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on CIRCUITS, SYSTEMS, SIGNAL and TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CISST'08)Acapulco, Mexico, January 25-27, 2008

**Modelling of Atmospheric Impairments in Stratospheric Communications
**

GORAZD KANDUS*, MIHAEL MOHORČIČ*, ERICH LEITGEB+ and TOMAŽ JAVORNIK* * Department of Communication systems, +Institute of Broadband Communications * Jožef Stefan Institute, +Graz University of Technology * Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, +Inffeldgasse 12, 8010 Graz * SLOVENIA, +AUSTRIA tomaz.javornik@ijs.si, gorazd.kandus@ijs.si, miha.mohorcic@ijs.si, erich.leitgeb@tugraz.at

Abstract: - Stratospheric communication systems operating in the millimetre frequency bands are subject to atmospheric impairments caused by rain and scintillation. In this paper we address propagation channel modelling of these atmospheric impairments. In particular, we present a rain fading and a scintillation fading channel model for stratospheric communications. Rain fading is modelled according to the modified DLR segment approach for generating channel attenuation time series taking into consideration the specifics of stratospheric communication systems, namely the variable elevation angle and different carrier frequency. Additional fading due to scintillation, which may be harmful in deep fades caused by the rain, is modelled by adjusting the satellite scintillation channel model so that the amount of scintillation fading is correlated to the attenuation caused by the rain. The two models were implemented in a software tool enabling generation of the propagation channel attenuation time series for the fixed and the mobile stratospheric communication systems. Key-Words: - rain fading, scintillation fading, millimetre frequency band, stratospheric communication system, propagation channel model results in less complex terminals achieving higher data throughputs. This is particularly true for fixed point-topoint and point-to-multipoint systems with highly directional antennas. Depending on communication services foreseen to be provided via HAPs the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) permitted the use of several frequency bands, including a band at 2 GHz for 3G mobile communication services [2] and two bands for broadband services in the millimetre-wave frequencies, namely at 47-48 GHz and 28-31 GHz. In the millimetre frequency bands the atmospheric impairments such as rain attenuation and scintillation may cause severe degradation of the system performance even in LOS channel conditions. In order to design, verify and optimize a communication system a suitable model of the communication channel is required. The deterministic channel models applying basic principles of radio wave propagation such as reflection, diffraction, scattering, etc., are too complex and additionally require huge databases on operating environment with geometrical and electrical characteristics of obstacles. The empirical channel models are thus typically a good compromise between the accuracy and complexity of the model. However, good channel models are typically based on measurement campaigns carried out over long periods of time. Of course this is not possible in the case of an emerging communication system due to non existing

1.

Introduction

Aerial platforms equipped with suitable communications payload have recently emerged as a complementary communications infrastructure to currently available terrestrial or satellite wireless communication systems. They can take a form of an airship or an airplane, and can be manned or unmanned. These options importantly influence the main parameters of the mission including the duration, altitude, service scenario, and others. Aerial platforms operating in lower stratosphere, typically at altitudes between 17 and 22 km, are particularly interesting for the provision of communication services and are in the literature usually referred to as High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) [1]. There are numerous advantages of stratospheric communication systems compared to the satellite ones. These include easy and low cost launching of the platform, low propagation delay, smaller size of terminal equipment, lower power consumption and the possibility for landing the platform for maintenance, replacing and upgrading of the equipment. Compared to terrestrial broadband wireless access systems, characterised by a harsh multipath propagation environment, the propagation channel to/from stratospheric platform can be most of the time considered as a line of sight (LOS) due to high elevation angle between the user and a HAP, which

ISSN: 1790-5117

Page 86

ISBN: 978-960-6766-34-3

typical approaches for modelling rain attenuation are based either on converting meteorological data into channel attenuation series or on setting the parameters of time series attenuation generator according to the measurement results obtained by long term measurement campaigns [3]. Conf.D). This paper is organized as follows. drizzle. Next. heavy rain.) and the thickness of clouds. where the precipitations have the greatest impact. SYSTEMS. The model specifies three types of channel attenuation segments: • The channel attenuation segment with almost constant received power referred to as C-segment. The conditional distribution P(y|x) denotes the likelihood that the current channel attenuation in dB is y conditioned that ∆τ seconds before the attenuation has been x. 2008 equipment. According to satellite channel measurements it turned out that the ∆τ is around 1s and P(y|x) obeys Gaussian distribution. As we show in this paper the problem can be solved by taking an existing similar channel model and modifying its parameters according to the specifics of the analyzed communication system. Mexico. 2. SIGNAL and TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CISST'08)Acapulco. from which all necessary macroscopic parameters of the model can be calculated. microscopic model and a component that combines the outputs of both models. Finally. This is followed by the description of a new stratospheric channel model for rain attenuation and scintillation. Thus. January 25-27. type of the rain (showers. • The channel attenuation segment with mainly monotonously increasing channel attenuation referred to as U-segment. The parameters of macroscopic models can be derived from the radio meteorological data banks such as ITU-R or the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The ITU-R P. The macroscopic model is a 2-state Markov chain consisting of rain state and clear sky state. Its type can be characterized by the corresponding climate zone as defined by ITU-R. In satellite communication systems. a stable flying stratospheric platform in this particular case.2nd WSEAS Int. In the following we describe both phenomena and the approach for their modelling. • The channel attenuation segment with mainly monotonously decreasing channel attenuation referred to as D-segment. longitude of measurements and satellite elevation angle. The microscopic model is an N-state Markov chain which generates the time series with high resolution and gives the short-term dynamic behaviour of rain attenuation [3].e.4] and • DLR segment approach [3. have been used to model the rain fading and to generate the time series of attenuation: • Markov chain approach used in ONERA simulator [3. The standard deviation and mean value of the Gaussian distribution depends on the segment (C. which represent a good compromise ISSN: 1790-5117 between the channel model accuracy and complexity. It sporadically causes the signal attenuation in satellite and terrestrial communication systems operating in millimetre frequency bands. The ONERA Markov channel model [4] consists of macroscopic model. The ITU-R provides recommendations concerning the rain effects on radio wave propagation. The switching between channel attenuation is determined by calculating the difference between channel attenuation in successive time intervals ∆a(iT)=a(iT)-a((i-1)T) where a(iT) denotes the attenuation at i-th time interval Page 87 ISBN: 978-960-6766-34-3 .U. we adapt models of rain attenuation and scintillation of the satellite channels at the millimetre frequency band to model the stratospheric communication channel.1. which are not sufficient in the process of design and analysis of the communication systems. Thus.5]. current attenuation and of course on latitude. clouds and other meteorological phenomena. It consists of a generic part and a specific set of parameters that allow adjustment of the channel model to different elevation angles. two basic approaches. the simulation tool developed for generating channel attenuation time series is described before we discuss some representative results and conclude with further ideas to improve the model. on CIRCUITS.387 Recommendation provides the probability of the rain averaged over one year. For each segment the conditional distribution P(y|x) is calculated based on a measurement campaign.5]. the difference between satellite propagation channel and the stratospheric propagation channel is discussed. The DLR segment channel approach is based on a Markov chain and Gaussian random variables generator [3. etc. but those recommendations refer to average conditions. i. 2. The impact of rain fading on the communication system performance mainly depends on the rain rate. At first the channel models for rain attenuation and scintillation in a geostationary satellite system are briefly described. Rain fading Rain fading represents signal attenuation due to precipitations. It follows long-term behaviour of rain fading taking into account the mean duration of rain events. Satellite channel models One of the major problems in the design of the satellite link budget operating in millimetre frequency bands is fluctuation of the amplitude and phase of the received signal due to rain and scintillation. carrier frequencies and climatic zones.

which indicates an increase of tropospheric scintillation during rain. D and U segment is illustrated in Fig. 48.8]. However. According to the theory the power spectrum density of scintillation in clear sky is flat for frequencies lower than the corner frequency fc and it has a slope of -80 dB/dec in higher frequencies. so we look closely to the scintillation models which describe the scintillation correlation with the rain attenuation. Fortunately.2. Many models of the expected statistics for log-amplitude and logamplitude variance have been proposed. It was found in [7] that the conditional average standard deviation of the troposhperic scintillation is linked to the attenuation by the power law. The main causes of tropospheric scintillation are the moisture content and its turbulent mixing in the atmosphere. Get the mean value and standard deviation from the look up table taking into account attenuation segment type and current attenuation a(iT).2nd WSEAS Int. The corner frequency can be deduced either from the theoretical model [11] or estimated from measurement campaigns [7]. HAPs are flying below the ionosphere. a(iT ) − a((i − 1)T ) ≤ 1dB. on CIRCUITS. DLR segment approach for rain fading 2. C log-amplitude variance of the signal [8]. 2008 a(iT ) − a((i − 1)T ) < 1dB. the scintillation may increase the unavailability of the system. k is the wave number.425 f 0 z 11 / 6 1− 1 z 2 3/8 . Vt is the transverse velocity of 2π z Page 88 ISBN: 978-960-6766-34-3 . Rain. in the case of rain attenuation. Majority of them model short term log-amplitude scintillation as a Gaussian probability density function with standard deviation σ. Tropospheric scintillation induced fading is usually described using the log-amplitude and ISSN: 1790-5117 where σ0 is the standard deviation of scintillation before the rain event. In general. where tropospheric scintillation dominates [9]. so we are interested only in scintillation caused in the atmosphere. The effects are often observed in satellite links and may occur either in the ionosphere due to changes in free electron density or/and in the atmosphere due to changes in pressure. this is not the case in stratospheric communication systems where the elevation angle is never below 5°. scintillation increases as the antenna aperture decreases. 2. This is given in [8] where the Tatarskii's theory [10] on the propagation through a turbulent media is applied to obtain the spectrum of scintillation in clear sky. D segment . Under some assumptions the theoretical value of corner frequency can be calculated as z1 1− z 2 f c = 1. multipath propagation. clouds. which can be predicted by a very simple physical model. Conf. The correlation between the rain attenuation and scintillation does not provide any knowledge about the spectral properties of the scintillation. Calculate the attenuation segment type from a(iT). humidity. Mexico. (3) θ wind. the ITU-R climate zone K and for the carrier frequency 40 GHz. 1. SIGNAL and TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CISST'08)Acapulco. 1. L = z2 . The lookup tables [3] for mean value and standard deviation of the Gaussian process are calculated by processing measurement results obtained from the measurement campaign at DLR Obrepfaffenhofen (11. elevation angle decreases and frequency increases. Rain fading event with the C. temperature and moisture content increases.1° North) with the satellite elevation angle 34. a((i-1)T). σ is standard deviation of the scintillation and A is attenuation due to rain event. and the antenna apertures are rather large.8°. temperature.3° East. Scintillation Scintillation refers to the rapid fluctuation in signal amplitude and phase [6.z1 = H/sin is the where f 0 = 1 k Vt . January 25-27. The rain attenuation correlation with the scintillation is summarized in the following equation [7] Channel Gain D C U σ 0 [dB] if A < 1 dB . etc. all in log-log scale of the graph. C segment ∆a(iT ) = a(iT ) − a((i − 1)T ) ≥ 1dB. 3. U segment (1) The DLR segment model can be summarized in the following three steps [3]: 1.7. σ = σ 0 ⋅ A [dB] if A > 1 dB 5 12 (2) Time Fig. The scintillation may become a relevant source of errors in a communication system operating at low elevation angles with antennas with small apertures. SYSTEMS. Generate the attenuation for the next time interval a((i+1)T). wind. size of antenna and wavelength affect scintillation characteristics. such as a turbulent thin layer aloft during rain. The analysis has shown that the standard deviation and mean value depend significantly on the season of the year.

The geometry of the model is shown in Fig. resulting in different path length affected by rain.075(φ − 36) 3.1. • The rate and the reason of elevation angle variation are different. Due to these differences the satellite channel models are not directly applicable for describing propagation conditions in stratospheric communications and some modifications are required. We applied a model proposed by CCIR Report 721-1 and accepted by ITU-R P Series to correct the attenuation due to different frequencies ISSN: 1790-5117 5 0 -5 0 100 200 300 400 Time [h] 500 600 700 Fig. A1 g ( f1 ) = . which have to be taken into account when modelling the stratospheric channel: • The distance between the receiver and transmitter is shorter in the case of stratospheric systems. In LEO satellite systems the rate of elevation angle variation is comparable to that in stratospheric systems. Rain attenuation Loss [dB] 10 For the rain attenuation in stratospheric communication systems we decided to use the DLR segment model based on the measurement campaign described in Section 2.6 Hz. Calculate the slant path length LS[km] below the rain height: hR − hS sin θ 2 ( h R − hS ) LS [km] = 1/ 2 2 2(hR − hS ) sin θ + + sin θ Re θ ≤ 5o θ > 5o . 15 3. Hence we normalized the results obtained from the DLR sequence model to 1 km using ITU-R recommendation PN 618-4 for slant path length calculation according to the following procedure: 1. The results published in [3].2nd WSEAS Int. respectively. on the other hand. but it is mainly caused by satellite motion and for that reason it is easily predictable. and consequently for the fixed length of radio ray affected by the rain. 36o ≤ φ 4. z = 0. the elevation angle does not vary significantly when the mobile terminal changes its position. (5) Fig. Calculate the effective rain height hR: 0o ≤ φ < 36o 3. 3. calculated for approximately 30 days in spring and for fixed stratospheric communication system. January 25-27.5 (z1 + z2). since the carrier frequency and the elevation angles for HAP-based communication systems are significantly different from those used in the measurement campaign [3. Stratospheric channel model There are two main differences between stratospheric and satellite communication systems.028φ hR [km] = . 2.0 − 0.72 1 + 3 ⋅ 10 − 7 f 1.0 + 0. hS[km] is the Earth station's altitude above the sea level and Re is the equivalent radius of the Earth. (7) where θ is the elevation angle. were obtained for fixed elevation angle.1 Hz and 0. we adjust the DLR segment model by introducing the frequency correction term and normalizing the rain attenuation on per kilometre basis. SIGNAL and TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CISST'08)Acapulco. A2 g ( f 2 ) (4) where A1 and A2 are attenuations at frequencies f1 and f2. 2008 thickness of the turbulent layer extended from z1 to z2 along the path. and g(f) is defined as g( f ) = f 1. HAP. (6) where φ is the latitude of the Earth station. thus the path affected by rain is different. Sporadic rain events can be Page 89 ISBN: 978-960-6766-34-3 . 2. In the case of GEO satellites. Conf. 3.1. Multiply the distance from HAP by the normalized attenuation to obtain the rain attenuation in dB. 3. can be seen at different elevation angles due to the motion around the nominal position. on CIRCUITS. Mexico. Geometry of scintillation where f is frequency in GHz. However. 2. The corner frequency is between 0.5]. H is the mean turbulent layer height and θ is the path elevation angle. Attenuation due to the rain effect An example of an attenuation time series due to rain is illustrated in Fig. SYSTEMS.72 ( ) 2 .

2 the length of the path through the turbulent layer strongly depends on the elevation angle. At low elevation angles the path through the turbulent layer is longer. which enables the selection of the appropriate channel model and the input of simulation parameters.8°. 15dB) can be easily coped with adaptive coding and modulation approach proposed for example in DVB-S2 standard assuming slow channel variation. As shown in Fig. 5 shows the graphical user interface of the simulator. • Rain fading. (see subsection 3. January 25-27. on CIRCUITS. The graphical user interface is divided in several sections: • GIS data section enables to enter a file containing the digital elevation model of terrain. 5 has been applied for the generation of attenuation time series in this paper. ISSN: 1790-5117 The proposed models were built in software tool for the generation of attenuation time series for stratospheric communications. SIGNAL and TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CISST'08)Acapulco. Scintillation Loss [dB] Similar as in satellite links the signal fading due to scintillation depends on the length of the path through the turbulent layer also in stratospheric links.2). we use a median value of σ0. • Mobile HAP channel considering the attenuation due the shadowing and blocking [12]. elevation angle θ and the altitude of the turbulent layer h z1 = h sin θ z2 = H +h . • Combine Simulations from Files section which combines and compares results obtained by simulations with different parameters. We applied similar procedure to introduce the elevation angle dependency to the expression of the corner frequency as for rain attenuation. The channel simulator is able to generate the attenuation time series for the following propagation phenomena: • Free space loss attenuation. resulting in higher attenuation due to rain in addition lower corner frequency with the consequence of slower variation of fading due to scintillation. Thus.e.45 Hz and σ0 = 0. the calculation of the corner frequency for an arbitrary elevation angle is straightforward f c (θ ) = sin θ f c (θ 0 ) .2nd WSEAS Int.099. • Parameters & Run Simulation section with the selection of the channel model and the inputs of the most important channel parameters. • HAP section with the inputs about the HAP position and the type of HAP antenna. 4 assuming the rain attenuation of 0 dB (the lower trace) and 20 dB (the upper trace) for the elevation angle of 38°. Mexico. which was obtained by the measurements during the Intelsat experiment in 1994 [7]. Page 90 ISBN: 978-960-6766-34-3 . (9) Assuming the corner frequency fc(θ0) is known for an elevation angle θ0. 4. which is clearly seen from the generated time series of scintillation fading. Due to the same elevation angles in both cases the corner frequency is the same for both examples. • Scintillation (see subsection 3. The range of channel variation shown in this example (i. either mobile or fixed. Attenuation due to the scintillation effect 4. Two examples of fading due to scintillation are illustrated in Fig. The results clearly show the effect of rain attenuation on possible degradation of the system performance. fc(θ0) = 0. sin θ 0 (10) In our simulations. The channel simulator depicted in Fig. Fig. namely θ0 = 37. and the location (for fixed user) or the path (for mobile user) of the end user in the area. HAP channel simulator (8) By inserting (8) in (3) the corner frequency can be expressed as 1− h 2 sin θ H + h k 2h + H h 11 / 6 1− H + h 3/8 f c (θ ) = 1. a clutter file defining the coverage of terrain by vegetation. According to the proposed model the standard deviation of the scintillation is higher for higher rain attenuation. SYSTEMS. the results obtained from satellite model are not directly applicable to stratospheric communications same as for rain attenuation. 3. According to Fig.1). 2008 observed causing attenuation from few dB to nearly 15 dB. we express the path lengths z1 and z2 as functions of the mean turbulent layer height H. Conf. which needs to be compensated by suitable fade mitigation techniques.425 Vt 2π . sin θ 0 100 200 Time 300 400 500 Fig.2. 2. elevation angle θ0 and corner frequency fc(θ0).

Javornik. namely DLR segment approach for rain attenuation and ONERA approach for scintillation modelling. International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking. [6] P. 2006. pp. Kandus. Rome. Mohorčič. A.-C. pp. M.32. Antennas and Propagation. [8] F. Mobile Link Propagation Aspects. 2005. SYSTEMS. Vol. Espoo Finland. pp. Fiebig. O. Tatarskii.3-4. which enable modelling of stratospheric propagation channel for fixed or mobile communications. Graphical user interface of the HAP channel simulator 5. which generates attenuation time series. ECPS 2005 Conference. 11th Ka and Broadband Communications Conference. J. Deliverable D14. Methodology to Simulate Long-term Propagation Time-series from the Identification of Attenuation Periods Filled with Synthesized Events. Yu. C. Mondin. URSI Commission F.261317. in Proc. D. Castanet. Castanet and C. [12] S. Matricciani. J. T. High-Altitude Platforms for Wireless Communications. E. Conf. Both models are based on statistical satellite channel models.31. Lemorton. Pérez-Fontán. No. 2nd Workshop of the COST 272-280 Action “Propagation Impairment Mitigation for Millimetre Wave Radio Systems”. SIGNAL and TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CISST'08)Acapulco. T. Generation of Time Series of Scintillation Combined with Rain Attenuation.77 GHz. 5. Javornik. Noordwijk. 2004. Castanet. Holland. [9] C. Vol. M. Ozimek and G. IEE ProceedingsMicrowaves. Vasseur. Conclusion In this paper we proposed the rain fading model and tropospheric scintillation model for a stratospheric communication system operating in the millimetre frequency band. RuízCuevas and M. . McGraw-Hill.-C. Open Symposium on Propagation and Remote Sensing. Wave Propagation in a Turbulent Media. [10] V. These can be applied in the design. I.2. Fiebig. M. May 2003.. Based on the rain attenuation and scintillation models a channel simulator has been built. Review and Comparison of Tropospheric Scintillation Prediction Models for Satellite Communications. C. Glover. Mexico. [7] E. in Proc. Electronics & Communication Engineering Journal. Wireless Personal Communications. analysis and optimization of the stratospheric communication system. Ventouras and C. Watson.301-17. on CIRCUITS. F.2nd WSEAS Int. 2002. May 2003. Vanhoenacker-Janvier and H. P. Lacoste. 1961. March 2005. L. Empirical Propagation Channel Model for High Altitude Platform Communication Systems. A Time-Series Generator Modelling Rain Fading.A. Parameters of DLR and ONERA models were obtained by statistical processing of measured attenuation in geostationary satellite links. France. Oct. P. E. Vol. Issue 4. Riva. L.127-37. [4] L. I. Švigelj. 2005. Mohorčič and G. 2008 Fig. A. Wrench. Matricciani. Millerioux. Holland. Vol. Grace. Riva. Riva and R. [11] D. References: [1] T. No. I. Adaptive coding and modulation for mobile wireless access via high altitude platforms.3. [5] U. Watson. Falletti. Mauri and C.273-9. in Proc. J. J. Brest. Tozer and D.102-8. pp. the elevation angle dependencies have been introduced.24. Channel Model and Impairment Mitigation Techniques. Plevel. [3] U. 1996. Kandus. No. Italy. FP6 IST-2003-506745 CAPANINA.2. 1995. in Proc. 25-28 Sept. U. Radio Science. New York. in Proc. Acknowledgment: This work has been partially funded by the European Community through the 6th Framework Programme IST project SatNEx (FP6-IST-027393). Penin. L. T. Spillard. Noordwijk. S. 2nd Workshop of the COST 272-280 Action “Propagation Impairment Mitigation for Millimetre Wave Radio Systems”. 2001. Review of Propagation Channel Modelling.13. ISSN: 1790-5117 Page 91 ISBN: 978-960-6766-34-3 . Relationship between Scintillation and Rain Attenuation at 19. Prediction of Scintillation Effects on Satellite Communications above 10 Ghz. Vol. No. Proc. A.142. pp. Davies. January 25-27. [2] T. Lemorton. Deloues and J. In order to adjust these models to the conditions of stratospheric communications.S.

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