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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ELEC5456M Optical Communications Networks

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr. Taisir Elgorashi

Taught: 1 Jan to 30 Jun View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The teaching and assessment methods shown below will be kept under review during 2020-21. In particular, if conditions allow for alternative formats of delivery, we may amend the timetable and schedule appropriate classes in addition to (or in place of) the Online Learning Workshops. For Semester 2 (from January 2021), we anticipate that this will be most likely, in which case online teaching will be substituted for traditional face-to-face teaching methods, including lectures and practical classes. ‘Independent online learning’ will involve watching pre-recorded lecture material or screen-casts, engaging in learning activities such as online worked examples or remote/virtual laboratory work, etc. Students will be expected to fully engage with all of these activities. The time commitment for independent online learning, and also the frequency and duration of Online Learning Workshops, are approximate and intended as a guide only. Further details will be confirmed when the module commences.


This module presents the essential elements of modern optical networks. The module looks at the development of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM), the most popular, bandwidth-rich contemporary approach, its enabling technologies, node and network architectures. It provides the students with the essential of knowledge of the optimisation methods used in optical network design.

Objectives: To teach the essential elements of modern optical networks- To investigate the performance of optical fiber communication systems under noise- To understand the principle of operation of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFA) and their use in optical networks- To understand the evolution of modern optical networks- To study the enabling technologies, node architectures and network architectures of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) networks- To study the use of optimisation methods in optical network design

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Appreciate the advantages optical fiber communication offers over the other established communication systems.
2. Evaluate the performance of the optical fiber receiver under noise.
3. Understand the various enabling technologies used in modern optical networks.
4. Understand the evolution of modern optical networks.
5. Understand the different WDM network architectures including broadcast-and-select and wavelength routing networks.
6. Understand the use of optimization techniques in the design of optical networks.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Physical Properties affecting the propagation of light in Optical fiber
Analogue and digital transmission under quantum noise
Noise performance of optical baseband systems
Optical amplifiers: erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFA)
WDM systems Enabling technologies: Tuneable sources and tuneable filters, couplers, isolators, circulators, optical multiplexers, photonic switches, optical amplifiers, wavelength converters
WDM network architectures: broadcast-and-select and wavelength routing networks
Optical network design and optimization: Link-Path Formulation, Node-Link Formulation, Notions and Notations, Dimensioning Problems, Shortest-Path Routing, Fair Networks, Topological Design, Restoration Design
Technology based examples: Intra-domain IP traffic engineering, MPLS Network Design, WDM Network Design

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning41.004.00
Private study hours146.00
Total Contact hours4.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students are expected to use private study time to consolidate the material covered in lectures, to undertake preparatory work for examples classes and to prepare for summative assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback will be mainly provided via the in-course assessment (essay).

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 240.00
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 335.00
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 425.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resits for ELEC and XJEL modules are subject to the School's Resit Policy and the Code of Practice on Assessment (CoPA), which are available on Minerva. Students should be aware that, for some modules, a resit may only be conducted on an internal basis (with tuition) in the next academic session.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 24/02/2021 16:36:22


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