• Offered by Research School of Engineering
  • ANU College ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Course subject Engineering
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Parastoo Sadeghi
    • Dr Xiangyun Zhou
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This course presents the principles and techniques fundamental to the analysis and design of digital communication systems. It focuses on the basic building blocks of a digital communication system (channel encoder/decoder, digital modulator/demodulator and channel characteristics). The emphasis is on mathematical underpinnings of communications theory along with practical applications. Specific topics include:

  • Probability and Random Processes: Probability distributions, Random variables, Random processes, Statistical averages, Correlation.
  • Digital Modulation Techniques: Signal space analysis, BPSK, QPSK, QAM.
  • Digital Demodulation & Detection Techniques: Correlator-demodulator, Maximum likelihood detection (MLD) in additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN), bit error rate (BER) performance.
  • Channel Encoder/Decoder: Linear block codes, Cyclic codes, Convolutional codes, Viterbi algorithm.
  • Information Theory: Source Entropy, Huffman Coding, Channel Capacity.

Advanced topics in digital communications are briefly discussed if time allows. Matlab is used extensively in the analysis and design.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1.  Describe random variables and random processes in terms of their mean, variance, and correlation functions and characterize important random variables and processes.
2.  Identify and analyse methods of digital modulation and compare their performance using signal-space analysis.
3.  Explain receiver techniques for detection of a signal in AWGN channels.
4.  Characterize error-control coding techniques and explain the working of Viterbi algorithm.
5.  Compute source entropy and channel capacity and apply Huffman coding technique.
6.  Develop an intuitive grasp of random variables and notion of random process and their characteristics.
7.  Explain in simple words the working principles of basic building blocks of a digital   communication systems.
8.  Model digital communication systems using appropriate mathematical techniques (probability distributions, signal-space analysis, constellation diagrams, trellis graphs).
9.  Provide sound evaluation of digital communication systems in terms of their performance and complexity.
10.  Use Matlab for simulation of digital communication systems in a knowledgeable and confident manner.  

Indicative Assessment


Assignments 12%

Labs 15%

Mid-semester Exam 20%

Final Exam 53%

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


9-10 hours per week workload is expected. This includes


36-39 hours of formal lectures, 

2 three-hour computer labs, 

3 three-hour hardware labs, 

4-6 one-hour formal tutorials, 

plus adequate self study, assignments, lab reports and exam preparations. 

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying Master of Engineering.

Preliminary Reading

Recommended reading:

  • Proakis, John G., Digital Communications, 4th ed, McGraw Hill, 2001
  • Sklar, Bernard, Digital Communications: Fundamentals and Applications, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall
  • Rappaport, Theodore S. Wireless Communications Principles & Practice, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Haykin, Simon, Communication Systems, 4th edition, John Wiley, 2001.
  • Goldsmith, Andrea Wireless Communications, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Proakis, J.G. & Salehi, M., Communications Systems Engineering, 2nd  edition, Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2002

Assumed Knowledge

Assumed knowledge of electronics and communications enigneering


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3480
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4638
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3174 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

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