Industrial input to the MSc is continuously updated through lecturers' contacts within the industry and through a guest speaker programme. In particular, the entire Planning, Procurement, Regulation and Services module is delivered by a computer networking consultant with international experience. Practical skills are developed through the workshop module, both to reinforce the theory presented in lectures and to gain hands-on experience. In addition to in-depth technical knowledge, the Data Communications industry also considers project management, team working and presentation skills to be key attributes. These are all developed in the Course.
Establishes the terminology and concepts of Data Communication Systems design and operation. Provides a practical understanding of basic digital communication and transmission techniques, covering fundamentals of information transfer, transmission media and transmission impairment, types of computer terminal, modulation and demodulation, coding and decoding.
Introduces the terminology and concepts of system networks, using the OSI network model as the reference framework. Aims to produce an understanding of network structures and techniques, covering layered network architectures, protocols, process interconnection, system network modeling, routing and software implementation at various network layers. The reference framework is compared with common networks such as TCP/IP, IPX and NETBIOS and the technologies for bearer transmission services and related issues, including ISDN, SDH, ATM, frame relay, email, X400 and X500 are considered.
Coding for Compression and Data Security
Covers the theoretical principles and limitations of data compression and cryptography. Presents important current practical techniques and algorithms for efficient and secure transmission of information. Includes image and video compression standards, such as JPEG and MPEG, and cryptosystems, such as DES.
Network Design and Management
Introduces different network design methodologies and principles. Covers the needs to identify and resolve design issues with regards to networks and protocols. Provides network strategies and regulation policies. Considers how to design and manage networks of different types with respect to performance and requirements.
Introduces the use of Java object-oriented programming language for distributing peer to peer program design. Includes the use of databases (JDBC, SQL, XML/XQL), client/server systems, servlets and RMI.
Optical and Wireless Communication Systems
Covers modern data transmission technologies starting from the component level and building up to complete system design, operation and management. Considers current and planned optical, satellite and mobile networks and services, as well as their integration into global systems.
Introduces a range of formal methods and skills necessary to equip the student to function effectively at the higher levels of project management. Covers the need for the development of project management skills in achieving practical business objectives.
Practical work is an important component of the course and gives students experience with relevant techniques and tools. Assignments are of practical nature and involve laboratory work with relevant equipment, hardware and software systems, conducted in a hands-on workshop environment. Typical assignments are:
* Setting up a Local Area Network
* Network Modeling and Simulation
* Designing an Error Control Codec
* Network Communications
* Pulses on Transmission Lines
* Concurrent Programming
* Data Compression and Cryptanalysis
* Object Orientation
The dissertation is a stimulating and challenging part of the MSc programme. It provides the opportunity to apply the knowledge learnt in the taught part of the course and to specialise in one aspect, developing the student's deep understanding and expertise in a Data Communications related area of their choice. Students may carry out their project wholly within the University, but industrial based projects are encouraged. For company-sponsored students, projects should be related to the company's present and future enterprise. Industrial projects often lead to recruitment of the student by the collaborative company, recent examples of which include BT, Siemens, 3Com, Worldcom, Nortel and Orange.
Each of the eight course modules is assessed either by formal examination, written assignments or a combination of the two. Hand-in dates for the assignments are specified at the beginning of the academic year. Examinations are normally taken in January and June. Successful completion of the first part of the programme allows the student to proceed to the dissertation stage. To qualify for the award of the MSc degree the student must submit a satisfactory dissertation. Students who fail to proceed to the dissertation stage or fail to submit a satisfactory dissertation may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
The employment record for graduates of the course remains highly impressive. Graduates have been recruited by a wide range of communications equipment manufacturers, vendors, service providers and end users. A number of leading Data Communications companies have recognised the unique blend of skills our MSc provides and identified our graduates for inclusion their UK, European and global recruitment programmes.