Course Title: Optical Fibre Systems and Networks PG

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Optical Fibre Systems and Networks PG

Credit Points: 12.00


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,
Sem 2 2023

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

Required Prior Study
You should have successfully completed EEET2115 Communication Engineering 2 before you commence this course. 
Alternatively, you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course. 
Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. 

Assumed Knowledge
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


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  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

You will be actively engaged in a range of learning activities such as lectorials, tutorials, practicals, laboratories, seminars, project work, class discussion, individual and group activities. Delivery may be face to face, online or a mix of both. 

You are encouraged to be proactive and self-directed in your learning, asking questions of your lecturer and/or peers and seeking out information as required, especially from the numerous sources available through the RMIT library, andthrough links and material specific to this course that is available through myRMIT Studies Course. 

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course. 

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

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: Literature Review
This assessment is a group-based learning activity.
Weighting 15%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 & 4. 

Assessment Task 2: Laboratory reports
Three group-based reports each worth 15%. 
Total weighting: 45% (15% x 3)
This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 4 & 5. 

Assessment Task 3: Final test 
This assessment is a timed and timetabled assessment of less than 2 hours duration that students must attend on campus except for international students who are residents outside Australia. 
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4.