A review of top books on basics of communication systems is given here. The list given is neither comprehensive nor listed based on any ranking. If you feel we have missed out any of your favorite books, please post them in the comment box below.
Communication Systems – Simon Haykins
The standard text book recommended by most of the engineering schools around the world. You may find it little tough to understand it at first. If you have a fair understanding of circuit theory, probability and signals & systems, understanding the concepts in this book will be a piece of cake for you. Now, the newest edition includes Matlab experiments to demonstrate communication theory concepts. It also covers real world applications like Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL). Most of the mathematical derivations are concise and it is your responsibility to understand the steps involved in those derivations – Of course !!! You cannot expect the authors to spoon feed the steps involved in the derivations.
Recommended for beginners with foundation on circuit theory, probability and signals & systems
Digital Communications: Fundamentals and Applications – Bernard Sklar
One of the most referred books on digital communications. Illustrative examples and lucid explanations will nurture understanding of digital communications. Especially, the chapters on Reed Solomon coding ,Trellis modulation & Turbo codes are one of the best I have read. If you love satellite communications, then this book is a must for you. Sklar – being experienced in satellite communication, throws numerous examples in this area throughout the book. Key topics include: Basics of transmission and reception, performance trade-offs (SNR Vs BER Vs Bandwidth), fading, spread spectrum, synchronization, digital modulations and coding theory.
Recommended for beginners.
Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems – B.P Lathi & Zhi Ding
Excellent book to begin with. Though, mathematically not rigorous, provides a clear understanding of the subject. Recommended for undergraduate students beginning to understand the fundamentals of communication theory.
Apart from basics, the newest edition covers concepts like OFDM, equalization, soft-decision-decoding, LDPC coding etc.It also includes MATLAB examples throughout the book.
Recommended for Beginners
Fundamentals of Communication Systems – John G. Proakis and Masoud Salehi
Good for advanced learners. This book provides in-depth treatment of concepts and involves mathematics at higher level. I would place this book at the same page as “Digital communication” by John G. Proakis. You need to have a better understanding of communication theory basics to understand these books. Required for serious learners who want to explore further in the area of communication systems. Sometimes, you may find the rigorous mathematical treatments boring, but you will find them amusing once you develop real interest in the subject.
Recommended for advanced learners
Analog and Digital Communications (Schaum’s Outlines) – Hwei P. Hsu
Excellent well written book. Includes lots of problems to solve. Good for advanced beginners who has some basic understanding of communication theory and need to hone their understanding and problem solving ability. Will serve as a good supplement to your main text book.
Topics covered include: Basics of Signals & systems, filtering, Fourier Analysis, Amplitude & angle modulations, digital modulations, basics of probability & random process,information theory, source coding and error control coding.
Recommended for learners at intermediate level.
Principles of Digital Communication and Coding – Andrew J. Viterbi & Jim K. Omura
A classic. Referred by many engineers and researchers around the world. Starts with “source & entropy” concepts, channel models, block coding & decoding, convolutional coding & decoding, performance bounds (Chernoff, Neyman-Pearson, Sphere Packing bounds) , sequential decoding & Fano algorithm and rate distortion theory. Full of high level mathematics – not for the faint heart. A good companion for the advanced learners and researchers.
Recommended for advanced learners.
Principles of Digital Communication – Robert G. Gallager
Covers what is required for basic understanding of communication theory. Explains the signal space concepts in a very clear manner and provides you with an intuitive understanding of the subject. Explains mathematical equations and connects with theory and applications.
Recommended for beginners. Supplement it with Gallager’s online lectures
The Mathematical Theory of Communication – Claude E Shannon & Warren Weaver
Most referred journal article in the field of communication theory. A very small concise book, offering a different perspective of “what information means”. It offers intuitive explanations and involves lots of thinking.
Recommended for both beginners and advanced learners
Fundamentals of Communications Systems – Michael Fitz
A solid text on communication theory with explanations on implementations and Matlab examples. Topics include : analog communications basics, amplitude modulations, analog angle modulation, and random processes.
The text is interspersed with numerous Matlab examples that will foster your understanding. Includes sections on “Utilizing Matlab” that includes related matlab functions and help on how to use them. Includes homework problems , sample problems with answers and mini projects to try.
Highly recommended for beginners
**Note: All views presented above are personal opinion of the post author. This is not a comprehensive list of books on communication theory. Not listed in any particular order or ranking. If you would like add your opinions on the books mentioned please use the comment form below. You are welcome to suggest books that are not listed here.