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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ELEC1401 Introduction to Communication Systems

20 creditsClass Size: 180

Module manager: Dr. Ahmed Lawey

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

Acceptance onto the BEng/MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering, or BEng/MEng Electronics and Computer Engineering programme

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to the fundamentals of communication systems. They will learn about the different building blocks and protocols that are used to implement both wired and wireless communication links.


This module has the following objectives:
- To introduce students to various layers in modern communications networks and how the Internet works.
- To provide the student with skills to apply programming tools (MATLAB) to model communication signals and systems.
- To introduce students to the technical concepts of both wired and wireless communication networks.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes:
1. Apply basic knowledge of mathematics and engineering principles to the solution of well-defined communications problems.
2. Apply appropriate computational and analytical technique to model well-defined communications problems.
3. Design solutions for well-defined communications problems.
4. Apply an integrated or systems approach to the solution of well-defined communications problems.
5. Use practical laboratory and workshop skills to investigate well-defined communications problems.

Skills learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills:
a) Application of science, mathematics and/or engineering principles
b) Application of computational and analytical techniques
c) Design skills
d) Integrated systems approach
e) Practical and workshop skills


Topics may include, but are not limited to:
* 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
* 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; 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
* 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 noise
* 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
* Introduction to error correction and detection (e.g., repetition codes, parity bits)
* Concepts of basic digital signal processing (DSP)

Methods of Assessment

We are currently refreshing our modules to make sure students have the best possible experience. Full assessment details for this module are not available before the start of the academic year, at which time details of the assessment(s) will be provided.

Assessment for this module will consist of:

3 x Exam

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours56.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will get feedback after each assessment, during laboratory sessions and surgery sessions.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentClass Test30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 00 mins30.00
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:13:30


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