Servizi per la didattica

Digital Communications


A.A. 2023/24

Course Language


Degree programme(s)

Master of science-level of the Bologna process in Ingegneria Elettronica (Electronic Engineering) - Torino

Course structure
Teaching Hours
Teacher Status SSD h.Les h.Ex h.Lab h.Tut Years teaching

SSD CFU Activities Area context
ING-INF/03 6 C - Affini o integrative Attività formative affini o integrative
The course is taught in English. The course objective is to describe the main characteristics of telecommunication systems, with emphasis to wireless systems. During the course digital transmission techniques are presented in order to analyze in detail some of the specific characteristics of the signal processing needed in receiver front end. The main multiple access methods will be described together with examples from real systems, such as Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA).
The goal of this 6-credit course is to provide detailed knowledge about specific features, potential performance and design trade-offs of practical digital communication systems based on fiber-optic transmission. Optical fiber communications represent today the worldwide ubiquitous cabled infrastructure for the global Internet, from data-centers and server farms, through cities, countries and continents, all the way to the end users’ homes or working places. The course is mutuated from the class “Optical Communications”. Some extra hours will be devoted to cover a fundamental introduction to the physical layer of modern telecommunication systems. The course is fully given in English.
Knowledge of basic elements of information theory. Ability to analyze the performance of a telecommunication system with AWGN channel and narrow band channel. Knowledge of the intersymbol interference (ISI) problem and use of eye diagrams. Knowledge of the main characteristics of passband digital modulation. Knowledge of the main multiple access channel. Knowledge of the main blocks of a CDMA receiver: multibit A/D conversion, adaptive gain control (AGC) and quantization.
In the 12 hours that are specifically given to the students of the Electronic Degree, the student will acquire the knowledge of physical layer digital transmission and in particular: • The main modulation formats used in digital transmission (such as M-PAM and M-QAM) • The concepts of spectral occupation and power spectral density for M-PAM and M-QAM • The concepts of optimal detection theory • The fundamental theory behind bit error rate evalutation For the 60 hours that are in common to the course “Optical Communication” the student will acquire the knowledge of: • the reasons why optical fiber systems are today the backbone of fixed telecommunication networks • optical fiber transmission systems main features, performance, potential and impairments • the related transmitter and receiver technologies and algorithms needed to achieve reliable communication over fiber The expected outcome of the course is the ability for the student to: • understand the design and optimization process of practical optical transmitter and receiver systems, as well as of the fiber plant connecting them • apply such design techniques and optimization processes autonomously to practical transmission system examples.
Probability and random variables (discrete and continuous probability distributions, calculation of expectations, etc.). Signal theory (correlation functions, signal classifications, power and energy spectra, etc.). Basics of communications (AWGN channels, etc.). Error probability analysis of basic digital modulations.
This course has the following mandatory prerequisites • a thorough understanding of the mathematical topics presented in Engineering Bachelor (or "Laurea") degree, including calculus and linear algebra. • bachelor-level prior knowledge on the fundamentals of electromagnetism, and in particular on field propagation in guided systems • a prior knowledge of the fundamentals of signal theory (including probability and stochastic processes) and of basic digital communications (digital modulations and their performance on the AWGN channel). These topics will anyway be addressed in the aforementioned extra 12 hours
Part I – Introduction and modelling of information sources and source coding (6 hours) Part II – Pulse Amplitude Modulation over AWGN channel (22 hours) • Digital transmission through AWGN channel (Pulse modulation and geometric representation - Matched filter demodulator - Probability of error in AWGN) • Digital PAM transmission through bandlimited AWGN channel, ISI and eye diagram Part III – Digital transmission via carrier modulation (16 hours) • Digital transmission via carrier modulation (Carrier-phase modulation, constant envelope) • Digital transmission via carrier modulation (Quadrature Amplitude modulation) Part IV – Channel Access Methods and receiver RF front end (16 hours) • Definition of principal channel access methods (TDMA, FDMA and CDMA) • A practical example of CDMA: the Global Navigation Satellite Systems • Basics of RF signal conditioning: AD conversion and quantization • The role of the Automatic Gain Control in multibit quantization • Interfering signals
These are the main topics of the course: • Introduction to optical communication systems • System level description of the key optoelectronic components for optical fiber communications • semiconductor lasers • external modulators • optical filters • optical amplifiers • optoelectronic receivers based on photodiodes • Linear and non-linear propagation effects in single-mode optical fibers • chromatic dispersion • polarization linear effects • the Kerr non-linear effect • modeling of the interaction of linear and non-linear effects • Direct-detection systems based on PAM-M without optical amplification • practical non-amplified systems: typical structure, PIN+TIA or APD photodetection, modeling and performance calculation • design of systems using non-amplified systems: short and medium-haul systems, access and last-mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) systems based on PAM-M transmission • the ideal on-off optical transmission systems: an introduction to quantum-limited optical systems • Coherent transmission systems based on PM-QAM and optical amplification • generalities and description, block diagrams • ideal performance characterization in ASE noise • receiver DSP block diagrams and algorithms • coherent transmission systems and fiber nonlinearities: the Gaussian Noise model • Application scenarios and related design optimization: • data-center networks • access networks (fiber-to-the-home, or FTTH) • multi-thousand km submarine systems • optically-routed national and international backbone networks • a look towards the future: quantum cryptography
Lessons are based on slides and the use of a board for exercises. Basics of signal theory and probability are required to solve exercises.
Theoretical lectures will be complemented by practice classes, which will be devoted to the solution of numerical problems and of small design projects on the course main topics, which are always related to real optical transmission systems with realistic parameters. These exercises will be solved in class. For the students enrolled in the Electronic Engineering degree: a 12-hour tutorial on digital communication theory will be proposed in class.
Teacher’s material, available on the course web portal. Textbook: J. G. Proakis, M. Salehi, Communication Systems Engineering, Prentice Hall; 2nd edition (2001); Language: English; ISBN-10: 0130617938; ISBN-13: 978-0130617934
The optical system topics are fully covered by the material (handouts) provided by the teachers, both for the lectures and the design problems. All such material will be available on the website prior to classes. No specific extra material is needed. For personal further reading on optical fiber systems: • Optical Fiber Telecommunications Volume VIA and VIB: Systems and Networks (Optics and Photonics) by Kaminow, Ivan, Li, Tingye and Willner, Alan E., Academic Press; 6 edition (May 11, 2013). ASIN: B00CZANHGW • Xiang Zhou and Chongjin Xie, Enabling Technologies for High Spectral-efficiency Coherent Optical Communication Networks, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2015. • J.Proakis and M.Salehi, Digital Communications (5th ed). McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Modalità di esame: Prova scritta (in aula);
Exam: Written test;
... Written exam on course’s topics (both theory and exercises). Duration: from 60 to 120 minutes.
Gli studenti e le studentesse con disabilità o con Disturbi Specifici di Apprendimento (DSA), oltre alla segnalazione tramite procedura informatizzata, sono invitati a comunicare anche direttamente al/la docente titolare dell'insegnamento, con un preavviso non inferiore ad una settimana dall'avvio della sessione d'esame, gli strumenti compensativi concordati con l'Unità Special Needs, al fine di permettere al/la docente la declinazione più idonea in riferimento alla specifica tipologia di esame.
Exam: Written test;
The written exam is based on: - two numerical system design exercises, similar to those that will be solved during the course. - two-three theoretical questions, requiring a free-text answer. The exam will last two hours and it will be scored on a full scale up to 30. The evaluation of the written exam is based on the correct development of the proposed exercises from the description of the symbolic-formula solutions up to the numerical results. The theoretical questions will be judged according to the completeness of the answers, but also on the ability of the students to reply in a concise way. The written exam proposes exercises that allows to judge if the student knows the topic of the course and is able to apply this knowledge to solve some simplified design examples on modern digital transmission systems. The open questions allows to judge if the student has acquired the most relevant theoretical topic of the course. This written exam is a “closed-book exam”. During the written exam the student can use only: • A pocket calculator (NO laptop, tablets etc. Any type of cellphone should be switched OFF) • A 4 pages (max) summary of formulas written by the student herself/himself (4 pages total, meaning 2 sheets if one writes on the front and back of each sheet) • No other technical material is allowed (thus no books, handouts, old exercises, etc) The students who will get a score above 15/30 at the written exam can ask for an optional oral exam, where the questions will mostly regard the theoretical aspects of the course. The optional oral exam is always organized a few days after the written exams. It gives rise between -5 and +5 points that are added to the result of the written exam. During the semester, the Teachers will moreover propose some optional technical challenges/homeworks, that the students may try to solve and send to the Teacher. These optional technical challenges will be evaluated, giving a maximum score of up to 3 points. The final grade for Optical Communication is the sum of the aforementioned results of the written exam + optional technical challenges + optional oral exam. If this final sum is above 32, the student will get “30 cum laude”.
In addition to the message sent by the online system, students with disabilities or Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) are invited to directly inform the professor in charge of the course about the special arrangements for the exam that have been agreed with the Special Needs Unit. The professor has to be informed at least one week before the beginning of the examination session in order to provide students with the most suitable arrangements for each specific type of exam.
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