ECE 638: Wireless Communications

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Course Syllabus

Course Objectives

This course will cover advanced topics in wireless communications for voice, data, and multimedia. The course begins with a brief overview of current wireless systems and standards. It then characterizes the wireless channel, including path loss for different environments, random log-normal shadowing due to signal attenuation, and the flat and frequency-selective properties of multipath fading. Next it examines the fundamental capacity limits of wireless channels and the characteristics of the capacity-achieving transmission strategies. The next focus will be on practical digital modulation techniques and their performance under wireless channel impairments. A significant amount of time will be spent on multiple antenna techniques: MIMO channel model, MIMO channel capacity, and space-time coding. The section on multicarrier modulation provides comprehensive treatment of orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). We will further study ultra wideband (UWB) communications, software defined radio and cognitive radio.  The course concludes with coding for wireless channels, adaptive modulation, adaptive coding and multiuser detection. 

Class website:


Ivan B. Djordjevic, Professor
Office: ECE 456B
Phone: 626-5119

Reference Books

  • I. B. Djordjevic, Advanced Optical and Wireless Communications Systems. Springer, 2017.

  • A. Goldsmith, Wireless Communications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

  • D. Tse, and P. Viswanath, Fundamentals of Wireless Communication. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Office Hours

3 pm - 4 pm, Monday and Wednesday


ECE535A (or equivalent)


Homeworks will be assigned approximately every 2 weeks.

Final Exam

Monday 12/11/2017 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm




Class participation and attendance


Term Project


Midterm Exam


Final Exam


Tentative Course Outline

  • Overview of Wireless Communications

o        History

o        Wireless Standards: cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, UWB, ...

  • Wireless Channel Modeling

o        Path Loss and Shadowing Models

o        Statistical Fading models, Narrowband/Wideband Fading Models

  • Capacity of Wireless Channels

o        Capacity of Flat Fading channels

o        Capacity of Frequency-Selective Channels

  • Performance of Digital Modulation

o        Fading Channel Performance

o        Doppler Spread

  • Diversity in Fading Channels

o        Receiver Diversity: selection combining, threshold combining, maximum-ratio combining, equal-gain combining

o        Transmitter Diversity: channel known at transmitter, Alamouti scheme

o        Moment Generating Functions in Diversity Analysis

  • Multiple Antenna and Space-Time Communications

o        Narrowband MIMO Model

o        Parallel Decomposition of MIMO Channel

o        MIMO Diversity Gain: Beamforming

o        Space-Time Modulation and Coding: ML detection, rank and determinant criteria, space-time trellis and block codes (Alamouti code; orthogonal designs; linear space-time codes; trellis space-time codes; linear interfaces: ZF, MMSE; nonlinear interfaces: ZF-V-BLAST, MMSE-V-BLAST, diagonal BLAST; iterative interface)

o        Frequency-Selective MIMO Communications

o        Smart Antennas

o        MIMO Channel Capacity

  • Multi-Carrier Modulation and OFDM

o        Data Transmission using Multiple Carriers

o        Multicarrier Modulation with Overlapping Subchannels

o        Mitigation of Subcarrier Fading: frequency equalization, precoding, adaptive loading

o        OFDM: generation of subcarriers using the IFFT, guard time and cyclic extension, windowing, choice of OFDM parameters, OFDM signal processing, implementation complexity of OFDM versus single-carrier modulation, OFDM system model, channel modeling for OFDM systems, applications of OFDM (DAB, DVB, WLANs)

o        Vector Coding

o        Challenges in Multicarrier Systems

  • Coding for Wireless Channels

o        Linear Block Codes, Convolutional Codes and Concatenated Codes

o        Turbo Codes and LDPC Codes

o        Coded Modulation, Coding with Interleaving and Unequal Error Protection

  • Adaptive Modulation and Coding

o        Adaptive Techniques

o        Variable-Rate Variable-Power MQAM: adaptive rate and power techniques, channel inversion with fixed rate, discrete-rate adaptation, exact versus approximate bit error probability, channel estimation and error delay

o        Adaptive Coded Modulation

o        Adaptive Techniques in Combined Fast and Slow Fading

  • Ultra Wideband (UWB) Systems

  • Multiuser Systems  and Multiuser Detection (if time allows)

  • Software Defined Radio and Cognitive Radio (if time allows)