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7, JULY 2009

A High Performance Baseband Transceiver for

SISO-/MIMO-OFDMA Uplink Communications
Jung-Mao Lin, Student Member, IEEE, and Hsi-Pin Ma, Member, IEEE

Abstract—In this paper, a single-input single-output-/multiple- symbol structure and a ranging process for timing and power
input multiple-output- (SISO-/MIMO-) OFDMA uplink base- synchronization. Xiaoyu and Hliang [1] introduced this rang-
band transceiver based on IEEE 802.16e-2005 is proposed. ing process and also provided a solution. Another important
To compensate for the interference of carrier frequency off-
set (CFO), an inter-carrier interference-based (ICI-cancellation- synchronization problem for OFDMA uplink communications
based) CFO estimator in conjunction with channel estimation is frequency offset estimation. Although other studies [2]–[4]
and MIMO detector is proposed. Moreover, a low complexity have provided solutions for an uplink receiver, they either have
solution for implementation is also provided. Simulation results limitations in subcarrier allocation or require large amount of
show that the mean-square-error (MSE) performance of the computation complexity. Therefore, none of these methods
proposed CFO estimator can be reduced to about one tenth
compared to other methods and the bit-error-rate (BER) perfor- are suitable for the implementation of IEEE 802.16e. In
mance of the proposed transceiver is quite close to that of an [5], the authors propose a kurtosis-based carrier frequency
ideal system that doesn’t include CFO compensation. offset (CFO) estimator that is a practical solution for the tile-
Index Terms—Single-input single-output (SISO), multiple- based symbol structure. However, MIMO transmission and the
input multiple-output (MIMO), orthogonal frequency division reduced number of guard bands between the various users
multiple access (OFDMA), carrier frequency offset (CFO), inter- causes problems when implementing kurtosis estimation.
carrier interference (ICI). To solve the problems of frequency synchronization and
multipath channel effect in OFDMA communications, an
I. I NTRODUCTION uplink transceiver conforming to the IEEE 802.16e-2005

A N orthogonal frequency division multiple access standard is proposed. The proposed transceiver consists
(OFDMA) system combines the frequency division mul- of an inter-carrier interference/multiple-access interference
tiple access (FDMA) protocol and the orthogonal frequency (ICI/MAI) canceller, an ICI-cancellation-based CFO estimator,
division multiplexing (OFDM) technique to support multiuser a channel estimator, a MIMO detector, and a general OFDMA
transmission. Therefore, OFDMA provides more flexibility in baseband engine. Compared with previous studies, the pro-
managing channel bandwidth and transmission power com- posed CFO estimator is more robust in the types of subcarrier
pared to conventional OFDM systems. allocation and also provides better performance. Moreover, a
Inheriting its basic concept from OFDM, OFDMA is quite low complexity solution that enables the receiver to be more
sensitive to imperfections in synchronization and channel suitable for very large scale integration (VLSI) implementation
estimation. Many studies have provided useful solutions for is also provided.
downlink OFDMA synchronization. However, uplink OFDMA The organization of this paper is as follows: In section II,
communications face problems when multiple users attempt to a MIMO-OFDMA system is considered. The mathematical
transmit data simultaneously. These problems are a combina- model and the design of the proposed 2x2 MIMO-OFDMA
tion of the various frequency offsets, the multipath channel uplink transceiver are addressed. A low complexity solution
effects, and the timing offsets contained in the same symbol. for the proposed receiver is provided in section III. In sec-
Therefore, synchronization of uplink transmissions is much tion IV, the simulation and evaluation results for the proposed
more difficult. transceiver, including the low complexity scheme, are given.
For an OFDMA system with uplink transmission, the IEEE Finally, a conclusion to this paper is provided in section V.
802.16e standard suggests using a tile-based transmission
Manuscript received June 1, 2007; revised March 4, 2008, October 21,
2008, and March 3, 2009; accepted April 1, 2009. The associate editor A. Mathematical Model
coordinating the review of this letter and approving it for publication was
A. Yener. Assume there are nt /nr transmit/receive antennas in a
J.-M. Lin is with the Laboratory for Reliable Computing (LaRC), De- MIMO-OFDMA uplink system with N subcarriers in each
partment of Electrical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu,
30013, Taiwan. (e-mail:
symbol. In reality, every transmit-receive antenna pair for
H.-P. Ma is with the Laboratory for Reliable Computing (LaRC), De- the same user would have different carrier frequency offsets;
partment of Electrical Engineering/Institute of Communications Engineer- however, these variations can be ignored for simplicity [5].
ing, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, 30013, Taiwan. (e-mail:
Therefore, the transmitted baseband signal of user m for
This research is supported in part by the National Science Council, antenna t can be described by:
Taiwan, R.O.C. under Grants NSC-95-2220-E-007-008, NSC-95-2220-E-007-
1 2π
032 and NSC-95-2219-E-002-020, and is supported in part by the Ministry of l,t
sm,n = √ ∑ Atm · cm,k
· e j N kn ,
Economic Affairs, Taiwan, R.O.C. under Grants 95-EC-17-A-01-S1-038 and N k∈Gm (1)
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TWC.2009.070579 − Ng ≤ n < N, −∞ < l < ∞
c 2009 IEEE

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where cm,k represents the kth data subcarrier in the lth OFDMA MIMO Transmitter
Subchannel / Data Path
Pilot Set
symbol of user m transmitted by the t th antenna, Gm is the Generation
Slot Assignment Control Signal

subcarrier set possessed by user m, and Ng is the length of the OFDMA

Symbol IFFT
cyclic prefix (CP). The gain modification Am is used to adjust MIMO Construction

the power of each transmit antenna. In general, ∑ (Atm )2 = 1.

From Outer Symbol
Data Pilot
Transmitter Mapper
Allocation Tx2
Symbol IFFT Insertion
If it is assumed that SFO impairment can be ignored [6], Construction

the received signal at the base station (BS) for antenna r is: MIMO
Multipath Channel
& CFO Impairment

M   Energy
Detection Multiuser
2π Ranging Process
rnl,r = ∑ e j N (n+Ng +lNs )·σm · ∑ sm,n
l,t l,t,r
∗ hm,n + ωl,r
n (2) Receiver
m=1 t Rx1
Channel In
" CP
MIMO Remover
To Outer SML /
ICI / MAI Subchannel /
Receiver V-BLAST Rx2
Cancellation Slot
where M is the number of users, Ns = N + Ng , σm is user m’s Detection
l,t,r FFT
CFO normalized to subcarrier spacing, hm,n is the affected Rx2

multipath channel in the lth symbol from antenna t to antenna Estimation

Calculation Cancellation
r. Assume the channels hm,n are independent of each other if of Others of Others

t = r and a successful ranging process is accomplished. When

Fig. 1. Proposed 2x2 MIMO-OFDMA uplink baseband transceiver.
the CP length is larger than the multipath delay, the received
signal of the rth antenna after CP removal and the fast Fourier
transform (FFT) operation can be obtained by:
expressed as:
m,k = ζ(l, σm ) ∑∑ l,t
Atm · cm,i l,t,r
· Hm,i κ(σm + i − k)
1 N−1 2π t i∈ Gm
k = √ ∑ rnl,r · e− j N nk  
N n=0 M

1 N−1 M 2π
+ ∑ ζ(l, σm ) ∑ ∑ Atm l,t
· cm l,t,r
 ,i · Hm ,i κ(σm + i − k)
= √ ∑ ∑ e j N (n+Ng +lNs )·σm m =1 t i∈ Gm
m = m
N n=0 m =1
  + Ωl,r
1 2π 2π
√ ∑ ∑ hm ,τ ∑ Atm · cm ,i · e j N i(n−τ) e− j N nk + Ωl,r
l,t,r l,t
k = ∑ Atm · cm,k
l,t l,t,r
· Hm,k · ζ(l, σm ) · κ(σm )
N t τ i∈ Gm t


M 2π
e j N (Ng +lNs )·σm
+ ∑ ∑ Atm · cm,i
l,t l,t,r
· Hm,i · ζ(l, σm ) · κ(σm + i − k) (ICIl,r
m,k )
N m =1 i∈Gm t
i= k
2π + ∑ ∑ ∑ Atm · cml,t,i · Hml,t,r
 ,i · ζ(l, σm )
∑ ∑ l,t
Atm · cm  ,i ∑ hm ,τ · e
l,t,r − j N iτ

m = m i∈Gm t
t i∈ Gm τ
  · κ(σm + i − k) (MAIl,r
N−1 m,k )
j 2π j 2π − j 2π
∑e N σm n ·e N in ·e N nk + Ωl,r
k + Ωl,r
m,k .
1 M j 2π (Ng +lNs )·σ 
N m∑ ∑ ∑ l,t l,t,r
= e N m Atm · cm  ,i · Hm ,i
 =1 t i∈ Gm
  B. Proposed MIMO Transceiver
j 2π
∑e N (σm +i−k)n + Ωl,r
In this paper, a 2x2 MIMO-OFDMA system based on IEEE
n=0 802.16e in spatial multiplexing (SM) mode is considered [7].
1 M Fig. 1 shows the proposed baseband transceiver architecture.
N m∑ ∑ ∑ l,t l,t,r
= ζ(l, σm ) Atm · cm  ,i · Hm ,i κ(σm + i − k) Specifically, the proposed receiver has two operational stages.
 =1 t i∈ Gm
The first stage, the CFO estimation stage, is to estimate each
+ Ωl,r
user’s CFO using the proposed ICI-cancellation-based method;
(3) while the second stage, the data compensation stage, is used
to compensate for the estimated CFO effect and the estimated
channel response for the data received from each user.
1) CFO Estimation Stage:
sin(πx) N−1 lNs +Ng
j πx
where κ(x) = N·sin( πx · e N and ζ(l, x) = e j2π N x . • ICI Reconstruction/Cancellation: For ICI reconstruc-
Specifically, the received signal of subcarrier k ∈ Gm can be tion, assume that the received subcarrier belonging to

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each user (4) can be approximated by: 2) Data Compensation Stage: Based on the estimated CFO
for each user, accurate ICI and MAI cancellation can be
m,k ≈ ∑ Am · cm,k · Hm,k · ζ(l, σm ) · κ(σm ),
yl,r t l,t l,t,r
accomplished. In a similar manner to ICI reconstruction (5)–
t (5) (6), MAI reconstruction for a specific subcarrier k can be
0 ≤ k < N. performed using:

Hence, the ICI caused by subcarrier k for a specific yl,r

m ,k
m ,k = · κ(σ̂m + k − k), k ∈ Gm (10)
subcarrier k can be reconstructed using: κ(σ̂m )
and ICI/MAI cancellation can be achieved using:
ỹl,r = 
· κ(σ̂m + k − k), 
k ∈ Gm (6) y̆l,r l,r
m,k = ym,k − ∑ ỹl,r ∑ ∑ ỹl,r
m,k κ(σ̂m ) m,k − m ,k . (11)
k  ∈ Gm  
m = m k ∈ Gm
k = k
where σ̂m is the estimated CFO for user m. The division
An accurate channel estimation result for MIMO detection can
of the factor κ(σ̂m ) helps to obtain a more precise ICI
then be obtained using the same method described in Section
reconstruction when the CFO is large. Afterwards, ICI
II-B1. A design that combines both ICI/MAI cancellation
cancellation can be performed by:
and CFO estimation greatly reduces the system complexity
compared to that of a conventional system that uses a separate
y̆l,r l,r
m,k = ym,k −

∑ ỹl,r
m,k . (7)
block design for CFO estimation and ICI/MAI cancellation.
k ∈ Gm
k = k In addition, the proposed solution is configurable for SISO
communications by measuring the minimum noise energy
Finally, the time-variant phase distortion should be com- of data subcarriers both before and after demodulation to
pensated using: accomplish CFO estimation.
Fig. 2 illustrates the search evaluation of the noise energy
m,k (9) based on different compensated CFO values. It can be
m,k = . (8)
ζ(l, σ̂m ) observed that some local minimums will occur due to the bias
effect. To avoid an exhaustive search for the global minimum,
• Channel Estimation: To obtain a more accurate result, an efficient search can be performed by first dividing the entire
pilot subcarriers are utilized after ICI/MAI removal. estimation range into several local regions and then selecting
Moreover, to reduce memory storage requirements and the most probable region containing the global minimum.
computation complexity, linear interpolation and linear The selection criterion is to find the center point with the
extrapolation can be adopted without causing too much smallest noise energy, as illustrated in the figure. Finally,
degradation in performance. A different estimation strat- CFO estimation is achieved by applying a simple binary
egy is applied to the first and last slots in a transmission search scheme to the selected local region. Fig. 2(a) shows
burst because of insufficient channel state information an example of the binary search procedures for the case that
(CSI) at the corner position. The basic estimation concept the system suffers from -0.2 Δ f CFO impairment. Using this
for these two sites is to average the CSI based on the method, the required iterations for the CFO estimation are
“quality” of the obtained CSI in order to reduce the noise 2σ 2σmax
+ log2 λ
+1, where λ and σmax are the minimum
effect [6]. search resolution and the maximum search range normalized
• MIMO Detection and CFO Estimation: When consid- to Δ f .
ering a MIMO transmission in an SM configuration, a
maximum-likelihood (ML) or a vertical Bell Laborato-
ries layered space-time (V-BLAST) detector is usually
required to help detect the received data. In the proposed
receiver, the MIMO detector is used to assist CFO esti- For the proposed receiver, an iteration of the CFO search
mation to produce more accurate results. To prevent the consists of the ICI/MAI cancellation, the channel estimation,
CFO estimation from being affected by MAI, the CFO the MIMO detection, and the noise energy calculation. The
is obtained using an iterative search. The search criterion ICI/MAI cancellation can be simplified by shrinking the can-
is used to maximize the signal to interference-plus-noise cellation range and ignoring the MAI cancellation during the
ratio (SINR), since a lower CFO yields a higher SINR, CFO estimation stage. The complexity of channel estimation
as shown in (4). Here, the SINR evaluation measures the can be reduced by using linear interpolation/extrapolation.
noise energy of the received data subcarriers after ICI Moreover, the noise energy calculation (9) can be simplified
cancellation and the results following MIMO detection, by using the approximation function described in [8] so
and is described by: as to avoid complex multiplication. In MIMO detection, a
conventional ML detector requires Cnt · nr · (nt + 1) complex
 2 multiplication operations, where C represents the number
noise energy = ∑ ∑ ∑ y¯l,r
m,k − ∑ m,k m,k 
ĉ l,t
· Ĥ (9) of constellation points for quadrature amplitude modulation
l k r t
(QAM). To reduce complexity while still retaining high
l,t performance, a simplified ML (SML) MIMO detector [9]
where ĉm,k denotes the MIMO detection result. can be adopted. It has been proved that the bit-error-rate

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Search Region Actual CFO -0.2 Δf
CFO Est. Complexity (Proposed) Complexity (Kurtosis)
4 (/Iteration) SISO MIMO SISO MIMO
FFT - - N · log2 N 2 · N · log2 N
Kurtosis - - 6 · nsubch 2·6·4
3 Center Cal. ·4 · nsym ·nsubch · nsym
Noise energy

Points ICI 2 · 6 · 4· 2 · (6 · 4·
2.5 Recons. nsym · nICI nICI · nsym - -
/Cancel. ·nsubch ·nsubch · 2)
2 1
1 Channel 3 · 8 · nsym - - -
1.53 Comp. ·6 · nsubch
5 V-BLAST - 3 · 11 · 2 · 8 · 6 - -
1 4 ·nsym · nsubch
Total 5376 18144 10744 21488
Region I Region II
-0.25 -0.2 -0.15 -0.1 -0.05 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2
Compensated CFO (Δf) affected due to the error propagation properties of V-BLAST,
(a) which will severely degrade system performance [9].
Assume nsym OFDMA symbols, each with nsubch subchan-
Actual CFO 0.3 Δf nels, are used to estimate the CFO for a mobile station (MS),
Actual CFO -0.4 Δf
6 and nICI subcarriers are considered for ICI cancellation for
each subcarrier. A comparison of computational complexity
per iteration between [5] and the proposed method is rep-
Center resented in Table I, where the evaluation unit is a complex
Points multiplication operation. Consider the case where nsym = 3,
4.5 nsubch = 7, nICI = 5, and N = 1024, the proposed CFO
Noise energy

estimator requires only 5376/18144 complex multiplication

4 operations in SISO/MIMO transmission respectively, while the
kurtosis-based solution needs 10744/21488.


The proposed transceiver is verified and evaluated based
on a 2x2 MIMO-OFDMA system configuration [7]. Four
2 independent users are assumed to share these data sub-
Region I Region II Region III Region IV channels, each of which have 7 subchannels. The multipath
1.5 channel impairments used for performance evaluation follow
-0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
Compensated CFO (Δf)
the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Vehicular
(b) A (VA) [10] model. In the receiver, the first four OFDMA
Fig. 2. Search evaluation of the proposed noise energy function: (a)
symbols and ±10 subcarrier ICI/MAI cancellation range are
maximum ±0.25 Δ f CFO, (b) maximum ±0.5 Δ f CFO. A sample binary considered for CFO estimation. After the correct CFO value is
search scheme for the case of -0.2 Δ f CFO impairment is illustrated in (a). obtained, the ICI/MAI cancellation range is increased to ±20
First, Region I will be selected as the more probable region for binary search
of the global minimum compared with Region II due to its lower noise energy
subcarriers to achieve an improved system performance.

at the center point. Then, a binary search scheme is applied to Region I in mean square error (MSE) is measured using E |σm − σ̂m |2
the order according to the sequence indicated in the figure.
with a minimum 0.001 Δ f (subcarrier spacing) CFO search
resolution, where σ̂m is the estimated CFO normalized to the
subcarrier spacing. In addition, the maximum CFO for all
(BER) performance of the SML function for a 2x2 MIMO users in BER simulations is less than ±0.25 Δ f in order
transmission is almost the same as that of a conventional ML to achieve an acceptable performance as no residual CFO
detector, but with only 12·C complex multiplication operations (RCFO) phase tracking scheme is considered in this study.
[9]. Furthermore, to achieve even lower complexity, the SML If the system suffers from CFOs greater than ±0.25 Δ f as a
MIMO detector can be replaced by a V-BLAST detector result of not including RCFO tracking, a serious error floor
during the CFO estimation stage because the proposed CFO in the BER performance will occur and therefore the system
estimator searches for relative minimal noise energy, but not an would not be considered for a realistic application.
absolute value. When applying a V-BLAST MIMO detector, Fig. 3 shows the MSE of the proposed CFO estimator
the computational complexity can be reduced to 11 · nr [9]. using 16-QAM data modulation. A comparison of the tradeoff
However, V-BLAST detection is adopted only during the CFO between the estimation precision and the computational com-
estimation stage because correct data detection will be greatly plexity is also conducted by shrinking the ICI cancellation

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0 0
10 10
Proposed, 0.5 Δf
Kurtosis, 0.5 Δf
Proposed, 0.25 Δf
-1 Proposed, 0.25 Δf, (5/0.01)
Kurtosis, 0.25 Δf -1
Proposed, 0.05 Δf
Proposed, 0.05 Δf, (5/0.01)
-2 Kurtosis, 0.05 Δf

-3 All w/o CFO
Proposed , 0.02 Δf w/ V-BL/SML
Proposed , 0.1 Δf w/ SML/SML
-3 Proposed , 0.1 Δf w/ V-BL/SML
-4 Proposed , 0.1 Δf w/ V-BL(5) / SML(10)
Kurtosis , 0.1 Δf
Proposed , 0.25 Δf w/ SML/SML
Proposed , 0.25 Δf w/ V-BL/SML
-4 Kurtosis , 0.25 Δf
0 5 10 15 20 10
5 10 15 20 25 30
SNR (dB) SNR(dB)

Fig. 3. MSE performance evaluation between the proposed method and the Fig. 4. Uncoded BER performance evaluation for 2x2 MIMO-OFDMA
kurtosis-based CFO estimator for 2x2 MIMO-OFDMA transceivers under 16- transceivers (the proposed method v.s. Kurtosis-based transceiver) under 16-
QAM modulation and ITU-VA30 channel impairment. QAM modulation and ITU-VA30 channel impairment.

range/CFO search resolution to 5/0.01, respectively. It can be 2005. Critical impairments to uplink transmission, the CFO
observed that the estimation precision will be degraded due and the multipath channel, are considered. Compared to other
to the bias effect as CFO impairments increase. However, the designs, the subcarrier allocation scheme of the proposed ICI-
proposed CFO estimator still outperforms the kurtosis method, cancellation-based CFO estimator is more robust. Moreover,
which is quite easily affected by MIMO transmission and the the proposed transceiver is shown to provide greatly improved
MAI effect [5]. performance. Therefore, the proposed solution is well suited
Fig. 4 shows the uncoded BER performance of the proposed to high data rate communications. Furthermore, a correspond-
2x2 MIMO-OFDMA transceiver using 16-QAM modulation. ing low-complexity implementation solution that achieves a
The results show that the proposed method outperforms [5] satisfactory performance is also provided.
no matter how high the CFO impairment is. Therefore, the
proposed transceiver is well suited to high data rate com- R EFERENCES
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