ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Accredited by ABET
Undergraduate Programs

ECE 4614 Telecommunication Networks


Spring 2014 textbook list

The Spring 2014 ECE textbook list is available online for students.

Current Prerequisites & Course Offering

For current prerequisites for a particular course, and to view course offerings for a particular semester, see the Virginia Tech Course Timetables.

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ECE 4614 Telecommunication Networks (3C)

Architecture, technology, operation, and application of telecommunication networks including digital telephony, data networks, and integrated services networks. Design and analysis of networks for voice, data, and video applications.

What is the reason for this course?

Computer networks are pervasive. Electrical and computer engineers must understand the architecture, technology and applications of such networks. In addition, they must understand how the existing telecommunications infrastructure is evolving to provide integrated voice, data, and video communications services that are critical to the operation and competitiveness of companies, government, and other organizations. The continued growth of the Internet has generated new applications and spurred the need for higher speed local access. Advances in telecommunications technology and applications has increased the demand for electrical and computer engineers possessing a systems-level understanding of present telecommunications networks and the forces shaping their future.

Technical Elective. Typically offered: Spring. Program Area: Communications.

Prerequisites: 2504, 2704, STAT 4714.

Why are these prerequisites or corequisites required?

To understand the signals that are carried in telecommunication networks and the protocols of computer networks, students must be familiar with the spectral representation of signals as covered in 2704, and basic computer architecture and logic circuit principles as covered in 2504. To understand traffic models and performance analysis of networks, students must be familiar with basic probability models as covered in STAT 4714, Probability and Statistics for Electrical Engineers.

Department Syllabus Information:

Major Measurable Learning Objectives:
  • describe the facilities, multiplexing, and modulation techniques used in long-distance backbone networks,
  • characterize voice and data traffic using accepted models and calculate blocking and delay probabilities in simple networks,
  • explain the purpose of layering and describe the current layered architecture for the Internet,
  • explain data link/MAC layer functions and describe the current Ethernet standards and applications,
  • explain network and transport layer functions and describe Internet routing algorithms and TCP/IP protocols,
  • use open source software to monitor and characterize Internet traffic and analyze protocols,
  • formulate a link budget for a link in a wireless LAN or cellular network using knowledge of the wireless channel,
  • discuss the design of cellular and wireless LAN networking standards and the types of multiple access techniques used in these networks, and
  • justify the choice of a particular frequency band for a given network on the basis of interference, regulatory, and business considerations.

Course Topics
Topic Percentage
Telephone network infrastructure 25%
Telephone network overview and evolution to digital communications
A/D conversion and digital transmission fundamentals
Circuit-switching (blocking models)
Optical transport networks
Data networking fundamentals 50%
Layered architectures
Data link and medium access control: framing, random and scheduled access, delay performance
Local area networks: Ethernet, bridging and switching
Network layer issues: routing, traffic management, flow control
TCP/IP architecture: header format, IP routing, UDP and TCP
Wireless networks 25%
Wireless channel fundamentals (power budget considerations)
Multiple access techniques, standards evolution (CDMA, GSM, IS-95, GPRS and others)
Wireless LANs
Frequency assignment (interference, regulatory, and business issues)

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