Wireless, RF/Microwave, and Telecommunications

Wireless communications and RF/Microwave engineering are popular fields with great employment opportunities. For the last couple of decades, the number of wireless communication users has been exponentially growing, and the reach of wireless communications has been expanding to almost all corners of the world. Wireless communications have revolutionized telecommunications by continuously introducing new emerging services such as multimedia transmission, man-to-machine, and machine-to-machine communications. These emerging new services require increasingly more reliable, energy-efficient and high data rate communication systems and networks. The demand for emerging wireless services has fueled the development of advanced communication systems with new architecture, complex protocols, and advanced signal processing algorithms for efficient and effective data transmission and detection.

The applications for RF and microwave devices and circuits are growing at a high rate. Examples include new 5G wireless communications, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV, Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS, e.g., wireless cable TV and internet), wireless local area computer networks (WLANs), and future satellite communications systems. In addition, as microprocessor clock speeds continue to increase above the GHz range, electromagnetic and distributed effects are becoming increasingly important in the digital world as well. RF and microwave circuit design has been the key enabler for the growth and success in wireless communication.

The UW Bothell EE graduate curriculum includes courses on wireless, RF/Microwave and Telecommunications. B EE 517 and B EE 518 cover the basic and advanced concepts of wireless communications technologies, methods and algorithms. B EE 517 covers digital communication transmission and reception methods such as modulation, coding/decoding, wireless channel and design of optimum receivers, and B EE 518 covers advanced concepts such as equalization OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) systems. B EE 554 allows students to design, build and test various passive FR and microwave circuits on planar printed circuit boards and ceramic substrates. Future courses in these topics are currently being created. For deeper knowledge, students are encouraged to pursue B EE 600 Independent Study or B EE 700 Thesis with a faculty member.

Career pathways

  • RF and Microwave Circuit Design Engineer
  • Mixed Signal Circuit Designer
  • Senior Test Engineer
  • Antenna and RF Subsystems Engineer
  • Product Development Engineer
  • Communication Systems Engineer

Faculty in Wireless, RF/Microwave, and Telecommunications

Tadesse Ghirmai

Study Wireless, RF/Microwave, and Telecommunications

The curriculum reflects depth and breadth of faculty research expertise and provides graduate students with a solid foundation in signal processing and digital image processing. Relevant courses include:

Learning objectives

In this technical area, students will learn:

  • Fundamental principles of wireless communications such as digital modulation techniques, demodulation and detection of signals in Gaussian channels, cellular communications, and channel coding.
  • Advanced topics of modern wireless communications that include convolutional channel coding and decoding, InterSymbol Interference (ISI) and equalization, CDMA, MIMO, and OFDM.
  • Project-based radio frequency (RF) and microwave engineering approach that allows design, build, and test various passive RF and microwave circuits on planar printed circuit boards. Transmission Line circuits, such as Couplers, Dividers, Impedance Matching Transformers, and Filters are designed, simulated with Sonnet software, and tested on a 6 GHz Vector Network Analyzer.

Emphasis on project-based learning through class projects

Projects in class are one of the best ways for students to apply their learning toward practical engineering problems. Many of the courses listed above provide class projects that will enhance student learning. Particularly, students in a team-oriented project learn important skills such as collaboration, communication, and presentation.

[B EE 517] Wireless Communication I

Simulate the performance of BPSK, QPSK and DPSK receivers over AWGN and Rayleigh-fading channels, and simulate the Rayleigh-fading channel.

[B EE 518] Wireless Communication II

Simulate the performance of the transmit/receive diversity over the Rayleigh-fading channel.

[B EE 554] Planar RF and Microwave Engineering I: Passive Circuits and Networks

Students can learn how to design, simulate (Sonnet Software), and fabricate RF Transmission Line circuits on RF printed circuit boards, for use with multiple 5 GHz WiFi omnidirectional antennas.