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Syllabus for

Academic year
SSY305 - Communication systems
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-07 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: TKELT
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: First-cycle
Major subject: Electrical Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 50111
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: C+

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0113 Examination 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c    

In programs

TKELT ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, Year 3 (compulsory elective)
TKTEM ENGINEERING MATHEMATICS, Year 3 (compulsory elective)
TIELL ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING - Common branch of study, Year 3 (compulsory elective)


Erik Ström

  Go to Course Homepage


General entry requirements for bachelor's level (first cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

The same as for the programme that owns the course.
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

The course assumes that the students have knowledge of basic concepts in

  • signal processing (linear filtering, convolution, impulse response, frequency response, Fourier transforms)
  • probability (probability density functions, probability, expectation)

and be able to use these concepts in analysis of linear systems and random variables.

The prerequisites can be acquired in TMA981/TMA982 "Linjära system och transformer" and ESS011 "Matematisk statistik och signalbehandling," or similar courses.


There are two main aims with this course.

The first aim is to provide a broad introduction to communication systems as an enabler of information and communication technology (ICT) applications, e.g., E-health, smart grid, automation, process control, and cooperative active traffic safety, to mention a few. A modern engineer, in any field, will interact with ICT systems. When specifying the requirements on a communication system to support a certain ICT application, the non-communication engineer would benefit tremendously by knowing the terminology, possibilities, and limitations of communication systems.

The second aim is to provide a solid introduction to the student that plan for a career as a communication engineer. We will treat, in some detail, the lower layers of the communication stack. This is to mean that we are particularly concerned with the basic task of transmitting packets of bits from point A to point B over a physical medium (e.g., a piece of fiber optical cable or a wireless channel). Once we master this task, the communication links will be used to form complex networks, such as the Internet, that are of such importance in today's society.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • describe how sustainable development is facilitated by communication
  • describe the purpose of the layers in the OSI model for communication, with emphasis on the network, data link, and physical layers
  • describe the purpose of the main components in the TCP/IP protocol suite
  • analyze the requirements for an ICT application, e.g., E-health, smart grid, automation, process control, or vehicular traffic safety, poses on the communication system
  • explain the blocks in Shannon's model for digital communication
  • define and compute performance metrics for communication
    • error probability (bit, symbol, packet)
    • spectral efficiency
    • power efficiency
    • latency
    • throughput
  • explain the concepts of symmetric cryptography, asymmetric cryptography, and hash-functions and how these can be used to provide confidentiality, integrity, and authentication


  • Introduction to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications: E-health, automation, process control, smart grid, cooperative traffic safety
  • Introduction to the OSI model for communication
  • Introduction to TCP/IP protocol suite and relation to the OSI model
  • Shannon's model for digital communication: source coding, error-control coding, modulation
  • Physical layer
    • Modulation: bits, symbol, constellation diagrams, pulse amplitude modulation, quadrature modulation
    • Matched filter, maximum-likelihood detection
    • Performance metrics: bit and symbol error probability, spectral efficiency, power efficiency
  • Error probability for an additive white Gaussian noise channel
  • Introduction to coding for error correction and error detection
  • Link layer
    • Medium access control: ALOHA, CSMA, TDMA, FDMA
    • Retransmission protocols: ARQ
    • Performance metrics: packet error probability, throughput, latency, fairness
  • Network layer: Introduction to routing, addressing, forwarding
  • Transport layer: Introduction to flow control, congestion control
  • Security: introduction to confidentiality, integrity, and authentication
  • Review and summary of the course


The course is comprised of approximately 19 lectures, 11 exercise sessions, 1 project, and 6 quizzes (short written tests).


To be announced at the course homepage, no later than two weeks before course start.

Examination including compulsory elements

The final grade is based on scores from projects, quizzes, and a written exam. To pass the course, both the project and written exams need to be passed. 

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.