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Número monográfico: Higher Order Finite Element and Isogeometric Methods. [Resumen]. We propose the use of a highly-accurate three-dimensional (3D) fully automatic hp-adaptive finite element method (FEM) for the characterization of rectangular waveguide discontinuities. These discontinuities are either the unavoidable result of mechanical/electrical transitions or deliberately introduced in order to perform certain electrical functions in modern communication systems. The proposed numerical method combines the geometrical flexibility of finite elements with an accuracy that is often superior to that provided by semi-analytical methods. It supports anisotropic refinements on irregular meshes with hanging nodes, and isoparametric elements. It makes use of hexahedral elements compatible with high-order H(curl) discretizations. The 3D hp-adaptive FEM is applied for the first time to solve a wide range of 3D waveguide discontinuity problems of microwave communication systems in which exponential convergence of the error is observed.