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ELE5001 Industrial Communications Protocols

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Industrial Communications Prot
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 031307 - Communications Technologies
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Catherine Hills


Pre-requisite: ELE2601 or Students must be enrolled in the following Program: GCNS, GDNS, MENS or MEPR


In order to remain competitive, industrial companies are using advanced technologies to automate their processes and operations. Seamless real-time communication between human machine interfaces (HMIs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), sensors and actuators is essential to industrial automation. Adoption of suitable protocols ensures successful exchanges of data. There are a relatively large number of industrial communication protocols that have been developed over the last few decades. This course will help students develop the skills they will need as professional engineers to critically evaluate a given protocol and assess its suitability for different industrial applications.


The course focuses on industrial control networks. It builds upon knowledge and skills developed in undergraduate courses on data communication systems typically covering traditional local area network protocols such as Ethernet and higher level protocols such as TCP/IP. The major differences between industrial networks and traditional computer networks are considered in detail. Factors influencing the choice of industrial communication protocols for given applications are analysed and Quality of Service (QoS) parameters are deduced and evaluated.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Explain the rationale behind the technological development of industrial networks from telemetry systems to modern SCADA systems
  2. Identify and explain the reasons behind the differences between industrial network communication protocols and the protocols used in general computer networking.
  3. Investigate the relevance and applicability of the seven layer OSI model to commonly used industrial protocols such as EthernetIP, Modbus, Profibus and DNP3
  4. Evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of different industrial protocols for particular applications
  5. Select an industrial protocol and use it in an application such as building services, power systems automation, water treatment and factory automation


Description Weighting(%)
1. Historical developments of industrial protocols 10.00
2. Communication protocol standards and their hardware implementation 30.00
3. Factors influencing protocol selection and performance 20.00
4. Practical network design considerations for given applications 20.00
5. Industrial Communication Network Performance Evaluation 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 84.00
Tutorials 13.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Written Assignment 1 200 20 04 Apr 2019 2,3,4
Written Assignment 2 200 20 16 May 2019 5
Examination 600 60 End S1 1,2,3,4,5

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of
    the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment
    items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a closed examination candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next
    examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at