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COMP30091: Digital Wireless Communications and Networks (2007-2008)

This is an archived syllabus from 2007-2008

Digital Wireless Communications and Networks
Level: 3
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: COMP20081
Co-requisites: No Co-requisites
Duration: 11 weeks
Lectures: 6 in total, 1 per fortnight See 'Modules' below.
Lecturers: Nick Filer
Course lecturer: Nick Filer

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lecture 1.4 Wed 12:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lab Eng Wed 12:00 - 13:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 60%
Coursework: 0%
Lab: 0%


The explosion of mobile computing driven first by the mobile telephone and now also by PDA's and laptop computers using Bluetooth, WiFi and soon WiMAX is changing the way we interact with one another and with machines. But how does wireless networking work? How is it distinct/similar to wired networks?

The course uses guided self-study so you need to be motivated to learn for yourself. A main book supplemented and enhanced with electronic resources are used.


The core 2nd year networking course has introduced the background that all computer scientists need. That course is almost entirely about wired networks. This course extends the networking to wireless networks which are introduced. The course also covers digital telephone networks. The main goal is for students to understand how today's wireless local area networks (WLANs) operate and to be aware of current developments in this domain.


To develop awareness and experience of:
The way in which wireless communications has developed since the early 1900's.
To learn the basics about how radio waves are propagated from a transmitter to a receiver.
To learn basic information about modulation of different signals onto radio waves.
To learn about the techniques used to modulate digital data onto radio waves.
To overview the different types of digital communications in use today.
To understand how wireless local area networks (WLAN) operate today.
To gain insight into current developments in WLANs.

Learning Outcomes

Have a knowledge and understanding of the architecture and communication protocols for wireless networks used in both fixed and mobile applications.
Have an understanding of the latest developments in wireless network protocols and technologies.
Be able to aid in the design and implementation of systems using wireless communications technology.

Assessment of Learning outcomes

All the learning outcomes are assessed by examination.

Contribution to Programme Learning Outcomes

A3, A5, B1 and B3 Method of Assessment: The course assessment will be divided between a fortnightly on-line test (40%) and the final exam (50%). There will be around 5 or 6 in-course tests where most questions will be multiple choice. The tests will each last 10 minutes and will consist of a maximum of 10 questions each. The tests will be sat during the fortnightly lecture. The final overall test mark will be the mean of each student's best 4 test scores. Peer Group Knowledge Sharing: A course newsgroup will be used for students to ask questions, exchange information etc. It is hoped that other students will respond to issues raised as well as the course lecturer. Time permitting; some issues raised in the newsgroup will also be discussed during the lectures.


The course will consist of a small number of formal lectures to introduce important ideas, ensure that core material is covered and provide direction for private/shared study. The rest of the course is divided into a set of modules. Progress should be roughly 1 module per fortnight. For this course, students are expected to spend a minimum of 5 hours per fortnight learning on their own or in small groups.

Every module has a set of core topics that everyone must study. The core parts of each module will be examined using short on-line tests. The point of these tests is to ensure that you are indeed doing the work and also to provide you with formative feedback about your progress during the course not just when the examination results are published. In addition to the core material, each student will be expected to pick some topics to study in slightly more detail.

The main source of information for each module is the course textbook. This book is a valuable resource now and for the future, everyone will need a copy of this book. It will be necessary to supplement your knowledge from readily available resources and through your own research using, for example, web searches. A collection of some useful sources for each module will be made available via the course's Moodle web page. There are also self-test resources so you can test your own knowledge and progress as you learn.


Module 1-2: Introduction, History and the Physical Layer 20 th century radio. Analogue and digital communications. Wireless spectrum. Multiplexing and access methods. Propagation.

Module 3-4: Unidirectional Broadcast Systems Broadcast technologies for audio, video and data. Capabilities and limitations.

Module 5-6: Medium Access Control + Telecommunication Systems Multiple radio access methods. Home and Mobile telephony systems. Capabilities and limitations.

Module 7-8: Wireless LAN Aloha, IEEE 802.11 family, Bluetooth and others. Capabilities and limitations.

Module 8-9: Mobile Network Layer Mobile ad hoc networks, routing protocols, quality of service and others. Capabilities and limitations.

Module 10-11: Transport Layers and Mobility Support Transmission control protocols (TCP) for mobile systems. File store for mobile systems. Web, WAP and other mark up. Connection control systems.

Reading List

Core Text
Title: Mobile communications (2nd edition)
Author: Schiller, Jochen
ISBN: 0321123816
Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
Edition: 2nd
Year: 2003

Supplementary Text
Title: Digital communications: design for the real world
Author: Bateman, Andrew
ISBN: 0201343010
Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
Edition: 2nd
Year: 1999

Supplementary Text
Title: Computer networks (5th edition)
Author: Tanenbaum, Andrew S. and David Wetherall
ISBN: 9780132126953
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Edition: 5th
Year: 2010

Supplementary Text
Title: Digital communications: fundamentals and applications (2nd edition)
Author: Sklar, Bernard
ISBN: 0130847887
Publisher: Prentice -Hall
Edition: 2nd
Year: 2001

Supplementary Text
Title: Wireless Networks The Definitive Guide
Author: Matthew Gast
ISBN: 0596100523
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc,
Edition: 2nd
Year: 2005

Supplementary Text
Title: Introduction to wireless and mobile systems (3rd edition)
Author: Agrawal, Dharma Prakesh and Qing-An Zeng
ISBN: 9781439062050
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Edition: 3rd
Year: 2010

Supplementary Text
Title: Digital communication (3rd edition)
Author: Barry, John R. and Edward A. Lee and David G. Messerschmidt
ISBN: 9780792375487
Publisher: Springer
Edition: 3rd
Year: 2003

Supplementary Text
Title: Wireless communications: principles and practice (2nd edition)
Author: Rappaport, Theodore S.
ISBN: 0-13-042232-0 802.11
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Edition: 2nd
Year: 2002

Supplementary Text
Title: Telecommunication Networks
Author: M Schwartz
ISBN: 0-201-16423-X
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Year: 1987

Supplementary Text
Title: Introduction to digital communications
Author: Kurzweil, Jack
ISBN: 0471157724
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Year: 2000