KD5066 - Communication Systems

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about electronic communications. Within this module you will learn how to transfer information successfully from the sender to the receiver (and vice versa) using a number of mediums including electrical, radio or optical signals. There are two key themes of electronic communications that you will study which are Analogue communication and Digital communication. In both themes you will learn a number of key engineering processes that are fundamental to communications. In analogue communications you will learn the key physical and electronic processes necessary to transfer information in an analogue form. You will also explore current technologies and techniques in radio and satellite communications. In the digital communications topic, the knowledge that you learn in analogue communications will be expanded to a higher level to allow you to understand the key requirements for digital communication.

Three key areas within these two topics are identified:

Amplitude Modulation; comparison of various forms of AM, demodulation, frequency and phase insertion errors, examples and applications. Frequency modulation; NBFM, WBFM, spectra and bandwidth, examples and applications. Transmission and reception circuits. Attenuation in radio systems. Modern systems and standards.

Spectra of rectangular waveforms, bit rates, baud rates and relationship to bandwidth. ISI, line codes and shaping. ASK, FSK, PSK, generation and demodulation, spectrum and bandwidth. Comparison of bandwidth and power. Quadrature carrier systems. OSI reference model. Asynchronous and synchronous networks. The serial data link. Protocols. FDM and TDM multiplexing. Parity and CRC principles and implementation. Networks. IP addressing

Optical sources; structure, performance and frequency response. Detectors. Fibres; modes, dispersion, optimum wavelength, coupling and splicing.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be learn via a combination of lectures, laboratories, seminars, directed learning and independent learning. You will experience a number of computer simulation tools, such as MATLAB and Labview programmes, which will be used to enhance your understanding of the lecture material. Before each lecture you will be expected and encouraged to read ahead by reviewing the support material provided via the eLP to support your own learning outside of timetabled hours.
Within lectures and seminars, practical examples and analysis will be explored, and you will be expected to actively participate in these sessions. Some of these sessions may involve tutor lead Q+A sessions and student to student explanation and response at the front of class.
In addition, you will be encouraged to research the subject through the directed learning, reading list and topic links. This will broaden your knowledge around the current theory, techniques and standards and the hence the future development in communications and enhance your experience for future employment.

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 a number of support structures are included.
Workshops, supported by lab tutors, effectively provide verbal feedback and comments throughout the session. Such comments may be generic and applicable to all students, typically noting procedures or some technical guideline or could be may be more directed to the individuals learning.
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. Online screen videos are included on the eLP platform to help students understanding of key concepts related to this module.

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:
• Understand and apply the mathematical underpinning to both analogue and digital communications (UK-Spec 3rd Ed. SM1m, SM2m)
• Understand and appraise different communication technologies (UK-Spec 3rd Ed. EA1m)
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Analyse basic Analogue and Digital Communication Systems (UK-Spec 3rd Ed. EA1m, EA2m)
• Design and develop communication systems and define the required sub-systems (UK-Spec 3rd Ed. D1m, D4m, D5m, ET2m)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Use Computer software to simulate, develop and evaluate communication systems (UK-Spec 3rd Ed. EP7m)

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessed is by an unseen formal examination to assess their understanding of the lecture material, application and appraisal.
A lab test will also be included as part of the summative assessment.

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

Students receive feedback via the e-learning portal tests and some additional feedback to answers given

Lab test will be 30% (LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5) and a final exam will be 70% (LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4)

Feedback on formal examination will be given after the examination with a formal session to be assigned





Module abstract

In this module you will study key aspects of communication systems using both wired and 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. You will be introduced to a wide range of communication techniques used in modern society. 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 H602

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years full-time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023 or September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience

Find out about our distinctive approach at 

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy