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Network Fundamentals

This subject is available under ICMS undergraduate degrees, please click the button below to find an undergraduate course for you.

Subject Code:


Subject Type:


Credit Points:

3 credit points



Subject Level:


Subject Rationale:

Nowadays, almost every digital device belongs to a computer network. Considering the advancements in telecommunications, particularly in cellular networks, along with the widening applications of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, edge computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), more robust network systems are necessary due to our reliance on these architectures. With computer networks forming the backbone of various digital ecosystems, there is a constant need for professionals with expertise in this essential ICT domain. 

This subject provides students with the fundamental concepts of computer networks and data communications, including prominent models, layers, key constituents, processes, functions, services, and protocols. Students will explore common network systems and architectures, developing the essential knowledge of their basis for emerging technologies, including their use in organisations. 

In this subject, students will study the essential components of contemporary computer networks, including the basics of associated security concepts. Through hands-on activities that simulate real-world settings, students will also apply their learnings to solve business problems using industry practices, tools, and techniques. 

This subject is aligned with the two courses, Networking Essentials and Introduction to Networks, that are fundamental in the CCNA certification pathway designed by Cisco Networking Academy. 

Learning Outcomes:

a) Describe the essential concepts of computer networks, including inherent components, protocols, services, and technologies.

b) Explain different network layers, models, architectures, their features, and applications.

c) Identify and illustrate the fundamental building blocks utilised in data communication networks.

d) Design and configure simple networks within a simulated working environment using industry-recognised tools and techniques.

e) Discuss basic security issues, considerations, and configurations intrinsic to computer networking.

Student Assessment:

Broad Topics to be Covered:

Week 1: Introduction 

  • Networking today 
  • Communication in a connected world 
  • Online connections 
Week 2: Network Devices and Simulator 

  • Cisco Packet Tracer 
  • Cisco iOS 
  • Introduction to switches and routers 
  • Basic switch and end device configuration 
Week 3: Computer Communication Principles 

  • Communication standards 
  • Network models 
  • Reference models 
  • Standards 
  • Number systems 
Week 4: Physical and Data Link Layer 

  • Physical layer 
  • Cabling 
  • Data link layer 
  • Ethernet switching 
  • Encapsulation of ethernet frames 
Week 5: Network Layer 

  • IPV4/IPv6 
  • Routing 
  • Cisco routers and router boot process 
  • MAC, IP and ARP 
  • Basic router configuration 
Week 6: IPv4 and IPv6 in Depth 

  • Internet protocol  
  • IPv4 address scheme and subnetting 
  • IPv6 address scheme 
  • Dynamic addressing and DHCP 
Week 7: ICMP and Transport Layer 

  • ICMP 
  • Transport layer 
  • TCP and UDP 
  • Port numbers 
  • UDP configuration 
Week 8: Application Layer 

  • Application, presentation, and session 
  • Domain Name System (DNS) 
  • Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP/HTML) 
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP) 
  • Email protocol (POP/IMAP) 
  • Telnet and SSH 
  • Using Cisco Packet Tracer to observe application layer protocols 
Week 9: Network Security Fundamentals 

  • Threats and vulnerabilities 
  • Social security attacks 
  • Malware 
  • Network attacks and mitigation 
Week 10: Building a Home Network 

  • Basic router and switch configuration 
  • Secure Cisco devices 
  • Wireless standards and traffic control 
  • Using Cisco Packet Tracer to configure home router and a client 
Week 11: Building a Small Office Network 

  • Devices in a small office network 
  • Small network applications and protocols 
  • Connect to the internet 
  • Troubleshooting 
  • Using Cisco Packet Tracer to configure a small office network with internet connection 

Please note that these topics are often refined and subject to change so for up to date weekly topics and suggested reading resources, please refer to the Moodle subject page.