9.3 Communication Systems

In 30 seconds...

9.3 Communication Systems

When participants within the information system have a need to transmit and receive data or information, the type of system required is a communication system. Communication systems support people who are working together, by enabling the exchange of data and information electronically. In this topic, the information processes of transmitting and receiving are featured, with the other processes considered when relevant because all information processes play a role in communication systems.

A student:

Applies and explains an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation.


Explains and justifies the way in which information systems relate to information processes in a specific context.


Analyses and describes a system in terms of the information processes involved.


Develops and explains solutions for an identified need which address all of the information processes.


Evaluates and discusses the effect of information systems on the individual, society and the environment.


Demonstrates and explains ethical practice in the use of information systems, technologies and processes.


Proposes and justifies ways in which information systems will meet emerging needs.


Justifies the selection and use of appropriate resources and tools to effectively develop and manage projects.


Assesses the ethical implications of selecting and using specific resources and tools, recommends and justifies the choices.


Analyses situations, identifies needs, proposes and then develops solutions


Selects, justifies and applies a methodical approach to planning, designing or implementing a solution.


Implements and explains effective management techniques.


Uses methods to thoroughly document the development of individual and team projects.



Addditional outcomes relating to project work have been included in this topic top allow project work to be assessed as an integral part of this topic.
Note: If teachers choose not to undertake a project as part of this topic then these outcomes would not be assessed here.
These additional outcomes now appear in all HSC core topics and all HSC option topics.
 Students learn about:  Students learn to:

Characteristics of communication systems:

  • communication systems as being those systems which enable users to send and receive data and information
  • the framework in which communication systems function, demonstrated by the following model
  • the functions performed within the communication systems in passing messages between source and destination, including:
    • message creation organisation of packets at the interface between source and transmitter
    • signal generation by the transmitter transmission
    • snchronising the exchange
    • addressing and routing
    • error detection and correction
    • security and management
  • the client server model

    • the role of the client and the server

    • thin clients and fat clients examples of clients such as webbrowsers and mail clients

    • examples of servers such as print servers, mail servers and web servers


Students learn about:

Students learn to:

examples of communication systems

·         teleconferencing systems

·         messaging systems (See Course Specifications Document)

·         other systems dependent on communication technology such as:

o    e-commerce


o    electronic banking







transmitting and receiving in communication systems

·         transmission media, including:

o    wired transmission (See Course Specifications Document)

o    wireless transmission (See Course Specifications Document)


·         characteristics of media in terms of speed, capacity, cost and security

·         communication protocols, including:

o    application level protocols

§  http

§  smtp

§  SSL

o    communication control and addressing level protocols

§  TCP

§  IP

o    transmission level protocols

§  Ethernet

§  Token ring

o    strategies for error detection and error correction

o    network topologies, including:

§  star

§  bus

§  ring

§  hybrid

§  wireless networks

·         use a communication system to transmit and receive audio, video and text data

·         for given examples, identify the participants, information/data, information technology, need and purpose

·         for given examples explain how data is transmitted and received

·         for given examples, identify the advantages and disadvantages of the system



·         compare and contrast traditional communication systems with current electronic methods

·         represent a communication system diagrammatically






·         predict developments in communication systems based on current trends


·         simulate activities involved with communication in areas such as:

o   e-commerce


o   Internet banking


·         for a given scenario, choose and justify the most appropriate transmission media





·         diagrammatically represent the topology



Students learn about:

Students learn to:

·         the functions performed by the following hardware components used in communication systems (See Course Specifications Document)

·         characteristics of network operating software similarities and differences between the Internet, intranets and extranets


·         describe the location and role of hardware components on the network

·         compare the functions of different hardware components

·         identify the main characteristics of network operating software

·         compare and contrast the Internet, intranets and extranets

other information processes in communication systems

·         collecting, such as

o   the phone as the collection device with voice mail

o   EFTPOS terminal as a collection device for electronic banking

·         processing, including:

o   encoding and decoding analog and digital signals

o   formation of data packets

o   routing

o   encryption and decryption

o   error checking

§  parity bit check

§  check sum

§  cyclic redundancy check (CRC)

·         displaying, such as

o   the phone as the display device with voice mail

o   EFTPOS terminal as a display device for electronic banking

·         distinguish between data in analog and digital form

·         justify the need to encode and decode data

·         identify where in a communication system signal conversion takes place describe the structure of a data packet describe methods to check the accuracy of data being transmitted