Master Course Description

No: EE417

Title: Modern Wireless Communications

Credits: 4

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: Hui Liu, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

Goals: To develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of communication systems and an appreciation of the limitations imposed by noise/fading in the performance of wireless communication systems.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and simulate basic digital modulation formats.
  2. Write computer (MATLAB) programs to simulate some of the simpler modulation formats.
  3. Determine the bit error rate of basic modulation formats when operating in white Gausian Noise environments.
  4. Describe qualitatively and quantitatively, the fundamental impairments to digital modulation.
  5. Determine the advantages of error correcting codes on the performance of digital communication systems.
  6. Design digital communication systems to operate in noisy environments and to achieve basic system specifications on bandwidth usage, data rate, and error rate performance.

Textbook: Bernard Sklar, Digital Communications: Fundamentals and Applications, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall 2001.

Reference Texts:

E.A. Lee and D. G. Messerschmitt, Digital Communication, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Proakis, Digital Communications, McGraw Hil, (any edition is useful).

A Matlab primer is available for purchase at the Engineering Copy Center.

Prerequisites by Topic:

  1. Linear Systems Theory in Discrete and Continuous Time (EE235, EE341)
  2. Basic Signals in Discrete and Continuous Time (EE235, EE341)
  3. Differential and Integral Calculus
  4. Principles of Applied Probability and its application (MATH 390, STAT 390 or IND E 315)
  5. Facility with MATLAB for signal processing (EE341)


  1. Introduction to modern wireless networks (1 week)
  2. Signals and spectra, linear systems concepts - especially bandwidth occupancy (Chapter 1, 1 week)
  3. Baseband transmission (Chapter 2, 2 weeks)
  4. Binary signaling in Noise (Chapter 3.1-3.2, 1 week)
  5. Intersymbol interference (Chapter 3.3, 1 week)
  6. Bandpass transmission (Chapter 4.1-4.4, 1 week)
  7. Waveform coding and forward error correction coding(Chapter 6.1-6.5, 1 week)
  8. RF Link budget analysis and applications (Chapter 5.1-5.4, 1 week)

Course Structure: The class meets for three lectures a week. With sufficient TA resources there will be 1 quiz section per week. There is weekly homework due that includes small computer projects in MATLAB. One major MATLAB project assigned in the second half of the course. Includes 1 midterm and 1 comprehensive final exam.

Computer Resources: The computer project can be done on any PC or workstation that contains MATLAB. However, we only support the EE Dept computers, and some personal PCs may be insufficient due to memory, speed, software, etc..

Laboratory Resources: Only computer labs.

Grading: 30% Homework, 20% midterms, 30% final exam, 20% project.

Outcome Coverage (Notation: (L) - low significance; (M) - medium significance; (H) - high significance):

(a) (H) An ability to apply knowledge of math, science and engineering. The course is highly mathematical in its orientation. Students are asked to both identify and solve appropriate mathematical models. Engineering judgment is developed through the use of modeling and approximate solution techniques. Some basic principles of physical science are occasionally needed to motivate the engineering origins of the problems under consideration.

(b) (M) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data. Students are asked to determine the required sample sizes for statistically reliable Monte Carlo simulations. These techniques are used to solve difficult problems not amenable to analysis and as substitutes for physical experiments. This is absolutely required in the field of communications, due to the low error rate requirements.

(c) (L) An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability. The project challenges the students to develop and suitable topic and to design and implement a software/hardware study. In most cases, this would be implemented in MATLAB.

(d) (H) An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.

(e) (H) An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems. The homework involves solving engineering problems identified by the assignments and exemplified by class discussion. The midterm and final projects challenge the students to identify the issues and formulate their individual solutions.

(f) (M) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities.

(g) (M) An ability to communicate effectively. Students are required to write-up their project in an engineering format. The ability to communicate effectively in writing is a portion of the grade received on this project.

(h) (L) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context. Digital communications is pervasive in modern society and this will rapidly increase due to the internet. In the project students are asked about the societal relevance of their project focus.

(i) (M) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning. The course emphasizes the rapid change in technologies employed in modern communication and the need for the professional to maintain state-of-the-art knowledge.

(j) (H) Knowledge of contemporary issues. Contemporary issues discussed include the latest advances in wireless communication and spectrum and regulatory issues.

(k) (M) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. Students use Matlab to solve homework problems and final project.


Prepared By: Hui Liu

Reviewed by: Radha Poovendran (Communication and Networking Group Chair)

Last revised: 21/21/2012