ECE 3614 Introduction to Communication Systems | ECE | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate PROGRAMS

Course Information


Analysis and design of analog and digital communication systems based on Fourier analysis. Topics include linear ssytems and filtering, power and energy spectral density, basic analog modulation techniques, quantization of analog signals, line coding, pulse shaping, and transmitter and receiver design concepts. Applications include AM and FM radio, television, digital communications, and frequency-deivision and time-division multiplexing.

Why take this course?

Communication is a major and growing discipline in electrical engineering and impacts every major area of electrical engineering. This course provides the basic concepts for analyzing communication systems including an introduction to spectral analysis, modulation, and multiplexing. These concepts are utilized throughout electrical engineering.

Required for all EE majors; Technical elective for CPE majors


C- or better in 2704, STAT 4714

This course assumes that students have had an introduction to system analysis using convolution, Fourier transforms and series, Laplace transforms, and frequency response. This material is covered in the course ECE 2704 and its prerequisites.

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Compute the Fourier transform and the energy/power spectral density of communications signals.
  • Calculate the bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio of a signal at the output of a linear time-invariant system given the signal and the power spectral density of the noise at the input of the system.
  • Explain the operation of amplitude and angle modulation systems in both the time and frequency domains including plotting the magnitude spectra and computing the power and bandwidth requirements of each type of signal.
  • Design a basic analog or digital communications system including: (1) the selection of a digital or analog modulation format, (2) the block-diagram design of a transmitter for the system, (3) the block-diagram design of a superheterodyne receiver for the system, (4) the design of a time or frequency division multiplexing scheme, as appropriate, and (5) the choice of an appropriate pulse shape and analog to digital converter (if needed) to meet performance requirements.
  • Evaluate a given analog or digital communications system in terms of the complexity of the required transmitters and receivers and the power and bandwidth requirements of the system.

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Signals: Fourier Series and Fourier Transform 20%
Systems: Linear Systems and Filtering, Energy and Power Spectral Density, Bandwidth and Rise Time 15%
Amplitude Modulation: AM Radio, TV, Superheterodyne Receivers, FDM 15%
Angle Modulation: FM Radio, Stereo, Bandwidth 10%
Sampling and PCM: Sampling Theorem, Pulse-Code Modulation, Quantization 20%
Basic Digital Communications: Line Coding, Pulse Shaping, TDM 20%