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ZUG4031 – Data Communications

Undergraduate – Module

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


Business, Engineering and Technology


South Africa
On-campus block of classes

  • Semester 1, 2021 (Mainstream Programme)
  • Semester 1, 2022 (Extended Programme)

8 credits, NQF Level 8


The module extends the coverage of Telecommunications Systems and focuses on data transmission. The following topics are covered: digital modulation and demodulation; bandwidth; information rate; constellation diagrams and noise performance; the basics of data compression: Entropy of information, source modelling, origins of redundancy, compressibility and compression to remove redundant information, lossless and lossy compression, statistical methods and dictionary-based methods, examples of lossless compression algorithms – lossless video and audio compression, lossy compression algorithms for different source types, sensitivity of compressed information to errors, effect of compressed information on network traffic patterns; the basics of information integrity: Integrity checking – parity checks, checksums, forward error correction, Hamming distances and codes, Reed-Solomon coding, matching the coding scheme to the channel error characteristics, line codes.


On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

1Apply basic digital modulation and demodulation methods
2Apply spread spectrum modulation and demodulation methods
3Apply constellation diagram to assess the noise performance of various modulation methods
4Apply basic data compression methods
5Apply basic data integrity checking methods


Coursework assessment: 30%
Examination: 70%

Workload requirements

The module equips the student with the fundamentals of data transmission systems in order to be able to analyse, design and assess data transmission networks. There will be a combination of lectures that include interactive elements, tutorials, laboratory practicals and Moodle, for sharing learning aids, to help students test their own knowledge through informal quizzes, and to administer short formal tests. All outcomes will be assessed by means of tutorial work, assignment, class tests and final examination.

Chief examiner(s)





Telecommunications Systems