ME502 - Overview of Digital Communication

Credit Points: 20 credit points

Workload: 60 hours

Prerequisite: N/A

Co-requisite: N/A

Aims & Objectives

This is a first trimester core unit out of a total of 12 units in the Master of Engineering (Telecommunications) MEng(Tel). This unit addresses the MEng(Tel) course learning outcomes and complements other courses in a related field by developing students’ specialised knowledge in digital communication and applying critical skills to communication equipment such as Emona ET101 telecom trainer (Biskit). For further course information refer to:
Digital communication is currently one of the most commonly used modes of communication, where organizations largely rely on this mode for all their business communications. The main aim of this unit is to present the principles and techniques fundamental to the analysis and design of digital communication systems.
Students will gain an understanding of digital communications systems. The unit focuses on the basic building blocks of a digital communication system (channel encoder/decoder, digital modulator/demodulator and channel characteristics). The emphasis is on gaining practical experience in communications systems problem solving and experience in reporting laboratory experiments.
This unit will cover the following topics:

  • Digital Communication System Model
  • Source Coding and spectral efficiency
  • Digital Baseband Transmission
  • Digital Modulation and Demodulation
  • Digital Bandpass Transmission
  • Equalisation
  • Digital Transmission through Wireless Channels
  • Q functions and bit error rates
  • Channel Capacity and Coding
  • Space Time Block Codes
  • Error Correction Codes
  • Multiple User Communications

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast the classification of analog and digital communication systems;
  2. Apply and evaluate the principles used in the generation, transmission and reception of digitally modulated signals;
  3. Report on the characteristics of sampling and analogue to digital conversion and source coding;
  4. Distinguish the digital modulation and demodulation techniques, channel coding and decoding and their performance;
  5. Evaluate multiuser communication and resource sharing techniques;
  6. Apply the techniques of, and report on, digital communication applications using Matlab and hardware devices.

Weekly Topics

This unit will cover the content below:

Week # Lecture Topic Reading Lab/Tute
1 Communication system model : Elements of communication system, overview of analog communication including amplitude modulation and angle modulations Chapter 1 [3] and Chapter 3 [1] 1
2 Source coding: Information sources, Source coding algorithms, Quantization, Waveform coding Chapter 4 [1], Chapter 2, 13 [3] 2
3 Baseband digital transmission: Binary signal transmission, Multi amplitude signal transmission, Multidimensional signals Chapter 5 [1] 3
4 Digital transmission through band-limited channels: Power Spectrum of digital PAM, Band limited channels characterization Chapter 6 [1] 4
5 Design for band limited channels, Digital and Linear equalisers Chapter 6 [1] 5
6 Digital transmission via Carrier Modulation: Carrier-Amplitude Modulation, Carrier- Phase Modulation, Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, Carrier-Frequency Modulation Chapter 7 [1] 6
7 Digital transmission through wireless channels: Characterization of wireless channels, Time varying channels, Channel models, Performance of binary modulation in wireless channel Chapter 9 [1] 7
8 Channel capacity and coding: Channel Capacity, Channel coding, Linear block codes, Convolutional code Chapter 10 [1] 8
9 Spectral efficiencies of modulation schemes Chapter 9 [3] 9
10 Multiple user communications : Introduction to multiuser techniques, Resources allocation methods Chapter 12 [1], Chapter 12 [3] and Lecture note 9
11 Multi user communication in LTE Chapter 3 [3] 10
12 Review    


Assessment Task Due Date Release Date A B Learning Outcomes Assessed
Laboratory and Problem Based Learning participation & submission Each week in Lab Each week in Lab 10%   a-f
Formative Assignment 1A (500 words maximum)
Individual Assignment 1B (In class test, On campus)
Week 1 Week 3
Week 6
5% 10% b-e
Group Project Assignment 2 Week 5 Week 10 25%   a,b,e-f
Final Examination (3 hours) (Face-to-face, On campus)       50% a-f
TOTALS     40% 60%  

Task Type: Type A: unsupervised, Type B: supervised.

Class Participation Assessment
This unit has class participation as an assessment. The assessment task and marking rubric will follow the Guidelines on Assessing Class Participation ( guidelines/Guidelines_on_Assessing_Class_Participation). Further details will be provided in the assessment specification on the type of assessment tasks and the marking rubrics.

Textbook and Reference Materials

Text Book:

  • J. G. Proakis, M. Salehi and G. Bauchm, Contemporary Communication Systems Using MATLAB, 3rd ed., Cengage, 2013.


  • J. G. Proakis and M. Salehi, Digital Communications 5th ed., McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2008. [3]. B. Sklar, Digital Communications: Fundamentals and Applications 2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 2006 [5].
  • B. P. Lathi and Z. Ding, Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems 4th ed., Oxford University Press, 2009.

Adopted Reference Style: IEEE

Graduate Attributes

MIT is committed to ensure the course is current, practical and relevant so that graduates are “work ready” and equipped for life-long learning. In order to accomplish this, the MIT Graduate Attributes identify the required knowledge, skills and attributes that prepare students for the industry.
The level to which Graduate Attributes covered in this unit are as follows:

Ability to communicate Independent and Lifelong Learning Ethics Analytical and Problem Solving Cultural and Global Awareness Team work Specialist knowledge of a field of study


Levels of attainment Extent covered
The attribute is covered by theory and practice, and addressed by assessed activities in which the students always play an active role, e.g. workshops, lab submissions, assignments, demonstrations, tests, examinations.
The attribute is covered by theory or practice, and addressed by assessed activities in which the students mostly play an active role, e.g. discussions, reading, intepreting documents, tests, examinations.
The attribute is discussed in theory or practice; it is addressed by assessed activities in which the students may play an active role, e.g. lectures and discussions, reading, interpretation, workshops, presentations.
The attribute is presented as a side issue in theory or practice; it is not specifically assessed, but it is addressed by activities such as lectures or tutorials.
The attribute is not considered, there is no theory or practice or activities associated with this attribute.