Fundamentals of Digital Communications


Lecture (2 VO)

The lecture is given in weekly sessions of 1:30 hrs. Please find the current schedule on TUG Online.


  • Introduction; Signal properties and classification
  • Frequency domain representation of signals; LTI systems; transfer function and impulse response
  • Fundamentals of signal spaces; signals as vectors; Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization
  • Vectorial representation of digital communications signals; pulse amplitude modulation (PAM)
  • Higher dimensional signals; quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM); carrier modulation
  • Preview to optimum demodulators; Nyquist pulse-shaping
  • Probability; random variables; random processes
  • Correlation demodulator; matched filter demodulator
  • AWGN vector signal model; maximum likelihood and maximum a posteriori detection
  • BER computation
  • Linear filter channels and equalization

Material for the lecture:

Chapter Topics Notes Additional Material
1 Introduction Chapter 1  
2 Signals and Systems

(new!) slides

3 Digital Modulation Chapter 3  
4 Random Variables
and Random Processes
Chapter 4  Formulary
5 Demodulation and Detection Chapter 5


Problem Classes (1 UE)

Supporting problem sets are discussed in the problem classes. The problem classes are held in eight sessions. Grading is based on homework assignments.

Lecture hall: i12 (Inffeldgasse 16b), Monday 12:30-14:00

Date Topics Problem Sets Additional Material
16.10.2017 Signal Spaces  Problems 1 Slides 1 
23.10.2017 Geometric Representation of Signal Waveforms  Problems 2 Slides 2 
6.11.2017 Convolution Integral and Fourier Transform  Problems 3 Slides 3, P3_1.m
13.11.2017 Communications Signals in Signal Spaces  Problems 4 Slides 4, P4_1.m
 20.11.2017 Probability and Random Variables  Problems 5 Slides 5, P5_1.m, P5_2.m, P5_3.m 
8.1.2018  Random Processes  Problems 6 Slides 6, P6_1.m
15.1.2018  Demodulation, MF, Correlation Receiver  Problems 7 Slides 7
29.1.2018  Demodulation, Detection, and Error Probability  Problems 8 Slides 8 


Homework Assignments:

  • The homework assignments and schedule are found in the table below. Please hand in your homework up to the specified due date in our mailbox at Inffeldgasse 16c / ground floor. A map can be found HERE.
  • Grading principles and common mistakes from the last years are discussed in this document (MCM).
  • There will be possibilities where you can ask questions and discuss the homework assignments ~1 week before the due date. These Q/A sessions will be in one of our DSP-Laboratories (IEEG180). The actual dates will be announced in the problem classes (and are shown below).

No. Date Q/A Due Date Topics Problem Set Additional Files
1  7.11.2017


27.11.2017-15:00  Signal Spaces, Convolution Problem Set 1 P1_3.m, P1_4.m 
2  4.12.2017 9.1.2018-16:00  15.1.2018-15:00  Random Variables, Random Process, Signal Constellations, Minimum Distance Problem Set 2   
3  18.1.2018  30.1.2018-16:00  12.2.2018-15:00 Demodulation, Detection

Problem Set 3




Your scores are available HERE. There is an opportunity for discussion of the grading (Einsichtnahme) in room IEEG180 (DSP Labor), Inffeldg. 16, ground floor,  after the correction of each assignment, usually at the Q&A of the following homework.

You can collect your homework in the respective "Einsichtnahme" session.  Additionally they can be collected after the grading has been finalized and will be available at my office (Stefan Hinteregger) (IDEG006).

Achieved Points Grade
87< ... 1
74< ... <=87 2
61< ... <=74 3
48< ... <=61 4
... <=48 5


Basic and advanced books covering parts of the course are:

  • J.G. Proakis and M. Salehi, Communication Systems Engineering, 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall, 2002
  • B. Sklar, Digital Communicatsion: Fundamentals and Applications, 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall, 2001
  • J.R. Barry, E.A. Lee, D.G. Messerschmitt, Digial Communication, 3rd Ed., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004 (more advanced text, good for further study)
  • J.G. Proakis, Digital Communications, 3rd Ed., McGraw-Hill, 1995 (classical text)
  • P. Prandoni, M. Vetterli, Signal Processing for Communications, 1st Ed., EPFL Press, 2008 (available online)

News Group

The news group provided by the ZID can be used to discuss questions concerning the lecture and problem classes of this course. The instructors and the study assistants will be pleased to answer your questions. 


The exam for the lecture usually consists of 3 questions regarding the theoretic part and three more practical examples. Below are two examples of previous exams.

Exam 29.5.2015
Exam 01.12.2015
Exam 20.05.2016
Exam 10.03.2017
Exam 30.06.2017

Permitted material: Table of Fourier transform properties, tabulated Q-function (both are provided), pocket calculator.

Nachrichtentechnik, Labor (2 LU)

Session E of the "Nachrichtentechnik, Labor" deals with a number of topics of this lecture course. Find here the handout for the laboratory exercise (in German). pdf

Education Level: 
Bachelor Level
Master Level