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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

XJEL1420 Communications Systems

10 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Dr. Des McLernon

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan 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. 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 the basic building blocks of modern communications systems. It introduces familiarity with the technical concepts of both wired and wireless communication networks and prepares them for more advanced studies in the coming years.

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

1. Describe the operating principles of basic communication systems and networks, including communication channels (wired and wireless), analogue and digital signals, the radio spectrum, basic modulation and coding techniques.
2. Identify the basic modules of a typical communications system and classify the performance of various communications systems.
3. Apply mathematical and computational methods to analyse basic communications signals and functions, including analogue-to-digital conversion, modulation and error-correction.
4. Discuss the key features of a representative range of communications systems.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Review of communications signals
RC Low-pass filters; concepts of low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass filters
Concept of bandwidth/spectrum
Analogue versus digital signals
Sampling theorem (non-mathematical)
A-to-D & D-to-A converters; quantisation
Overview of the basic building blocks of communications systems
Concepts of bits and symbols
The concept of modulation, e.g., line codes and RF modulation
Introduction to digital modulation, e.g., BPSK and QPSK
Introduction to data compression (e.g., in HDTV, Cellular mobile)
Introduction to error correction and detection (e.g., repetition codes, parity bits)
Communication case studies taken from satellite communications, cellular mobile, and digital TV
Concepts of basic digital signal processing (DSP)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Examples Class111.0011.00
Private study hours55.00
Total Contact hours45.00
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 assessment1 hr 00 mins30.00
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 00 mins30.00
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins40.00
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: 29/06/2021 16:47:30


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