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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ELEC5456M Optical Communications Networks

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr. Taisir Elgorashi

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The teaching and assessment methods shown below will be kept under review during 2021-22. 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) any online activities/sessions. Where learning activities are scheduled to take place on campus, it may be possible and/or necessary for some students to join these sessions remotely. Some of the listed contact hours may also be optional surgeries. Students will be provided with full information about the arrangements for all of these activities by the module staff at the beginning of the teaching semester.‘Independent online learning’ may involve watching pre-recorded lecture material or screen-casts, engaging in learning activities such as online worked examples or mini-projects, 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 sessions are approximate and intended as a guide only. Further details will be confirmed when the module commences.Where assessments are shown as Online Time-Limited Assessments, the durations shown are indicative only. The actual time permitted for individual assessments will be confirmed prior to the assessments taking place.


This module covers 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 a knowledge of the optimisation methods used in optical network design, and investigates the performance of optical fiber communication systems under noise.

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

1. Explain the advantages optical-fibre communication offers over the other established communication systems.
2. Describe the physical properties affecting light propagation in optical fibre.
3. Use mathematical methods to evaluate the performance of the optical-fibre receiver under noise.
4. Describe the various enabling technologies used in modern optical networks.
5. Describe a range of WDM network architectures including broadcast-and-select and wavelength routing networks.
6. Use mathematical methods to apply optimisation 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

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Independent online learning hours11.00
Private study hours119.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students are expected to use private study time to consolidate their understanding of course materials, to undertake preparatory work for seminars, workshops, tutorials, examples classes and practical classes, and also to prepare for in-course and summative assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students studying ELEC modules will receive formative feedback in a variety of ways, including the use of self-test quizzes on Minerva, practice questions/worked examples and (where appropriate) through verbal interaction with teaching staff and/or post-graduate demonstrators.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 00 mins25.00
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 00 mins25.00
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 13/07/2021 10:20:09


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