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MSc Telecommunications


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The world of telecommunications is one of the fastest developing in the areas of science and technology. This one year MSc programme is aimed at engineering and science graduates wishing to move into this exciting field and is dedicated to the task of training engineers and managers in the telecommunications industry.

The course covers various aspects of modern telecommunication systems together with the background necessary to understand such systems. The course has been running for the past nine years and has produced over 150 graduates. It has been continuously updated, with advice from colleagues in industry.

This is a 12 months full-time modular course where we offer several mandatory and optional modules and students are required to take eight modules followed by a research project. Each module is taught over a period of one week and is followed shortly by the assessment, either in the form of exams or case studies and assignments. The project, which can be carried out at UCL or at the site of a collaborating industrial partner, provides the student with knowledge of a specific subject in the communications/telecommunication areas and with research methodologies.

The course is taught by UCL's Telecommunications experts with contributions from industrial and government specialists, from the UK and abroad. We welcome applications from high quality graduates of electronic engineering, computer science and other related disciplines and from candidates with appropriate industrial experience.

We also offer a highly innovative, 2 year Masters degree with a year in industry open to students on all of our communications engineering MSc and MRes programmes. Students apply in their first term for exclusive year-long paid internships at Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley, California. If successful, postgraduate students will complete an extended industry-focused project whilst being mentored at Cisco.

A flexible version of this course for those employed in industry is also available

Introduction to IP Networks – IPN
This module serves as an introduction to Internet Protocol (IP) based networks, protocols and services. The aim is to provide a foundation for the understanding of IP technologies and to show how such networks are impacting on the telecommunications environments and enable the realisation of multi-service communications networks.
Introduction to Telecommunications Networks – ITN
This module provides a wide perspective of available communication networks and their properties. Many of the topics covered are fundamental to communication engineers regardless of whether they are working in a circuit switched or packet switched environment.
Mobile Communications Systems – MCS
We focus on the detailed implementation of two key mobile systems, namely GSM and UMTS, from the viewpoints of system architecture, the physical layer and system implementation. The 2.5 and 3.5/3.75 Generations are also discussed with a description of HSCSD, GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA and HSUPA. Issues of network planning, mobile services and business are also considered, with a focus on the 802.11 (WiFi), 802.15 (Bluetooth and Zigbee) and 802.16 (WiMAX) standards.
Software for Services and Network Design – SNS
This course is primarily experiential in character. Lectures, hands-on activities and demonstrations are combined to provide exposure to, and experience of, a range of software skills appropriate to communication engineering, specifically addressing the increasingly important role of object oriented (OO) software techniques in telecommunications. The module is assessed through a set of coding and written assignments, some of which will be carried out during the module.
Telecommunications Business Environment – TBE
This module deals with strategic management issues related to running a telecommunications operating company [Telco], enabling delegates to appreciate the business perspectives of telecommunications both in the UK and globally. Emphasis is on providing an understanding of the interactive nature of the forces impacting on the performance of Telcos.
Wireless Communications Principles - WCP
This module covers the principles associated with data transmission, with a special emphasis on aspects concerning the physical-layer and the medium-access control layer. The module emphasizes both the foundations as well as the applications of the various algorithms, techniques and protocols.
Internet of Things - IOT
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) for postgraduate students who already have a background in electronic engineering or a related subject, an understanding of basic networking and some software (coding) experience. The course is designed to give the students a solid grounding of the key technologies involved and how they are integrated to form complete IoT systems. We also aim to give students an understanding of how the internet of things fits within the wider context of the ICT industry. The course has a significant practical content in that 50% of the time will be spent on practical lab exercises, involving IoT system design and software development. The course is broadly divided into two parts, namely development in the cloud and development at the edge. It is assumed that students will already have a basic familiarity with coding (in any language). For the former part (development in the cloud), the course makes use of the IBM Bluemix cloud data analytics platform and Node-RED visual tool for wiring together hardware devices. These tools use a graphical user interface and training will be provided. The underlying programming languages for these tools are JavaScript and HTML (though prior knowledge of these languages is not required). For the latter part (development at the edge), familiarity with functional C/C++ programming would be useful since these languages are used to configure the sensors and edge computing platforms. An example of a programming environment for the latter part (the edge) is Energia by Texas Instruments.
Broadband Technologies and Components– BTC
This module introduces the technologies involved in the design and construction of transport networks (wireless, copper and optical) and the applications areas in which they are used. It covers the physical fundamentals of the generation, guided transmission, amplification and reception of light, the design consideration and techniques used in radio networks, the principles of digital transmission and the role of optics and wireless in both access and core networks.
Communication Systems Modelling – CSM
This module provides in-depth exposure to analytic and simulation techniques appropriate for the representation, analysis and performance evaluation of communications systems and networks.
Network Planning and Operations – NPO
The module gives an understanding of the processes of designing and planning telecommunications, broadband and IP-based networks. The process is taken from the creation of market forecasts of demand on the network, to the implementation of plans. Aspects of the design that influence the likely replacement of the PSTN, the ATM and IP networks are also covered. It also deals with the performance that a network must be designed to meet and those performance parameters that impact on the quality of service perceived by customers.
Network and Services Management – NSM
This module introduces principles, technologies and protocols used for network and service management in both telecommunication and Internet Service Provider networks. It covers the relevant functional areas, examines in detail management technologies such as SNMP, CMIS/P and CORBA and introduces the TMN hierarchical management framework. The course concludes with in-depth case studies of IP network configuration for traffic engineering and IP quality of service management.
Optical Transmission and Networks – OTN
This module provides the student with an understanding of optical transmission systems, including causes of signal impairment in transmission and techniques to reduce signal distortion. Particular emphasis is given to optically amplified and Wavelength Division Multiplexed transmission systems covering topics such as dispersion management, system resilience, SDH/SONET, add-drop multiplexing, digital cross-connects, wavelength routed optical networks (WRONs) and wavelength routing and allocation algorithms, wavelength conversion and dynamic wavelength switching.

The course is delivered by means of formal lectures, laboratories and project work. The lecture component is divided into basic courses taking place in term one, to provide the students with the required background in communication technologies, and advanced options taking place in term two, in which the students are taught more specialised subjects.

All of the course lecturers carry out leading research in the subjects they are teaching. Modules are taught in 4 day blocks from Monday to Thursday in single week (10am to 5pm). A few week later a tutorial is held with an examination a few weeks or the submission of an assignment.

The teaching format of our master programmes is unique in the UK and helps capable students to develop strong expertise in the technologies and theories within a very short time

The research project commences in term two and the completed results are reported in the students’ dissertations, to be submitted in September. The research work carried out by the students generally takes place within one of the research groups in the EE department, and in many cases the work carried out by the student leads to advances in the department’s research output in addition to giving the student good experience of research work.