IEEE Communications Society Rolls Out Four New Courses

They cover big data, communication satellites, the Internet of Things, and Wi-Fi

5 November 2015

IEEE members seeking to upgrade their skills in several of the latest technologies can now take four new online courses being offered by the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) Training program. They cover big data, communication satellites, the Internet of Things, and Wi-Fi.

Each course is taught in real time by industry professionals so that attendees can participate and ask questions. Registration is now open.

“Everything we teach in ComSoc Training is designed with the technical professional in mind,” says Marilyn Catis, certification and professional education manager for the IEEE Communications Society. “Our instructors are experts in their fields and are able to draw from case studies and real-world experiences.”


Wi-Fi may be ubiquitous these days, but how well do you understand how it works? The Introduction to Wi-Fi class, being held on 11 November, will help fill in any gaps.

“Wi-Fi is not just one technology,” says the instructor, Daniel Wong, an IEEE senior member and wireless certified professional. Wong is also coeditor of A Guide to the Wireless Engineering Body of Knowledge. He points out that many people may find it difficult to differentiate among the components of the Wi-Fi family, including its various standards, which include IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11n. This class will bring some clarity to that alphabet soup,” he jokes.

The course will address such topics as the differences among the various Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, Wi-Fi’s physical and media access control layers, and networking and security. It will also look at the most recent developments in Wi-Fi and what they mean for engineers. “With the recent trends of cellular systems’ moving towards more interoperability and access through other wireless links, even cellular wireless professionals need to really understand Wi-Fi,” Wong says.

The course costs US $250 for IEEE members and $300 for others.


IEEE Life Member Bruce Elbert will lead a course on 2 December focused on high throughput satellites (HTSs), which operate in a range from 10 to 30 gigahertz to provide broadband services. He is the president of the satellite consulting firm Application Technology Strategy, LLC, in Georgetown, Texas. “This isn’t a well-understood field unless you work in it,” Elbert notes. “By taking this course, you’re getting a current take on the technology while also getting a look at what’s next.”

The course will cover the technologies used to provide broadband access on aircraft and shipping vessels, in vehicles, and to fixed locations such as buildings that can’t use fiber connections. The class will go over HTS system architectures and their components, including the design of multibeam satellites, end-user antennas, terminals, and capacity. It will also address strategies for HTS implementation. “This is a thorough but practical course for engineers wanting to put such a system together and for companies that want to become players in the field,” Elbert says.

The course costs $250 for members and $300 for others.


A two-day course on big data and its role in the telecommunications industry will be held on 5 and 6 December. It will be an introduction to the basic concepts related to big data, including storage, management, and visualization. The classes will be given in a conference room at the IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM), in San Diego, and streamed live.

“I am teaching this course to start a dialogue between the communities of data computing and telecommunications,” says instructor Amarnath Gupta, a research scientist at the San Diego Supercomputing Center. “The technologies now used for big data have matured and are being applied to real-world problems in every discipline.”

The class will show telecommunications professionals how to apply big-data techniques in their work. It will also look at future applications of big data, including those for smart cities. The course costs $950 for members, $1,000 for others.


IEEE Senior Member Lee Vishloff, a wireless systems expert, will examine the complexities of using wireless for the Internet of Things (IoT) in a half-day course on 27 January 2016.

“Lots of people are busy working on the development of the IoT,” Vishloff says, but he notices that most of them have a background in software and building applications. “I often find the wireless background is weak.”

Vishloff’s course will provide an overview of IoT basics, including the role of RF and antennas. It will also outline the differences among the various Bluetooth, cellular, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee standards. The course will provide an understanding of how the various elements of IoT networks perform in the real world. “Lots of decisions made in hardware and software design will affect how devices will operate,” he says. “This course will give people the information they need to know so they can start researching and developing IoT applications on their own.”

The fee is $125 for members and $150 for others.


Participants earn continuing education units for completing these courses—the amount varies according to the length of the class—and each unit is the equivalent of 10 hours’ worth of continuing education instruction. They also receive a recording of the event and the class materials.

The ComSoc Training program also offers a host of other classes, covering topics such as 5G and long-term evolution—better known as LTE—technologies.

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