Current Trends in Networking

Assignment Requirements


The aim of this assessment is to allow students to demonstrate an understanding of
the current trends in computer networking and apply theoretical knowledge to
practical applications.
Learning outcomes
Answers to the tasks will demonstrate the ability to:
1. Critically evaluate threats to network provision and compare solutions
2. Compare and contrast existing and emergent networking technologies
3. Apply appropriate network technologies in complex settings, providing
alternative solutions, clear selections and justifications.
4. Critically evaluate relevant and credible sources for up to date information on
network and data communications technologies.
Scenario 1 – Remote Rural Area
The Orkney Islands lie 10 miles off the north east corner of Scotland and are an
archipelago of approximately 70 islands covering 990 km2, of which 20 islands are
inhabited. The exact number of islands depends on what you define as an island
and what you define as a rock – the colloquial definition is that it is an island if you
can keep a sheep on it for a year! The population of Orkney is approximately
20,000, with about 15,000 of these living on the largest island (known as Mainland).
The largest population centres of Kirkwall (~8,500) and Stromness (~2,200) are both
on Mainland. The remainder of the population is scattered across the islands in
small villages and isolated properties. Historically the mainstays of the economy
have been crofting (small scale farming) and fishing. More recently the development
of North Sea Oil has provided employment and income to the islands, mainly through
the oil terminal on Flotta. There is also a developing tourist industry largely based on
the many archaeological sites and unique wildlife of the islands. However, changes
in farming and fishing along with doubts over the long term future of the North Sea
Oil supply mean that alternative employment opportunities are necessary.
I have just bought a house at Gravity on the remote Orkney Island of North
Ronaldsay and I shall be moving there in a few months’ time. The post code is
KW17 2BE.
The easiest way to find this place is to use which has street
level mapping of the UK, or use Google Maps ( and search on the
post code. Gravity is effectively a single property and North Ronaldsay is not even
populated enough to appear on Google Street View! North Ronaldsay island will
come up on searches so you can find out more about this remote location.
As a tutor for RDI, I obviously need a fast and reliable Internet connection. There
are currently Internet connections available in Kirkwall on the Mainland island but
there is no fast reliable service available on North Ronaldsay.
Scenario 2 – Suburban on the edge of a big city.
Liverpool is a large and vibrant city on the west coast of England. There has been a town here since about 1200 and it was granted its Royal Charter (i.e. officially became a city) in 1880. It covers an area of just over 100km2 and has a population of nearly 500,000 people. Its economy was very much founded on trade, being one of the largest sea ports in the country. These days Liverpool has a much wider economy covering trade, service sector, finance and (as the home of the Beatles plus two top rank football clubs) tourism.
My brother is very much a city dweller. He lives in an area of Liverpool called Woolton in a house which is well served by all the standard ways of connecting to the Internet. The post code is L25 6HU. Again, you can locate this using or Google Maps ( He also wants high speed Internet access so that his family can make use of modern streaming services such as catch up TV and YouTube.
Scenario 3 – Your location and situation
Consider your own location, where you access the Internet, for example to do your studies for RDI. The location details are obviously where you are. The connection technologies are whatever is available in your location to access the Internet. Therefore this scenario will be different for every student. You must use your own location and situation.
You are to consider TWO (2) scenarios. One MUST be Scenario 3 – Your location. The other MUST be ONE of the other scenarios (Scenario 1- Remote Rural or Scenario 2 – Suburban on the edge of a big city). You must pick the scenario (1 or 2) that is MOST DIFFERENT from your own. So if you live in a big city, you must use your location plus Scenario 1- Remote Rural. If you live in a remote location you must pick Scenario 2- Suburban on the edge of a big city.
You are to discuss the available options for getting a reliable high speed Internet connection to each of the locations (yours plus one of the others given above).
You are to produce a formal report clearly divided into two sections, one for each location (yours plus one of the others detailed above). Within the report you should discuss all the technologies available to provide reliable and high speed Internet connections to each of the locations. Consider the problems that these locations present and how the technologies resolve those problems. You need to make a clear recommendation for each location saying which of the available technologies you would use and clearly justify these recommendations.
For your own location, also provide a brief summary of the location, similar to those given in scenario 1 and 2 above.
A formal academic report in two sections:
Section 1 – My Location
This should outline your location and situation and report on how to get Internet access where you are. Your report should also include actual performance figures for the Internet connection that you use. There are a number of web sites available that provide speed (actually data rate of course) testing, so search for Internet speed testing to find one.
Section 2 – Scenario Location
This should report on how to get Internet access at ONE of the scenarios given above.
Do them in this order and with these headings.
Student Guidelines
1. You should write this assignment as detailed above, in coherent and appropriate English, complete with references in Harvard notation.
2. You may assume that the target reader has a relatively high level of general data communications and networking knowledge but must explain (supported by references) the technologies that you are discussing in detail.
3. No further guidance will be given on the exact structure, focus or content of the report. This is a final year degree assessment and by this stage you are expected to be able to put together a report like this on your own. Indeed this is part of the assessment.
4. The guideline length for this assignment is 3000 words. Note that this is only a guideline and at this level it is more important to cover the material appropriately than it is to hit a specific word count.
5. A thorough Internet search will enable you to find out what technologies and Internet Service Providers are available in the locations given in scenarios 1 & 2 and what alternatives are available to you in your location. You are expected to find this out as part of the assessment.
6. The module tutor will answer specific questions via e-mail or the discussions forum for the module. You are advised to submit a draft of your report for feedback and comments at least a week before submission to allow you time to make any suggested changes. Please ensure that all such communications include the module name, your name and id and when you are planning to submit the work


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