Digital Communications

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
20 January 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC H64112 Global Communication Systems,
MENGH642 Communications Engineering

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.

Module aims

This module aims to define the principles and practices of modern digital communication systems. It introduces a number of standard techniques for transmission including multiplexing and multiple access for wired and wireless transmission systems.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

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.

Module information

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

No information available.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1   19/03/2020  66.67% 
Written Exam  Progress Test 1 - Week 22     33.33% 
Exam  120 minutes during Early Exams (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Vito De Feo, email: vito.defeo@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Vito De Feo
School Office, csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Prof Raouf Hamzaoui
De Montfort University
Available via Moodle
Of 1 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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