module specification

CT6001 - Microwave and Optical Fibre Communications (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
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
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
60 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
150 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Lab Report
Coursework 30%   Group report
Unseen Examination 40%   Unseen exam
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

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 are 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 group work.

Prior learning requirements

Successfully completed Level 5 or equivalent


LO1 - LO4

• 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.


• Microwave and optical lab.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will be expected to carry out independent background study to familiarise themselves with the platforms and tools that will be used during the module. The module includes online learning material via Weblearn (VLE), face-to-face delivery of content, teaching/tutorial and assessment activities, student support and feedback.

Learning outcomes

LO1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key features/characteristics and applications of modern microwave & fibre-optic systems, their operations and design requirements including the key components constituting these systems;

LO2 Evaluate components of microwave & fibre-optic systems in terms of quality and trade-offs using analytical tools and modelling techniques with due consideration to system specifications and other relevant factors in the planning and design of such systems;

LO3 Explain the operating principles of a typical microwave & fibre-optic communications link;

LO4 Discuss through design and analysis the key factors affecting the performance of a typical microwave and fibre-optic systems;

LO5 Apply appropriate concepts and principles of microwave and fibre-optic communications to analyse and critically evaluate the performance of such systems individually as well as being an effective member of a team.



Pozar  (2011), Microwave and RF Design of Wireless Systems, Wiley ISBN: 978-1-118-29813-8

Kyung-Whan Yeon (2015), Microwave Circuit Design: A Practical Approach Using ADS, ISBN-10: 0134086783

Otto Strobel (2016), Optical and Microwave Technologies for Telecommunication Networks, ISBN: 978-1-119-97190-0

Frank Gustrau (2012), RF and Microwave Engineering: Fundamentals of Wireless Communications, ISBN: 978-1-119-95171-1

Maral & Bousquet (1998), Satellite Communications Systems: Systems, Techniques and Technology, Wiley ISBN 0-471-97166-9

G Kizer (2013), Digital Microwave Communication: Engineering Point-to-Point Microwave Systems, Wiley-IEEE Press, ISBN: 978-0-470-12534-2

Kai Chang (2004), RF and Microwave Wireless Systems, ISBN: 978-0-471-46387-0

R. Sorrentino, Giovanni Bianchi (2010), Microwave and RF Engineering, ISBN: 978-0-470-75862-5

Kingsley & Quegan (1992), Understanding Radar Systems, McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-707426-2

Skolnik (2000), Introduction to Radar Systems, McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-118189-X

T. L. Singal, Optical Fiber Communications (2018), Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN: 9781316661505

Shiva Kumar, M. Jamal Deen (2014), Fiber Optic Communications: Fundamentals and Applications, ISBN: 978-0-470-51867-0

Hiroshi Nakajima (2015), Optical Design Using Excel: Practical Calculations for Laser Optical Systems, ISBN: 978-1-118-93912-3

Yasuhiro Koike (2014), Fundamentals of Plastic Optical Fibers, ISBN: 978-3-527-41006-4

John Senior (2009), Optical Fiber Communications: Principles and Practice, ISBN-10:013032681X


IEEE Transaction on Microwave, Theory & Techniques

IEEE Optical Communications

Journal of Communications and Networks

IEEE Communications Magazine

IEEE Transactions on Communications

IET Communications

Websites: IEEE xplore