SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

Certificate: Telecommunication Systems 
65876  Certificate: Telecommunication Systems 
City Guilds International 
MICTS - Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Manufacturing and Assembly 
Undefined  120  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 


The purpose of the qualification is to provide learners with the necessary practical skills required to be employed in the telecommunication industry.

Learners who achieve this qualification are able to:
  • Describe the principles of advanced mathematics.
  • Explain the fundamentals of electronic communication.
  • Describe the principles of communication systems and digital networks.
  • Apply the laws of Boolean algebra and construct and investigate an electrical circuit consisting of logic gates and light emitting diodes (LEDs).
  • Calculate the impedance of a series circuit consisting of inductance capacitance and resistance (LCR) and calculate the overall voltage gain of casade of amplifiers and attenuators.
  • Draw and label diagrams relating to telecommunication systems.
  • Investigate the design characteristics of modems and analyse the modulation schemes employed for the transfer of data.
  • Describe basic elements and historical aspects of telephone networks, the routing of various types of call and the necessary systems and subsystems required.
  • Prepare, from a building plan, a cable design which adheres to the latest version of ISO/IEC 11810 cabling standard.
  • Describe the SDH/SONET systems.
  • Describe the principles of radio systems.
  • Plan a global system for a mobile communication (GSM) network.
  • Use pseudocode following established programming principles.
  • Plan, install and maintain telecoms equipment in a customer's premises.
  • Carry out a pre-installation survey to premises.
  • Carry out risk assessments to identify risks and prevent hazards.
  • Accurately test and measure analogue and digital signals.
  • Install high speed synchronous and wireless networks.
  • Set up internet data centres.
  • Adopt and maintain safe working practices above and below ground.
  • Use specialist telecoms tools and equipment safely in accordance with national standards.
  • Provide and maintain exchange equipment.
  • Lay copper or fibre-optic cables internally or externally.
  • Operate a telecoms plant.


    This qualification has been designed to develop a broad range of skills appropriate to a person who is undergoing training or works in the telecommunication industry and who may also have some supervisory responsibilities. It brings together the theoretical and practical elements of telecommunication systems. Graduates of this qualification should have a well-developed knowledge of the technical and design principles of telecommunication systems enabling them to fulfil the role of technician/senior technician across a range of specialised disciplines. 

    It is assumed that learners have achieved the equivalent of NQF Level 4 in a formal education environment.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:

    The structure of this qualification makes the Recognition of Prior Learning possible. This qualification may therefore be achieved in part or completely through the recognition of prior learning, which includes formal, informal and non-formal learning and work experience. The learner should be thoroughly briefed on the mechanism to be used and support and guidance should be provided. Care should be taken that the mechanism used provides the learner with an opportunity to demonstrate competence and is not so onerous as to prevent learners from taking up the RPL option towards gaining a qualification.

    If the learner is able to demonstrate competence in the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes implicit in this qualification the appropriate credits should be assigned to the learner. Recognition of Prior Learning will be done by means of Integrated Assessment as mentioned above.

    This Recognition of Prior Learning may allow:
  • Accelerated access to further learning at this or higher levels on the NQF.
  • Gaining of credits towards a unit standard.
  • Obtaining of this qualification in part or in whole.

    Access to the Qualification:

    There is open access to the qualification. However, it is preferable that learners should acquired language competencies and mathematical literacy competencies at NQF Level 4. 


    This qualification is made up of a combination of learning outcomes from Fundamental, Core and Elective components, (120 credits).

    Fundamental Component 40 credits:
  • Communication, 10 credits.
  • Mathematical Literacy, 30 credits.

    Core Component, 70 credits.

    Elective Component, 10 credits. 

    1. Use effective communication skills within the workplace.

    2. Use mathematics in real life situations.

    3. Apply fundamental mathematical knowledge to communications and digital networks.

    4. Explain the basics of combinational logic and apply the rules of Boolean algebra to logic gates.

    5. Explain and apply the principles of simple telecommunication networks and the range of signals carried.

    6. Explain the nature and sources of noise and the effect of noise on telecommunications.

    7. Apply the laws of logarithms to linear equations in order to simplify gain/attenuation calculations.

    8. Explain the characteristics of transmission lines and cables used for telecommunication purposes.

    9. Determine the characteristics of inductance and capacitance, and their application to basic filters and oscillator circuits.

    10. Explain the principles of communicating information by varying the characteristics of a waveform and describe the characteristics of modulated signals.

    11. Explain the general concepts and terminology of data networks.

    12. Explain the purpose of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) and the main functions of each layer.

    13. Describe the general concepts of the TCP/IP protocol suite and the application and implementation of TCP/IP.

    14. Describe data packets, frames and cells.

    15. Describe switching and routing.

    16. Acquire the fundamental principles of operation of stabilised power supplies likely to be encountered in a communications environment.

    17. Explain optical fibre systems.

    18. Explain modulation.

    19. Describe digital transmission and multiplexing.

    20. Describe pulse modulation and time division multiplex (TDM) systems.

    21. Access network and digital telephone exchanges.

    22. Explain the importance of cabling and how cabling installation practices affect the performance of cabling infrastructure.

    23. Explain the basic concepts of LANs, MANs and WANs and compare and contrast the different technologies used during implementation.

    24. Describe transmission systems.

    25. Explain end systems.

    26. Explain network management.

    27. Describe an internet data centre (IDC).

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes

    This qualification addresses all the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes. A learner who obtains this qualification can:
  • Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made.
  • Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation, community.
  • Organise and manage oneself and one`s activities responsibly and effectively.
  • Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information.
  • Communicate effectively, using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written presentation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem- solving contexts do not exist in isolation.
  • Participate as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Use the writing process to compose various reports and texts required within the workplace.
  • Read and interpret various texts with understanding.
  • Maintain and adapt oral communication as required.
  • Use appropriate communication skills within the workplace.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Use mathematical functions correctly to solve routine problems and tasks within the workplace.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Convert a compound denary number with fractions limited to 1/32s to its binary equivalent and vice versa.
  • Define the modulus, 1s and 2s complement of a binary number, using numerical examples to illustrate the definitions.
  • Use binary numbers in various calculations.
  • Calculate the arithmetic mean for group and ungrouped data.
  • Determine the median, quartiles, deciles and percentiles from cumulative frequency data.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Use the laws of Boolean algebra and minimisation techniques in order to develop a practical application of a pre-determined task.
  • State that Boolean algebra is a mathematical treatment of logical processes.
  • Define the basic Boolean operations of NOT, AND and OR.
  • Explain how a bistable may be implemented with either AND, NOT or OR elements.
  • Explain the principles and applications of UnCommitted Logic Arrays (UCLAs) for the implementation of Boolean operations.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Explain that telecommunication systems involve:
    > The transfer of information.
    > The conditioning/coding of signals prior to transfer.
    > The conditioning/decoding of signals after transfer.
  • Describe the need for direct current (d.c.) power supplies when using electronic devices.
  • Explain the difference between voltage gain, current gain and power gain.
  • Explain that amplifiers may be implemented by the use of discrete components with Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs) or with Field Effect Transistors (FETs).
  • Describe the properties of differing types of transmission links (channels).
  • Maintain good relationships with customers and colleagues.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Define noise in the context of communication systems.
  • Describe the effects of noise in communication systems.
  • Explain the sources of noise as man-made and natural.
  • Describe the sources of internal and external noise.
  • Distinguish between 'impulsive noise' and 'white noise'.
  • Define signal/noise ratio and express it in deciBels (dB).
  • Distinguish between 'impulsive noise' and 'white noise'.
  • Define signal/noise ratio and express it in deciBels (dB)Define noise Factor (F) and noise figure (NF).
  • Solve problems relating to F and NF.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Apply the laws of logarithms in order to express in a convenient form the gain or attenuation of telecommunications systems.
  • Define a logarithm to any base.
  • Convert a simple indicial equation to a logarithmic relationship and vice versa.
  • Apply the laws of logarithms to simplify expressions and to solve problems.
  • Evaluate expressions and solve equations using natural logarithms.
  • Deduce the relationship between natural and common logarithms.
  • Define the dBm (dB relative to 1mW), and describe its use in system calculations.
  • Calculate, in dBs and as a power ratio, the overall gain and/or attenuation of simple systems given the gain/attenuation of the individual stages.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 8:
  • Describe the effect of metallic cables on analogue and digital signals.
  • Explain the four primary coefficients of a transmission line and sketch an equivalent circuit for a section of line.
  • Describe why, in unloaded cables, R and C are the most significant primary coefficients and produce the effect of a low-pass filter.
  • Define the terms commonly used in relation to a transmission line.
  • Sketch typical attenuation/frequency and delay/frequency response curves for unloaded and loaded cable, and coaxial cable.
  • Explain the relationship between the 3dB bandwidth of a RC low-pass filter to which a rectangular pulse is applied and the rise-time of the output pulse.
  • Explain how the attenuation/frequency and delay/frequency characteristics of a cable affect analogue bandwidth and digital bitrate.
  • Describe how the conductor and spacing dimensions of open-wire lines and coaxial cables affect the value of characteristic impedance.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 9:
  • Sketch frequency response characteristics for filter networks and indicate the 3 dB frequency.
  • Sketch waveforms to show the effects of passing a complex wave through low-pass and high-pass filter circuits.
  • Identify from the frequency plots types of filter and sketch their standard block symbols.
  • State expressions, and calculate typical values, for the resonant frequency and dynamic impedance of a parallel LC circuit.
  • Describe how a fraction of the voltage across the load can be used to provide the amplifier input signal.
  • Describe an r.f. oscillator as a self-driven amplifier with a parallel LC circuit as the load.
  • Describe the tuning of r.f. oscillators by the adjustment of L and C.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 10:
  • Explain the need for modulation.
  • Describe modulation as the process of superimposing information on a carrier wave.
  • Explain that modulation is the process whereby some property of a carrier wave is varied by a baseband wave.
  • Explain amplitude modulation.
  • Explain frequency modulation (FM) and phase modulation (PM).

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 11:
  • Draw a block diagram illustrating and identifying the components necessary to establish two-way communication between two computers over a public telephone network system.
  • Locate and activate terminal emulation software on a computer and record the parameter settings in the configuration section of the software.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 12:
  • Set up two computers for communication over a Local Area Network (LAN) in order to facilitate the interaction of two software applications between the two machines.
  • Map the communication link and application dialogue onto a diagram and explain the processing that takes place at each layer of the OSI.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 13:
  • Identify TCP/IP numbers and classes.
  • Produce a report showing the development of the TCP/IP suite of protocols.
  • Produce an IP addressing scheme, which includes the use of subnets.
  • Use the ping command.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 14:
  • Describe the basic principles of using packets, frame and cells for data transmission.
  • Describe the concept of data encapsulation.
  • Describe the data structure of packets, frames and cells.
  • Describe the common standards and protocols used for data transfer.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 15:
  • Describe the general concepts of switching and routing within a computer network.
  • Describe the technologies used for switching and routing.
  • Describe the types and purpose of protocols used within switching and routing.
  • Describe the application and implementation of switching and routing in a network.
  • Design a network using switching and routing technologies.
  • Create configuration files for routers in a small network.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 16:
  • Define the term 'regulation' as applied to a d.c. power supply.
  • Define the output resistance of a d.c. power supply.
  • Describe, with the aid of a block diagram, how a stabilised d.c. output may be obtained using a voltage reference and a comparator.
  • Describe, with the aid of a block diagram, a complete series stabiliser which uses a d.c. amplifier, a comparator, a voltage reference and a pre-regulator.
  • Describe the types of disturbances likely to occur on power lines.
  • Describe how an alternating current supply may be achieved by means of a d.c. battery supply and rotating machines.
  • Explain the function of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS).

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 17:
  • Explain the principles of communicating by light over optical fibres.
  • Describe the characteristics of the various forms of optical fibre.
  • Describe the characteristics of the range of light sources and receivers used for fibre optic communication systems.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 18:
  • Explain the applications of modulation.
  • Investigate the characteristics of various waveforms and the manner in which they can be varied in order to convey information in a digital format.
  • Describe the characteristics of the resultant modulated signals.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 19:
  • Determine the relevant advantages and disadvantages of digital transmission systems.
  • Describe the relevant characteristics of digital signals.
  • Appreciate that digital signals may be multiplexed together in order to share a common channel.
  • Evaluate the methods used for the transmission of digital signals.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 20:
  • Evaluate the techniques used in Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) and Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) systems.
  • Describe the practical applications of PCM and TDM systems.
  • Evaluate the techniques used for multiplexing voice frequency channels over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 21:
  • Explain the evolution of switching systems from analogue to digital.
  • Describe the nature of telephone traffic and the implications on network design.
  • Describe the fundamentals of major switching systems deployed in telecommunications networks.
  • Explain the advantages offered by the digital switching hierarchy.
  • Describe access networks and the technologies employed to provide digital line systems.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 22:
  • Explain the importance of cabling in the overall framework of data communication.
  • Explain the existence of international cabling standards and the benefits of adhering to them.
  • Explain how cabling installation practices affect the performance of cabling infrastructure.
  • Interpret link test results and compare with the relevant worst-case performance specifications.
  • Identify, make up and test typical network cables-fitting suitable connectors (eg RJ45).

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 23:
  • Conduct a literature or Web research of network equipment products.
  • Use a network simulator to investigate LAN activity in a given scenario.
  • Construct two LANs and establish a link between them utilising WAN technolgies.
  • Calculate bandwidth requirements for a given LAN design.
  • Implement backup procedures and changes to a small LAN.
  • Recognise peer-to-peer and client-server configurations.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 24:
  • Describe the different transmission media available.
  • Explain why optical fibre is replacing coaxial cable on long haul networks.
  • Describe the various digital carrier systems in use today.
  • Describe data multiplexing methods for utilising bandwidth.
  • Draw a diagram illustrating the SDH system.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 25:
  • Develop an awareness of systems, which are positioned at the end of networks.
  • Appreciate ergonomics and user-friendly man machine interfaces for computer equipment and networks.
  • Select appropriate hardware for a given need.
  • Identify parameters that determine the suitability of one end system over another.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 26:
  • Describe the general concepts of network management.
  • Describe techniques to monitor, control and maintain network traffic.
  • Describe methods of network administration.
  • Explain network management protocols, Simple Network Management Protocol SMMP.
  • Describe security issues relating to the performance and general well-being of a network.
  • Identify tools, which can be deployed for network management.
  • Perform essential administrative network tasks.
  • Use software tools to monitor network traffic.
  • Interpret results presented by the tools.
  • Enable management capability of hardware.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 27:
  • Define the basic configuration and operation for an IDC.
  • Explain the infrastructure necessary for an IDC.
  • Identify the routine maintenance tasks of an IDC.
  • Comprehend the security issues which relate to an IDC.
  • Identify hardware necessary to operate an IDC.

    Integrated Assessment appropriately incorporated to ensure that the purpose of the qualification is achieved:

    Assessment practices must be open, transparent, fair, valid, and reliable and ensure that no learner is disadvantaged in any way whatsoever.

    This qualification is comprised of the following:
  • Practical competences: What a candidate must be able to do.
  • Knowledge requirements: What a candidate must know.

    There are several ways in which these can be assessed:


    Assessors may be required to use different assessment methods:
  • Competence checklist: Observation of performance.
  • Competence checklist: Appraisal of a product.
  • Practical assignment.

    Knowledge requirements:

    Learners will be required to take tests to show that they meet the knowledge requirements.

    These assessments can take the following forms:
  • Written tests: Multiple choice.
  • Written tests: Short, structured questions.

    Learning, teaching and assessment are inextricably interwoven. Whenever possible, the assessment of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values shown in the modules will be integrated.

    Assessment of communication, language, literacy and numeracy should be integrated as far as possible with other aspects and should use practical contexts wherever possible.

    Where it is not possible to assess the learner in the workplace or on-the-job, simulations, case studies, role-plays and other similar techniques such as realistic working environment including real work timescales and pressures should be used to provide a context appropriate to the assessment.

    During integrated assessments the assessor should make use of formative and summative assessment methods and assess combinations of practical, applied, foundational and reflexive competencies.

    All learners are required to complete an externally set and marked international examination in order to achieve the qualification.

    Assessment should ensure that all outcomes and critical cross-field outcomes are evaluated. 

    The International Vocational Qualification (IVQ) Technician Diploma in Telecommunication Systems has been benchmarked against international standards and qualifications, including those of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France and Germany, in order to establish comparability to levels of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and UK National Occupational Standards (NOS):

    City & Guilds IVQ; NQF Level; NOS:
  • Technician Diploma; NQF Level 3; Technician.
  • National Qualifications Framework of England, Wales and Northern Ireland(NQF).
  • UK National Occupational Standards (NOS).

    According to the 'Rough Guide to Comparing Qualifications in the UK and Ireland' published by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) and the four UK regulators (Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA) - now called the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment in Northern Ireland (CCEA)), the IVQ Technician Diploma in Telecommunication Systems is comparable to the following levels:

    City & Guilds IVQ; NQF; NFQ3; SCQF4:
  • Technician Diploma; NQF Level 3; NQF Level 5; NQF Level 6.
  • The National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland (NFQ).
  • Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework(SCQF). 

    This qualification allows for both horizontal and vertical articulation.

    Vertical articulation can occur by embarking on the study of related NQF Level 6 qualifications within the telecommunication sector.

    Horizontal articulation can occur with qualifications on NQF Level 5. 

  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this qualification must be registered and appointed by the provider according to existing moderation guidelines of the FETQC/HEQC or relevant ETQA/SETA.
  • Any institution offering learning of this qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA/SETA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by City & Guilds and relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation should also validate the achievement of competencies and assessment processes as described in exit level outcomes and integrated assessment options as described in the qualification. 

    For an applicant to register as an assessor, the applicant needs:
  • Interpersonal skills, subject matter expertise and assessment experience.
  • To be competent in the planning and conducting of assessment of learning outcomes.
  • The subject matter experience must be well developed within the relevant field and subfield practices.

    The assessor must have completed:
  • A similar qualification or from the same family of qualifications, at or above the level of the qualification.
  • Minimum of two years relevant experience.

    The subject matter experience of the assessor can be established by recognition of prior learning.

    Assessors need to be registered with the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance Body. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2009; 2012; 2015. 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. Falcon Business Institute (Pty) Ltd 
    2. Ithemba IT Solution 

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.