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Unit of study_

ELEC9505: Communications

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

This is an intermediate unit of study in telecommunications following on the general concepts studied in earlier units such as Signal and Systems and leading on to more advanced units such as Digital Communication Systems. Student will learn how to critically design and evaluate digital communication systems including the elements of a digital transmission system, understand the limitations of communications channels, different analog and digital modulation schemes and reasons to use digital techniques instead of analog, and the effect of noise and interference in performance of the digital communication systems. On completion of this unit, studentss will have sufficient knowledge of the physical channel of a telecommunications network to approach the study of higher layers of the network stack. The following topics are covered. Introduction to communications systems, random signals and stochastic process, components, signals and channels, sampling, quantization, pulse amplitude modulation (PAM), pulse code modulation (PCM), quantization noise, time division multiplexing, delta modulation. Digital communications: baseband signals, digital PAM, eye diagram, equalization, correlative coding, error probabilities in baseband digital transmission, bandpass transmission, digital amplitude shift keying (ASK), frequency shift keying (FSK), phase shift keying (PSK) and quadrature shift keying (QPSK), error probabilities in bandpass digital transmission, a case study of digital communication systems. Introduction to information theory: fundamental limits in communications, channel capacity and channel coding, signal compression.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ELEC9505
Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Abbas Jamalipour,
Demonstrator(s) Charlotte Wan,
Lecturer(s) Abbas Jamalipour,
Tutor(s) Shuvashis Saha,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final Exam
Final Exam paper with questions
55% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Participation Tutorial assessment reports
Individual tutorial assessment reports
10% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO5
Assignment group assignment Lab report - individual preparation & group final
Lab reports and lab performance assessment
35% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to the unit of study; 2. Elements of communications systems, communication resources, source of information, and noise Online class (2 hr)  
Week 02 1. Communication networks, communications channels, modulation process, analog and digital communications, and Shannon’s information capacity theorem; 2. Examples Online class (4 hr)  
Week 03 1. Continuous-wave modulation; 2. Introduction to CWM, amplitude modulation, linear modulation, DSB-SC modulation, coherent detection, and quadrature carrier multiplexing Online class (4 hr)  
Week 04 Single-sideband modulation, vestigial sideband modulation, frequency translation, FDM, and angle modulation Online class (4 hr)  
Week 05 FM, narrowband and wideband FM, nonlinear effects in FM noise in CWM, and noise in AM and FM receivers Online class (4 hr)  
Week 06 Pulse modulation sampling process and sampling theorem, PAM, BW-noise trade-off, and quantization process. Online class (4 hr)  
Week 07 PCM, noise in PCM, TDM, and digital multiplexers Online class (4 hr)  
Week 08 Delta modulation, linear prediction, differential PCM, and adaptive differential PCM Online class (4 hr)  
Week 09 1. Baseband pulse transmission; 2. Matched filter, error rate due to noise, and inter-symbol interference Online class (4 hr)  
Week 10 Nyquist’s criterion, baseband M-ary PAM, DSL, optimum linear receiver, and adaptive equalization Online class (4 hr)  
Week 11 1. Signal-space analysis; 2. Geometric representation of signals, vector channel conversion, likelihood functions, coherent detection of signals in noise, correlation receiver, and probability of error Online class (4 hr)  
Week 12 1. Passband digital transmission; 2. Passband transmission model, coherent PSK, hybrid ASK/PSK, coherent FSK, unknown phase signal detection, non-coherent orthogonal modulation, and non-coherent binary FSK Online class (4 hr)  
Week 13 Differential PSK, comparison between different digital modulation schemes, voice-band modems, multi-channel modulation, and synchronization Online class (4 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.

  • Communication Systems, Simon Haykin and Michael Moher, 5th edition, John Wiley, 2009.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. work in a team, demonstrating capacity to manage complex roles and responsibilities, drawing on and optimizing the contribution of others towards the timely delivery of specific engineering tasks in a laboratory environment
  • LO2. design digital communication systems by applying principles and techniques developed in the material presented
  • LO3. recognise the limitations of communications channels, as well as different analog and digital modulation schemes and explain the reasons to use digital techniques instead of analog
  • LO4. demonstrate an understanding of professional practice by differentiating between theory and real communication systems, identifying economic, social and sustainability standards employed
  • LO5. demonstrate an understanding of the effect of noise and interference in the performance of digital communication systems
  • LO6. evaluate digital communication systems including the elements of a digital transmission system using knowledge of concepts, principles and techniques developed throughout the course
  • LO7. demonstrate an understanding of the physical channel of telecommunications networks to the extent of the information presented throughout the course.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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