Module code: EEEM032

Module Overview

Expected prior/parallel learning: This module covers advanced topics on satellite communications and networks, following the Satellite Communication fundamentals (EEEM031/EEM.SCF). An alternate module containing suitable prior learning is, Space System Design (EEE3040).

Module purpose: This module covers advanced topics on satellite communications and networks. These networks are an important part of global information infrastructure providing broadcasting, mobile and broadband services to millions homes and offices as well as disaster relieves and emergency communications services.

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader

SUN Zhili (Elec Elec En)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 5

Laboratory Hours: 9

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 25

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes the following.

1. Modulation and channel coding

Review of the standard modulation formats (PSK, QAM) and introduction to variations used in satellite systems, such as OQPSK, MPSK, APSK. Introduction to Turbo Codes and Low Density Parity Check Codes (LDPC). Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) in satellite systems. OFDM principles and LTE practical applications in satellite communications systems. Review of new DVB Sx standard modifications.

2. Digital Broadcasting

Review of analogue FM transmission of FDM-TV. Infrastructure of broadcasting - Digital TV - source encoding and MPEG compression leading to PES packets – DVB-S & S2 channel coding and modulation. ACM and enhanced performance. Multiplexing in TV playout systems. Satellite radio systems (SDR) and SDAB. DMB and SDMB--architecture with gap fillers S-UMTS. DVB-SH options and applications of hybrid systems in S band.

3. High throughput satellite systems

Review of development in commercial HTS systems. Multi beam antennas and types of frequency re-use. Interference scenarios and calculation. Capacity calculations in HTS. Smart gateway schemes and network diversity. Q/V band availability and optical up links. Satellite payload issues and optimisation.

 4. Radio resource management

Overview of forward and return link capacity management issues in satellite DVB-RCS networks, including bandwidth-on-demand mechanisms, connection admission control, packet scheduling and adaptive coding & modulation. Also introduction to cross-layer approaches for the issues listed above.

5. Satellite  Networking fundamentals

Review of satellite networking. Satellite services, network services, network protocols and reference models, network architecture, network performance and QoS issues of networking over satellites, ITU-R hypothetical reference digital path (HRDP) and performance objectives, internetworking with terrestrial networks and concept of switch on board satellite.

6. IP over satellite

Review of Internet Protocol (IP) over satellite. IP packet encapsulation. Satellite IP networking, TCP slow start and congestion avoidance schemes, TCP enhancement for satellite networks - PEP, IP multicast over satellite. IP QoS and performance over satellite based on DiffServ and IntServ architectures.

7. DVB-S/RCS standards for networking and security

Review of source coding (MPEG2) for Digital Video Broadcasting over Satellites (DVB-S); and the DVB-S systems and networking issues. Detailed presentation of MPEG multiplexing, transport streams and IP packet encapsulation (Multi Protocol Encapsulation, MPE), Unidirectional Lightweight Encapsulation (ULE). DVB-S with return channel (DVB-RCS). Security aspects for DVB-S and DVB-RCS.

9. Non-GEO satellite systems

Satellite constellation review and properties; network architectures - entities, mobility management, call control - handover issues and integration with GSM terrestrial system. Traffic and signalling channels. Business and regulatory aspects. IMT-2000-UMTS air interface and multimedia aspects of traffic.

10. Advanced Payload Concepts

Size/power trends in payloads FSS/MSS. Multi beam antennas (MBA's) - reflector geometries gain and polarisation, contoured beams and phase array generation of spot beams, deployables, PIMS. System advantages of MBA's, connectivity--frequency hopping and SS-TDMA, interference issues. OBP-system advantages, MCDM's regeneration, switches, DSP configurations for FSS and MSS--technology examples mass/volume/power, flexibility. ISL's GEO-GEO, LEO-LEO, LEO-GEO, IOL's, optical and millimetre wave examples and payload trade-offs.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ASSIGNMENT 30

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable: students failing a unit of assessment resit the assessment in its original format.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the learning outcomes. The written examination will assess the knowledge and assimilation of terminology, concepts and theory of satellite communications and networks, as well as the ability to analyse problems and apply measurements on the satellite testbeds.


The Assignment will assess the ability to use the satellite testbed for performance measurements, evaluations and report. The laboratory experiment will evaluate the acquired technical skills and expertise required for performance characterisation of satellite communication systems.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         2 hours closed book written examination

·         6 hours of laboratory performance in the context of group experiments with a satellite communications modem with 2 students in each of the group.

·         Individual formal technical report on these experiments.

·         Each group of students will be scheduled in 2 time slots of 3 hours each, and each student submit his/her report with a week after completion of the experiments. 


Formative assessment and feedback

For the module, students will receive formative assessment/feedback in the following ways.

·         During tutorials/tutorial classes

·         By means of unassessed tutorial problem sheets (with answers/model solutions)

·         During supervised laboratory sessions

·         Via the marking of written reports

·         Via assessed coursework



Module aims

  • The aim of this module is to build onto the knowledge gained in "Satellite Communication fundamentals", and provides the student with a detailed understanding of the techniques used and applications in modern Satellite Communications and Networks. In addition, to provide the student with familiarity of simulation, analysis and measurement techniques used in the design and analysis of Satellite Communications links.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Explain the modulation and channel coding technique KC
2 State the main standards and techniques for broadcasting services and technologies KC
3 Describe the high throughput satellite systems KC
4 Evaluate radio resource management (RRM) methods for satellite networks KC
5 Explain the network concepts and protocols and IP over satellites KC
6 Explain the network security in the DVB-S/RCS standards KC
7 Explain Non-GEO satellite systems and advanced payload concepts KC
8 Explain the advanced payload concepts KC
9 Perform and evaluate measurements in real time satellite systems PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning


The learning and teaching strategy is designed to achieve the following aims:

  • Students taking this module will have a detailed knowledge of modern satellite communication techniques and systems as well as an appreciation of all the current application areas.

  • In particular, the students will have obtained the skill of carrying out simulations / measurements of a satellite communication link using a commonly available and industry standard software package or measurement equipment.

Learning and teaching methods include the following:

  • Lectures: Total 33 hours of lectures (3 hours per week)

  • Labs: 2 x 3 hours sessions using a satellite system testbed.

  • Assignment(s): Report based on using the satellite system testbed.

    • Familiarisation with test equipment (spectrum analyser, BER test set etc)

    • Measurement for spectrum of various modulations and coding rates

    • Measurement of BER with changing C/N

    • Assessment of impact of interference



Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: EEEM032

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Electronic Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Communication Systems MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Electronic Engineering with Space Systems MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Electronic Engineering MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Electronic Engineering with Professional Postgraduate Year MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Satellite Communications Engineering MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Mobile and Satellite Communications MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
RF and Microwave Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Space Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2021/2 academic year.