study are:

    the textbook and lecture notes

    Library access

    The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

    Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

    All unit and lecture materials are available through MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources. Some units will be piloted in Moodle.

    You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

    Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

    In order for your Blackboard unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

    For example :

    • Blackboard supported browser
    • Supported Java runtime environment

    For more information, please visit


    You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

    For further contact information including operational hours, please visit


    Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:


    If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle at http://moodle.med.monash.edu.au.
    From the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.


    Unit assessment policy

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

    Assignment tasks

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 1

      Description :

      Research Paper

      Weighting : 20%

      Criteria for assessment :

      Individual assessment

      Due date : Week 6: Fri 11-April-08, 12PM

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 2

      Description :

      Design Project

      Weighting : 20%

      Criteria for assessment :

      Group work with individual assesment

      Due date : Week 11: Fri 16-May-08, 12PM


    • Examination

      Weighting : 60%

      Length : 2 hours

      Type ( open/closed book ) : Closed book

    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.

    Assignment coversheets


    University and Faculty policy on assessment

    Due dates and extensions

    The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. 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. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

    Late assignment

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

    Return dates

    Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

    Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

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

    Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

    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 (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) 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.

    Register of counselling about plagiarism

    The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

    Non-discriminatory language

    The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

    Students with disabilities

    Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

    Deferred assessment and special consideration

    Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.