Bits, Signals, and Packets: An Introduction to Digital Communications and Networks (Hari Balakrishnan, et al)

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Bits, Signals, and Packets: An Introduction to Digital Communications and Networks (Hari Balakrishnan, et al)

Using digital communication systems as the medium, this book serves as an introduction to a number of important concepts in electrical engineering and computer science.

Bits, signals, and packets are the three sections of the course that address the three related levels of abstraction that are important to the system:

  • binary representation, compression (source coding), and error correction (channel coding) for messages transmitted across a noisy link;
  • signal representation of binary messages for transmission across a shared physical channel subject to distortion and noise;
  • efficient, reliable communication across networks made up of multiple links.

Topics investigated in depth include:

  • Bits: Information and entropy, Huffman coding and LZW compression, error correction with linear block codes and convolutional codes (Viterbi decoding).
  • Signals: Additive Gaussian noise and the relationship between noise variance and bit errors, linear-time invariant channel models, frequency-domain (Fourier) analysis, the spectral content of signals and filtering, modulation, and demodulation.
  • Packets: Media access protocols (TDMA, Aloha, and carrier sense), packet-switched networks, queues, and Little's law, network routing (distance/path vector & link-state protocols), and reliable data transport (adaptive timers, stop-and-wait, sliding windows, round-trip time and bandwidth-delay product concepts).

These topics form the basis of communication systems like the Internet.

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