Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ENGI41915: Radio and Digital Communications

Department: Engineering

ENGI41915: Radio and Digital Communications

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to H1K709


  • Communicational Fundamentals (ENGI30215)


  • Communications Networks (ENGI42015); Engineering Design (ENGI41030); Research and Development Project (ENGI41060)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The course aims to provide the fundamentals of radio channels and digital communications systems.


  • Propagation effects and sources of multipath components in radio channels;
  • Propagation models: free space, plane earth, diffraction models, empirical models;
  • Multipath modeling: Fading with time and fading with frequency;
  • Statistical Models: Wide Sense Stationary Uncorrelating Scattering model;
  • Coherent time and coherent bandwidth, Level crossing, Fade rate duration;
  • Channel Measurement systems: CW, periodic pulse, PRBS, Chirp
  • Channel parameter and functions: impulse response, Power Delay Profile, Average Delay, Delay Speed, Coherent bandwidth, frequency selective fading, time selective fading, and scattering function;
  • Small scale and large-scale statistics;
  • Detection in noise: matched filter and correlation detector;
  • Bandpass data transmission: ASK, FSK and PSK, DPSK and non-coherent FSK;
  • Error rate calculation;
  • Mitigation of Multipath effects: diversity reception techniques, multiple antenna techniques and the RAKE receiver;
  • Spread spectrum modulation;
  • Introduction to the cellular concept: Common air interface, frequency reuse, channel assignment strategies, handoff strategies, interference and system capacity;
  • Overview of mobile radio systems: paging, cordless phone, wireless local area networks;
  • Multiple access techniques in mobile radio systems.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An understanding of the basic propagation effects in radio channels;
  • An appreciation of multipath effects;
  • An understanding of narrowband and wideband channel models;
  • To be familiar with channel measurement techniques and the analysis of data for the extraction of the relevant channel parameters;
  • To understand techniques of combating channel impairments;
  • To understand the principles of digital modulation and demodulation techniques, and the effect of noise;
  • To be familiar with the design and operation of current radio communication technologies.
Subject-specific Skills:
Key Skills:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching by lectures and tutorials which are supported by a laboratory programme.
  • Written examinations are appropriate because of the wide range of in-depth, analytical material that is covered.
  • Theoretical and laboratory-based coursework contribute a formative element to the module and aid the acquisition of subject-specific and key skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Tutorials 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Practical's 3 1 per week for 3 weeks 3 hours 9
Preparation and Reading 101
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Examination (May/June 2 hours) 2 hours 100%
Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Coursework 100%

Formative Assessment:

One piece of coursework which will be assessed but not included in the final average. Laboratory results and conclusions marked.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University