ECE 5664 Cellular Communication Systems | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Fundamental theory, design tradeoffs and practical issues of high capacity wireless communications systems. Trunking, RF propagation, frequency reuse, and legacy and emerging radio communications systems, including Long Term Evolution (LTE) cellular networks.

Why take this course?

The wireless telecommunications industry has grown tremendously since the first cellular system was deployed in 1983. Digital techniques were introduced in 1993 to accommodate the huge boom in U.S. subscribers of portable telephone service in the mid 1990's. The same growth has occurred in Europe and Japan. Systems evolved from providing voice (2G) to all-IP data service (4G), creating a need for researchers and engineers with knowledge about cellular radio systems and digital wireless communication techniques. Wireless systems that provide personal and machine-to-machine communication constitutes a major research area of vital importance. This course will provide important knowledge to graduate students who wish to work in wireless communications, or who wish to enter the telecommunications industry. The course supplements the department research in wireless communications.

Learning Objectives

  • Design and compare different types of mobile, multi-user systems
  • Compare traditional and emerging cellular communication system architectures in terms of their components, interfaces, and interactions
  • Evaluate the technical issues related to wireless communication systems, including coverage distances, carrier to interference analysis, trunking efficiency, and modulation and multiple access tradeoffs in existing and future standards.
  • Apply radio resource management principles to evaluate existing cellular communication systems in terms of capacity and spectral efficiency and to design new systems
  • Interpret the technical strategies in the design of LTE and debate technical features of emerging cellular communication systems

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

1. Introduction to cellular communications and review of elements of a digital communication system 15%
2. Radio frequency propagation fundamentals, multiple access techniques, frequency reuse, radio resource management 10%
3. Cellular infrastructure design equations and tradeoffs, performance metrics 10%
4. Digital mobile communications: Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and its evolution 15%
5. 3G fundamental technologies and systems 10%
6. 4G fundamental technologies 10%
7. Long Term Evolution (LTE) Case Study 15%
8. LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) Case Study 10%
9. Outlook for the future 5%