Level 1
Unit No:
Guided learning hours:
48 hours


Learners will explore the features and uses of networks, the hardware and software required and how data is transferred. They will use their findings to design, develop and test a network to meet user requirements.

Unit Learning Outcomes


Know about the features and uses of networks.

AC 1.1:

Use of networks:

  • Communication (email, instant messaging, social networking, blogs, forums, wikis, web conferencing)
  • Sharing hardware resources (internet, printer, scanner, storage, processing power)
  • Exchanging information (files, data and other types of information)
  • Multi-user environments (gaming, collaborative working)
  • Storage (files, data centres)
  • Applications (online databases, online spreadsheets, intranet, extranet).

Features of networks:

  • Connection method (wired and wireless)
  • Scope or scale (Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), Personal Area Network (PAN),
  • Storage Area Network (SAN))
  • Architecture (peer-to-peer, client-server)
  • Topology, including: physical (star, bus, ring, mesh, tree and point-to-point), logical (Ethernet and token ring)
  • Protocols and their function (Ethernet, Internet Protocol (IP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP))
  • Security (with regard to files, folders, data, network access, resources)
  • Utilities (virus protection, access control, backup, remote desktop)
  • Services (login, user account management, file/folder permissions to an individual user/group of users, security, software deployment)
  • Users (individuals or groups of people arranged in different ways for different uses).

AC 1.2:

Hardware components: computer systems/workstations/servers, network adapters (wired/wireless), router (wired/wireless), hub, switch ,network cabling (fibre optics, UTP, STP, coaxial; connectors).

Software components: operating system with appropriate utilities capable of operating in a network environment, applications (browsers, firewalls, email, antivirus, network utilities (remote management), office applications),

AC 1.3:

Packet routing, transmission modes (half duplex, duplex, serial and parallel) and transfer rates.

Assessment Criteria

  • 1.1

    Identify the features and uses of networks.

  • 1.2

    Outline the hardware and software components required for a network.

  • 1.3

    Describe how data is transferred across a network.


Be able to design a network to meet user requirements.

  • Network design should include: list of hardware and software components, the number of network users, outline network diagram, test plan.
  • User requirements to include: purpose, details of the users and their roles/function (including number of users), size/geographical spread/location, costs (budget), constraints, for example, user requirements could specify a network with at least two network users, network users sharing one folder and three files.

Assessment Criteria

  • 2.1

    Produce a design for a computer network to meet a specific purpose and user requirements.


Be able to develop, test and review a network.

AC 3.1:

  • Components to gather to develop network(if appropriate and resources available): a minimum of two computer systems/workstations/clients, a server, network adapters (wired or wireless), network cabling (if wired), a hub/router/switch (if networking more than two computer systems/workstations/clients), a server operating system (if building a client-server network), operating system (adding/removing/amending users, sharing files and folders, setting access permissions to files and folders, installing applications, sharing hardware resources, i.e. printer or any other network device), utilities (remote desktop management, user rights, access control, firewall configuration, anti-virus, scheduling).
  • If no hardware and software resources are available learners can use simulated software, such as Packet Tracer https://www.netacad.com/courses/packet-tracer
  • Consideration of health and safety issues when developing a network: hardware, electrical connection risks and guidelines, handling equipment.

AC 3.2:

  • Test the computer network for functionality/connectivity using command tools, such as ipconfig and ping (reliability, performance, e.g. time to transfer a file across the network).
  • Use the range of utilities/services provided by the operating system to test other aspects of the network (e.g. shared resources, user accounts, access control, file/folder permissions).

AC 3.3:

  • Review the network against: purpose, user requirements, user experience (reliability, performance), constraints (hardware and software availability).

Assessment Criteria

  • 3.1

    Gather components to develop a network.

  • 3.2

    Test the network for connectivity.

  • 3.3

    Identify how well the network meets purpose and user requirements.