Academic year 2015-16

Principles of Telecommunication

Degree: Code: Type:
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science 21463 Optional subject
Bachelor's Degree in Telematics Engineering 21300 Compulsory subject, 1st year
Bachelor's Degree in Audiovisual Systems Engineering 22649 Optional subject


ECTS credits: 4 Workload: 100 hours Trimester: 1st


Department: Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies
Coordinator: Alfonso Martínez
Teaching staff:

Alfonso Martinez (theory and seminars), Marta Núñez (seminars), Laura Becerra (labs)



Building: Communication campus - Poblenou



The course Principles of Telecommunications (Principis de Telecomunicació, 21300) is taught in the first term of the academic year. It is compulsory for students in the first year of the Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University Pompeu Fabra. It consists of 4 ECTS credits.

This course presents to the student an overview of the different parts of a telecommunication system, introducing vocabulary and concepts that will be used throughout their academic and professional life. In later years, students will study various courses (among others, Signals and Systems, Data Transmission and Coding, Communication Systems, Transmission and Propagation, and Electronic Circuits) which study each of the parts a telecommunications system separately.



This is an introductory course, where students are assumed to be not particularly related to telecommunication technologies. It does assume mathematical knowledge at pre-university level.


Associated competences

Generic skillsSpecific skills


Instrumental (INS)

1. Capacity for analysis and synthesis.

2. Ability to apply knowledge to analyze situations and solve problems.

3. Ability to communicate orally and written in Catalan and Spanish, both in front of audiences expert and amateurs.

Interpersonal (INT)

4. Ability to work in a team.

5. Leadership, coordination and initiative.

6. Critical thinking.

General (SIS)

7. Ability to apply knowledge with flexibility and creativity, adapting to new contexts and situations.

8. Ability to progress in the process of training and learning independently and continuously.

9. Drive for quality.


1. Ability to analyze and specify the basic parameters of a communication system.

2. Acquisition of basic terminology of communication systems.

3. Ability to define the main telecommunications services.

4. Ability to understand the importance of probability theory in the analysis of communications systems from the point of view of the signal space, channel impairments and noise.

5. Have a general perspective on the main communications technologies.

6. Ability to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various alternative analog and digital modulation systems.

7. Ability to understand mechanisms for detection and correction of errors.

8. Ability to understand the concept and mechanisms of signal compression.

9. Ability to understand the need for encryption and to know the standard encryption schemes.

10. Ability to recognize the main multiplexing techniques.



The course will be graded by continous assesment to properly monitor students' progress.

Grading consists of several parts:

Theory: Grading this part is determined by two components: the delivery (individually or in groups of two) of the solution of some exercises made ​​during the lecutres; multiple-choice tests; and a short 5-minute lecture before the classroom on one of the course subjects. The tests will be conducted through the platform Moodle classroom for the course within the time schedule established. All controls and all problems equal weight give 12% of the final grade; in turn, the oral presentation gives 3% of the grade. Overall, this part (T) represents 15 % of the grade for the course and is not recoverable.

Recitations: Grading of this part is given by presentation and delivery of individual exercises and problems corresponding to the lists worked at seminar classes (5%). Active participation of students in the seminar sessions represents 10% of the final grade. In total, this part (P) represents 15% of the course grade and is not recoverable.

Laboratory: Grading of this part is determined by completion and delivery (through Moodle-Aula Global) of the problems sets in the laboratory within the set deadlines. This is done in pairs of students. This part (L) represents 15 % of the grade for the course and is not recoverable.

Control: On Week 5 we will have a mid-term exam to apply the concepts and skills acquired in the course. This part (C) represents 15% of the grade for the course.

Final exam: At the end of the term, we will have an exam where students have to show their skill in applying the concepts acquired in the course. This part (E) represents 40% of the grade for the course and the minimum grade needed to pass is 4.

The Final grade (NF) is calculated using T, L, P, C and E: 15%T + 15%P + 15%L + 15%C + 40%E. In order to pass, E has to exceed 4 and NF exceed 5.

If the student does not pass the course, he can retake the exam in July (J). In this case, the exam has a weight of 60% and the weighting of the different parts changes. The final grade is calculated using the formula 7.5%T + 7.5%P + 15%L + 10%C + 60%J and in order to pass the course, J must exceed 4 and the final grade exceed 5.



T0 Introduction to Telecommunications
T1 Basic concepts of probability
T2 Introduction to signals
T3 Coding and modulation
T4 Detection and correction of errors
T5 Compression of information
T6 Basics of cryptography: encryption of information
T7 Resource sharing: multiplexing



Each subject (T1-T7) starts with one or more theory lectures for students to acquire the necessary knowledge of the topic. This activity is done in groups of 50-70 students in the classroom. Occasionally, students will read a document that the teacher deems appropriate in order to successfully complete the learning process. The document will be accessible through the classroom Moodle course.

The teacher may also request the delivery (individually or in groups of two) of the solution of some exercises made ​​during the theory lecture.
In addition, once the subject is completed, students must solve a multiple-choice test through the classroom Moodle course. Finally, students will deliver a short lecture (about 5 minutes) on one of the course subjects.

At seminars the student must show his ability to analyze and synthesize by solving a list of problems that will be distributed before the sessions through Moodle. The sessions are conducted in groups of 12-20 students and last one hour. These one-hour. Students may be called to the board to explain their chosen solution to other students and to the teacher.
In addition, the teacher may request delivery (individually) of the solution to some exercises (included in the list submitted to the meeting or presented at the seminar itself).

These sessions are complemented by laboratory sessions, where students, using appropriate software for the course, carry out basic simulations to practice and reinforce the theoretical concepts presented in lectures and seminars. Each lab session lasts 2 hours and is held under the supervision of the teacher. In groups of two, students have to show their ability to implement and analyze the theoretical concepts explained in the course by means of simulations. A report with the completed work must be submitted within the deadline through Moodle.

Attendance to the seminars and laboratory sessions is compulsory for monitoring continuous assessment. Student must sign an attendance list. In case there is a justifiable cause for not attending, the student must submit the corresponding document.

The workload of the course is 4 ECTS credits (100 hours), distributed between 36 hours at the classroom (theory 22, 8 workshops and 6 practices) and 64 hours of individual work. Of these, around 12 hours are needed to prepare the practical and complete the corresponding report and about 12 hours are needed to prepare the seminar problems. The remaining 40 hours are distributed between material preparation for the lectures, completing the questionnaires, and personal study of the student.


 In-class activityOut-of-class activityAssessment activity
TopicFull groupMedium groupSmall group  




















3 3 1,5 14 1
 T4 2   1 6  
 T5 3   1 6  
 T6     1 6 2
 T7 3   1 6  










Basic bibliography

-- Data and Computer Communications, William Stallings.

-- Data Communications and Networking, Behrouz Forouzan.

-- Señales. La Ciencia de las Telecomunicaciones, J. R . Pierce, A. M. Noll, Reverté, 1995.

-- Introduction to Probability, Dimitri Bertsekas, John Tsitsiklis.

-- Information Science, David G. Luenberger,

-- A Student's Guide to Coding and Information Theory, Stefan M. Moser, Po-Ning Chen, 2012.

Other teaching material

A the course Moodle classroom, students may get the lecture notes for the theory sessions and the corresponending problem sets for the seminars.