Postgraduate taught 

Electronics & Electrical Engineering MSc

Digital Communication 4 ENG4052

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

An introduction is given to explain how signals in digital communication systems are detected, the sources of signal noise and resultant communication system error rates. Students examine the fundamental limits on information transmission, consider codes for error detection and correction, and develop an ability to analyse practical digital communications systems. The labs have the ultimate goal of developing an OFDM transmitter and receiver with error correction which will be achieved step by step during the semester.


4 lectures per week

Excluded Courses





70% Examination

30% Assignment

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to provide students with a foundational understanding of the fundamental physical limits on information transmission, practical knowledge of industrially relevant noise models and error correcting codes in digital data transmission, and the ability to analyse and design communication systems.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ write MATLAB (or C) code which establishes digital transmitters and receivers

■ create transmitters and receivers using phase modulation (PSK,QPSK,QAM) and differential encoding

■ identify and analyse practical techniques for characterising communication systems (such as inter-symbol interference and jitter);

■ recover the carrier in a receiver

■ create transmitters and receivers using OFDM

■ perform OFDM on a real system with a noisy/distorted channel

■ perform channel equalisation

■ explain the concepts of information, entropy, bandwidth, channel capacity, noise and aliasing in digital communication channels subject to induced noise;

■ state Shannon's channel capacity theorem, the Shannon-Hartley law for band limited channel channels subject to white Gaussian noise, and compute channel capacities of idealised and practical channels;

■ state Shannon's coding theorem and calculate the efficacy of error detecting and correcting codes;

■ devise appropriate error detecting and correcting codes given a system specification;


The digital transmission standard for digital television (DVB-T) is used as an exemplary application for many of the concepts taught in the course.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend the timetabled laboratory classes.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.