EE4630 Telecommunication network architectures

This course presents the fundamentals of cellular mobile networks, including network architecture and services, with a focus on end-to-end and core network aspects. The course forms a companion course for ‘Cellular Networks – Radio Access Networks’ (ET4396).
Students will be introduced to the concepts circuit switched and packet switched, the two fundamental communication methodologies that form the backbone of the mobile network. The course aims to educate students on the evolution of the network from 2G to 5G, whereby for each network generation ('G'), the new architectural principles are studied. For example, we discuss the GSM core network (2G), GPRS (2.5G), UMTS (3G), Evolved Packet Core (EPS; 4G), the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Multimedia telephony (MMTel), Intelligent Networks (IN), Circuit switched fallback (CSFB), Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Voice call continuity (VCC), Voice over Wifi and 5G network architecture.

For the 5G network architecture, the concept of 'network slicing' will be presented, which is used for flexible resource allocation, for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and for 'verticals' such as Automotive, Smart Energy, Media & Entertainment, Vehicle communication and other forms of machine-type communication.

The course also deals with the concept of virtualization and cloud computing. Networks are increasingly built as a collection of virtual network functions (VNF), deployed on industry standard computing platforms, comprising standard hardware and standard OS.


  • Network architecture and network protocols
  • Core network, Radio access network (RAN)
  • Circuit switched, Packet switched
  • Location/mobility management/roaming
  • Security (authentication, ciphering, …)
  • QoS/QoE/bearer architecture, QCI definitions, service management, policy control
  • IMS/VoLTE/Messaging/Voice-over-Wifi/Enriched calling
  • Virtualization, Cloud computing, Software Defined Networks (SDN)
  • Network slicing
  • Multi access Edge Computing (MEC)
  • Intelligent Networks
  • Verticals/applications, including e.g. Automotive, Smart Energy, IoT, Machine-to-machine communication
  • Web Real-time Communication (WebRTC)

Study Goals

After this course, students are able to explain the meaning, working and rationale behind key cellular network concepts (such as those given by list of keywords above). Furthermore, students will be able to understand the challenges and associated trade-offs in the deployment and management of cellular networks. Students will also be able to analyse network architecture and evaluate network architecture on its merits or on its drawbacks.


R.A.C.J. Noldus

Last modified: 2023-11-03


Credits: 3 EC
Period: 0/0/2/0