KD6029 - Wireless and RF Systems Design

What will I learn on this module?

This module aims to further develop your skills in electronic communications with specific reference to key techniques that are used in radio frequency (RF) communications. You will be exposed to the theory, design and analysis of all key aspects of RF and wireless communication systems.

All wireless communication systems consists of two key areas, namely high frequency circuit design and antenna design. Within high frequency circuit design
you will learn how to modify the performance of RF signals and will cover the key concepts of microwave circuit design for wireless and RF systems. Once the RF signal has been generated, it must then be converted to a signal that can be transmitted through air. This is the second key concept and will be covered in the second part of the module – namely antenna design and propagation. The antenna design section covers the key principles of transmitting an RF signal through free space. The antenna design topic also examines the key concepts of antenna design related to modern communication systems, including mobile telephone systems from 1G to 5G. A further key part of any mobile communication device is the interaction between circuit design and antenna design and will also be covered in this module.

For Microwave circuit design typical topics include: Transmission Line Basics, Smith Chart, Impedance Matching techniques, Lumped Elements, Impedance / Admittance parameters, ABCD parameters , S-parameters, Passive microwave circuits.

For Antenna design typical topics include: Basic antenna parameters, outline of antenna types, wires, apertures, dishes, patch antennas, antennas required for
mobile systems, Structure of Cellular systems. Base station design, Typical RF transmitter layout, Antenna types for mobile handset and base stations. Factors affecting reception.

How will I learn on this module?

This module will be delivered using a mixture of lectures supported by laboratories, workshops, online videos, together with directed learning and independent learning. An assignment is included to reinforce the theory provided in the lecture sessions.

Before each lecture you will be expected and encouraged to read ahead by reviewing the support material provided via eLP to support your own learning outside of timetabled hours. This will allow for meaningful discussions to take place during lectures.
Practical examples and analysis will be explored during lectures with active participation by students being employed. This will involve tutor lead Q+A sessions and student to student explanation and response at the front of class. A key element of learning on this module includes student led discussion of the key design principles and trade-offs associated with practical antenna design.
During the laboratory sessions you are presented with a design problem, typical of the types of problems faced in the engineering industry. An example of this is that you are given a brief to design a device for transmitting radio frequency signals. As an example, this could involve designing a high frequency antenna and integrate it with high frequency circuit design. Within this you will experience the entire design lifecycle including design, simulation, manufacture and testing of your device. You will complete the entire design process and present your results in the form of a final report and oral presentation. By following this process, you will develop key transferable skills that can be applied to most industries.
Directed learning for laboratory sessions will include comprehensive learning guides available for computer simulation packages.
Lab sessions will include detailed guided introduction to a wide range of practical Wireless and RF measurement systems.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is delivered as noted in both lectures and workshops. These provide the key academic support to the module; however around this is built a number of support structures.
Workshops, supported by lab tutors, effectively provide verbal feedback and comments throughout the session. Such comments may be generic and applicable to you, typically noting procedures or some technical guideline or could be may be more directed to the individuals learning. Online screen videos are included on the eLP platform to help you understanding of key concepts related to this module.
The most appropriate use of blackboard (online platform) is made in the module where the module taught content is provided along with links to the reading list.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate the application of knowledge in the design of wireless and RF circuits and systems with application to real world problems. (AHEP4: , C1, C3)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Simulate build and test RF circuits and antennas using simulation and practical lab equipment (AHEP4: C6, C12, M6, M12)

3. Analyse the specification and performance requirements necessary for the operation of wireless and RF links within a regulatory framework (AHEP4: C2)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Ability to convey technical information to a third party, including presentation skills both written and oral (AHEP C8, C9, C10, C17, C18, M8,M9, M10, M18)

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessed is by:
- coursework (CW) with an assignment which includes the practical design, measurement, analysis, and simulation of key components of a communication system.
- A presentation (PRE) will also be included to assess students understanding of the lecture material and application.

The assignment (covering LO1, LO2, LO3) will be worth 80% and the presentation (covering LO4) will be worth 20% of the module.

Formative assessment using e-portal software and e-learning tests within lectures.

Feedback occurs during lab sessions, workshops and via the e-learning portal.





Module abstract

In this module you will study key aspects of mobile communication using wireless technology. You will be taught via lectures, which will be recorded live and will be available online for you to watch in your own time. You will also get to experience practical sessions in our state-of-the-art microwave facilities, which are highly regarded as being amongst the best in the UK. An example of what you will study includes what happens during a mobile phone conversation, whether you are using a 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G or 5G mobile phone. As technology is constantly evolving the syllabus is continuously updated to reflect this. Our academics are all heavily involved in researching new ideas and technology and this is reflected in our teaching, so you can experience the next generation of technology whilst it is still being developed.

Course info

UCAS Code H601

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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