Module code: EEE3006

Module Overview

Expected prior learning: It is helpful, but not essential, to have taken module EEE2040 – Communications Networks (EEE2040), or to have equivalent learning.

Module purpose:  This module deals with the three important processing stages of modern digital communication systems which are source coding for signal compression, channel error control coding for robust transmission and modulation for efficient digital interface with the available channel. The module is designed to provide basic-to-intermediate scale introduction of the subject at the UG level and the learning developed in this module can be enhanced further at relevant MEng / MSc level modules (EEEM017, EEEM030, EEEM031)

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 88

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 30

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

SOURCE CODING (10 hours) (Atta ul Quddus)

Introduction to source coding - Types of sources (discrete and waveform sources), Why source coding?, Basic definitions (Uncertainty, Information, entropy, and redundancy, Lossleses / Lossy coding).

Analogue to Digital Conversion – Sampling Theorem, Aliasing

Quantisation – Scalar Quantization (Uniform / Non-Uninform, Adaptive, Differential), Vector Quantization.

Pulse code modulation (PCM) and Differential PCM – One and N-tap prediction, Delta modulation

Source coding for digital data – Unique decodability, Kraft Inequality, Source Coding Theorem, Lossless data compression, Huffman source coding.

Time and Frequency domain speech coding - LPC coding Principles.

Transform / Entropy coding of image/video.

Standards – JPEG, MPEG II

Future areas - in speech and image/video coding.



Introduction - Purposes of error control coding, Type of error control techniques, ARQ and FEC, Measures to compare performance, Information Theory, Coding Gain, Classification of Codes, Techniques for Bursty Channels - Interleaving, Conclusions for Implementation

Linear Block Codes - Terminology, Linearity, Systematic Form, Encoding through Generator Matrix, Parity Check Matrix, Syndrome, Outline of Decoding Method. Cyclic Block Codes, Generator Polynomial, Encoding by Long Division, Encoding By Shift Registers, Meggitt Decoder. Performance bounds. Reed Solomon Codes and their Applications.

Convolutional Codes - Simple Encoder, Terminology, State Diagram, Free Distance, Trellis Diagram, Decoding Metrics, Viterbi Decoding, Practical issues, Effects of Decoding Error, Performance Calculations. Recursive Systematic Convolutional Codes, Decoding Algorithms, Performance and challenges.

Advanced Codes: Turbo codes, Parallel and serial concatenation, and their applications.


MODULATION (10 hours) (Yi Ma)

Introduction to digital modulation: baseband signalling formats, power spectral density, ISI and Nyquist filtering, Noise and Gaussian distribution, general features of digital modulation and demodulation.

Phase shift keying – BPSK representations, demodulation requirements, squaring and Costas loop phase recovery, timing recovery (early-late gate synchronizer), noise performance, spectrum efficiency, QPSK, phase ambiguity and differential encoding.

Bandwidth-efficient modulations - MPSK, QAM, Gray Coding, performance in noise.

Spectrally controlled modulation - OQPSK, Pi/4 PSK, MSK, MSK as OQPSK variant, MSK modulator and demodulator, performance in noise, spectrum efficiency, CPM, trellis representations.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have achieved all the intended learning outcomes. The written exam will assess their understanding of basic building blocks in digital communication systems (i.e. source coding, channel coding, and modulation), the underlying principles and their basic working (LO # 1 and LO # 2). The exam will assess their conceptual understanding and ability to give arguments in favour of specific design choices for the building blocks of a digital communication system (LO # 3). This exam will also assess their abilities to design as well as analyse specific components of a digital communication system by including numerical problems and design problems in the examination (LO # 4).


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of the following.

·         Online (Open book) examination at the end of the module teaching during the examination week


Formative assessment and feedback

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

·         During lectures / tutorials, by question and answer sessions

·         During lectures / tutorials, by electronic voting

·         During tutorials / problems / quizzes

.          Giving take-home problems that are then marked, with explicit feedback provided

 Note:  MATLAB based computer simulations are not assessed in a summative manner, these just provide visual illustration of concepts for a deeper understanding.


Module aims

  • The course is a mix of source and channel coding together with various modulation schemes. The aim is to show by argument, mathematical analysis, and block diagrams, how information can be represented and transmitted in a digital domain.  It includes the coverage of current source coding standards, means of protection against noise and modulation / demodulation for radio or satellite transmission.
  • Students will also learn how a transceiver for a modern digital communication system works and how to tune important transceiver design parameters.
  • The module also aims to provide opportunities for students to learn about the Surrey Pillars listed below.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically evaluate the need and main purpose for the basic building blocks in a digital communication system (i.e. source codec, channel codec, and modem) KC C1, C6
002 Demonstrate an understanding of underlying principles and basic working of commonly used source coding, channel coding, and modulation techniques. KC C1, C2
003 Critically compare / contrast different design choices for source coding, channel coding, and modulation in a digital communication system KCPT C5,C6
004 Analyse/solve design problems/numerical problems related to source coding, channel coding, and modulation in a modern digital communication system. KC C5

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 provide basic-to-intermediate level introduction of the subject at the UG level along with providing useful pointers for deeper learning of the topics listed in the module content. This is achieved through a series of pre-recorded lectures, face to face tutorial sessions and other learning material like slide-sets, in-class derivations on white board / visualizer, online videos, tutorial sheets with model solutions, numerical and design problems with model solutions. Furthermore, formative tests, electronic voting system and class discussions are used to identify any difficulties faced by the learners and they are then directed to the relevant learning material on Surrey Learn.

Learning and teaching methods include the following.

  • Captured content 

  • Super / Review lectures / tutorials 

  • Class discussion/electronic voting

  • Online videos, notes, tutorials with model solutions and other learning material

  • Visual illustration of concepts via MATLAB based computer simulations for a deeper understanding.

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: EEE3006

Other information

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email:

The module is well aligned with the five Surrey Pillars as described below:

Sustainability:  The module teaches the students how to design modulation schemes from both Bandwidth as well as Power / Energy Efficiency perspective, the latter contributes towards the Sustainability theme.

Global and cultural intelligence: Digital Communications are used globally and hence know-how developed in this module can be applied anywhere in the world. The students taking this module are from a diverse background and from a host of nationalities and cultures, thus in-class discussions provide opportunities to broaden one’s horizon to a global perspective.

Digital capabilities:  The module is all about how communication systems and digital networks work, and it also makes use of digital capabilities in terms of electronic voting for in-class discussions. Furthermore, all the learning resources are made available on a digital Virtual Learning Environment (i.e. SurreyLearn), and module assessment also requires the students to make use of SurreyLearn.

Employability: This module is part of our various pathways in the EEE UG programme, which is accredited with Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). Furthermore, this module provides essential knowledge and learning (related to Digital Communications) that is absolutely needed for graduates working in the Telecom sector.

Resourcefulness and resilience:  One third of the module is dedicated to error control coding that concerns how to correct errors in digital communications from the transmitter to the receiver, and this intrinsically provides resilience in operation in noisy and interference environments. Thus the students get accustomed to thinking how to design resilient systems. About resourcefulness, the students learn how to choose and design a system from available multitude of source / modulation / coding schemes considering the trade-offs between precious resources such as bandwidth and power. The resourcefulness capability of students is further developed by tutorial problems which are discussed in the class and students learn how to glean the missing pieces of information from the given ones and be able to develop the capability to solve unseen problems.  

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 2024/5 academic year.