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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

XJEL1405 Communications Networks and Signals

10 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Dr. Ahmed Lawey

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) 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. If it is not possible to deliver traditional teaching methods, such as lectures and practical classes, we may need to substitute alternative (online) formats of delivery and amend the timetable accordingly. ‘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 gives students an introduction to various layers in modern communications networks and how the Internet works. It provides the student with skills to apply programming tools (MATLAB) to model communication signals and systems.

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

1. Explain of the principles behind the organisation and operation of communications networks.
2. Describe the layered structure of communications networks and discuss the role of each layer.
3. Analyse and solve well-defined problems involving basic communications signals.
4. Use programming tools to model some of the basic signals, components and applications of communications systems.
5. Use simulations to identify 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

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours66.00
Total Contact hours34.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment3 hr 00 mins40.00
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins30.00
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

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: 17/09/2021 10:11:54


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