Last Updated S012019


Unit Code ME507
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
Duration: 2 years  

Year Level 1st
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr. Ivan Fair
Core/Sub-Discipline: Core
Pre/Co-requisites None
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24
(3 credits x 8 (units))

Masters total course credit points = 48
(3 credits x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis))

Mode of Delivery On-Campus or Online
Unit Workload 10 hours per week:
     Lecture - 1 hour
     Tutorial Lecture - 1 hour
     Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)
     Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

This unit aims to provide the requisite specialist knowledge to manage modern Ethernet-based Industrial networks. It is designed to consolidate all of the aspects associated with the specification, design, synthesis, simulation and configuration of such networks. Although a range of theoretical concepts are addressed, the focus is upon using cutting-edge modern technologies such as those required for redundancy and real-time operation.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject/unit, students are expected to be able to:

    1. Compare and contrast the functionality and relevance of the various current data communication technologies in terms of the OSI and TCP/IP reference models or

              Bloom’s Level 5

    1. Assess media selection and noise mitigation approaches for Industrial Automation systems

                     Bloom’s Level 5

                3.Evaluate the appropriateness of specific serial data communications technologies for given Industrial applications.

  1.         Bloom’s Level 5

    1. Design complex Industrial Ethernet networks for high availability and real time (e.g. motion control) applications.

             Bloom’s Level 6

    1. Assess the applicability of the various protocols in the TCP/IP protocol suite to specific Industrial scenarios.

             Bloom’s Level 5

    1. Create IPv4/IPv6 addressing schemes for complex plant networks

             Bloom’s Level 6

    1. Design Industrial Automation systems that incorporate both serial and TCP-based versions of MODBUS

             Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type
(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)
Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed

(e.g. Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assignment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example topics: questions based on Industrial data communication systems.

Due after Topic 4 20% 1, 2, 3

Assignment 2

Type: Multi-choice test

Example topics: Work to date

Due after Topic 8 30% 3, 4, 5

Assignment 3 - Final Project or Short Answer

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example topics: Work covered to date

Final Week 35% 4, 5, 6, 7

Assignment 4 – Practical

Type: Practical Communication Simulation

Final Week 10% 3, 5, 7

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required textbook

  • B. Forouzan, Data Communications and Networking, 5th Edition. McGraw Hill Education, 2013. ISBN 978-0073376226

Reference Materials
      1. Stevens, W.R., (1994), TCP/IP Illustrated Volume I (The Protocols), 1st edition, Addison Wesley
      2. Spurgeon, C.E., (2000), Ethernet - the Definitive Guide, 1st Edition, O’Reilly and Associates, Inc.
      3. TIA-232 Standard, Revision F, (2002) Telecommunications Industry Association
      4. TIA-485 Standard, Revision A, (2003) Telecommunications Industry Association
      5. Modbus Serial and Modbus TCP standards,
      6. Miscellaneous journals and websites (advised during lectures)
      7. IDC/EIT notes and reference texts as advised

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.

Topic 1

Introduction and OSI framework

1. Industrial data communication concepts and challenges
2. Abstraction models: OSI and TCP/IP

Topics 2 and 3

Media and noise

1. The Noise mitigation strategies
2. Radiated, copper and fibre media alternatives

Topics 4 and 5

Serial data communication principles and standards

1. Synchronous and asynchronous communications
2. OSI Layer 1 alternatives for industrial applications

Topic 6

Introduction to protocols

1. Full vs. half-duplex protocols
2. ASCII vs. hexadecimal protocols

Topics 7 and 8


1. Introduction Industrial Ethernet: variants and components
2. Ethernet strategies for high availability
3. Ethernet strategies for real-time operation

Topics 9 and 10


1. The TCP/IP protocol suite
2. Network design and addressing schemes (IPv4/IPv6)

Topic 11


1. The Design and simulation of MODBUS Serial and MODBUS/TCP networks
2. Integration of MODBUS Serial/TCP with TCP/IP/Ethernet infrastructures

Topic 12

Project and Course Review
In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work, to clarify any outstanding issues, and to work on finalizing the major assessment report.



Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.


Stage 1 Competencies and Elements of Competency


Knowledge and Skill Base


Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.


Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.


In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering


 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.


 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.


Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.


Engineering Application Ability


Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem-solving.


Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.


Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.


Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.


Professional and Personal Attributes


Ethical conduct and professional accountability.


Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.


Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.


Professional use and management of information.


Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.


Effective team membership and team leadership.


Software/Hardware Used


  • Software 1: Listen32 (for sending characters via the COM port)

  • Software 2: Picoscope6

  • Software 3: Modbus Poll

  • Version: v3.60

  • Software 4: Modbus Slave

  • Version: v3.10

  • Software 5: VNullMod20 (AGG Software) OR VSPD (Virtual Serial Port Driver)

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  All the above is installed on the Remote Lab computer

  • Additional resources or files: N/A



  • Lab computer with:
  • Laptop with at two USB ports
  • 1x MOXA UPort 1110 USB-to-serial (RS-232) adapter
  • 1x 9-pin D-type female to 25-pin D-type male adapter plug (‘straight’) (DB-9F/DB-25M)
  • 1x breakout box
  • 1x PicoScope 2204 USB oscilloscope with probes
  • null modem simulator