Module Details

CE702-7-SP-CO: Digital Communications

Year: 2017/18
Department: Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No
Pre-requisites: CE701

Supervisor: Dr Arsenia Chorti
Teaching Staff: Dr Arsenia Chorti
Contact details: School Office, csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Module Description:

The module will provide an understanding of the principles and practices of modern digital communication systems. It reviews baseband and band-pass techniques, pulse code modulation, and studies modern methods of transmission, including multiplexing and multiple access. The module introduces wired and wireless transmission techniques including those used in current broadcast and mobile communications systems. Representative transmission systems selected for study include digital radio, television and WiFi and communication satellites. Operation principles, link budgets and design of basic components of transmission systems are described and discussed in detail

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the principles of baseband and band-pass digital transmission.
2. Assess bit error rates of digital communication systems.
3. Discuss physical layer aspects of radio networks.
4. Design and explain antenna principles.
5. Develop an RF link plan for reliable digital transmission and asses failure probability for given system parameters.
6. Describe practices of modern multiplexed transmission systems.
7. Discuss the principles of digital transmission over cable and RF networks, and explain examples of current practices.
8 Explain satellite and terrestrial systems design.

Outline Syllabus

- Digital transmission principles

- Baseband pulse transmission, signal spectrum and bandwidth. Quantization distortion, pulse shaping, ISI and eye diagrams. Digital modulation systems: PSK, QAM and OFDM. Effects of noise. Detection of digital signals, MAP and ML detections, matched filters, decision regions. Performance assessment. Constellation diagrams, MER, error control coding.

-The EM spectrum and management.

-Comparison of wired and wireless transmission systems.

-Physical layer components, radio propagation and antennas, multiple input multiple output (MIMO) links.

-RF link planning for reliable digital transmission and evaluation of failure probability given system parameters, including link budget and Fresnel Zone calculations.

-Communication satellites: geo-stationary/LEO/MEO orbits, frequency allocations, FDMA, TDMA, CDMA OFDMA.

-Transmission Systems: point to point RF, broadcast radio & TV, cellular comms networks, WiFi, DSL, PCM telephony, optical fibre.

Learning and Teaching Methods


30 per cent Coursework Mark, 70 per cent Exam Mark


Progress Test worth 10% and will take place in week 22. Assignment 1 worth 20% and to be submitted via FASer in week 25.

Other information



  • SKLAR B., Digital Communications: Fundamentals and Applications, Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 2001
  • Further reading:
  • CARLSON, A.B., et al, Communication Systems, McGraw-Hill Education - Europe; 5th Ed
  • PROAKIS, J., Digital Communications, McGraw-Hill Education; 5th Ed
  • GLOVER, I., and GRANT, P., Digital Communications, Prentice Hall;
  • BALANIS, C.A (ed), Modern Antenna Handbook, John Wiley and Sons
  • PAPOULIS A., Probability, Random Variables and Stochastic Processes, McGraw-Hill, 4th ed., 2002.
  • GOLUB G. and VAN LOAN C. F., Matrix Computations, The John Hopkins University Press, 2nd edition