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Unit of study_

ELEC9515: Digital Communication Systems

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The lecture starts with an overview of major components of a digital communication system and current technology. Then the following knowledge will be covered: efficient coding/representation of information source, channel coding of information to combat noise and interference, optimal received design, principles of incoherent systems, error probability calculations, solutions to problems caused by transmitting a signal through a bandlimited channel and caused by multipath, and spread spectrum systems. The lecture concludes with a discussion of future directions of digital communication systems.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ELEC9515
Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Zihuai Lin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Supervised Exam
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment group assignment Lab report
group work
15% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Assignment group assignment Project Report
group work
25% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Lab report: There will be four labs, conducted in groups of 3-4 students each. You need to attend lab to submit lab report. The first lab is optional. For other four labs, you are asked to hand in one report, each worth 10%.

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 Introduction to wireless communication systems Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Source coding part 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO4
Lab 1 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO2
Week 03 Tutorial 1 Tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Source coding part 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO4
Week 04 Channel coding part 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Tutorial 2 Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 05 Channel coding, part 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Lab 2 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Optimal receiver design Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Tutorial 3 Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Incoherent systems, error probability calculations part 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 3 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Tutorial 4 Tutorial (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Error probability calculations part 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO6
Week 09 Transmission through bandlimited channels Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Lab 4 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Transmission on fading multipath channels Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Tutorial 5 Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 11 Tutorial 6 Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Spread spectrum systems Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Lab 5 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Telecommunications – the future? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Review questions Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

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.

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. describe the concepts and techniques in the design of digital communications systems to the extent of the material presented in the course
  • LO2. conduct lab experiments applying knowledge and principles and ensuring quality control in taking measurements to understand the influence of various factors on digital communications
  • LO3. demonstrate an understanding of modern modulation and equalization techniques
  • LO4. demonstrate an understanding of coding concepts, including both source and channel coding
  • LO5. recognise the limits of existing information and undertake knowledge development by drawing upon a range of sources and media formats to synthesise the information most relevant
  • LO6. demonstrate proficiency in scoring system design trade-off issues, by using the various principles, techniques and materials as the drivers for particular case assessment.

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 significant 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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