Module ICM-4137:
Broadband Communication Systms

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

15 Credits or 7.5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Roger Giddings

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of current and emerging broadband communications techniques employed in local, access and backbone networks. Particular emphasis will be focused on the following aspects: 1) fundamental concepts, 2) operating principles and practice of widely implemented communications systems; 3) hot research and development topics, and 4) opportunities and challenges for future deployment of broadband communications systems.

Course content

• Signal (digital and analogue) description in both the time and frequency domains, coding and decoding, modulation/demodulation, transmission media, transmitter and receiver, general architectures of communication systems and networks, Shannon’s Law, key factors affecting transmission performance, error control, TDM, FDM (WDM and DWDM), synchronisation, FDMA, TDMA, The OSI reference model and SS7. • PSTN, ISDN, B-ISDN, mobile communications (GSM networks), WDM communications systems and PONs • ADSL, VDSL, OFDM, FDDI, RoF, SDH/SONET, DSP, WDM and DWDM, MPLS, optical dispersion management • Packet (circuit)-switched networks, X.25, Frame Relay, ATM. High speed LANs, wireless LANs, Packet (circuit)-switched WANs, MANs, and optical networks. • Electrical and optical signal processing, all-optical networking (ROADM), FTTH, mobile communications (2G, 3G and beyond), 100Gb/s Ethernet, and more advanced coherent transceivers

Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria







Understand the importance of emerging techniques and technologies.

Able to explain how various parts fit together to form a real system, and provide considerable detail of the advantages and disadvantages of different techniques. Can understand key concepts and techniques, describe the general architecture of communications systems, and explain the impact of various factors on the performance of communications systems Able to provide details of the operation of a whole realistic system that uses a mixture of techniques under various practical conditions.

Understand fundamental concepts, terminology and general architectures of communications systems.

Able to explain key factors limiting the maximum achievable performance of different communications systems. Able to describe the operation of each of communications systems. Able to explain in detail how all the parts interact, and describe opportunities and challenges as well as future evolution trends of different communications systems.

Demonstrate an understanding of widely implemented communications systems.

Can explain the fundamental operating principles of data networks, outline their basic architectures Can describe the characteristics of various data networks for different circumstances, establish a clear picture of how data is transmitted from layer 7 to layer 1, and appreciate the challenges of future development Can discuss in-depth the design, operation, strengths and weaknesses as well as suitability of various networks. Able to apply the knowledge to analyse problems in practical system implementation.

Demonstrate an understanding of key techniques involved in various types of broadband communication network.

Can understand these techniques and explain what they can provide Can describe in some details the characteristics of these techniques, and explain how they work together with traditional techniques Can describe in details the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques, and explain the opportunities and challenges for future development.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Examination


REPORT Formal report

An essay of >2000 words on Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


2 hour lectures per week over 12 weeks

Private study

Investigation and study of existing and future FTTH technologies. Preparation of an essay in the style of a journal reseach article.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information

Subject specific skills

  • Demonstrate an awareness of current advances and contemporary approaches in the discipline and have strategies for keeping that awareness current;

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: