Taught course

Wireless Communications

Queen's University Belfast · School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Entry requirements

Full details can be found on the Queen's University website at http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/StudyatQueens/Coursefinder


Months of entry


Course content

Programme Content

This MSc programme consists of a practical project of a research nature (60 CATS points) plus six modules (120 CATS points), selected from the list below, to include the three compulsory modules, which will provide students with knowledge in the core area of wireless communications, while the optional modules provide complementary knowledge in cutting-edge technology such as high frequency, network security, smart grids, etc.

Compulsory modules

Wireless Communication Systems
This module builds upon prior study of communication fundamentals in the area of signal processing and digital communications. It will expose students to advanced concepts and techniques used in modern wireless communications. It will emphasise the design challenges, trends and demands of the next generation wireless systems. The module will also focus on the physical layer characteristics of new mobile communication terminals such as 4G handsets. Topics include:
- Cellular systems
- Spectrum management
- Propagation modelling and co-channel interference
- Self-interference
- Multiuser systems (multiple access)
- Multiuser diversity techniques
- Multiple antenna techniques (eg maximal ratio combining, MIMO techniques)
- Multicarrier communications (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing)
- Overview of the next generation wireless systems such as long-term evolution (LTE-A) and cognitive radio techniques

Wireless Sensor Systems
This module includes :
- Introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks, their capabilities and applications
- WSN application aspects including collaborative sensing and aggregation, real-time localisation
- Hardware platforms and operating systems for WSN
- Communications protocols for WSN, mac-layer and routing protocols and standards
- Energy aware operation, power management and energy harvesting, security, time synchronisation
- Internet of Things (IoT) concept
- The Cloud in an IoT context
- Other technologies and concepts such as NFC, M2M

Digital Signal Processing
This module includes:
- Spectral representation, linear systems, Fourier series, Fourier and Laplace transform
- Convolution, impulse response, transfer functions
- Sampled data, sampling theorem, spectral aliasing
- Analogue filter design, Butterworth and Chebyshev designs
- Infinite impulse response (IIR) filters
- Finite impulse response (FIR) filters, truncation and windowing
- Decimation, interpolation, multi-rate processing.
- Discrete Fourier transform (DFT), Fast Fourier transform (FFT), spectral analysis
- Fast convolution, overlap-add and overlap-save.
- Random processes, estimation theory, the Wiener filter,
- Adaptive algorithms, recursive least squares, stochastic gradient algorithms

Research Project
The research project allows students the opportunity to demonstrate the skills acquired through the other modules on the programme. Students will gain experience in the use of appropriate tools and literature to support the research project in wireless communication technology.

Optional Modules

High Frequency Communication Design Techniques
This module covers the principal aspects of sub-assembly design from specification through to individual component compatibility, interconnection and sub-system functional block design. Major emphasis is placed on the basic concepts underlying microwave device and antenna design, and wave propagation. Application of the theoretical principles to practical designs is illustrated with examples of specific devices. It focuses primarily on the basic properties of microwave circuits and techniques employed for their design, including the following main topics:
- Noise Theory
- Non Linear Circuits and Systems Qualifications
- Mixer Fundamentals
- Antenna and Free Space Techniques
- Microwave Circuit Characterisation and Matching
- Microwave Network Analysis
- Amplifier Design

Digital System Design
This module includes:
- Methods for efficient design, test and implementation of digital functions
- Hardware Description language (VHDL)
- System level design issues
- Preview of digital design techniques; use of EXOR gates, Programmable Logic Devices and Field Programmable Gate Arrays
- Top-Down design
- Synchronous and asynchronous sequential logic design
- State Machine Design using hardware description Language
- Combinational and sequential circuit timing analysis
- Circuit timing verification
- Testability of digital circuits
- Coursework assignments

Computer Architecture and Organisation
- Von Neumann processors
- Pipelined processors; scheduling
- Virtual memory
- Parallel systems
- RISC machines
- Microprocessor design using VDHL

Network Security and Monitoring
This module includes:
- Network fundamentals, OSI model, TCP/IP, network protocols
- Anatomy of an attack
- Exfiltration and covert communications
- Access control and firewalls
- Secure network architectures
- Packet and flow analysis
- Intrusion prevention and detection
- Network analysis tools
- Emerging topics in network security

Smart Grids
This module includes:
- Principles of substation automation, wide area monitoring, protection and control systems
- Delivery technologies, wind and distributed generation integration
- Digital monitoring and measurement of power system parameters
- Phasor measurement, data communications and cybersecurity approaches
- Power quality assessment, measurement and specification of solutions
- Network interoperability, Smart Meters and relevant standards
- Smart Grid design and deployment for generation, transmission and distribution systems
- Market liberalisation, demand side management and economic power system loading

In any year further specialist topics may be available for selection or listed topics may not be offered.

Information for international students

Full details can be found on the Queen's University website at http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/StudyatQueens/Coursefinder

Fees and funding

Applicants should refer to the relevant School's website for information. Details may be found at http://www.qub.ac.uk/SchoolsDepartments

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

The Programme Director