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ENEE490 Physical Principles of Wireless Communications

Course Description: This course is intended to give the student an overall understanding of the physical layer in communication systems and to allow him or her to make first-cut designs. The classical electromagnetism topics of antennas and propagation are applied to modern systems. Major topics covered include noise sources, antennas, antenna arrays, statistical treatment of wave propagation in an urban environment, cell phones, SATCOM, GPS, and Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)

Prerequisite(s): ENEE 381


Course Objectives:

  • Achieve understanding of how Maxwell’s equations, quantum mechanics, general relativity and statistical analysis are basic to understanding the operation of the physical layer in modern communication systems
  • Achieve ability to layout a cell-phone systems for an urban area
  • Achieve ability to analyze and design antennas and antenna arrays
  • Achieve working knowledge of electromagnetic wave propagation models including Friis free space model, the plane earth model and statistical models for propagation in urban areas
  • Achieve working knowledge of satellite orbit physics including effect of gravity on clocks in GPS satellites

Topics Covered:

  • History of wireless communications
  • Modern wireless systems including multiple access techniques
  • Basic noise concepts, noise sources, noise in specific  systems
  • Radiation from a Hertzian dipole antenna and a half-wave dipole antenna
  • Antenna effective area and aperture antennas
  • Co-linear antenna arrays, array directivity
  • Microstrip patch antennas
  • Some elementary EM wave propagation models
  • Diffraction by multiple obstructions
  • Models of wave propagation in an urban environment
  • Shadowing and statistical design of a cell phone system
  • Multipath interference and fast fading
  • Wireless LANs
  • Tropospheric refraction and ionospheric reflection
  • SATCOM fundamentals
  • Signal attenuation by atmospheric gases and rain
  • Noise in SATCOM and design of GEO SATCOM system
  • MEO satellites and GPS systems
  • LEO SATCOM systems