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Communication Systems (ELEN90057)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeELEN90057
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject provides an introduction to the analysis and design of telecommunication signals and systems, in the presence of uncertainty. The emphasis is on understanding the basic concepts that underpin both analog and digital formats. The material covered is crucial to understanding how modern wired and wireless communication systems work at the physical layer. This is a core subject for the Master of Engineering (Electrical) course.


Topics to be covered include:

  • Transmission through linear time-invariant channels; magnitude and phase distortion; basic equalisation; low-pass representations of band-pass signals and systems; group and phase delays;
  • Time- and frequency-domain analysis of analog modulation and demodulation schemes, including conventional amplitude modulation (AM), double sideband suppressed carrier (DSBSC), single sideband, and frequency modulation (FM); threshold effects in AM and FM;
  • Random processes in frequency domain; signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in DSBSC, AM and FM;
  • Nyquist’s sampling theorem; quantisation and signal-to-quantisation noise ratios;
  • Digital modulation schemes including baseband pulse amplitude modulation, amplitude-shift keying and frequency-shift keying, synchronisation, matched filter receivers for additive white Gaussian noise channels, bit-error rate analysis;
  • Comparisons of analog and digital schemes in terms of spectral efficiency, transmission power, demodulated SNR and complexity.

Intended learning outcomes


Having completed this subject it is expected that the student be able to:

  1. Qualitatively describe the basic functional blocks of a telecommunication system and their attributes
  2. Quantitatively analyse the overall performance of analog and digital communication schemes, in terms of signal-to-noise ratios, transmission bandwidth
  3. Assess the relative merits of different modulation and demodulation techniques, and make design choices on this basis
  4. Use software and hardware simulation tools to understand the properties and performance of simple communication systems

Generic skills

Upon completion of this subject, students will have developed the following skills:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals;
  • In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline;
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution;
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance;
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning;
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.

Last updated: 11 April 2019