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Review of Signals and Modulation in Communications

Mehul Motani
1. Introduction to Communication Systems Communication systems send information electronically over communication channels. We usually modulate analog signals or digital bits for transmission over the channel. The channel is the medium which separates the transmitter from the receiver. Goal of the system design is to recreate the original information at the receiver with the highest possible quality. This is done by designing the transmitter (modulator) and receiver (demodulator) to mitigate noise introduced by channel. The performance metric for analog systems is delity, meaning how does the transmitted signal m(t) compare with the recovered signal m (t). The metrics for digital systems are data rate (R bits/sec) and probability of bit error Pb . There is a tradeo between data rate and error probability. Usually, as the data rate increases, the error probability increases. For a xed data rate, Pb depends on the signal power, noise power, and channel characteristics. Data rates over channels with noise and distortion have a fundamental capacity limit. This is the Shannon capacity C , which is dened as the maximum data rate at which information can be transmitted without errors. For a channel with received signal power S , additive white noise with received noise power N , and bandwidth B : C = B log2 (1 + S/N ) bps. 2. On Bandwidth Signal Bandwidth - For bandlimited signals, bandwidth B dened as range of positive frequencies for which the Fourier transform |X (f )| > 0. In practice all signals are time-limited and therefore are not band-limited. So we need alternate denitions of bandwidth that indicate how much spectrum a signal occupies. Common denitions include null-to-null and 3dB bandwidth denitions. When a real baseband signal is upconverted or modulated to a carrier frequency, its bandwidth (under any denition) typically doubles. 3. Sampling and Nyquist Theorem Sampling in time is multiplication by a delta function train: in frequency, this is a convolution with a delta function train (spectrum repeated periodically at the sampling rate). Nyquist Sampling Theorem: A signal that is bandlimited between [B, B ] can be recovered from its samples taken every 0.5/B seconds. The Nyquist rate for this signal is 2B samples/sec. Signal can be recovered from its samples by passing the sampled signal through a low pass lter of bandwidth B . We can equivalently recover a signal from its samples using sinc interpolation in time (which is the same as low pass ltering in frequency). Bandlimited signals sampled at their Nyquist rate can be recovered from their samples. Signals that are not sampled faster than the Nyquist rate have aliasing or distortion and cannot be recovered from samples. Generalized Sampling Theorem: The sampling rate must be greater than twice the bandwidth. For a lowpass (or baseband) signal, the bandwidth is equal to the maximum positive frequency fmax , and so the sampling rate, must be twice that. We call this lowpass sampling. For a bandpass (modulated) signal in the frequency band [f1 , f2 ], the bandwidth is equal to f2 f1 , and so the sampling rate must be twice that. We call this bandpass sampling. We could have treated the bandpass signal as a lowpass signal and sampled at the lowpass Nyquist rate of 2f2 , but the generalized sampling theorem tells us that we dont need to sample so fast. 4. What is Noise? White noise - Characterized by a power spectral density (PSD) that is constant over all frequencies: Swhite (f ) = N0 /2. Its autocorrelation is Rwhite ( ) = 0.5N0 ( ). Two samples of white noise separated by very small time period are uncorrelated, meaning white noise changes very fast. 1

White noise has innite average power. White noise is a good approximation to noise encountered in practice. White noise passed through a lter h(t) has PSD: 0.5N0 |H (f )|2 . The lter introduces correlation. 5. Modulation Basics Modulation is the process of encoding a message signal or bits onto a carrier signal. The basic idea is to vary a carrier signal c(t) = Ac cos(2fc t) relative to an analog waveform m(t) or bits {bn }. Analog modulation varies the amplitude (AM), frequency (FM), or phase (PM) of the carrier c(t). Digital modulation varies the amplitude (M-AM), phase (PSK), pulse characteristics (PAM), or amplitude and phase (MQAM) of the carrier. 6. Digital Modulation Baseband Digital Modulation means sending the digital information on the channel in the bandwidth |f | < W for some bandwidth W . The information is not modulated to any carrier frequency. The most common baseband digital modulation is Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM). PAM represents each bit by a Nyquist pulse of duration Tb (the bit time) with amplitude A for a 1 bit and 0 (on-o modulation) or A (polar modulation) for a 0 bit. Data rate is R = 1/T b. The baseband signal may be ltered to shape the spectrum and to reduce bandwidth (pulse shaping). Passband Digital Modulation is used to send digital information in a given range of passband frequencies. Passband digital modulation encodes bits in the amplitude, phase, or frequency of carrier signal. Most systems transmit in a set of passband frequencies allowed by regulatory agencies. For example, cellular telephony uses passbands around 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz. Common forms of passband modulation include Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) and Phase Shift Keying (PSK). Modulation to a carrier frequency can be accomplished simply by multiplying a baseband waveform u(t) by a sinuosoid, say cos(2fc t). If the baseband signalling pulse is a Nyquist pulse with a nominal bandwidth W = 1/2T , then u(t) cos(2fc t) has a nominal bandwidth 2W , going from fc W to fc + W (assuming that f c > W ). This scheme is actually very wasteful of bandwidth, since additional data could be sent by in the same band by modulating it by sin(2fc t). This is precisely what is done by QAM. 7. Minimum Bandwidth Required for No ISI The sinc pulse (from the sampling theorem) is remarkable for two reasons: rst the shifts of the sinc pulse are orthogonal, and second, the sinc pulse has the value 0 at all sampling points other than at time 0. These two properties mean there is no intersymbol interference (ISI) and this allows the modulated values to be recaptured at the receiver through rst ltering and then sampling. Such pulses are called Nyquist pulses, and there are many others besides the sinc. The minimum required bandwidth for transmission of a signal is a function of the symbol rate. If Nyquist pulses are used (no ISI condition) and the symbol rate in symbols per second is R = 1/T (where T is the symbol duration), the minimum bandwidth Wmin needed is: Baseband transmission: Wmin = R/2 = 1/(2T ) Hz Passband transmission: Wmin = R = 1/T Hz Baseband Examples: Binary PAM - Suppose the information rate is R bps, then the symbol duration is T = 1/R sec and Wmin = R/2 Hz. Multilevel PAM or M-ary PAM - If we allow M levels in the PAM, a bitrate of R bps corresponds to a symbol rate of Rs = R/ log2 M and Wmin = Rs /2. Passband Example: M-QAM - For an information rate of R bps, the symbol rate is Rs = R/ log2 M and Wmin = Rs . The key to understanding the above results is that if you signal with pulses of width T0 in a bandwidth of approximately W0 , then there are 2W0 T0 degrees of freedom. In other words, there are 2W0 T0 orthogonal signals of duration T0 and bandwidth W0 . Intuitively, there are two real degrees of freedom per unit time and bandwidth. Sanity check: For baseband (PAM) signals, a symbol rate of R = 1/T requires a bandwidth of W = 1/(2T ) = R/2. So over a large duration Tbig , we can send RTbig = 2W Tbig real symbols. FOR QAM, a symbol rate of R = 1/T requires a bandwidth of W = 1/T = R. So over a large time Tbig , we can send RTbig = W Tbig complex symbols, which is the same as 2W Tbig real symbols.