MSc Communications and Signal Processing / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Optical Communication Systems and Networks

Course unit fact file
Unit code EEEN60492
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Principles of optical propagations in different media: Optical power flow, reflection and refraction, phase and group velocity, polarization of light.

Optical Fibres: different types of fibres, single mode and multi-mode fibres, Ray propagation in fibres, attenuation and signal dispersion in fibres.

Lasers & Photodetectors:   principles of laser oscillations, semiconductor laser diodes and their properties, common types of photodetectors and their principles of operations, photodetector performance characteristics.

Optical Amplifiers:  Basic applications and types of optical amplifiers, semiconductor optical amplifiers, Erbium-doped fibre amplifiers, Raman amplifiers.

Sustainability of Optical communications networks: Data traffic growth of internet, Energy consumption in modulation, transmission, demodulation. Schemes to mitigate energy growth, longer wavelength, temperature stable lasers.

Optical Modulation and Demodulation: Direct and external optical modulators, optical realisation of modulation schemes, direct detection receivers, coherent optical receivers, types of optical noise, high level coherent and differentially coherent optical modulation schemes.

Optical transmission systems design consideration: long-haul and short-reach optical communication systems, impacts of ASE, Noise and sensitivity performance. Error rates, spectral efficiency and performance analysis. Free space optical transmission systems.

Optical Filters and Multiplexing: Common types of optical filters and their principles of operations, Polarization-division multiplexing, wavelength-division multiplexing and optical OFDM.

Passive Optical Networking:   Optical add/drop multiplexing, PONs, EPONs and GPON architectures and standards

Applications of Digital signal processing to the design of high speed optical communication systems: IF estimation and compensation, phase estimation and compensation, polarization-mode equalization, chromatic dispersions equalization.




Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Digital Communications Engineering EEEN60131 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Introduction to Communication and Signal Analysis EEEN60481 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to:

Provide a basic understanding of the principles and operation of modern optical communication systems and networks

Appreciate the essence of modern optical fibres transmission techniques for satisfying the demands of high capacity communication systems and networks.

Appreciate the role of digital signal processing techniques for compensating transmission impairments in optical communication systems



Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:




Explain the basic and advanced theories of optical devices, amplifiers, structures and fibres in modern optical communication systems.  Calculate key parameters and assess their physical limitations.




Quantify the implications of the exponential growth in internet traffic carried by optical communication systems, especially in terms of energy sustainability. Be able to determine the energy per bit, and apply modern methodologies to reduce it.




Compare the different types of optical modulations and demodulations and evaluate their performance.




Discriminate various types of optical distortions and noise; Appraise the applications of DSP algorithms for the compensation of their effects.




Compare various optical structures for wavelength division multiplexing and identify their strengths and weaknesses.




Design and Analyse different types of optical transmission systems and networks; Discuss specifics of existing and future PON standards.



ILO7 Experimentally analyse system-level performance of an optical fibre transmission systems. X X


Teaching and learning methods

Lectures: 30 hours

Tutorials/problems classes: 6 hours

Laboratories: 6 hours


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 80%
Report 20%

Feedback methods

Feedback on the report is given 14 days after report submission.

Recommended reading

S Kumar and M Jamal Deen, Fiber Optic Communications, Wiley, 2014.

R Hui, Introduction to Fiber-Optic Communications, Academic Press, 2020.

G Keiser, Optical Fiber Communications, 5th Edition., McGraw Hill 2015.

J M Senior, Optical Fiber Communications, Prentice Hall 2009.

G P Agrawal, Fiber-Optic Communication Systems, 4th  Edition, Wiley, 2010.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 108

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Matthew Halsall Unit coordinator
Khairi Hamdi Unit coordinator

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