module specification

CT6001 - Microwave and Optical Fibre Communications (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Microwave and Optical Fibre Communications
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Laboratory Report (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   3-Hours Unseen Examination
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module introduces students to microwave and optoelectronic technologies. It covers the key features of modern microwave wireless systems, their operations and design requirements. Also covered is basic concepts of optoelectronics. Students are shown how various optoelectronic devices are currently used in laser line-of-sight and fibre optic communication systems. The module develops analytical and design knowledge, and provides experience of team working through a group work.

Module aims

1-To introduce a basis for design and planning of microwave terrestrial systems, satellite links and radar systems.
2-To develop skills in utilising appropriate techniques for characterising components that constitute a microwave wireless system;
3-To develop team working skills in the context of a case study;
4-To develop skills in analysing, interpreting and evaluating data in the context of lab based assignments;
5-To explain the fundamental principles of the technologies of fibre optics and optoelectronics and their impact on modern telecommunications;
6-To provide the opportunity to evaluate practically the performance of a typical fibre optic link;
7-Develop student’s knowledge, transferable skills and confidence in microwave and optical technologies leading to further academic progression and future employability in this area.


• The microwave spectrum. Applications and the role of microwaves in modern communications systems: economics and relative merits. Microwave circuit analysis and components for microwave systems.

• Terrestrial Microwave Radio Systems: Microwave radio propagation characteristics: atmospheric absorption, diffraction, reflection, fading effects. Line-of-sight links: planning, regulations/frequency plans; site selection; energy budget-path analysis, noise calculations; fade margins; Comparison of FM analogue and digital links. Modulation and multiplexing techniques, spectral efficiency.

• Radar Systems: Origin, history, applications of radar, principles of basic pulse, FMCW and Doppler radar systems; regulatory bodies and frequency allocation. Radar equation: prediction of maximum range, minimum detectable signal; probability of detection, false alarm, integration.

• Principles of Optical Systems: Historical review of fibre-optics and optoelectronics.  Ray optics, EM waves, optical waveguides. Physical basis of light sources and detectors. Principles of fibre-optic communications. The electro-optic effect and devices. Components of optical systems: Connectors, splices, couplers and switches. Optical sources and detectors: light emitting diodes, semiconductor lasers, driving circuits. PIN and avalanche photodiode detectors, detector circuits, noise and bandwidth. Fibre-optic and optoelectronic systems: Fibre-optic links and networks. Components, multiplexers, demultiplexers and fibre amplifier. Bandwidth and rise-time budgets, noise, bit error rate and eye patterns. Line-of-sight communications systems.

Learning and teaching

The theoretical components of this module are delivered through a series of lectures supported by problem classes, tutorials, directed independent learning, and e-learning/blended learning. The practical aspects are covered in a laboratory programme, which provides an opportunity for students to gain confidence in the use of the measuring techniques and equipment associated with microwave system components. Students work in small groups, maintain a record of their work in a logbook and use this to produce an individual technical report based on their practical and also incorporating their  literature search on specified state-of-the-art applications.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module students should be able to:
LO1. Explain the key features and applications of modern microwave systems, their operations and design requirements;
LO2. Evaluate components of microwave systems with due consideration to system specification and other relevant factors in the planning and design of a microwave system;;
LO3. Utilise appropriate tools for analysing and simulating microwave system components and to communicate technical information effectively (presentation and written report);;
LO4. Explain the operating principles of a typical fibre-optic telecommunication link or other optoelectronics application such as laser line-of-sight link;
LO5. Explain through design analysis the key factors affecting the performance of a typical fibre-optic or other optoelectronic application and to specify, design and select components suitable for implementing typical fibre-optic applications.
LO6. Demonstrate through practical work the correct use of relevant optoelectronics and fibre-optics equipment in obtaining, analysing results and to write a technical report addressing the key issues;
LO7. Undertake a literature search in relation to a specified optoelectronics or fibre-optics application and summarise the key issues and findings and include in the report;

Assessment strategy

Problem sheets (formative): learning is promoted through formative assessment based on problem sheets related to the lecture material. [Learning outcomes 1-3]. Laboratory coursework (formative and summative): covers relevant practical aspects of the module. Students are required to maintain a record of their work in a logbook. Submission of written a report is required which provides a formative opportunity; rapid feedback is provided [Learning outcomes 2,4,5]. Laboratory coursework report comprises of 2000 words. Closed-book end of module examination (summative): a 3-hour unseen examination paper is the major summative assessment instrument. [Learning outcomes 1 to 3]. The module will be passed on the aggregate coursework and exam marks which is equal to or greater than 40%.


1. Sorrentino& Bianchi (2010), “Microwave and RF Engineering”, Wiley, ISBN 9780470758625.
2. Pozar  (2001), “Microwave and RF Design of Wireless Systems”, Wiley, ISBN 0471322822.
3. Pozar  (2011), “Microwave Engineering”, Wiley, ISBN: 9780470631553.
4. Chang (2000), “RF and Microwave Wireless Systems”, Wiley, ISBN 9780471351993.
5. Maral, Bousquet& Sun (2009), “Satellite Communications Systems: Systems, Techniques and Technology”, Wiley, ISBN 9780470714584.
6. Kingsley &Quegan (1992), “Understanding Radar Systems”, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0077074262.
7. Gu Q., (2010), “RF System Design of Transceivers for Wireless Communications”, Springer, ISBN 0387241612.
8. Kolimbiris H., (2004),”Fibre Optics Communications”, Pearson/Prentice Hall, ISBN 0131911341
9. Palais (2005), “Fibre-optic Communications”, 5th Ed., Prentice Hall ISBN 0131293508
10. Powers (1997), “An Introduction to Fibre-optic Systems”, 2nd Ed., ISBN 0256204144
11. Thyagarajan K., Ghatak A., (2007), “Fibre Optic Essentials”, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 0470097426
12. Keiser, G., (2000), “Optical Fibre Communications”, 3rdEd., McGraw Hill, ISBN 0071164685
13. Senior J.M., (2009), “Optical Fibre Communications: Principles and Practice”, 3rdEd., Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN9780130326812
14. Wilson & Hawkes (1998), “Optoelectronics”, 3rd Ed., Prentice Hall ISBN 013103961X