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Multiple Access Techniques

There are three major Multiple Access Techniques in Wireless Communication

Time Division Multiple Access Technique (TDMA)

Frequency Division Multiple Access Technique (FDMA)
Code Division Multiple Access Technique (CDMA)

Time Division Multiple Access Technique (TDMA)

Time division multiple access (TDMA) is a channel access method for shared medium networks.
It allows several users to share the same frequency channel by dividing the signal into different
time slots. The users transmit in rapid succession, one after the other, each using his/her own
time slot. This allows multiple stations to share the same transmission medium (e.g. radio
frequency channel) while using only a part of its channel capacity. a radio spectrum is divided
into time slots. These time slots are allocated for each user to transmit and receive information.
The number of time slots is called a frame. Information is transferred and received in form of
frame. A frame is consists a preamble, an information message and trial bits.
TDMA is used in the digital 2G cellular systems such as Global System for Mobile
Communications (GSM), IS-136, Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) and iDEN, and in the Digital
Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) standard for portable phones. It is also used
extensively in satellite systems, combat-net radio systems, and PON networks for upstream
traffic from premises to the operator.
TDMA Characteristics
In TDMA, by using no overlapping time slots several users shares a single carrier
frequency. The number of time slots per frame depends upon several factors, such as
modulation techniques and bandwidth.
In TDMA, data transmission is not continuous and subscriber transmitter can be turned
off which result in low battery consumption.
In TDMA, handoff process is much simpler for a subscriber because of discontinuous
In TDMA, duplexers are not required because different timeslots are used for
transmission and reception.
In TDMA, the rate of transmission is very high as compare to FDMA.
In TDMA, synchronization is required and the time for synchronization or guard time
should be minimum.
TDMA systems require large overheads (framing bits) as compare to FDMA because of
discontinuous or burst transmission.
In TDMA, bandwidth can be utilized on demand of different users as different numbers
of time slots are allocated to different users.

Dynamic TDMA
In dynamic time division multiple access, a scheduling algorithm dynamically reserves a variable
number of time slots in each frame to variable bit-rate data streams, based on the traffic demand
of each data stream. Dynamic TDMA is used in

HIPERLAN/2 broadband radio access network.

IEEE 802.16a WiMax
The Packet radio multiple access (PRMA) method for combined circuit switched voice
communication and packet data.

Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA)

In FDMA technique individual or unique channels (frequency bands) are assigned to individual
users, who request for service. On demand two distant bands of frequencies are allocated for
every user. One is for forward channel and other is for reverse channel. Forward channel is used
to transfer information from Base Station to Mobile and Reverse channel transfer information
from Mobile to Base Station.
FDMA Characteristics
In FDMA, one phone circuit is carried by one FDMA channel at a time.
In FDMA, if an FDMA channel is not in use, it cannot be used by other users to increase
the channel capacity. It remains idle.
FDMA is implemented in Narrowband systems, because, in FDMA, each channel
supports only one circuit per carrier so the bandwidth of FDMA channels are relatively
narrow (30 KHz).
Inter symbol Interference is low in Narrowband systems because Narrowband signal has
large symbol time as compare to delay spread.
FDMA mobile systems are less complex as compare to TDMA mobile systems.
FDMA is a continuous transmission scheme as compare to TDMA because fewer bits are
needed for synchronization and framing.
In FDMA, as unique channels are assigned to each user, so FDMA systems have higher
cell site system cost as compared to TDMA system.
In FDMA, both the transmitter and receiver operates at the same time so FDMA
Mobile units require duplexers. These also increase the cost of FDMA subscriber units
and base station.
In FDMA, Cross talk is the main issue which causes interference on the other frequency and may
disrupt the transmission.
Code Division Multiple Access
In CDMA, all users transmit information simultaneously by using the same carrier frequency.
Each user has its own codeword, which is orthogonal to other users. To detect the message, the
receiver should know the codeword used by the transmitter. A time correlation operation is
performed at receiver to detect the desired codeword and all other codeword appears as noise due
to de-correlation and to minimize this noise power at receiver station power should be high.
CDMA Characteristics

In CDMA system many users share the same frequency.

In CDMA unlike FDMA and TDMA the number of users is not limited. It has a soft
capacity. But due to large number of users its performance degrades.
In CDMA, the spread spectrum or bandwidth is large so multipart fading is reduced.

In CDMA, the channels data rates are very high.

CDMA systems provides soft handoff and this handoff is performed by the MSC.
In CDMA systems, if spreading sequences of different users are not exactly orthogonal,
the Self-jamming problem is arises.
In CDMA systems, if a desired user has less power as compare to undesired users, the
near-far problem occurs.
In CDMA, each user operates independently with no knowledge of the other users.

Uses of CDMA

One of the early applications for code division multiplexing is in GPS. This predates and
is distinct from cdmaOne.
CDMA has been used in the OmniTRACS satellite system for transportation logistics.

Differences among the TDMA, FDMA & CDMA

FDMA divides the given spectrum into channels by the frequency domain. Each phone call is
allocated one channel for the entire duration of the call. In the figure above, each band represents
one call.

TDMA enhances FDMA by further dividing the spectrum into channels by the time domain as
well. A channel in the frequency domain is divided among multiple users. Each phone call is
allocated a spot in the channel for a small amount of time, and "takes turns" being transmitted. In
the figure above, each horizontal band represents the channel divided by the frequency domain.
Within that is the vertical division in the time domain. Each user then takes turns occupying the

CDMA transmission does not work by allocating channels for each phone call. Instead, CDMA
utilizes the entire spectrum for transmisson of each call. Each phone call is uniquely encoded and
transmitted across the entire spectrum, in a manner known as spread spectrum transmission. In
the figure above, each brightly colored pattern represents the encoded phone call being
transmitted across the spectrum.