Digital Communication


Stanford School of Engineering



This is an advanced course on the principles and techniques underlying all modern high-capacity communication systems in various media, including wireless, wireline and optical fiber. Students will learn about modulation and detection methods for maximizing energy efficiency and spectral efficiency, and about high-speed transmission on bandwidth-limiting media using single-carrier or multi-carrier modulation techniques. These include the Viterbi algorithm, and digital signal processing methods such as adaptive equalization and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing. Next-generation wireless, wireline and optical systems will serve as examples of how these methods are applied. The course teaches participants how to apply these methods in engineering to the communication systems of the future.

This is an advanced course for engineers who understand fundamentals of signal processing, linear systems, probability and random processes and wish to gain a deep understanding of communication methods and how to analyze and apply them in high-performance systems.


Signal Processing and Linear Systems II (Stanford Course EE102B), Introduction to Statistical Signal Processing (Stanford Course EE278), or equivalents.

Topics include

  • Modulation methods and metrics for energy efficiency and spectral efficiency.
  • Detection methods: maximum likelihood, maximum a posteriori probability.
  • Error probability analysis of modulation and detection methods.
  • Synchronization methods and noncoherent detection.
  • Bandwidth-limited channels and intersymbol interference.
  • Single-carrier transmission: Viterbi equalization, adaptive equalization.
  • Multi-carrier transmission: orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing.
  • Comparison of single-carrier and multi-carrier methods.