Module Overview

Industrial Networks & Distributed Systems

Module Aim: To provide learners with the underlying theories and concepts employed in modern industrial networks and distributed process and automation systems.

Module Code

MEC4 H4022

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Factory enterprise, open systems

Integrated manufacturing and enterprise systems, computer integrated manufacturing and e-manufacturing. Automation open systems, open connectivity, relevant IEC and ISO standards, interoperability and portability. Regulatory and safety requirements, IT security for automation systems and industrial networks.

Distributed Systems

Distributed industrial and automation control systems. Functions, operations and applications of distributed control system. Distributed system architecture, bus types and hardware. Benefits of distributed control, safety and privacy issues.


SCADA system architecture. SCADA functions and applications. Telemetry and RTUs. Communications architectures and transmission philosophies. Connectivity to factory enterprise, process and automation. Remote, web-based SCADA systems. SCADA security, standards and reliability. Process visualisation and HMI design.

Telecommunications Principles

Transmission concepts and terminology. Guided and unguided transmission media. Transmission lines, primary and secondary constants. Optical fibre characteristics. Radio transmission and antenna technology. Transmission bandwidth, frequency spectrum. Channel capacity, data rates. Transmission impairments. Intersymbol Interference. Signal encoding schemes, channel encoding/decoding. Modulation techniques. Frequency and time division multiplexing and demultiplexing.

Digital Data Communications

Asynchronous and synchronous transmission. Types of transmission errors and causes, error detection and correction methods. Information theory, source codes, entropy. Review of OSI model. Data link control protocols, flow control techniques.

Industrial Networks

Network topologies. Simplified OSI model for industrial automation. Message encapsulation and frame formats. Example industrial data protocols and standards (such as Modbus, Profibus). EIA232/485 overview. Industrial use of TCP/IP. Ethernet hardware devices (hubs, switches, routers, repeaters, gateways, cabling). Security and privacy concerns for industrial networks. Intrusion detection, firewalls.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination60
Other Assessment(s)40