I did an MSc in Mobile and Satellite Communications at Surrey University from 9/2001 to 9/2002. After 10 years working in industry as an RF circuit design engineer, I wanted to expand my knowledge and understanding in both breadth and depth, in order to pursue more intellectually rewarding work. The course was challenging, but I was able to achieve a Distinction.
The course is made up of 8 modules (4 in autumn term and 4 in spring term), some with course work but all with exams. The summer term, including the summer holiday period is devoted to carrying out an independent project, writing a dissertation and presenting / defending it. It really is a 12 month solid course with no breaks!
Some modules were core and others were selected from a list of choices. I studied the following:
- Mathematics of Signal Processing
- Telecoms and Packet Networks
- Modulation and Coding
- Mobile and Personal Communications
- Satellite Communications A
- Satellite Communications B
- RF Circuit and Systems
- Antennas and Propagation
- Microwave Engineering (attended for fun!)
My project was called “UMTS versus DVB-S for Satellite Broadcasting” and was supervised by Professor Barry Evans. The project involved generating (in Matlab) and comparing the BER vs EbNo curves for CDMA/QPSK, CDMA/16QAM, CDMA/64QAM with OFDM/QPSK, OFDM/16QAM, OFDM/64QAM with QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM in AWGN, Rician (various K factors) and Rayleigh (narrowband and wideband fading) channels. The resultant BER curves were used in satcom link budgets to compare each scheme’s pros/cons.
The learning process gave me a strong understanding of mobile and satellite communication systems, RF & microwaves, telecommunications, the PHY layer and a good understanding of the whole OSI 7 layer model applied to common protocols such as IP. I enjoyed the course so much that after a year back in industry I applied for a PhD back at Surrey !!