Access Networks and Shared Media

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Access Networks and Shared Media

  • Host University

    Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Systems Engineering

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Calculus I

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Access Networks and Shared Media
    Course Number: 214 - 13329
    ECTS credits: 6
    YEAR 2/ Lower Division

    Calculus I


    Along this course, the students will acquire basic knowledge on computer networks in general and Internet in
    particular, focusing on analyzing specific procedures in the access networks and shared media.
    In order to achieve this objective, students must acquire a set of knowledge and abilities.
    Regarding the set of knowledge, at the end of the course the student must:
    + Knowledge of network computer architectures.
    + Understand functionalities developed by different actors in a network.
    + Knowledge of basic access networks architectures commonly used: PSTN, ISDN, ADSL, etc.
    + Knowledge of the structure of a physical layer standard.
    + Knowledge of design a structured cabling system.
    + Study in depth of the link layer techniques, analyzing their performance and usability criteria.
    + Understanding of shared media techniques for access networks analyzing the performance for different
    techniques and identifying the best technique for a given scenario.
    + Understanding of common link layer protocols: HDLC, PPP and SLIP.
    + Study several techniques used in LAN (Ethernet/IEEE 802.3, WLAN/IEEE 802.11) as well as VLAN concepts.
    Regarding abilities, it is possible to classify them in two different groups: specific abilities and generic abilities or
    Regarding specific abilities, at the end of the course, the student will be able to:
    + Design, connect and interconnect an Ethernet local area network, forming physical and logic networks.
    + Analyze the performance of several shared media techniques.
    + Analyze the performance of several communication systems.
    Regarding generic abilities or skills, during the course we will work on:
    + The abstract model of layers used in network protocols architecture, which provides a wide view in order to tackle
    the complex problem of the communications networks. (PO a)
    + Ability to work as a member of a team in order to develop proposed designs and configurations, balancing the
    load of work in order to face complex problems. (PO d)
    + Knowledge about the different network standardization process. (OP j)
    + Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering as it applies to the fields
    of computer hardware and software. (PO a)
    + Ability to identify, to formulate, and to solve hardware and software problems using engineering principles. (PO e)
    + Recognition of the need for an ability to engage in lifelong learning, and an ability to independently acquire and
    apply required information. (PO i)
    + Knowledge of contemporary issues. (PO j)


    This is an introductory course on network protocol and architectures, starting on physical and data link layer within
    network protocol architecture, focusing on the access to the media techniques and examples of access network
    technologies. Both shared and point-to-point network protocols are included.
    The program is divided in four modules:
    (1) FIRST MODULE: This module has the goal of defining basic concepts and to specify the general context as the
    foundation for following modules and for additional courses related with network protocols. Particularly, this module
    focuses on communication protocol architectures, using as examples most commons, like the OSI and TCP/IP
    models. This module includes an overview of some well-known and very used communication networks like the
    Switched Telephony Network, ISDN and Internet.
    (2) SECOND MODULE: This module is focused on the physical layer, and all topics related with it, like
    functionalities of the physical level, types of cabling used nowadays and their functionality characteristics. Some
    standards will be studied in order to comprehend all these characteristics. Furthermore, the Structured Cabling
    System will be studied based on several examples of use.
    (3) THIRD MODULE: The main objective of this module is to study all topics related with the data link layer, going
    deeper on all necessary mechanisms to provide flow control, error control (FEC and ARQ techniques) and the
    definition and evaluation of all techniques used to share media on access networks, mainly.
    (4) FOURTH MODULE: The last module has the goal of study common technologies for local area networks.
    Particularly, we will focus on ETHERNET (IEEE 802.3) and Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11) analyzing their
    architectures, addressing, basic characteristics, deployment scenarios and dimensioning. Furthermore, we will
    study other topics like the internetworking between local area networks, their design and criteria.


    The methodology includes:
    1.    Aggregated Classes, where basic concepts are introduced and where the professor explains the mechanism to develop each topic. These classes are aimed to focus the students on the comprehension, differentiation, classification and relationship of different concepts that will be described during the course. (PO i, j)
    2.    Small Classes, which are mainly practical classes related with each of the modules, including the approach and resolution of exercises, works in labs, examples description, use cases, etc. In these classes the students have to generate, gather and combine all the concepts necessary to solve problems and to apply different criteria to select, design and develop technologies for a given proposed scenario. (PO a, e, d)
    3.    Homework, where the students have to search, read and acquire basic information for each topic of the course, which will help them to better understand more advanced topics that will be explained during the aggregated classes. Furthermore, the students have to solve basic problems both individually and within work groups. This activities will be drive by the teachers following the chronogram of the course and providing different material to the student to help them with these activities. (PO d)
    4.      Group Review Classes, for specific preparation of  evaluation I and II.


    The assessment system follows the guidelines included in the University rules approved during the meeting celebrated on May 31st, 2011.
    The assessment can be followed in two possible ways:
    + Continuous assessment (PO a, e, i, j). This mechanism will be performed during the whole semester and will be based on two partial evaluations in order to check the students' learning progress. The students must assist regularly to classes and get at least 40% of the maximum grade in each of the two partial evaluations to follow this assessment. With this assessment, the students can obtain the 100% of the final grade.

    + Global Exam. This mechanism will be perform at the extra exam in June  for those students who didn´t pass the continuous assessment along the semestre.  (PO a, e, i, j)

    Optional Work. These activities will be defined and proposed during the course and will provide a potential way to increase the final mark in a 10% of the maximum final grade. (PO i, d)


    Behrouz A. Forouzan. Data Communications and Networking. Mc Graw-Hill. 4/Ed. ISBN: 0072967757. 2007

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.


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