ECE4043 - Optical communications - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Tom Drummond


Dr Bill Corcoran (Clayton)
Dr Bakaul Masuduzzaman (Malaysia)

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


(ECE3121 or PHS2062 or ECE2021 or PHS2022) and (ECE3141 or ECE2041Not offered in 2018)


ECE4405, ECE5043, ECE5405


Students will study the characteristics of key components that make up optical communications systems including: lasers and advanced lightwave sources and direct modulation, optical modulators, optical fibres, optical amplifiers, filters and multiplexers, optical receivers and associated electronics. Secondly, students will use this knowledge to analyse and design optical communications systems. Examples will include local-area networks, metropolitan area networks, long-haul links and transcontinental networks.


At the successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Describe the underlying physical principles of optical subsystems, and apply this understanding to predict and quantify the effect on optical fibre communication system performance.
  2. Generate and analyse methods for increasing the data bandwidth of optical systems.
  3. Quantify the performance of optical components within optical systems, and design systems to mitigate the effects of the performance constraints from components.
  4. Simulate and predict the interactions of components, and both quantify and reflect upon their impact on performance metrics.
  5. Research and appraise state-of-the-art optical technologies, and justify their incorporation into optical communications links for short-, medium- and long-haul applications.


Continuous assessment: 40%

Examination (2 hours): 60%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component (assignments, tests, mid-semester exams, laboratory reports) and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 3 hours laboratory and practice classes and 6 hours of private study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study