Programme structure

Semester 1
Communication Networks
Digital Communication Systems
Signal Processing - Principles and Applications
Semester 2

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Data Processing and Modelling
Mobile Communication Systems
Optical Communications
RF Circuits and Subsystems
Wireless Networks and Protocols
Thesis Workplan

Semester 1

Communication Networks

Lecturers: Rui Aguiar (coordinator), Manuel Ricardo, Bruno Dias

Overview: The main objective of this course is to present the fundamentals of modern telecommunications systems and simultaneously enable students to consolidate and integrate previously acquired knowledge in this area. The course will mainly focus on two subjects: the network basic mechanisms and the TCP/IP architecture. The course will rely on a strong practical component that will enable students to complement their theoretical knowledge with a set of guided experiments that will embrace the different layers and protocols of the TCP/IP architecture. The course will include theoretical and laboratorial classes. The theoretical component will be organized as a set of modules, each one dedicated to a different topic. Laboratorial classes will be devoted to TCP/IP networks and will consist on a set of guided experiments that will enable students to consolidate their knowledge on the different protocols and applications of the TCP/IP architecture.

Aims: In the end of the course, students are expected to understand the basic mechanisms of communication networks, understand the functional details of each layer of the TCP/IP architecture and their associated protocols and technologies and to have a general understanding about the different types of networks, including their goals, architectures and the most important technologies that have been proposed to deploy them.


1. Foundations of Telecommunications Networks

2. Access Networks & Mobile Communications

3. General Network Architectures & Mechanisms

4. Switching & Routing Methodologies

5. TCP/IP Communication Model

6. Media Access & The IP Core Network

7. Internet Application Services

Digital Communication Systems

Lecturers: Manuel Violas (coordinator), Artur Moura, José M. Cabral

Overview: Communication can be defined as the imparting or exchange of information. Telecommunication, which is more narrowly the topic of this book, refers to communication over a distance greater than would normally be possible without artificial aids. In the present day such aids are invariably electrical, electronic or optical and communication takes place by passing signals over wires, through optical fibres or by wireless transmission through space using electromagnetic waves. Modern living demands that we have access to a reliable, economical and efficient means of communication. We use communication systems, particularly the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its extension into cellular systems to contact people all around the world. Telephony is an example of point-to-point communication and normally involves a two-way flow of information. Another type of communication, which (traditionally) involves only one-way information flow, is broadcast radio and television. In these systems information is transmitted from one location but is received at many locations using many independent receivers. This is an example of point-to-multipoint communication. Communication systems are now very widely applied. Navigation systems, for example, pass signals between a transmitter and a receiver in order to determine the location of a vehicle, or to guide and control its movement. Signalling systems for tracked vehicles, such as trains, are also simple communication systems.

Aims: The objective of the course is to expose the students to research topics in relevant areas of digital communications, covering both theoretical and applied issues of recognized importance in contemporary communications. The course is not intended as an exhaustive survey of the area. On one hand, it revisits or complements the student’s background in digital communications. On the other hand, it brings to the student’s attention some of the challenges and open issues of the field that are currently under investigation.


1. Pulse Modulation: Sampling Process, Pulse-Amplitude Modulation, Other forms of Pulse Modulation, Quantization Process, Pulse-Code Modulation, Time-Division Multiplexing, Delta Modulation and Differential Pulse-Code Modulation.

2. Baseband Pulse Transmission: Matched Filter, Error Rate Due to Noise, Intersymbol Interference, Nyquist’s Criterion for Distortionless Baseband Binary Transmission, Correlative-Level Coding and Adaptive Equalization.

3. Passband Digital Transmission: Geometric Representation of Signals, Coherent Detection of Signals in Noise, Correlation Receiver, Probability of Error. Passband Transmission Model, Coherent Phase-Shift Keying, Hybrid Amplitude/Phase Modulation Schemes, Coherent Frequency-Shift Keying, Detection of Signals with Unknown Phase, Noncoherent Orthogonal Modulation, Noncoherent Binary Frequency-Shift Keying, Differential Phase-Shift Keying and Comparison of Digital Modulation Schemes Using a Single Carrier.

4. Basic coding techniques: error detection and error correction; Block codes; Hamming codes; Cyclic codes; Convolutional codes; Interleaving.

5. Multicarrier Systems: Signalling with multicarrier. The Wireless channel characterization. Multichannel modulation with orthogonal pulses. OFDM modulation and synchronization.

6. Spread Spectrum: Direct Sequence Spread-Spectrum and Frequency Hoping Spread Spectrum.

7. Software Defined Radio: The concept. The ideal SDR. Front-ends for SDR receivers. SDR Implementations. Cognitive Radios. The Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR).

Signal Processing - Principles and Applications

Lecturers: José Vieira (coordinator), Paulo Jorge Ferreira, Aníbal Ferreira

Overview: The objectives of this course are twofold. On one hand a review is made of the basic deterministic and stochastic signal processing concepts and techniques which are important for the representation, analysis, and design of discrete time signals and systems. The main purpose of this review is to harmonize the background of the students on core signal processing topics. On the other hand, more advanced topics including power spectral estimation, inverse problems, chaotic signals and systems and combinatorial optimization, are also discussed that relate to important application areas including signal modelling, estimation and detection, and broadband multimedia coding and communication. Upon successful conclusion of this course, students will be able identify and apply relevant signal processing concepts, techniques, tools and systems in different technological contexts addressing e.g. signal analysis and modelling, coding and modulation.


  • Familiarity with the basic concepts and tools for deterministic and stochastic signal processing.

  • Understanding of the fundamentals of power spectrum estimation.

  • Exploration of new concepts and theories, namely signals that are neither deterministic nor stochastic.

  • Ability to extract important information from technical literature. Ability to think, write and talk (includes presentation skills). 


1. Background review: uniform sampling and reconstruction; the Z transform; LTI systems in the frequency domain; the DFT and the FFT; fundamentals of Multirate Processing.

2. Random Processes: ensemble averages; autocorrelation of the sum of uncorrelated random processes; stationary processes; autocorrelation and auto covariance matrices; linear transformation of random vectors; innovations representations of random vectors; ergodicity.

3. Spectrum Estimation: introduction; non-parametric methods; minimum-variance spectrum estimation; maximum entropy spectrum estimation; parametric methods; frequency estimation; principal components spectrum estimation.

4. Signals that are neither deterministic nor stochastic: deterministic and unpredictable signals; digital fountains; combinatorial optimization and an introduction to the travelling salesman problem.


Semester 2

(see Optional Learning Units)