Carnegie Mellon University

Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering

Course Information

18-429C: Special Topics in Circuits: Board-Level RF Systems for the Internet-of-Things




In this age when everything is connected to the internet-of-things (IOT), students should understand how RF Transceivers and Antennas can allow such devices to be connected without wires. This class will give students the chance to learn about IOT devices and how they communicate using radio frequency (RF) signals. Students will gain an understanding of antenna design and operation, a high-level understanding of RF signal propagation, an introduction to RF Transceiver design and operation and an overview of multi-input multi-output (MIMO) RF operation. A Laboratory section is included in this class. In Lab, students will learn how to assemble printed circuit board (PCBs) using the Tech Spark surface mount PCB assembly facility. Early Lab sessions will demonstrate RF signals, antennas, and constructive and destructive RF interference. Students control the RF transceiver ICs by programming an ultra-low-power processor. Several different PCB antenna designs will be explored in the Lab sessions. Lab exercises will culminate with students building up a computer-controlled RF transmitter driving a PCB antenna and using it to send data from one student to another. The final project in this class allows students to design, fabricate and test out their own simplified RF-enabled IOT device based on the Lab hardware. Although students in 18-729C will share Lectures and Recitations with students in 18-429C, students in 18-729C will receive distinct homework assignments and distinct project requirements from students in 18-429C.

Students should have taken 18-290 and 18-320 with a minimum grade of B, or equivalent background material with permission of the instructor.

Last Modified: 2023-07-26 1:55PM

Semesters offered:

  • Fall 2023
  • Fall 2022