KD6030 - Optical Communications System Design

What will I learn on this module?

The module will provide the knowledge and skills for you in two key themes of optical fibre and optical wireless communications. These are essential topics in electrical and electronics engineering programme that cover the fundamentals and advanced optical system designs in both fibre and wireless systems. Optical fibre communications provides the backbone for long-haul and medium range telecommunications that offers ultrahigh data transmission capacity whereas optical wireless communications is an emerging technology that enables data transmission via light, either in infrared or visible light band using laser and/or light emitting diode (LED) for indoor and short range communications system.

Through the module syllabus you will learn:

Fundamental optical fibre/wireless communications includes
- Introduction to the optical wire/wireless communications system and the overall design
- Identification of system elements, subsystems and required specifications
- Optical transmitter design, optical propagation channel, effect on the optical fibre, effect on the optical wireless channel, noise and losses, optical receiver design.

System design includes: multiple access techniques, system design and performance evaluation, analysis of the practical and industrial optical communications system

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered using a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory workshops, and directed and independent learning.

The learning and teaching approach will include the introduction of theoretical basis in the lecture form and the application aspects will be further studied throughout the tutorial sessions, including problem solving and numerical simulation. In direct learning, you will be instructed to prepare for the lectures including reading the notes, finding and analysing relevant information in advance. Working group (2-3 students per group) will be formed to encourage you to engage critical discussion in class and/or labs. Case studies will be used to demonstrate and reinforce the lectures and labs.

Small groups will be formed for laboratory workshops. Lab work will be a combination of the theory introduction, experiment procedure and set of questions that help you to analyse the results and refer them to existing research findings. Lab session will also provide the appropriate experiment methodology, optoelectronics hardware and numerical simulator (Matlab). You will be trained to utilise basic and advanced measurement instrument and associated application packages.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Lectures, tutorials and laboratory workshops will be used to deliver the module. These provide the key academic support to the module. Lecture notes are the main element to provide the theory content and the research-rich based tutorials will help to solve the system design problem; however around these is build a number of support structures as followed.

Workshops, supported by lab tutors and technicians, effectively provide verbal feedback and comments throughout the session. The comments could be generic and applicable to all of you, typically noting procedures or some technical guideline or could be more directed to the individuals learning and particular task.

One key to workshop activities is in questioning the results and referring the work performed to the theoretical study in the module lectures. In addition, you can reflect the findings with the research literatures and industrial systems under the guide of lab tutors.

The use of eLearning-Portal (eLP) will be made in the module where all the module taught contents and assessment guidance are provided along with links to both the reading list support, relevant professional body related web sites showing relation of the theory to the industrial and standard context of the module.

Problem solutions will be provided after the tutorials and past-year examination papers are made available to you via eLP.

Feedback on your learning will take the form of verbal feedback during the tutorials, laboratory sessions and written feedback from the laboratory report. Coursework feedback will be provided following the normal processes to show generically where the cohort has a strong or a weaker answer to the task.

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 optical fibre and wireless communications systems with reference to real world problems and understanding of contexts in which optical communications can be applied. (AHEP4-C5, M5)
2. Understand customer and user needs and the importance of considerations such as aesthetics in the optical system design (AHEP4-C13)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Ability to mathematically model system-level and problem solving for optical fibre and wireless communications systems. Able to simulate, design and analyse these systems using simulation and practical lab equipment (AHEP4-C3)
4. Ability to analyse the specification and performance requirements necessary for systems and subsystems for optical communications within a regulatory framework (AHEP4-C3)
5. Acquire practical demonstration skills and writing report (AHEP4-C17)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)
6. Manage time, resources and H&S efficiently and work effectively both individually and as a member of a team through group laboratory workshop and lab report (AHEP4-C16)

How will I be assessed?

This module is summative assessed with a group laboratory report (40%) and individual report (60%) at the end of the semester.

1. Coursework (CW): Group lab report (40%) - this assessment meets the LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, and LO6 . A statement by students stating their specific contributions to the group report is required to distinguish the marks of group member (30%)

2. Coursework (CW): Coursework (individual assessment, 60%) – this will cover the LO1, LO3, LO4 LO5 and LO6. An individual report based on optical fibre communication system design and wireless communication system simulation is required.





Module abstract

In this module you will acquire the knowledge and skills in optical communications system design, including optical fibre and optical wireless areas. The module will cover the fundamental concepts, theory and key system design. Main building blocks such as light sources, detectors, light propagation, light attenuation, dispersion in fibre, fibre nonlinearity, fibre system configuration, wireless channel, transmission security, noises, losses and link budget will be introduced and analysed throughout the lectures and tutorials. You will have an opportunity to carry out experiments and improve practical and communication skills through group laboratory workshops. You will gain experience in the creation of a real design solution, from concept to realisation in the form of system design and evaluation.

Throughout the module you are able to enhance your analysis and problem-solving skills as well as understanding technologies applied in related industrial fields.

Course info

UCAS Code F3F5

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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