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2021/22 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 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The teaching and assessment methods shown below will be kept under review during 2021-22. 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) any online activities/sessions. Where learning activities are scheduled to take place on campus, it may be possible and/or necessary for some students to join these sessions remotely. Some of the listed contact hours may also be optional surgeries. Students will be provided with full information about the arrangements for all of these activities by the module staff at the beginning of the teaching semester.‘Independent online learning’ may involve watching pre-recorded lecture material or screen-casts, engaging in learning activities such as online worked examples or mini-projects, 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 sessions are approximate and intended as a guide only. Further details will be confirmed when the module commences.Where assessments are shown as Online Time-Limited Assessments, the durations shown are indicative only. The actual time permitted for individual assessments will be confirmed prior to the assessments taking place.


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. Apply mathematical descriptions to a range of signals, including analogue and digital, periodic and non-periodic, in both time and frequency domains.
2. Apply mathematical analysis, including Fourier analysis, to a range of signals, processes and systems, including sampling, modulation and LTI systems.
3. Describe the applications and operating principles of a range of communications systems and components.
4. Apply computational tools to solve a range of standard problems in signal analysis and communication systems, including the application of probability and statistics.
5. Use computational tools to simulate 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

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning421.0042.00
Examples Class61.006.00
Independent online learning hours22.00
Private study hours130.00
Total Contact hours48.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to use private study time to consolidate their understanding of course materials, to undertake preparatory work for seminars, workshops, tutorials, examples classes and practical classes, and also to prepare for in-course and summative assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students studying ELEC modules will receive formative feedback in a variety of ways, including the use of self-test quizzes on Minerva, practice questions/worked examples and (where appropriate) through verbal interaction with teaching staff and/or post-graduate demonstrators.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentAssignment 120.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

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.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 00 mins10.00
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins30.00
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 29/06/2021 16:47:29


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