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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ELEC2430 Communications Theory

20 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr. Li X. Zhang

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The teaching and assessment methods shown below will be kept under review during 2020-21. In particular, if conditions allow for alternative formats of delivery, we may amend the timetable and schedule appropriate classes in addition to (or in place of) the Online Learning Workshops. For Semester 2 (from January 2021), we anticipate that this will be most likely, in which case online teaching will be substituted for traditional face-to-face teaching methods, including lectures and practical classes. ‘Independent online learning’ will involve watching pre-recorded lecture material or screen-casts, engaging in learning activities such as online worked examples or remote/virtual laboratory work, etc. Students will be expected to fully engage with all of these activities. The time commitment for independent online learning, and also the frequency and duration of Online Learning Workshops, are approximate and intended as a guide only. Further details will be confirmed when the module commences.


This module builds on the first-year syllabus of ELEC1405 and ELEC1420 to give more quantitative/analytical tools for the design of modern communications systems, including Fourier analysis and signal processing, as well as the statistical treatment of signals.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Understand the principles of the operation and application of a representative range of communications and broadcasting systems, including the underlying aspects of probability and statistics.
2. Demonstrate an ability to apply mathematical analysis to analogue and digital, and time and frequency domain signals and systems. This includes Fourier analysis, linear system descriptions in time and frequency, the convolution, sampling of lowpass and bandpass signals, baseband modulation schemes, noise analysis, data source coding and block error control coding.
3. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the mathematical principles behind signal analysis and be able to apply mathematical methods and tools to the analysis and solution of communications problems.
4. Apply quantitative methods and relevant computer software tools (e.g. MATLAB) to problems in communication systems.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Signals and Systems:

Time domain representation of signals by functions; arithmetic with functions
Analogue, digital, and discrete-time signals (functions)
Periodic versus non-periodic signals (e.g., trigonometric signals, complex exponential functions)
Frequency representation of analogue signals
Fourier series for periodic signals
Fourier transform for non-periodic signals
Properties of Fourier transforms
Revisiting bandwidth and spectrum
Systems; Linear Systems; Time-invariant systems; LTI systems, e.g., filters; Transfer functions and impulse response functions; convolution

Communication Systems Theory:

General structure of communication systems

Introduction to Digital Signal Processing
Sampling Theorem (detailed proof):

Noise types and noise figure analysis
Data source compression (e.g., Huffman codes)
Principles of error control block codes (e.g., Hamming codes)
Baseband modulation techniques, e.g., pulse position/width/amplitude modulation schemes; amplitude carrier modulation schemes
Introduction to Information Theory
Passband Modulation

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning201.0020.00
Independent online learning hours64.00
Private study hours116.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to use private study time to consolidate the material covered in lectures, to undertake preparatory work for examples classes/laboratory classes and to prepare for summative assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback will be mainly provided through the examples classes. The mid-sessional test will give quantitative feedback on student progress.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Online AssessmentUnit 1 Online GradeScope Test20.00
Online AssessmentUnit 2 Online Test20.00
Online AssessmentUnit 2 Matlab Assignment10.00
Online AssessmentUnit 3 and 4 Online Assignment40.00
Online AssessmentUnit 4 Matlab Assignment10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resits for ELEC and XJEL modules are subject to the School's Resit Policy and the Code of Practice on Assessment (CoPA), which are available on Minerva. Students should be aware that, for some modules, a resit may only be conducted on an internal basis (with tuition) in the next academic session.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 24/02/2021 16:36:22


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