Course Detailed Information

Course Listing & Schedule

Level Course Number Course Name Section Name
Graduate 16:332:559 Advanced Topics in Communications Engineering SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO HANDS-ON APPROACH


Students are assumed to have some prior coursework in Basic Probability, and Digital Signal Processing.
Knowledge of Digital Communications or NI LabVIEW is not assumed, but would be helpful. Training materials and other helpful resources will be provided. Grading will be based on your understanding of the algorithms and techniques, not your LabVIEW expertise.
Programming experience Could also be helpful, but given the characteristics of NI LabVIEW it is not a requirement for the course.

Students that are unfamiliar with any of the prerequisites should contact the instructor prior to registering for the course.


The course teaches Digital Wireless Communications, not only from a theoretical perspective, but also through a hands-on method that is meant to prepare students for real world application. Hands-on learning is done utilizing Software-Defined Radios (SDR). The Digital Communications Lab is equipped with National Instruments USRP SDRs that allow students to freely design, implement, test and verify fundamental RF processes and algorithms and to construct a real working communications system from end to end.

The lab work completed in the course increases in complexity as the theoretical portion of the course advances. Lab work begins with simple single-carrier modulation and ends with multi-carrier OFDM, covering all of the course topics along the way. The team final project focuses on various topics and areas of wireless communication (see the Projects page).


The following topics are covered during the duration of the course:

Format and Grading

The course is split each week between Lectures (theory) and Lab Work (hands-on design and implementation). Graded coursework consists of:

Textbook and Materials

Primary Textbook: "Software Receiver Design: Build Your Own Digital Communication System in Five Easy Steps" by Richard Johnson Jr., William A. Sethares & Andrew G. Klein.

Additional material is provided during the laboratory classes.