Wireless Systems Master of Science Track

University of Colorado, Boulder

Wireless systems are built through RF design, software, system integration and testing, and system engineering and management. These tasks require a broad understanding of the hardware, software, and physics that determine the success and failure of wireless systems.

The wireless system track defines a set of courses that would give a solid background in wireless system design. It consists of courses from ITP, ECE, and CS and is designed so that an ITP or ECE MS student could follow the track. Many of these courses are offered though distance learning. ECE and ITP offer distance learning MS degrees. The track consists of five courses plus electives:

Course 1: Standards/Regulatory Landscape
Wireless systems live within standards and regulatory constraints. Often these constraints dominate technical issues and need to be understood by a good wireless system engineer. Take one of:
  • TLEN 5106 International Telecommunications Strategy
  • TLEN 5190 Telecom Standards
  • TLEN 5240 Law for the Information Age

Course 2: Wireless Systems
A wireless system engineer needs to understand the relationship between the radio environment and the different radio system elements. An understanding of protocols such as GSM and IS-95 are also important. Take one of:
  • TLEN 5510 Wireless Communication
  • ECEN 5032 Wireless Communication System Design

Course 3: Networking
Within a wireless system, the radio portion is only one piece of the communication. Much of the system complexity is embedded in the networking that connects the radio links. Take one of:
  • TLEN 5330 Data Communications 1
  • ECEN 5032 Communication Networks
  • CSCI 5273 Network Systems

Course 4: Software
Modern wireless communications systems are built as large software projects. Take one of:
  • ECEN 5623 Real-Time Embedded Systems
  • CSCI 5673 Distributed Systems
  • CSCI 5817 Database Systems
  • CSCI 5828 Foundations of Software Engineering
  • TLEN 5834 Network Programming

Course 5: Focus Course
The wireless system engineer should understand in detail at least one aspect of the system; either propagation, antennas, radio front ends, modulation, network systems, signaling protocols, or traffic engineering. Take one of:
  • ECEN 5254 Radar and Remote Sensing
  • ECEN 5264 Propagation Effects on Satellite Communication
  • ECEN 5124 Computer Aided Microwave Antenna Design
  • ECEN 5154 Computational Electromagnetics
  • ECEN 5692 Principles of Digital Communication
  • TLEN 5400 Traffic and Queueing Theory
  • TLEN 5460 Telecom Systems Lab
  • TLEN 5834 Signaling Protocols

Students are encouraged to take additional courses from the above lists. Depending on whether you are in ECE or ITP you can fill out your degree with courses from the following lists:

Specialized courses on wireless systems:
  • TLEN 5350 Satellite Communication
  • TLEN 5830 Wireless LANs/Advanced Wireless
  • CSCI 7143 Mobile Computing/Sensor Networks
  • ASEN 5190 GPS Technology
Courses on telecom economics and business:
  • TLEN 5010 Telecom Finance 1
  • TLEN 5130 Telecom Business Strategy
  • TLEN 5839 Telecom Finance 2
  • TLEN 5836 Management of Information Technology
Courses on telephone networking:
  • TLEN 5430 Data Communications 2
  • TLEN 5440 Telecom Multimedia
  • TLEN 5440 Packet Telephony and Multimedia Communication
  • TLEN 5834 Network Programming
Courses on information theory, modulation, signal processing:
  • ECEN 5002 DSP Lab
  • ECEN 5012 Sources Coding
  • ECEN 5022 Speech Processing and Recognition
  • ECEN 5612 Noise and Random Processes
  • ECEN 5622 Information Theory and Coding
  • ECEN 5632 Theory and Application of Digital Filtering
  • ECEN 5642 Spectral Estimation
  • ECEN 5652 Detecting and Extracting Signals from Noise
  • ECEN 5682 Theory and Practice of Error Control Codes
Courses on Network Security:
  • TLEN 5831 Network Security
  • TLEN 5834 Applied Network Security
  • CSCI 6268 Foundations of Computer and Network Security

Thesis: The thesis is an option for students that want an indepth understanding of some aspect wireless. It requires close interaction with a faculty advisor over 2 or 3 semesters. Faculty advisors and their interests include:
  • James Alleman, ITP, Telecom Economics.
  • Penina Axelrad, Aero, GPS.
  • Frank Barnes, ECE, RF health effects.
  • Tim Brown, ECE/ITD, Wireless networking, cellular systems.
  • Dejan Filipovic, ECE, Antennas.
  • Harvey Gates, ITP, Networking, wireless technology.
  • Dirk Grunwalk, CS, Wireless networking.
  • Rick Han, CS, Sensor networks.
  • Eugene Liu, ECE, Communication theory.
  • Tom Lookabaugh, Multimedia processing.
  • Olgica Malenkovic, ECE, Coding theory.
  • Peter Mathys, ECE, Data networks, cryptography.
  • Ray Nettleton, ITP, Wireless Systems, CDMA.
  • Zoya Popovic, ECE, Antennas, RF amplifiers.
  • Doug Sicker, CS/ITP, Security protocols.
  • Mahesh Varanasi, ECE, Communication theory.
  • Phil Weiser, Law/ITP, Regulation and Policy.
  • In addition, talk with instructors in your classes.

This course of study is designed to be embedded into the normal ITP or ECE MS requirements and do not change or supercede these requirements. This document is only intended as a guide in selecting classes. Check with your academic advisor if you have any questions.

Timothy X Brown 8/28/03