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Communication Systems

Semester 2

This course seeks to familiarize students with the basic foundations of communications systems, covering the concepts from signal preparations, signal transmission, and signal reception of both digital and analog systems. It specifically deals with analog and digital modulation techniques, transmission of the signal across a carrier, and the acquisition and demodulation of these signals. This leads to an introduction to modern technologies such as wireless transmission, GNSS systems, cellular technology and GSM.

The learning experience is enhanced with computer-based (MATLAB) exercises and assignments. The assignments will include: (1) a take home problem solving questions design to test student understanding of the theory; and (2) a report in the form of an IEEE paper structure on a survey of the state-of-the-art in modern communication systems. The intent is to expose the student to high level technical publications.


Amplitude Modulation Techniques: Amplitude Modulation and Demodulation; Quadrature Amplitude Modulation; Single sideband systems ; Vestigial sideband Modulation; Suppressed Carrier Amplitude Modulation

Angle Modulation Techniques: Properties of Angle Modulation; Relationship between PM and FM waves; Wide-band and narrow-band Frequency Modulation; Generation of Angle Modulated waves; Demodulation of Angle Modulated signals

Sampling & Digital Modulation Techniques:Sampling and Sampling Theorem; Quantization and Bit rates; Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM); Pulse Code modulation (PCM); Pulse Width Modulation (PWM);  Delta Modulation (DM)

Baseband Data Transmission: Baseband transmission of digital data; Inter-symbol Interference (ISI);  The Nyquist Channel; Baseband transmission of M-ary Data; The Eye Pattern; Bandpass modulation techniques; Binary Amplitude-Shift Keying; Phase-Shift Keying; Frequency-Shift Keying; M-ary digital modulation schemes

Random Signals and Noise: Probability and random variables; Gaussian random variables; Random processes; Gaussian processes; White noise; Narrowband noise

Noise in Analog Communications: Noise in communication systems; Signal-to-noise ratio; Noise factor and Noise figure; Noise in linear systems using Coherent Detection; Noise in AM Receivers using Envelope Detection; Noise in SSB Receivers

Noise in Digital Communications: Bit Error Rate; Single pulse detection in Noise; Optimum detection of PAM in Noise; Optimum detection of BPSK; Detection of QPSK and QA in Noise ; Differential Detection in Noise


One 2-hour theory final exam paper – 60%

Mid Semester exam -   20%

Assignments                 20%

  • Six take-home problem solving assignment of equal weighting (10%)    
  • One paper on a survey of the state-of-the-art in the field(10%). Report will take the form of that required for an IEEE paper publication.
Learning Objectives: 

Upon completing this course students should be able to:

  • Use mathematical analyses to determine the input – output relationship of linear systems from random noise signals
  • Explain the processes involved in Amplitude Modulation and Demodulation via mathematical and circuit analyses.
  • Explain the processes involved in Angle (FM and PM) Modulation and Demodulation via mathematical and circuit analyses.
  • Examine the use of Phase Locked Loops (PLL) in Communication Systems
  • Explain the principles behind the reliable transmission and reception of baseband signals and digital data
  • Differentiate between the  basic digital modulation techniques including pulse code modulation (PCM), pulse width modulation (PWM), delta modulation
  • Explain the effect of noise on communication systems and calculate thermal and shot noises, noise factor and noise figure of cascading amplifiers
  • Explain the principles of operation of different Multiple Access Techniques
  • Explain the operation of  Radio and Television Systems
  • Define the  basic components of a Cellular Network and explain its operation
  • Define the basic components and operation of a GNSS System, specifically GPS, and explain its operation
  • Define the basic components of a GSM System
P14A/(PHYS1411 and PHYS1412) and P14B/(PHYS1421 and PHYS1422) and ELET1400 and M08B/MATH0100, M08C/MATH0110 or Equivalent

Text book:

Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems” (The Oxford Series in Electrical and Computer Engineering) (Hardcover): by B. P. Lathi and Zhi Ding: Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 4th Edition (Dec 2008)

Recommended Readings:

1.      Analog and Digital Communications (Schaum's Outlines) (Paperback): by Hwei P. HsuMcGraw-Hill; 2 edition (November 19, 2002)

2.      “Digital Communications: Fundamentals and applications” by Bernard Sklar, 2001

Internet Resources:

  1.  Links to tutorial resources
  2. Communication tutorials
  3. Links to E-books
Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 2
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