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7, JULY 2009 3747

Delay-Limited Transmission in OFDM Systems:

Performance Bounds and Impact of
System Parameters
Gerhard Wunder, Member, IEEE, Thomas Michel, Student Member, IEEE,
and Chan Zhou, Student Member, IEEE

Abstract—Delay matters in future wireless communication. An failure of the provided service? An answer to this question
appropriate limit for rates achievable under delay constraints provides not only an appropriate performance limit for delay
is the delay limited capacity (DLC). In this work, the DLC of sensitive services such as e.g. streaming services in LTE
OFDM systems is investigated. Despite its complicated correla-
tion structure the OFDM DLC is fully characterized for low systems (Long Term Evolution of 3GPP UMTS system). It
and high SNR. It is shown that (under weak assumptions) the also gives structural insights into the general system behavior
OFDM DLC is almost independent of the fading distribution in yielding guidelines for engineering wireless communication
the low SNR region but strongly depends on the delay spread systems.
thereby achieving a capacity gain over AWGN capacity. In the
high SNR region the roles are exchanged. Here, the impact It is known that in general multiple degrees of freedom in
of delay spread is negligible while the impact of the fading fading channels allow reliable communication in each fading
distribution becomes dominant. The relevant quantities and their state under a long term power constraint. This is due to
asymptotic behaviour are derived without employing simplifying the possibility of recovering the information from several
assumptions on the OFDM correlation structure. Using a general
independently faded copies of the transmitted signal. The rate
convergence framework the analysis further shows that if the
delay spread becomes large even the predominant impact of the achievable in each fading state is called zero outage capacity
fading distribution vanishes and DLC capacity loss compared or alternatively delay limited capacity (DLC) [1]. Not only
to AWGN capacity approaches 0.58[nats/s/Hz]. The convergence multiple input multiple output (MIMO) channels but also
speed, the loss due to non-uniform power delay profile, and the frequency selective multi-path channels offer multiple degrees
relation to ergodic capacity is also analyzed and underlined with
of freedom. This is in contrast to single antenna Rayleigh flat
simulations and application examples. The main conclusion here
is that OFDM fully takes advantage of the degrees of freedom of the fading channels, where a DLC does not exist.
underlying fading channel in terms of delay spread and, regardless This work investigates the DLC of frequency selective
of the fading distribution, delay sensitive capacity measures such as multi-path channels using orthogonal frequency division
the DLC converge to the ergodic capacity. Finally, since universal
bounds are obtained which apply to any fading distribution the multiplexing (OFDM) to mitigate inter-symbol interference.
results can also be used for other classes of parallel channels OFDM can be considered as a special case of parallel fading
extending the range of applicability. channels with correlated fading process. Pioneering work on
Index Terms—Delay limited capacity, orthogonal frequency this topic was carried out in [2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. Unfortu-
division multiplexing (OFDM), power control, rate allocation, nately, these results do not carry over to the OFDM case: since
parallel Gaussian channels. the subcarriers are highly correlated due to oversampling of
the channel in the frequency domain the fading distribution
is commonly degenerated which significantly complicates the
I. I NTRODUCTION analysis. This particularly affects the critical impact of the

M ODERN wireless services are very sensitive to delay

and require a certain rate to be provided in each time
slot. This sensitivity can be translated directly to the central
delay spread and the number of subcarriers. Hence, even
though the information-theoretic foundations are established,
the characterization of the OFDM DLC remains an open
question motivating our work: What is the maximum data rate question.
achievable under delay limitations? Assuming a block fading Our main contributions are as follows: We derive the OFDM
process and capacity achieving codes, this question can be DLC in a general setting and analyze the impact of system
made more precise: What is the maximum data rate achievable parameters such as delay spread, power delay profile (or the
in each fading state under a long term power constraint, so that multi-path intensity profile) and fading distribution along with
the temporal structure of the fading process can not cause a the study of suboptimal resource allocation strategies. We
focus on two cases in particular: the behaviour at low and
Manuscript received July 28, 2008; revised February 6, 2009 and February
27, 2009; accepted March 5, 2009. The associate editor coordinating the high signal to noise ratio (SNR). The OFDM DLC in the
review of this paper and approving it for publication was S. Hanly. low SNR regime is characterized by its first and second order
The authors are with the Fraunhofer German-Sino Mobile Communications Taylor expansion, which are explicitly calculated in terms of
Lab, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Einstein-Ufer 37, D-10587 Berlin, Germany (e-
mail: {wunder, michel, zhou} (large) delay spread for OFDM. It is shown that so-called rate
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TWC.2009.080991 waterfilling using solely order statistics of subcarrier gains
c 2009 IEEE

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p1 (h) h̃1 n1
is the optimal resource allocation strategy. Similar analysis
x1 y1
is carried out in the high SNR regime where it is shown
that simple channel inversion achieves close-to-optimal per- p2 (h) h̃2 n2
formance also in the (degenerated) OFDM case where this x2 y2
time the DLC depends on the fading distribution; the analysis
culminates in a general convergence theorem again in terms of
(large) delay spread for OFDM where even the impact of the
fading distribution vanishes showing a universal capacity loss pK (h) h̃K nK
of 0.58[nats/s/Hz] compared to AWGN capacity. This shows xK yK
that OFDM fully takes advantage of the degrees of freedom
of the underlying fading channel in terms of delay spread
and, regardless of the fading distribution, short term capacity Fig. 1. General system model: data of K streams xk is sent over parallel
fading channels with arbitrary fading distribution hk generated by eqn. (1)
measures such as the DLC converge to the ergodic capacity. and received under AWGN with iid nk ∼ CN (0, 1).
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: Section
II presents the OFDM system model. In Section III the OFDM
DLC is introduced and suboptimal power allocation strategies some vector quantizer is covered in our analysis provided that
are discussed. In Section IV-A the behavior at low SNR is the rates defined below are achievable. The general model is
studied while Section IV-B focuses on the high SNR regime. summarized in Fig.1.
We conclude with some final remarks in Section VII. Given the channel gains h = [h1 , ..., hK ]T the rate achiev-
able over all K parallel Gaussian channels with a certain
A. Notations power allocation p = [p1 , ..., pK ]T reads as
All terms will be arranged in boldface vectors. Common 1 

vector norms (such as ·1 for the l1 -norm) will be employed. R(h, p) = rk (hk , pk ) = log (1 + pk hk ) , (2)
The expression z ∼ CN (0, 1) means that the complex-valued k=1 k=1
random variable z = x + jy is circular symmetric Gaussian where rk (hk , pk ) denotes the rate achievable on subcarrier
distributed, i.e. the real and imaginary parts are indepen- k. We further introduced the factor 1/K so that all rates
dently Gaussian distributed with zero mean and variance 1/2: are normalized to spectral efficiency and given in [nats/s/Hz].
x, y ∼ N (0, 1/2). A sequence of random variables is called The small impact of the OFDM guard interval on the spectral
iid if 1.) any subset is an independent set and 2.) all random efficiency shall be neglected here.
variables are circular symmetric. The expectation operator Now, assume that the system is subjected to a long term
(e.g. with respect to the fading process) will be denoted as power constraint, i.e.
E (respectively Eh or Eh̃ ). Pr(A) denotes the probability of K 
an event A. All logarithms are to the base e unless explicitly 
Eh pk (h) ≤ P ∗ , (3)
defined in a different manner.

II. OFDM C OMMUNICATION M ODEL where we use pk (h) to denote that the power allocation may
depend on the current fading realization. This means that while
Assuming familiarity with the general model consider a there is no peak power constraint per fading state, in average
standard OFDM communication system where a single user the power constraint P ∗ has to be met. Please note that due to
uses K subcarriers for information transmission. The complex non-linear components in the transmitter path such ideal power
channel gain on subcarrier k is by means of Fast Fourier control scheme is difficult to implement in practice. Therefore,
Transform (FFT) given by the results should be seen as a limit for any practical power

2πj(l−1) · (k−1)
control scheme.
h̃k = c̃l e− K , k = 1, ..., K, (1)
where L ≤ K is the delay spread, and c̃l are the complex T RANSMISSION
path gains that are modeled as independent, zero mean random A. Optimal rate allocation
variables with variance σl > 0 for all l. The vector of variances
σ = [σ1 , ..., σL ]T is called the power delay profile (PDP) We introduce the DLC Cd (P ∗ ) for an OFDM system,
and the channel energy is normalized, i.e. ||σ||1 = 1. We which is a special case of parallel fading channels.
say that the channel has a uniform PDP if σ1 = . . . = σL Definition 1: The delay limited capacity Cd (P ∗ ) of an
and a non-uniform PDP otherwise. Note that in practice the OFDM system under a long term power constraint P ∗ is given
PDP is typically non-uniform. The channel (path) gains are by
defined as hk := |h̃k |2 (respectively cl := |c̃l |2 ) and the Cd (P ∗ ) = sup inf R (h, pk (h)) (4)
p∈P ∗ h∈H
distribution of the channel gains is called the (joint) fading
distribution. It is worth pointing out that we do not make where H ⊆ RK + is the set of possible channel gains and
any assumptions on the fading distribution. Even the case of P ∗ comprises all power allocation policies advising a power
point masses (i.e. discrete fading distributions) induced e.g. by allocation pk (h) ∀k to every h ∈ H such that (3) holds.

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In other words, Cd (P ∗ ) is the maximum rate which can be gains. In order to avoid this complexity we introduce the
achieved for all possible channel gains without violating the notion of rate waterfilling for expected ordered channel gains,
average power constraint P ∗ . or so-called statistical rate waterfilling (SRW) as follows:
Definition 1 implies that in order to achieve Cd (P ∗ ) we for a given vector h of real elements let us introduce the
need to find the power allocation pk (h) ∀k that supports a total ordering hk[K] ≥ hk[K−1] ≥ . . . ≥ hk[1] , i.e. hk[1] is
given rate Cd with minimum power. For any h ∈ H this the minimum value and hk[K] is the maximum value; the
optimization problem is equivalent to: distribution of hk[p] is known to be the p-th order statistics of
a sample h. Based on the order information we can deduce a

fixed rate allocation on the subcarriers, avoiding optimal RW.
min pk
p∈RK The key idea is to allocate a fixed rate budget to the p-th
k=1 (5) ordered subcarrier. Defining the terms
subj. to rk (hk , pk ) ≥ Cd 
K 1
ζp := dFhk[p] (h)
Using the relation between power and rate on subcarrier k in h
eqn. (2) the problem can be easily solved and the resulting
optimal rate allocation is given by where Fhk[p] is the marginal distribution of the p-th ordered
 rk − ⎫ channel gain and using these factors in the optimization
e ⎪ problem (5) the SRW rate allocation is given by:
− λ = 0, k = 1, ..., K ⎪ ⎪

hk ⎪
⎬  rk[p] − ⎫
K e
− = 0, = 1, ⎪

1 (Rate Waterfilling) λ k ..., K ⎪

rk = Cd ⎪

⎪ ζp−1 ⎪

K ⎪
⎪ K
k=1 ⎭ 1
λ>0 rk[p] = Cd ⎪ ⎪
K p=1 ⎪

− ⎪

where [·] := min {·, 0} and λ ∈ R is a Lagrange multiplier. λ>0
The rate allocation is called rate waterfilling (RW) because (Statistical Rate Waterfilling)
substituting λ = log(λ̃) and hk = log(1/h̃k ) yields the The performance of SRW is illustrated in Fig.2 and it can be
classical waterfilling rule. Solving for λ and after some algebra observed that it does particularly well in the low SNR region.
we obtain the single user OFDM delay limited capacity Cd This will be exploited in the low SNR analysis where it is
with power constraint P ∗ (corresponds to Theorem 3.2 in [7]) shown that it becomes optimal as SNR goes to zero.
⎛ ⎞ There is an interesting second rate allocation termed chan-
|D (Cd , h)| exp |D(CCd K
,h)| nel inversion (CI) introduced in [3] where the powers asserted
P ∗ =Eh ⎝  ⎠

K k∈D(Cd ,h) hk
1/|D(Cd ,h)| to the subcarriers are all the same. It is easy to see then that
⎛ ⎞ the CI rate allocation according to
1  1  
− Eh ⎝ ⎠ (6) e C d hk
K hk rk = log 1 + K 1/K
, k = 1, ..., K,
k∈D(Cd ,h)
k=1 hk
where the random variable D (Cd , h) ⊆ {1, ..., K} denotes (Channel inversion)
the set of active subcarriers and |D (Cd , h)| its cardinality. always leads to a rate higher than the requested rate at
Since the numerator in (6) can be bounded by a constant and the expense of power consumption. Hence, this is also a
by applying arithmetic-geometric mean inequality to the last suboptimal solution. CI is illustrated in Fig.2. In contrast to
term, the delay limited capacity Cd is greater than zero if and SRW it performs well in the high SNR region. This will be
only if exploited in the high SNR analysis where it is shown that it
 becomes optimal as SNR goes to infinity.
1 The relevant performance measures for SRW and CI play a
 1/|D(Cd ,h)|
dFh (h) < ∞. (7)
k∈D(Cd ,h) hk significant role in the forthcoming analysis. Next, we analyze
K R+
existence of DLC in OFDM systems.
Here, Fh denotes the joint fading distribution function. The
class of fading distributions for which (7) holds is called C. Existence of DLC
regular in [3]. It will become apparent in the following that
the correlation structure of the channel gains in OFDM pro- Denote the guaranteed rates achievable under SRW by
vides the main challenge in proving and analyzing regularity CdSRW (P ∗ ). By the suboptimality of SRW the DLC is clearly
according to (7). non-zero if ζK = Eh (h∞ ) < ∞, i.e.
Let us now introduce two important suboptimal power 
allocation strategies. dFh (h) < ∞. (8)

B. Suboptimal rate allocation and it is therefore of general interest when eqn. (8) holds. The
It is evident from the expression for the DLC that the following theorem states a strikingly weak sufficient condition
major difficulty is the rate waterfilling operation for all channel on the existence of the DLC.

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equal power strategy It is now of great interest to understand the impact of
equal rate strategy
rate water−filling strategy
the ergodic fading process and its parameters. So the delay
OFDM DLC spread L and the power delay profile σ as well as the fading
10 distribution itself obviously affect the OFDM delay limited
capacity. Since the expression in (6) is still very complicated,
Cd [bps/Hz]

we focus on the behavior in the low and the high SNR regime
and carry out a detailed analysis.

A. The low SNR regime

1) Low SNR rate control: In the following theorem we
characterize the first and second term in the Taylor expansion
−30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 of Cd (P ∗ ) for small P ∗ ; both order terms were shown by
SNR [dB]
S. Verdu in [9] to characterize the system at very low SNR
(i.e. low spectral efficiency). The theorem tells us that, albeit
Fig. 2. RW, SRW, and CI allocation policies for L = K = 16 generally suboptimal, SRW rate control becomes optimal at
independent subcarriers. In addition, the suboptimal strategy of equal rate low SNR. Note that the results can neither be obtained from
budget assertion is also depicted which is suboptimal independent of the SNR
regime. Summarizing, simple suboptimal schemes approximate very well the the approach in [9] since the capacity formula in eqn. (6) has
delay limited capacity curve over a large SNR range and thus yield useful no simple differentiation expressions. For the ease of notation
insights in the general behaviour of the OFDM delay limited capacity. we define h∞ := h∞ .
  2 (Low SNR optimality of SWF): Suppose that
Eh h−1 ∞ < ∞.
Theorem 1 (Non-zero DLC): Suppose there is a pair of i.) The first order limit is given by:
path gains that have a joint distribution with bounded den-
sity in some open neighborhood of zero. Then, Cd (P ∗ ) ≥ Cd (P ∗ ) 1
Cd (0) := lim =   (10)
CdSRW (P ∗ ) > 0 for any P ∗ > 0. P∗ →0 P∗ Eh h−1

Proof: We examine under which conditions
−1 Hence, SRW rate control is first order optimal in the low
Eh (h∞ )< ∞ holds. Applying the standard inequality
∞ SNR regime.
E (X) ≤ i=0 Pr (X ≥ i) for some non-negative random ii.) Define the sub-linear term as Δd (P ∗ ) := Cd (0) P ∗ −
variable X and using the inequality c1 = h1 /K ≤
Cd (P ∗ ). Then, the second order limit is given by:
h∞ , and c∞ ≤ c1 the expectation can be written as:  
 Δd (P ∗ ) KEh χ−1 h h∞
  lim =   (11)
1 1 P ∗ →0 (P ∗ )2 2E3h h−1∞
Eh ≤1+ Pr cl ≤ (9)
h∞ i
i=1 l=1 Here, χh is the (random) multiplicity of subcarriers with
maximum channel gain.
By assumption there are two channel gains say ci1 , ci2 with
iii.) Suppose that the joint fading distribution is absolute
joint distribution with bounded density (by some real constant
continuous. Then, the following limit holds:
0 ≤ cde < ∞) in some open neighborhood of the zero say
[1/i0 ] × [1/i0]. Hence, we have for i ≥ i0 Δd (P ∗ ) K
lim =   2
  P →0 (P ∗ )2

Eh h−1
Pr cl ≤ ≤ dF (ci1 , ci2 ) Hence, SRW rate control is first order and second order
l=1 [1/i]×[1/i] optimal in the low SNR regime.

Proof: The proof is deferred to Appendix VIII-A.
≤ cde dci1 dci2 Consequently, by concavity of the capacity and some fixed
[1/i]×[1/i] multiplicity χ ≥ 1 of subcarriers with maximum channel gain,
≤ 2 we have for any P ∗ :
i 2
P∗ K (P ∗ ) ∗ P∗
rendering the sum in (9) and hence the DLC finite which  −1  −   −1 2 ≤ Cd (P ) ≤   (12)
Eh h∞ 2χ Eh h∞ Eh h−1

proves the claim.
Theorem 1 connects time and frequency domain in OFDM The behaviour of the DLC and the first and second order
and shows that under mild assumptions two independent paths, approximations from Theorem 2 for different numbers of taps
L = 2, are sufficient for Cd (P ∗ ) > 0. The theorem indeed is illustrated in Fig.3; here, we depict Cd over Eb /N0 (Eb :
fails to hold for L = 1: even though a single path gain has energy per bit, N0 : noise spectral density) which itself is
two real independent components (real and imaginary part), related to the capacity expression via Cd N0 Eb = P ∗ , and
each component is chi-square distributed with one degree of letting P ∗ → 0 then yields the minimum transmitted energy
freedom of which the density is unbounded. per bit. It can be observed that the approximations are very

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−3 −3
x 10
even for moderate L, K ≥ L when the complex path gains are
x 10
5 5

4.5 4.5

4 4 iid; moreover, the upper bound also holds when the PDP is
non-uniform [10]. We can apply this result to the DLC where
3.5 3.5

C [bps/Hz]
C [bps/Hz]

we have to show that from the convergence in probability

2 2

1st order
2nd order 1.5
1st order
given in eqn. (13) it follows convergence of the expected


2nd order
maximum of the channel gains as well. Leaving out technical
−3.475 −3.47 −3.465 −3.46 −3.455 −3.45 −3.445 −3.44 −3.435 −3.43
−6.5 −6.45 −6.4 −6.35
details we can show the following:
E /N [dB] Eb/N0 [dB]
Theorem 3: Suppose that the complex path gains are in-
b 0

x 10

4 0.009
1st order
2nd order
dependent. Moreover, assume that the path gain distribu-
tion allows for some bounded Lipschitz constant in an -

C 0.007
3 d
1st order 0.006
neighborhood of zero uniformly. Then the following result
C [bps/Hz]

C d [bps/Hz]
2.5 2nd order


Cd (P ∗ )
lim sup lim ∗
≤1 (14)
L→∞ P →0 log (L) P
0.5 0.001 ∗
0 0
−8.2 −8 −7.8 −7.6 −7.4 −7.2 −10 −9 −8 −7 −6 −5
E /N [dB] Eb/N0 [dB]
b 0

Equality in (14) holds for uniform PDP.

Proof: The theorem is a direct consequence
Fig. 3. OFDM DLC, 1st and 2nd order behaviour over Eb /N0 for L = K
and L = 4 (upper left) L = 16 (upper right), L = 64 (lower left) and of the uniform integrability property proved
L = 512 (lower right). in  [11, Lemma 1][10] showing essentially that
Eh h−1∞ = (log (L) + O (log [log (L)])) for large L.

Note that the DLC compares favorably by the factor log (L)
p=1/3 p=1/3 with the capacity of AWGN in the low SNR regime.
1 X X
A B In order to make the theorem useful in practice we can write

Cd (P ∗ ) cLo g (L)
lim ≤1+ =: ψ (L) , any L (large),
P ∗ →0 log (L) P ∗ log L
C p=1/3 (15)
1 h1 where g (L) := log [log (L)] and cLo > 0 is a constant
independent of K (≥ L); consequently, the limit in eqn. (14)
Fig. 4. Three fading states with equal probability.
regarding L is independent of how K, L scale. On the other
hand for small but non-zero P ∗ we have by Theorem 2 and
eqn. (12)
tight for practical values of L while the range where the  
Cd (P ∗ ) cLo g (L) + Kχ−1 P ∗ log (L)
approximation is useful degrades for very large L. ≥1− (16)
Rather interesting, the multiplicity of the maximum subcar- log (L) P ∗ log (L)
rier gain occur in the expressions; a scenario where this mat- which now indeed depends on K. Hence, for fixed L and
ters is discussed in the example in Fig.IV-A1 for one subcarrier growing K the lower bound (16) becomes arbitrarily small.
with three fading states occurring with equal probability. This This effect can be typically alleviated by the fact that for K
mimicks e.g. a mobile
  at the cell border employing handover. L the number of subcarriers having approximately the same
Here, clearly Eh h−1 ∞ = 1 but in fact according to Theorem 2 maximum channel gain h∞ is also increasing. A very good
the DLC growth over energy per bit indicated by the sublinear estimate is hk ≥ hk∗ cos πL ∗
K with hk = h∞ and |k − k | <

P ∗ →0
term will be Δd (P ∗ )/P ∗ → 4/3. K/(2L) [12] so that Kχ −1
= O (L) and the lower bound
2) An explicit formula for OFDM: Appealing to Theorem 2 becomes independent of K. Note that there is also an impact
the forthcoming analysis reduces to the study of the expected of the PDP which is treated in Sec.VI.
maximum of the channel gains. However, the expressions do The unknown small constant cLo > 0 can be found numeri-
not show how the DLC depends on the system parameters cally. The approach is demonstrated in Fig.5 where we depict
which we investigate by means of an asymptotic analysis, i.e. Cd (P ∗ ) over Eb /N0 (in dB scale) and the approximations for
for large L, K. This analysis turns out to be quite accurate different L. It is seen that the minimum energy per bit, at
even for very small L. which reliable transmission is possible, goes to minus infinity
We make use of the following result [10][11, Theorem with order − log[log(L)] as indicated by Theorem 3.
1]: under very mild assumptions on the fading distribution
we have that h∞ equals approximately log (L) with large
probability (recall that we set ||σ||1 = 1), i.e. B. The high SNR regime

Pr (log (L) − 4 log [log (L)] ≤ h∞ After the treatment of the low SNR regime we turn towards
≤ log (L) + 4 log [log (L)]) high SNR. In contrast, here not only the delay spread but also
  the fading distribution is important. Furthermore CI instead of
= 1 − O log−4 (L) (13) SRW becomes the asymptotically optimal rate allocation.

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x 10
10 14


10 log(P*)−0.58

Cd [bps/Hz]
C [bps/Hz]

5 8

4 L=4 linear decreasing

4 uniform PDP

−12 −10 −8 −6 −4 −2 0 2 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
E /N [dB] SNR [dB]
b 0

Fig. 5. The solid curves depict the DLC over Eb /N0 in an OFDM channel Fig. 6. Scaling in the high SNR region: The black line indicates the scaling
with L = 2...1024 taps for Rayleigh fading and uniform PDP. The upper at high SNR given by log (P ∗ ) − 0.58 (for Rayleigh fading). The dashed
bound on the minimum energy per bit marked by the crosses is given by lines give the OFDM DLC for L = K = {2, 4 (non-uniform), 4 (uniform),
eqn. (15) with cLo ≈ 1.2; the constant is found by simple linefitting for the 32}.
smaller L’s while by virtue of Theorem 3 the formula will hold also for the
larger L’s. The gain over of the AWGN channel (−1.59[dB]) is marked by
the dashed curve.
matters for small L the impact quickly vanishes in the limit
for large L. The more independent channel gains that can
1) High SNR rate control: Defining the quantity h := be obtained, the faster will be the convergence, as stated in
K −1/K
k=1 hk we have by using the suboptimal CI rate
 control the following theorem. Here, avoiding technicalities in the
law Cd (P ∗ ) ≥ log P ∗ /Eh h provided that Eh h < ∞, proofs (such as L, K being prime numbers) L, K are generally
i.e. for regular fading distributions [3]. We can extend this assumed to be dyadic numbers (or just divisible); this is not too
result to an upper bound without using any simplifying as- restrictive since K is dyadic in practice. Please note that the
sumptions on the fading distribution; it is also remarkable following convergence holds for any performance measure that
that it is tight for large K and large P ∗ regardless whether fulfills the conditions stated in the proof, i.e. monotonicity and
the distribution
  is continuous or not. Further, note that the uniform integrability (such as peak-to-average power ratio).
quantity Eh h is not at all always meaningful; a simple The proof technique improves on the approach taken by [13]
counterexample is given in the already discussed three fading where weak convergence of the joint distribution of any finite
state example
 in Sec. IV-A where the DLC is non-zero but subset of subcarriers to a joint Gaussian distribution is
Eh h = ∞. which excludes performance measures such as Eh h defined
  4 (High SNR optimality of CI): Suppose that on all subcarriers.
Eh h < ∞. Theorem 5: Suppose that complex path gains c̃1 , ..., c̃L are
i.) The following upper limit holds: iid; further suppose that their marginals are circular symmetric
   1 and have uniformly bounded and sufficiently smooth densities
lim sup [Cd (P ∗ ) − log (P ∗ )] ≤ log Eh h + . with exponential tails for all L. Then, the following upper

P →∞ K
(17) limit holds:
ii.) The following lower limit holds: ∞
   ∗ ∗
lim inf [C d (P ∗
) − log (P ∗
)] ≥ log Eh h . (18) lim sup [Cd (P ) − log (P )] ≤ log (h) exp (h) dh (19)
∗ P →∞ L,P ∗ →∞
Both bounds coincide for large K (or the distribution is  
:=HF ≈−0.58
continuous [3]) and, hence, CI rate control is optimal in
the high SNR regime then. Equality in (19) holds for uniform PDP.
Proof: The proof is given in Appendix
 VIII-B. The upper bound becomes tight in the presence of Ko -th
Theorem 4 states that as long as Eh h < ∞  the DLC order diversity with convergence rate Ko (for constants see
lies in some target corridor determined by E h h . Hence, it eqn. (34)) where Ko is the number of independent subcarriers.
suffices to evaluate the term Eh h in (17) in the high SNR Proof: see Appendix VIII-C.
regime which characterizes the fixed capacity gap compared Interestingly, there is always a loss in capacity compared to
to the log(P )-scaling of AWGN depending on the fading AWGN under the assumptions of the theorem (e.g. Rayleigh-
distribution. A simple explicit asympotic expression for this , Nakagami-fading etc.). The capacity loss equals that of
gap is now provided. AWGN capacity to ergodic capacity as we will show in the
2) An explicit formula for OFDM: In order to get some next subsection. An illustration is shown in Fig.6 where also
insight let us carry out again an asymptotic analysis. The the non-uniform case is exemplarily incorporated showing
following theorem shows that while the fading distribution almost no impact of the PDP.

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V. C ONVERGENCE TO E RGODIC C APACITY Applying triangle inequality and Jensen’s inequality to

E[1/(·)2 ] yields a strict upper bound1. The bound can be
The results can be related to ergodic capacity. The ergodic
improved by observing that the phases will be close to
capacity is given by [3] (γ )
independent. Since Eh (h∞i ) ≤ ψ(L) log(iγi i ) using eqn.
Ce = Eh (max {log (ξh1 ) , 0}) (20) (15) we obtain the formula:

where ξ is chosen such that Cd (P ∗ )  P ∗ ψ (L) log iγi i (22)
 ! "
P ∗ = Eh max ξ − h−1
1 ,0 . (21)
Note that this approach is tight only for uniform PDPs but
Note that the first order term of the DLC is not bounded with it constitutes 1.) a rigorous upper bound and 2.) captures the
respect to L. The same is true for the ergodic capacity [9] so right behaviour, i.e. a more spread out PDP will have a higher
that we can say that DLC reflects the behavior of the ergodic DLC (so-called Schur-concavity). In the following we discuss
capacity in the low SNR regime. A similar statement can be an application example which is related to LTE performance
shown for the high SNR case. evaluation.
Corollary 6: Under the assumptions of Theorem 5 with
uniform PDP the DLC converges to the ergodic capacity as A. Bandwidth request for delay-sensitive services
K → ∞.
Proof: We only have to show that Ce scales as log (P ∗ )+ Using formula (22) we can estimate the number of users
HF as P ∗ → ∞. A rigorous proof of this fact can be found that can be supported at the cell border which request a
in [11, Lemma 1]. fixed rate. We consider an OFDM system with the system
The preceding results have some interesting implications. parameters given in [14]. The system has 1024 subcarriers
They indicate that the DLC approaches the ergodic capacity and the bandwidth is 5 MHz. The multi-path fading channel
even if the channel gains are not independent. In the asymp- is modelled as Pedestrian A/B [15] with 4 and 29 taps non-
totic regime coding over spectral degrees of freedom could uniformly. Suppose the receive SNR at the cell border is -10
substitute the coding over fading blocks in case of ergodic dB, the maximal number of users that can be supported with
capacity. different service requirement is given in Tab. I. It can be seen
that the capacity for high data rate services (e.g. Videophone)
is scarce if several users are at the cell border in the same
VI. A PPLICATIONS TO LTE S YSTEMS time. Hence, an increase of the bandwidth from 5 MHz to 20
In order to apply the results to practical scenarios we need MHz as discussed in 3GPP LTE is advisable.
to find a way to tackle also non-uniform PDPs. The impact of
the PDP has been touched already in Theorem 3 proving the VII. C ONCLUSION
”order-optimality” of uniform PDP. Using essentially Theorem In this work, we studied the delay limited capacity of
3, we can even incorporate non-uniform PDP σ1 ≥, ..., ≥ σL OFDM systems. It was shown that explicit expressions can
(at least one inequality is strict) as follows: instead of directly be found for the low and high SNR regime even for the
representing channel gains cl , ∀l, in (1) consider the following challenging correlation structure of OFDM. The presented
triangular structure results are not restricted to OFDM but can be carried over
√ (L) other classes of parallel channels such as e.g. MIMO. Still
c̃L = γL c̃L an open problem is the complete characterization of the
√ (L−1) √ (L−1)
c̃L−1 = γL c̃L + γL−1 c̃L−1 DLC for arbitrary SNR and arbitrary power delay profile.
.. Here, universal bounds seem very difficult to derive. It is an
√ (1) √ (1) √ (1) interesting but unproven conjecture that the DLC is in general
c̃1 = γL c̃L + γL−1 c̃L−1 + ... + γ1 c̃1
Schur-concave with respect to the power delay profile which
where γl := σl −σl+1 and σL+1 := 0 for some appropriate iid implies that a uniform profile maximizes the DLC in all cases.
sequence of random variables c̃i , l = 1, ..., L, i = l, ...., L;
L √ (l)
hence, we can write c̃l = i=l γi c̃i . Note that the actual VIII. P ROOFS OF THE T HEOREMS
distribution of these random quantities which might be difficult A. Proof of Theorem 2
to calculate will not be needed in the subsequent analysis.
Note that the proof of i.) can be easily devised using
Clearly, there are random phases ejϕi (h) , i = 1, ..., L, such
the same technique as in ii.) and the proof of iii.) is then
# L i # straightforward so they are both omitted.
#  √ # ii.) Our starting point is eqn. (6) where we use the expansion
# (l) − 2πj(l−1)(k−1) #
# γi c̃i e K , k = 1, ..., K # of the exponential function up to the quadratic term, i.e.
# #
i=1 l=1
# ∞
# exp (x) = 1 + x + 0.5x2 + o x2 . Fix  > 0 and set the
L # i
√ # ”virtual” channel gain of any subcarrier k with hk ≥ h∞ − 
jϕi (h) # (l) − 2πj(l−1)(k−1) #
= e # γi c̃i e K , k = 1, ..., K #
# # 1 −1
∞  Eh (h∞ )#
is bounded by
i=1 l=1
  L #  i √ (l) − 2πj(l−1)(k−1)
(γ ) E # γ c̃ e , k = 1, ..., K #
:=h∞i i=1 h # l=1 i i

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Real-time Streaming Services Conversational voice High quality streaming audio Videophone
Rate Requirement 13 kb/s 128 kb/s 384 kb/s
Nr. of users (Ped. A, DLC simulated) ≤ 34 ≤3 ≤1
Nr. of users (Ped. B, DLC simulated) ≤ 67 ≤6 ≤2
Nr. of users (Ped. A, bound) ≤ 34 ≤3 ≤1
Nr. of users (Ped. B, bound) ≤ 77 ≤7 ≤2

to h∞ . Denote by χh () the multiplicity of the number of B. Proof of Theorem 4

subcarriers that are assigned the maximum channel gain by We can use the following strategy for an upper bound Cd :
this strategy for any channel realization h. Then, we obtain fix  > 0 and suppose that for any fading state h we set the
for sufficiently small P ∗ values that are below  to . In other words we do not allow
  ”virtual” channel gains below .
∗ Cd + 0.5Cd2 Kχ−1
h ()
P ≥ Eh . (23) Now, define hk := max {hk , }. Then, using (6) we have
for sufficiently large P ∗
The equation is an upward open parabola in Cd where one zero    
is negative and one is positive where the latter is increasing ∗
P ≥Eh e Cd  −K
(hk )
− Eh (27)
in P ∗ . Solving this equation for Cd yields the inequality k=1
∗ Eh h−1 ∞ %K
1 1
Cd (P ) ≤ −    −K
= Eh e Cd
(hk ) − Eh .
KEh χ−1 h () h∞
$   k=1
E2h h−1∞ 2P ∗ Obviously, the second term grows without bound as  → 0
+   +  
−1 .
K 2 E2h χ−1 −1
KEh χ−1 for many fading distributions such as Rayleigh fading. Fur-
h () h∞ h () h∞
thermore the growth depends on P ∗ . Let us bound this term
Expanding the square root function yields as follows: we have
1 KEh χ−1 −1
h () h∞
1 1

Cd (P ) ≤   ∗
P −   (P ∗ )2 . (24) Eh = dFh (h1 )
Eh h−1 3 h−1  h1
∞ 2 (1 + ) Eh ∞
h1 0
≤ −1 .
Subtracting the first order expression (10) from (24) we arrive
for some  > 0 at Clearly, the term  is related to P ∗ . Since the underlying
  optimal rate control law is waterfilling and the minimum
KEh χ−1 h () h∞

Δd (P ) ≥ 3
 −1  (P ∗ )2 channel gain is at least  we have D(h ) ≡ {1, ..., K} if
2 (1 + ) Eh h∞ λ ≥ −1 . Thus the above equation (27) is certainly true if
KEh χ−1 −1
h h∞ − 

K  +
≥   (P ∗ )2 (25)   1 K
2 (1 + ) E3h h−1∞ P∗ = pk = λ−  ≥
 k∈D(h ) k=1
and thus have established a lower bound on Δd (P ∗ ) for any
,  > 0. The last inequality (25) follows from the following which is a rough estimate. Hence, we obtain
argument: observe that χh () ≥ 1 and, almost surely with 1 P∗
respect to the fading distribution, for any realization h we Eh  ≤
h1 K
have and finally for any  > 0
χ−1 −1 −1 −1
h () h∞ → χh h∞ ,  → 0, ⎛   ⎞
 −1 −1   −1  P∗ 1 + K 1
and provided that Eh χh h∞ ≤ Eh h∞ < ∞ we obtain Cd ≤ log ⎝  1
Eh K
(h  )− K
by dominated convergence [16]: k=1 k
   −1 −1  K
lim Eh χ−1 −1
h () h∞ = Eh χh h∞ Now observe that
(hk ) ≤ h, and, hence, almost
→0 k=1
surely we have
Furthermore, it is easily established that
(1 +  ) KEh χ−1 −1 1
∗ h h∞ 2 lim (hk )− K = h. (28)
Δd (P ) ≤ 3
 −1  (P ∗ ) . (26) →0
2Eh h∞ k=1
Using (28) we can once again invoke the dominated conver-
Combining (25) and (26) leads to the desired result (11).
gence theorem and obtain
Since SRW will assert rates only to the subcarrier with the K 
best channel gain in the low SNR region this will generate the % 1  
same optimal first and second order terms provided that the Eh (hk ) → Eh h
probability of multiple subcarrier allocation for the optimal  

scheme is zero. provided that Eh h < ∞ which is true by assumption.

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C. Proof of Theorem 5 for uniform PDP

Suppose that L , K are dyadic numbers where for any
n n
n (ξ (αi , βi ))
index n ≥ 1, h̃n1 , ...., h̃nK n is a family of complex-valued G
random variables (so-called triangular array) generated by 
1  2π (l − 1) (ki1 − ki2 )
= αi1 αi2 n cos
the sequence c̃1 , ...., c̃Ln via the DFT operation (1). Let i1 =1 i2 =1
2L Kn
be a finite subset of {1, ..., K n} for some m ≥ 1 and Ln  
M  M
1  2π (l − 1) (ki1 − ki2 )
2 ≤ Ln ≤ K n defined by
+ βi1 βi2 n cos
  i1 =1 i2 =1
2L Kn
(i − 1) K n l=1
Em := k : k =
+ 1, i = 1, ..., 2 m
; M  Ln  
2m 2π (l − 1) (ki1 − ki2 )
+ αi1 βi2 n sin
i =1 i =1
L Kn
denote the corresponding subset of random variables by h̃Em
n 1 2 l=1

generating a subfamily of complex-valued random variables and by applying central limit theorem for triangular arrays
with cardinality |Em
|. Furthermore, we superimpose a natural to the random variable ξ (αi , βi ) (which is the sum of inde-
order on the elements of Em n
such that k1 < k2 < ... < k2m pendent random variables by the iid assumption) proves (30)
for ki ∈ Em . In order to establish convergence we need to
n for any set ki ∈ Emn
, i = 1, ..., M . Note that by the assumed
prove the following steps. exponential decay of the marginals, Lindeberg’s condition for
i.) (Monotonicity): We can frequently use the following triangular arrays will be clearly satisfied and convergence of
n D
well-known inequality [17] for some a, b > 0 dividing K: h̃Em → h̃m G follows (see also [13] where a somewhat similar
convergence is proved).
  & ' a1 iii.) (Uniform integrability): The following condition
a %
− 1b
Eh hk ≤ hk1 +(k2 −1)a dFh (h) holds:  ! "
k=1 k1 =1 RK
+ k2 =1 lim sup Ehn hI h ≥ α = 0 (31)
(29) α→∞ n≥1

By using the lower bound in (18) and the integral inequality The proof is sketched: Using (29) and properties of the FFT
in (29) it is straightforward to see that (by the structure of in (1) the expectation can be upperbounded as:
the DFT) if the fading distribution is generated by a complex ( ( ( (−1 
  ( ( −1 ( (
path gain distribution of which the marginal densities can be Ehn h ≤ Ehn (h̃1 ( (h̃K/2 (
written as fc̃i (c̃i ) , c̃i ∈ C, where fc̃i is circular symmetric,
⎛(⎛ ⎞2 ⎛ ⎞2 ((−1 ⎞
i.e. it is invariant under complex phase factors then the fading ( L/2
L/2 (
distribution is invariant regarding k1 in (29); hence we arrive ⎜( ( ⎟
= Ehn ⎝(⎝ c̃2l−1 ⎠ − ⎝ c̃2l ⎠ ( ⎠
at ( (
( l=1 l=1 (
 Kn (
% ( 2 
( (− K n Both sums are independent and converge in distribution to
(h̃k ( dFh̃n h̃
a circular symmetric Gaussian distribution. By assumption
n k=1
+ on the smoothness on the marginals this implies pointwise
 % (( ((− E n2  convergence of densities and by Scheffé’s theorem [18] the

(h̃k ( | m1 | Fh̃n h̃ convergence of the expectations. Since the limit expectation
is finite for two independent circular symmetric Gaussian
+ n
k∈Em 1
 % (( ((− E n2  distributed complex path gains (refer to Theorem 1) this in

(h̃k ( | m2 | Fh̃n h̃ turn implies eqn. (31).
iv.) (Lower bound): Using (17) we set Ehn (h) =
+ n
k∈Em 2

Ehn (exp[log(h)]). Then, by Jensen’s inequality and the con-

uniformly in n for fixed m2 ≤ m1 and 2m1 ≤ K n .
vexity of exp(·) we arrive at
ii.) (Convergence): Suppose convergence in distribution 
Ehn elog(h) ≥ eEhn [log(h)]
themrandom vector h̃Em to a Gaussian
(denoted as → [18]) of 
random vector h̃m
2   ∞ 
G ∼ n=1 CN (0, 1) for fixed m ≥ 1 is
required. By means of the Cramer-Wold device convergence = exp − log (h) dFhn1 (h)
is equivalent to convergence of  0 ∞ 
= exp − log (h) exp (−h) dh −  (n)
ξ (αi , βi ) 0
r (32)

:= αi h̃nki where  (n) → 0 as n → ∞. The first equality follows from
 the assumption that the marginal distribution of the complex
i M  2

D α βi path gains is circular symmetric and the second equality is
+ βi h̃nki → N 0, i
+ (30) due to the central limit theorem and uniform integrability.
2 2
Monotonicity, convergence of h̃Em → h̃m
G , and uniform
for arbitrary real numbers αi , βi , and indices ki ∈ Em n
,i = integrability now ensures that Eh̃Em
n (h) converges to E m (h)
1, ..., M, M ≤ 2 . Evaluating the variance of ξ (αi , βi ) yields
for any m ≥ 1 and uniform PDP. Finally it suffices to show

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that Eh̃m (h) → exp(−HF ) as m → ∞, and to provide a and by choosing the

 slowly converging zero se-
measure of convergence speed for independent subcarriers; quence Ko = O 1/Ko the third term can be upper-
note that by the assumed smoothness of the marginals the bounded by:
lower bound convergence in eqn. (32) will happen much (Ko ) / 0
faster (or it is even exact for Rayleigh fading) and we focus Eh eh I h(Ko ) > co
on the convergence of Eh̃m (h) with Ko = 2m independent  / 0
= h I h(Ko ) > co dFh (h)
RK o
We need the following technical result for Ko > 1 indepen- +
dent channel gains (not even necessarily OFDM subcarriers).  2
Proposition 1: Suppose that Ko > 1 channel gains are iid ≤ h dFh (h)
RK o
with marginal density f . Then, the following upper bound 
holds: / 02
(Ko )
 I h > co dFh (h)
RK o
h dFh (h) +

RK o   K2o / 0 12
⎛⎡ ⎤ Ko
  Ko ≤ Pr h(Ko ) > co
     Ko − 1

× ⎝⎣ f a− − f b− ⎦ 1
Ko − 1 i i
Ko The first inequality follows from Cauchy’s inequality and the
⎞ Ko bound for the first integral follows from the independence
 Ko −1   +   of hk , k ∈ {1, ..., Ko} in combination with Prop. 1 with
− ai Ko f b i − f a+ ⎠
i monotonously decreasing density f . The probability can be
again tackled with Tschebyscheff’s inequality. It follows
−/+ −/+
/ 0 σo
Here, 0 ≤ ai < bi ≤ ∞ are interval boundaries
 + +such Pr h(Ko ) > co ≤ 2
that f  (h) ≤ 0, h ∈ a− , b −
and f 
(h) ≥ 0, h ∈ ai , b i . Ko (co + HF )
i i
Proof: This lemma is proved in [11, Proposition 8]. and putting terms together
Now define the following random variable (i.e. partial
sums): C (P ∗ )

co σo
Ko ∗
≥ log (P ) + HF + log 1 + 2Ko + −HF
h(Ko ) := − log (hk ) e Ko 2Ko
k=1 √ 
+ −H √
By independence, we have h(Ko ) → (−HF ) in probability and e F Ko (co + HF )
we now show Eh(Ko ) (exp(h(Ko ) )) → exp(−HF ). Defining Ko large 2 co σo
some real co HF and splitting up the events in sets ≥ log (P ∗ ) + HF + √ 3
+ −H √
Ko e F 3 Ko
{h(Ko ) ≤ co } and {h(Ko ) > co } we obtain in the first case √
the inequality +√ (34)
Ko (co + HF )
(Ko ) / 0 / (Ko ) 0
Eh eh I h(Ko ) ≤ co ≤ Eh min eh , eco concludes the proof.
( the set function
( I{·}. Defining further the event set A := R EFERENCES
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[9] S. Verdu, “Spectral efficiency in the wideband regime," IEEE Trans. Gerhard Wunder received his graduate degree
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[11] G. Wunder and T. Michel, “The delay-limited capacity region of OFDM He is now with the Fraunhofer German-Sino
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Chan Zhou received the graduate degree (Dipl.-

Ing) in technical computing engineering from Tech-
nische Universität (TU) Berlin , Germany in 2004.
He is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree at TU
Berlin. His research interests include radio resource
management and scheduling, wireless propagation
and channel modeling, feedback and control channel

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