Communications IV

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This is Derek Abbott's wiki project page for the 4063 Communications/7080 Principles of Communication Systems (3210 Combined) course. All information regarding this course can be found here.


All the Comms IV materials and downloads are on this page. There are no rules. Anyone can edit this page and add questions and discussion. It is self-moderating and you can delete and edit anything you like. To resolve conflicts use the discussion page. I encourage you to use this as a forum to ask technical questions and even give answers if you know them. If you come across your own hints and tips that you think are useful to others, feel free to add them.


For Semester 1, 2020, there will be four 1-hr slots per week:

  • Monday 12 pm, 218, (Ingarni Wardli, Rm 218) - 2 hour session
  • Wednesday 11 am, 1062, (Barr Smith South, Rm 1062) - 2 hour session

We will meet during all four slots and will have four lectures per week. One slot will sometimes be a tutorial. You are expected to prepare for each lecture by watching it online before coming, so that the actual lecture slots can focus on review, Q&A, and unwrapping concepts that may be unfamiliar.

Tutorials will be announced the week before. In total there will be 6 tutorials and 30 set lectures. We will probably have extra lectures on top of that for revision and worked examples, if needed.

Staying in touch

To gain a greater appreciation of what we really do around here and to keep in touch after your degree, feel free to connect to these platforms:

Course Notes

You must bring hard copies of the notes to every lecture and annotate the notes, based on my lecture in order to make the most of attendance. It is cheaper to buy the notes from EESAU, however if you miss out you can download them from here:


You must download these tutorials and attempt them 1-week before the tutorial to get the most out of it. Each tutorial date will be announced a week in advance. Note that tutorial solutions are not given out, so need to attend the tutorials.


There will be one Matlab based assignment that will count towards 60% of the course (an assessed quiz will count as 40%).


There are exercises on the lecture slides at the end of each section. You are expected to do these promptly in your own time as a means of helping you to absorb the material. These are not assessed. The solutions are given below. It is upto you you whether you wish to peek before attempting them or not. Do whatever works best for your teaching yourself. Note that exercises begin at Section 2 and carry through to Section 9.

Formula Sheets

Familiarize yourselves with these as you get them as handouts in the exams:

The following formula sheet is designed for the whole BEng degree and is not given at exams. However it is very useful for solving problems for all courses in the degree for all 4 years. It is also useful if you carry on with a PhD.


If you found something confusing in a Comms IV lecture and thought it was a rather "muddy point" then on the list page, below, go ahead and ask a question. Anyone can answer: either myself or any other student can answer. I will of course tweek everyone's answers to make them clear and check they are correct.


Past Exams

How to pass an exam

The trick with passing my exams is to note that I am more interested in your discussion and working than the final numerical answer. I like to see that you have understood the intuition of the problem and that you understand where the assumptions are. I don't really care that much if you make a numerical error. If you think your final answer has an nonphysical value of the wrong order of magnitude, just explain in your script why you think the number is out and that will show me you are thinking critically. It is the critical thinking I care about. To see what I consider a "model" way of answering exam questions, see here:

Course Texts

The the cooms part, mandatory text is Proakis & Salehi. The recommended extra reference is Ziemer & Tranter.

For the optical comms part, the mandatory text is by Palais:

These are the two Bibles in the field and are worth getting if you see your career in photonic aspects of electrical engineering:

Optional reading for reference:

Your Lecturers

  • Prof Derek Abbott (main lecturer)
  • A/Prof Bruce R. Davis (possible guest lecturer)
  • Dr James M. Chappell (possible guest lecturer)
  • Dr Mark McDonnell (possible guest lecturer)
  • Dr Withawat Withayachumnankul (possible guest lecturer)
  • Dr Azhar Iqbal (possible guest lecturer)
  • Mohsen Dorraki (tutor and marker)
  • Saif Islam (tutor and marker)
  • Stochastic Resonance Book

Lecture Slides

External Links