Wireless Communications

Home Admissions Course Guide Wireless Communications

This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.


Wireless Communications

ELEC S311 Wireless Communications is a one-year, 10-credit compulsory higher level course that is part of the BSc/BSc (Hons) in Communications Technology programme and BSc (Hons) in Communications Technology with Management programmes. In addition, this course is suitable as a 'one-off' course for anyone who does not intend to complete an HKMU qualification but wants to study wireless communication theories and systems.

The overall aims of this course are to introduce you to the basic principles and practices of wireless communications, including cellular concepts; mobile radio propagation models; basic communications techniques used to achieve reliable wireless communications; and practical wireless communication systems.

There are no compulsory prerequisites for this course, although prior to commencing this course you are advised to have completed ELEC S211 Fundamentals of Communications Technology or have a basic knowledge of communications technology.


About the course

ELEC S311 Wireless Communications contains eleven units, which are organized into the following three blocks:

  • Block 1: Mobile radio communication characteristics (Units 1-4)
  • Block 2: Techniques used to achieve reliable wireless communications (Units 5-6)
  • Block 3: Current and evolving wireless communication systems (Units 7-11).

Block 1 introduces you to the history of wireless communication systems, the design concepts of cellular systems and mobile radio propagation models.

Block 2 explains basic techniques used to achieve reliable wireless communications, such as modulation, channel coding, equalization and diversity techniques.

Block 3 studies practical wireless communication systems, which include wireless personal area networks (e.g. Bluetooth), wireless local area networks (e.g. IEEE 802.11g), wireless wide area networks (e.g. LMDS), and 1G, 2G, 2.5G and 3G wireless cellular standards. This block also discusses some emerging technologies in the wireless communication industry.

The following table gives you a brief overview of the course's structure and the topics covered in each unit.


Course overview

Block 11Introduction to wireless communication systems and services2Assignment 1
2Design concepts for cellular systems3
3Mobile radio propagation: large-scale models4Assignment 2
4Mobile radio propagation: small-scale models3
Block 25Digital modulation and channel coding techniques for wireless communications4Assignment 3
6Equalization and diversity techniques for wireless communications3
Block 37Wireless local area networks and wireless personal area networks3
8Fixed wireless wide area networks2Assignment 4
91G and 2G mobile communication systems and standards3
102.5G and 3G mobile communication systems and standards3
11Evolving wireless communications technologies2


Course materials include a set textbook, supplementary readings, and Internet-based materials. In order to help you understand key principles and applications, each unit will include worked examples, self-tests and/or activities. Through these examples, self-tests and activities, you will have the opportunity to test your understanding of concepts and solve practical wireless communication problems.

ELEC S311 Wireless Communications covers the fundamental principles and practicalities of wireless communications. It also explains practical wireless communication systems including mobile cellular systems and wireless LANs. We hope that you will enjoy learning about modern communications systems and can apply this course to your professional life.


Course aims

ELEC S311 Wireless Communications aims to:

  1. Develop your knowledge and understanding of the basic principles and practice of wireless communications.
  2. Develop your ability to evaluate cellular systems by using knowledge of frequency reuse, cell coverage, system capacity and outage probability.
  3. Develop your ability to select various techniques for designing reliable systems over wireless communication channels.
  4. Develop your ability to extend services for existing wireless communication systems.
  5. Develop your ability to evaluate different wireless system designs.

Course learning outcomes

After completing the course, you should be able to:

  1. Critically review the history and current development of wireless communication systems and services, both in Hong Kong and other parts of the world.
  2. Apply design concepts and mobile radio propagation models for cellular systems.
  3. Identify and evaluate the performance of digital modulation channel coding, equalization and diversity techniques for wireless communications.
  4. Explain the features of wireless personal area networks (WPANs), wireless local area networks (WLANs) and fixed wireless wide area networks (WWANs).
  5. Compare and evaluate the technological development in the evolution in 1G, 2G, 2.5G and 3G mobile communication systems and standards.
  6. Evaluate various emerging wireless communication technologies.

Since wireless communications is a fast-growing field in the telecommunications industry, we will provide you with up-to-date course materials and will use materials from a variety of sources including: a textbook, journal articles, and online articles from the Internet.


Course materials

In addition to this Course Guide, the course has the following important components.


Study units

There are eleven study units in ELEC S311 Wireless Communications. They are:

Unit 1 Introduction to wireless communication systems and services

Unit 2 Design concepts for cellular systems

Unit 3 Mobile radio propagation: large-scale models

Unit 4 Mobile radio propagation: small-scale models

Unit 5 Digital modulation and channel coding techniques for wireless communications

Unit 6 Equalization and diversity techniques for wireless communications

Unit 7 Wireless local area networks and wireless personal area networks

Unit 8 Fixed wireless wide area networks

Unit 9 1G and 2G mobile communication systems and standards

Unit 10 2.5G and 3G mobile communication systems and standards

Unit 11 Evolving wireless communication technologies

Each unit in this course covers two to four weeks of study time. These are suggested study times and as an experienced distance learner, you may study according to your own study schedule. Since the course structure is designed interdependently, it is recommended that you study the units in sequence. It is most important that you complete the self-tests and assignments successfully and on time.


Set textbook

There is one textbook for ELEC S311 Wireless Communications and you are required to purchase this book:

Rappaport, T S (2002) Wireless Communications: Principles & Practice, 2nd edn, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


Supplementary readings

It is also our intention to make the best use of available reading materials on the Internet. You will be supplied with the necessary Web addresses and will access the readings through your own personal computer. There may be a small number of articles extracted from magazines and journals (these will be included at the backs of study units), and diagrams and illustrations might be extracted from other textbooks.


Assignment File

Assignment details for this course are contained in the Assignment File which is available for download from the ELEC S311 Wireless Communications course website on the OLE online platform. You are required to complete your assignments and send them, together with a completed assignment form, to your tutor before the due dates provided in the Assignment File. It should be noted that no hardcopy of the assignment questions will be sent to you. You are required to download the assignment questions from the OLE by yourself. Assignment questions will be available for download about four weeks before the due dates.


Presentation Schedule

The Presentation Schedule for ELEC S311 Wireless Communications is available for download from the OLE. It will give you the dates for completing assignments and attending tutorials and surgeries.



You are required to have access to a PC with an Internet connection. You may also use the PCs in the HKMU PC Laboratory, many of which have access to the Internet.



This course is designed to assist you in moving easily towards the stated learning outcomes, through the required readings, the assignments and the examination. You will be expected to apply concepts and techniques acquired during the course in tackling the assignments and examination. You must submit assignments to your tutor for formal assessment in accordance with the due dates stated in the Assignment File. The self-tests and activities are not part of the formal assessment, but it is very important that you should complete them as you work through the units.


Self-assessment strategies

Self-tests and activities are provided throughout each unit. The questions stated in the self-tests relate to key points and course learning outcomes.

Course assessment will consist of continuous assessment (assignments) and a written examination.



There are four assignments, which will be worth 50% of the overall course score for ELEC S311. The four assignments will count toward the overall continuous assignment score; therefore each assignment will count for 12.5% of the total course score.


Final examination

The final examination for ELEC S311 will be three hours long. The examination is worth 50% of the total course score and will be in closed-book written form.

Details of the course assessment are summarized in the following table.


Assessment typeMarks
Assignment 112.5%
Assignment 212.5%
Assignment 312.5%
Assignment 412.5%
Total(4 x 12.5%) + 50% = 100%

To fully understand the range of materials that will be provided in this course, you should read each study unit, read the textbook and articles from the Internet following the instructions in the study unit, and make a summary of what you have learned. It is highly recommended that you do all the self-tests and assignments. You are also encouraged to prepare questions for discussion at tutorials and surgeries. There may be some optional readings. These optional readings are for general knowledge and reference. Although they are not directly related to the main themes of this course, you may find that they are useful for your general reference and for solving real-life professional problems.


Student support

Online learning support

The Online Learning Environment (OLE) is mandatory in this course. Useful course information, assignments, discussion board, and Presentation Schedule are available through the OLE.


Direct support through personal contact

The course offers telephone tutoring and tutorial support to students. Your tutor will mark and comment on your assignments, keep a close watch on your progress and any difficulties you might encounter, and give you help during the course. Assignment questions will be available for download from the OLE about four weeks before the due dates. You are required to submit your assignments in accordance with the Presentation Schedule provided in the course package. The marked assignments will be returned to you as soon as possible.

You are encouraged to contact your tutor by telephone, email or discussion forum if you need help -- for example, if you:

  • do not understand any part of the study units or the assigned readings
  • have any difficulty with self-test exercises
  • have a question or problem with assignments, with tutor's comments or with the grading of an assignment.

Tutorials and surgeries

There will be ten two-hour tutorials and twelve two-hour surgeries in ELEC S311. In addition, you can consult your tutor by electronic mail or discussion forum via the OLE throughout the course.

You are strongly recommended to attend tutorials. Tutorials are not lectures and are not compulsory, but are intended to facilitate group discussion and input. They will provide considerable assistance in the study of the course and improve your chances of gaining higher marks. In addition, tutorials bring you into contact with other students who are studying through Hong Kong Metropolitan University.

ELEC S311 tutorials and surgeries will be video recorded and are available for playback on the OLE.

ELEC S311 Wireless Communications is intended to develop your understanding of wireless communication principles and practices, knowledge of cellular mobile radio communications and the techniques for outlining a wireless system appropriate for a particular application. You will need to read widely and study across a wide range of applications. You should try your best to put the knowledge and techniques learned into practice and use them in your career.


A short note about the developers of this course

Ir Vera Chung (Units 1 and 7–10)

Vera Chung graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with BEng (Hons) degree in Electronic Engineering in 1991 and gained her MPhil in 1995. She joined Hutchison Telecom as a System Engineer in the same year and was responsible for supporting AMPS, TACS and CDMA-IS95 networks.

Apart from cellular network experience, Vera has been engaged in other wireless networks, such as paging networks and trunked radio networks. Currently she is working on TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA), a digital trunked radio network, at Nokia. Vera is involved in deploying the first TETRA network in the Asia Pacific Region.

Vera is a corporate member of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, a chartered engineer of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and a chartered professional engineer of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.


Dr Alfred Tan (Unit 2)

Alfred Tan graduated from the Edith Cowan University in Western Australia with a BEng (Comp Sys) degree with first class honours, was given the University Medal in 1995, and obtained his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Western Australia in 1999.

He joined the Department of Information Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1999 as Assistant Professor. He is also currently lecturing on a part-time basis with HKU SPACE.

He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in wireless communications and a graduate textbook on wireless video communication systems. Dr Tan also has ten wireless technologies pending patents on file with USPTO.

Since July 2000 Dr Tan has led a startup research Hong Kong company GO-CDMA Limited, which he also founded, developing intellectual properties on non-linear CDMA cellular systems.


Dr H K Lau (Units 3–6 and 11)

Dr H K Lau received a BEng (Hons) Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in 1990, an MPhil Degree in Electronic Engineering from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1993, and a PhD Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Hong Kong in 1998. Dr Lau joined Hong Kong Metropolitan University in July 1998, and is currently Associate Professor and Programme Leader (Testing and Certification) in the School of Science and Technology. He is now responsible for the development of programmes and courses in the areas of testing and certification. Prior to joining Hong Kong Metropolitan University, Dr Lau was a lecturer at the Hong Kong Technical College (Tsing Yi) from September 1995 to July 1998. As a faculty member at the Hong Kong Technical College, he was responsible for teaching telecommunications subjects and participated in a number of industrial consultancy projects in the field of wireless communications. Before specializing in the field of mobile communications, he was a QA engineer at ASTEC for one year and was responsible for R&D activities related to switched-mode power supply. Dr Lau is the first-named author of more than 30 technical papers in the field of mobile communications and satellite communications. His paper entitled 'Performances of Fade-Compensated Digital Signals in Mobile Radio Channels' was awarded 'Centres Premium' (Champion) for the best paper presented at the 1996 IEE Hong Kong (Younger Members' Section) Paper Contest. His current research interests include high-speed personal area networks and multipath-fading compensation techniques. Dr Lau is a member of the IET, the IEEE Communications Society and the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society.