Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ELEC3430 Digital Communications

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Professor Mohsen Razavi

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan 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 introduces the key principles of advanced digital communications systems, including pulse shaping, channel characteristics and multiple-access techniques in cellular mobile and optical communications systems.

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

1. Show a good understanding of the engineering principles behind the physical layer in modern communications networks.
2. Demonstrate extensive knowledge and understanding of the principles of digital modulation schemes such as BPSK, QPSK and QAM.
3. Use analytical techniques to predict the performance of communications systems.
4. Understand the nature of communication channels and the methods used to combat signal impairments.
5. Reproduce all aspects of both the design procedure, and subsequent analysis, for a representative communications system case study.
6. Use mathematical or other simulation tools to model the performance of a typical communications subsystem.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Modern Digital Communication Systems

Review of signals; Vector representation of signals; energy vs power signals
Generic binary communication links
Optimal receivers for binary communications systems, e.g., matched-filter and correlation receivers
Performance analysis of binary communication systems
Carrier modulation techniques, e.g., binary phase shift keying (BPSK), quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK), and quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM)
Pulse shaping; inter-symbol interference
Introduction to radio propagation, channel characteristics and countermeasures; fading channels
Multiple-access techniques

Optical Communications
Optical fibres, their characteristics (e.g. attenuation, single-mode versus multimode)
Receiver characteristics: quantum limit on receiver sensitivity
Sources and detectors. Optical amplification and regeneration
Coherent and incoherent optical communications
BER analysis of an optical OOK link
Wavelength division multiplexing and future directions in optical networking

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
Oral Class81.008.00
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 the problem sheets and to prepare for summative assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via the problem sheet assignments.

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 325.00
Online AssessmentOnline Assignment/Test 425.00
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


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019