Surrey University Stag


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). 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

JACs code: H643

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 68

Lecture Hours: 33

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. Introduction

Introduction to concepts and terminologies on advanced satellite communications and networks, explain the Lab sessions and experiments, give the assignment and coursework.

  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-S/S2/S2x standard modifications.

  1. 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/S2x 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Multiple Access

Cover all the multiple access techniques for satellites multiple access and related protocols and efficiency. These include, frequency division multiple access (FDMA), time division multiple access (TDMA), code division multiple access (CDMA), fix assignment access and on-demand assignment access (DAMA), and random access.

  1. Satellite network routing and SDN

Cover satellite networking concepts, Basic Modem IP function IP address for IP traffic and network monitor and control (M&C), Bridge and gateway functions, Routing protocols for satellite networks such as RIP, OSPF, BGP, Traffic shaping and QoS routing including DiffServ and IntServ architectures, Protocol header compression, VLAN operation, Satellite network virtualisations, Network slicing in satellite networks, Satellite NFV, Satellite SDN.

  1. SDN in Satellite networks

Cover VLAN operation, Satellite network virtualisations, Network slicing in satellite networks, Satellite NFV, Satellite SDN.

  1. 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.

  1. Signal processing for satellite systems

Interference mitigation techniques, frequency reuse in multibeam satellites, precoding techniques to mitigate interference, basics of beam hopping.

  1. HTS and Advanced Payload Concepts

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. 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, deployable, 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. ISLs, optical and millimetre wave examples and payload trade-offs.



Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ASSIGNMENT 30
Examination Online Online 2-hour exam taken within a 4-hour window 70

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:

·         Online 4 hours period allowed to do the 2 hour paper of written examination (70%).

·         Assignment assessment (30%) is based on 9 hours of laboratory performance including preparations and writeup report in the context of group experiments on a satellite communications modem with 2 students in each of the group; each group of students will be scheduled in 3 time slots of 3 hours each, and each student submit his/her report within a week after completion of the experiments. Individual formal technical report on 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

Feedbacks provided on the performance and technical report.


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
001 Explain the modulation and channel coding technique KC
002 State the main standards and techniques for broadcasting services and technologies KC
003 Describe the high throughput satellite systems KC
004 Evaluate radio resource management (RRM) methods for satellite networks KC
005 Explain the network concepts and protocols and IP over satellites KC
006 Explain the network security in the DVB-S/RCS standards KC
007 Explain Non-GEO satellite systems and advanced payload concepts KC
008 Explain the advanced payload concepts KC
009 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: 3 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 with Space Systems MEng 2 Optional 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
Space Engineering 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
RF and Microwave Engineering MSc 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
Electronic 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 2023/4 academic year.