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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ELEC1405 Communications Networks and Signals

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr. Ahmed Lawey

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) 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 gives students an introduction to various layers in modern communications networks and how the Internet works. It provides the student with relevant programming tools (MATLAB) to model communication signals and systems.

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

1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the principles behind the organisation and operation of communications networks.
2. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the layered structure of communications networks and showing some detailed knowledge about each layer.
3. Use programming tools to model some of the basic signals/components/applications of communications systems.
4. Appreciate, through simulation and basic case studies, the technical challenges in both the design and implementation of modern communications networks.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Part 1: Networking and the Internet

Data communications; sending bits around
Data communication networks; Internet
The use of layering, protocols, and interfaces
TCP/IP structure
Packet switched networks
Transmit control protocol
Network layer and Internet protocol
Data link layer and Physical layer
Application layer, e.g, email communications

Part 2: MATLAB Programming and Signals

Introduction to communications signals; Sine waves, frequency, phase, amplitude
Introduction to MATLAB programming; how variables are defined and manipulated
Representing important communication signals with MATLAB; learning about sine waves, frequency, phase and amplitude; sum of harmonics
Basics of programming; if statements; for loops, with simple applications in communication networks
Modelling certain communication tasks, e.g., analogue to digital conversion by MATLAB
Modular programming; how to write and call functions and its application to communications protocols

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 Learning42.008.00
Independent online learning hours32.00
Private study hours60.00
Total Contact hours8.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

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

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored in lab classes.

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 AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 125.00
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 225.00
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 315.00
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 435.00
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: 10/08/2020 08:35:35


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