Course Title: Optical Fibre Systems and Networks PG

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Optical Fibre Systems and Networks PG

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


125H Electrical & Computer Engineering


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022

Course Coordinator: Dr Jiao Lin

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2925

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: B010 F09 R001

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

It is recommended that you have successfully completed EEET2115 Communication Engineering 2 or other equivalent studies.

It is assumed that you will have previous knowledge of the properties of optical fibres (multimode and single-mode optical fibres, fibre attenuation, fibre dispersion, preferred wavelengths of operation) and the basic components of optical fibre communication systems (laser diodes, photodetectors, optical receivers).


Course Description

Optical fibre communication systems have revolutionised our global telecommunications network. With their very high data rates and capacity, optical fibre systems link continents, countries, cities and end users. They have enabled the internet and changed our society.

This course builds on work presented in earlier years of the program in order to enable you to develop a fuller understanding and appreciation of the factors which affect the design, operation and performance of both digital and analogue optical fibre communication systems.

Optical fibre systems and networks include long distance backbone or trunk networks, metropolitan and access networks, passive optical networks and RF photonic systems. Fibre networks are also used to distribute signals for broadband wireless access networks.

The design of an optical fibre system involves many design factors and trade-offs. The characteristics and limitations of system components (laser diodes, optical modulators, optical fibre, optical amplifiers and optical receivers) and the factors affecting the performance of different optical fibre communication systems will be studied.

Particular topics to be studied will include:

  1. Laser diodes
  2. Optical receivers
  3. Optical modulation schemes
  4. Optical and electrical noise sources
  5. Calculation of system Q factor and Bit Error Rate
  6. Fibre dispersion and dispersion compensation
  7. System optical power budget and system risetime budget
  8. Calculation of maximum usable bit rate
  9. Optical fibre networks
  10. Passive optical network
  11. Optical fibre amplifiers


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

At postgraduate level this course develops the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) of the School of Engineering's Master of Engineering programs:

  • High levels of technical competence in the field
  • Be able to apply problem solving approaches to work challenges and make decisions using sound engineering methodologies


On completion of this course you should be able to demonstrate the following Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs):

  1. In-depth understanding of the principles of operation of various optical fibre communication systems.
  2. Analyse the performance of various digital and analogue optical fibre systems.
  3. Calculate various key parameters of optical fibre systems. These include the system optical power budget and system risetime budget, receiver noise power, Q factor, bit error rate and maximum usable bit rate of a digital optical fibre system.
  4. Explain/compare the factors affecting the performance of different optical fibre communication systems.
  5. Communicate laboratory findings through written reports


Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

  • Viewing pre-recorded lecture videos where you will engage with key concepts and their application using design examples and case studies;
  • completion of tutorial questions which are designed to develop your problem solving skills, give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding;
  • completion of three laboratory exercises which are designed to enhance your learning and help develop your communication skills; and
  • private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems. 


Overview of Learning Resources

Course information, lecture notes and other learning materials such as problem sheets and laboratory notes will be made available through RMIT University’s on-line systems.

A list of relevant reference texts and other resources will be provided.

You will also use computer software within the School during laboratory work.

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Your ability to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts and your proficiency in being able to solve technical problems will be assessed via a mid-semester test and a two-hour exam at the end of the semester. Learning will also be assessed via written reports on laboratory exercises and a written assignment. 

All assessment tasks will also assess your ability to critically analyse results. 

Assessment Tasks 

Assessment Task 1: Mid-semester quiz 
A timed 90 minutes online quiz to be completed any time within a timeframe of 24 hours. 
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 & 3. 

Assessment Task 2: Laboratory reports
Three reports each worth 20%. 
Total weighting: 60% (20% x 3)
This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 4 & 5. 

Assessment Task 3: Final test 
A timed 90 minutes online test to be completed any time within a timeframe of 48 hours.
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4.