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Unit information: Broadband Wireless Communications in 2015/16

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Unit name Broadband Wireless Communications
Unit code EENGM4221
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Armour
Open unit status Not open

EENG32500; EENG34200



School/department Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit investigates the challenges inherent in the design of broadband wireless communications systems at Data Link Control (DLC) and Physical (PHY) layers. The solutions offered by current standards are used as case studies to demonstrate the relevant techniques and their limitations.

The unit serves both as an introduction to the details of these standards and an explanation of the design goals they attempt to meet and the wireless communication techniques that they employ to do so. Thus the unit not only answers the question of what techniques are used by modern broadband wireless standards but more importantly why.

The challenges:

Physical and DLC challenges for Broadband Wireless: Fading, Interference, Hidden and Exposed Terminals and the possible absence of central control/centralised communication, high spectral efficiency and provision of QoS. Revision of Multiple Access and Duplexing strategies.

The Solutions (via case studies):

  • Principles of Link Adaptation, ARQ and HARQ.
  • The 802.11 and 802.11e MACs. CSMA/CA. Hidden and Exposed Nodes and RTS/CTS. The poor QoS provision in 802.11 and the improvements in 802.11e. TSPEC.
  • The 802.11a/b/g Physical Layers
  • The Bluetooth MAC and PHY
  • The WiMax MACs and PHYs and DOCSIS support.
  • Single Frequency Networking and Mesh capabilities.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Outline the challenges posed by the design of Physical and Data Link Layer protocols for Broadband Wireless Systems
  2. Distinguish between and implicit strengths and weaknesses of centralised and distributed Medium Access Control protocols and centralised and mesh communications
  3. Explain the merits of Link Adaptation strategies for Broadband Wireless Communications
  4. Describe with the concepts of ARQ and HARQ
  5. Describe the important Physical layer and Data Link Control layer features of current standards for Broadband Wireless, e.g.: 802.11 (WiFi); 802.15 (Bluetooth); 802.16 (WiMax)
  6. Explain the implications of these features in terms of the above issues, illustrating the strengths and limitations of these standards.

Teaching details


Assessment Details

Exam, 2 hours, 100% (All ILOs)

Reading and References

  • A.Ganz, Z.Ganz, K.Wongthatvarawat, ‘Multimedia Wireless Networks: Technologies, Standards and QoS’, Prentice Hall, ISBN:0-13-046099-0
  • M.Gast, ‘802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide,’ O’Reilly, ISBN:0-596-00183-5
  • W.Stallings, ‘Wireless Communications and Networks,’ Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-040864-6
  • A.S. Tanenbaum, ‘Computer Networks (4th Edition),’ Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-0384887