Thing_One -- from an anonymous reviewer of Telecommunication Breakdown:
While reviewing Telecommunications Breakdown, I asked myself the following questions:
(1) Could I use this book in an existing digital communication systems course at my institution?
(2) Does this book suggest a paradigm shift in the way we currently think about and teach communications systems at my institution?
(3) How would this book help my undergraduate or graduate students to develop and build practical communication systems?
With regards to question (1), Telecommunications Breakdown is a fairly radical approach to the subject of teaching communications system design (particularly receiver design)... this, however, is probably a good thing! many institutions have seen a migration of interest away from the core signals and systems communications courses towards the more "modern" courses in computer engineering. I believe that software radio makes communications systems engineering more accessible and appealing to these students by allowing them to "play" with them in an environment free of traditional hardware and intimidating/expensive equipment. Hence I believe the answer to (2) is "yes". The software radio approach in Telecommunications Breakdown opens up an array of laboratory/project opportunities that would be impossible within the traditional academic schedule using analog hardware. The software radio approach can also leverage the inherent capture and display capabilities of the PC to allow for straightforward data collection, post processing, and creative signal/systems visualization without additional equipment. While I believe that this still needs to be balanced with the "right amount" of theory, I think that Telecommunications Breakdown is a solid step towards changing the way we teach communications systems.
My favorite things about Telecommunications Breakdown are (a) the focus on software radio, (b) the fact that it does not gloss over important practical issues such as carrier and baud timing recovery, (c) it has many excellent Matlab based examples as well as good problems that build on the examples in the text, (d) Chapter 14 (one of the best entry-level explanations of source and channel coding that I have ever read).