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Adaptive Loading in HF Communications

Xudong Chen, Shuzheng Xu

Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, P.R.China


Abstract - Adaptive bit loading algorithm is an effective adaptive schemes. An inherent assumption in channel
way to use spectrum more efficiently when employed by adaptation is some form of channel knowledge at both the
OFDM/SISO systems. In this paper, we apply this algorithm transmitter and the receiver. Given this knowledge, both the
for HF communications adopting OFDM/MIMO scheme with transmitter and the receiver can have an agreement upon the
MDAPSK modulations. A MIMO system utilizes multiple modulation scheme designed for increased performance. In
antennas at the transmitter and receiver. Such systems have this paper, we put focus on the adaptive bit and power
demonstrated the ability to reliably provide high throughput in allocation schemes [2] [3]. Namely, we presuppose a desired
rich multipath environment. Simulations of OFDM/SISO number of bits to be transmitted by a single OFDM symbol
systems with/without adaptive loading scheme and (consisting of N tones), and then we load these bits onto the
OFDMlMIMO with adaptive loading scheme are carried out tones in such a way that minimum energy is allocated to the
respectively. Results justify the advantage of the combination entire transmission.
of an OFDM/MIMO system and the adaptive bit loading In addition to adaptive modulation, MIMO is a useful
algorithm, which leads to significant data rates with improved technology helping enhance the data rate which is much
bit error performance, over traditional HF communications higher than that of a SISO system. Since recent researches
systems have reached conclusions that OFDMlSISO has better
performance when adopting adaptive loading scheme, this
Index Terms -HF Communications, adaptive loading,
paper seeks to explore adaptive modulation combined with
MIMOIOFDM and to see how much benefit we can get from
this union. A key concept employed here is that every matrix
channel can be decomposed into a set of parallel subchannels
INTRODUCTION over which data can be transmitted independently, given
The high-frequency (HF) band communication, usually from appropriate precoding and shaping transformations at the
3MHz to 30MHz, has regained much attention recently transmitter and receiver, respectively.
because it has various applications, widely used for military, The paper is structured as follows. Section II considers the key
maritime, and aeronautical systems and long distance system aspects. Section III details the adaptive modulation
broadcasting. It is the only way of achieving global coverage techniques employed. Section IV shows simulation results,
without using terrestrial and satellite infrastructure which is and Section V has conclusions.
extremely expensive and sometimes can be hostilely interfered.
The high-frequency band, though covers a wide range, is
surely not inexhaustible, so it is crucial to meet the ever- SYSTEM ANALYSIS
increasing demands of using the available radio spectrum Modulation: MQAM are normally adopted in wireless
more efficiently due to the current and expected continuing communications, however, the application of MQAM
dramatic growth in the number of mobile HF communication modulations has some drawbacks such as [4]: increased
services, systems and users. Because of this, relatively new sensitivity to carrier synchronization errors due to the small
and largely unexplored theory and techniques must be angular separation between the constellation points, which is
continually studied to find innovative ways in order to satisfy further affected by Doppler frequency shift and oscillators
the spectrum usage requirements. As the technique of instabilities; channel estimation and very complex but
OFDMlMIMO has the ability to overcome the negative effect necessary equalization which will bring large amount of
resulted from multipath and to obtain high date rate, it is computation and cause heavy burden to the receiver; the need
generally considered as one of the most effective methods to for a precise decision threshold adjustment; and nonlinear
realize the high-speed digital communication system on HF (phase and amplitude) distortion caused by the high-power
channels [1]. amplifier, which has to be operated close to saturation to
One of the key questions in the development of future HF improve power efficiency. Alternatively, differential
communication systems concerns about the spectrum amplitude and phase shift keying (DAPSK), which has been
utilization characteristics. To better fulfill the requirement, this explained and analyzed in [5], is a very attractive technique
paper present adaptive bit loading scheme for HF for high data-rate transmission in a mobile radio environment.
OFDM/MIMO scheme adopting DAPSK modulations. The scheme of MDAPSK is extended to a combined
Adaptive modulation is an important technique which has the differential amplitude and phase modulation in order to
advantage, in terms of the increased data rates, over non- achieve a higher bandwidth efficiency without lowering the
This work is sponsored by NSFC under Grant #90207001

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quality of performance. In this paper, we choose the frequency response of the channel, and the channel gains at
MDAPSK modulation scheme due to its advantages over each tone of the OFDM symbol. Furthermore, given these
MQAM. gains, the adaptive algorithm can proceed to calculate the
A modulator transforms a set of bits into a complex number optimal bit and power allocation.
corresponding to an element of a signal constellation. In this
paper, given the adaptive algorithm, the modulator has an
input as a set of bits and an energy value, therefore, the output ADAPTIVE LOADING
of the modulator is a symbol of constellation corresponding to The advantage of OFDM is that each frequency-band of
the number of bits on the input. And now the constellation is subchannel is relatively narrow, thus can be assumed to have
appropriately scaled to have a desired energy. the character of flat-fading. However, it is entirely possible
The modulator is supposed to have only a finite number of that a given subchannel has a low gain, resulting in a large
rates available, which means that only a finite number of BER. Thus, it is desirable to take advantage of subchannels
constellations are available for the modulation. Especially which have relatively constant and reliable performance; this
these constellations are drawn from the set of constellations serves as the motivation for adaptive modulation. In the
which have number of symbols equal to an even power of 2. context of time-varying channels, there is a decorrelation of
Further, in order to provide robustness against bit errors, Gray- time which is associated with each frequency-selective
coded constellations are employed for each modulation order channel instance. Therefore, a new adaptation must be
available. implemented each time when the channel decorrelates.
Many demodulation techniques can be employed in this The optimal adaptive transmission scheme, which nearly
system, including maximum-likelihood estimation, MMSE, achieves the Shannon capacity with a fixed transmit power, is
and zero forcing. In order to simplify the demodulator, thus the water filling distribution of power over the frequency
simplify the receiver. Demodulation algorithm in this paper is selective-fading channel. However, while the water filling
implemented using a zero-forcing approach, and it should be distribution will indeed yield the optimal solution, it is
given the knowledge of the individual flat fading channel gain difficult to be computed, and this scheme tacitly assumes
of each subchannel. infinite granularity in the constellation size, which is not
practically realizable.
Channel: The HF channel can be considered as the Wide The adaptive loading technique employed in this paper,
Sense Stationary Uncorrelated Scattering (WSSUS) model however, is an effective technique to achieve power and rate
[7]. Throughout this work, the channel is assumed to be a optimization. This adaptive loading algorithm we concerned
Rayleigh block fading channel, corresponding to a rich about performs fairly well based on knowledge of the
scattering environment with time variation characterized by subchannel gains. Only five different square MDAPSK signal
the fade time. In the MIMO case, the channel is a matrix constellations are used; this scheme is expected to have
channel with equation efficient performance which is very close to that using
I-I unrestricted constellations.
Yn = LH1Xn-1+nn In the discrete bit loading algorithm of [2], we are given a set
of N increasing convex functions en (b) that represent the
where, in general, the values Yk' X k ' nk can be vectors, and
amount of energy necessary to transmit b bits on subchannel
H k can be a matrix. Thus, the delay spread of the channel is n at the desired probability of error using a given coding
L symbol periods. An exponentially decaying profile of scheme. We assume en (0) = O.
channel taps is modeled by fixing the powers of all the The allocation problem which will be using can be formulated
elements in each random matrix H k to a constantEi . These as:
Energy Minimization Problem
coefficients E i form a decaying geometric progression in the
min L:~len(bJ
variable i . During a coherence time interval, all matrices H k
are constant, and when the channel decorrelates, they are all subject to L:~lbn =B
drawn newly according to their respective pdfs. Further, for
simplicity it is assumed that the channel decorrelates at the bn E Z,bn ~ O,n = 1,2, ...,N.
end of an OFDM symbol transmission. To initialize the bit allocation, the scheme of [6] is employed.
Channel estimation inverts the effect of selective fading on The procedure is summarized as follows:
each subcarrier. Usually OFDM systems provide pilot signals 1. Compute the signal to noise ratios(SNR) of each
for channel estimation. In the case of time-varying channels, subchannel
the pilot signal should be repeated frequently. The spacing 2. compute the number of bits for the ith subchannel based
between pilot signals in time and frequency depends on on the formula
coherence time and bandwidth. Throughout this paper, the
b(i) = log2 (1 + SNR(i) / GAP)
channel estimates are assumed to be perfect, and available to
both the transmitter and the receiver. Given full knowledge of 3. round the value of b(i) down to b(i)
the channel, the transmitter and receiver can determine the

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4. restrict b(i) to take the values 0,1,2,4 or 6 only(which o Bit and Energy Allocation for a particular channel instance

value to take is corresponding to available modulation
5. compute the energy for the ith subchannel based on the
number of bits initially assigned to it using the following 1

formula ~ 00 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
e;(b(i)) = (2 b(i) -1) / GNR(i) <3 10 ,------------,------,--------,------.------,--------,--~
where GNR = SNR(i) / GAP ~
6. form a table of energy increments for each subchannel. «
For the ith subchannel
2 b- 1
~ei(b)=ei(b)-ei(b-l)= GNR
Now we put our focus on the kth channel. Given the channel
gain and noise PSD(Power Spectrum Density) the energy
increment table will provide the required incremental energies
for the subchannel to transitfrom supporting 0 bits to 1 bit, 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
from 1 bit to 2 bits, from 2 bits to 3 bits and so on. Since we
require our system to have a maximum of 6 bits, the energy Fig I Energy and Bit Allocation for a channel Instance
increment required to go from 6 bits to 7 bits is set to a very As expected, tones experiencing very poor channel instances
high value. Additionally, requirement set for the subchannel had few or zero bits allocated to them. Also, it is interesting to
is to have only 0, 1, 2, 4 or 6 bits. Thus, odd numbers of bits note that the finite number of MDAPSK constellations
are not supposed to be supported. available means that the rate remains fixed over some intervals
Note that we have introduced a new term, namely GAP. This where the gain does not vary too widely.
parameter is in effect a tuning parameter which helps us a lot
since different values of GAP yield different Eb / No ratios
for a given desired number of bits B to be transmitted. This is
simply because the GAP directly impacts the energy table +
I+- +
value calculations. Thus, tuning GAP allows us to characterize '-t
the BER performance of the system.
~ 't

w n +
m +
We consider both a SISO system and a MIMO system, and
these two simulators were built respectively, and the MIM 0 10.2 0"
simulator was updated to have the SISO system occurs as a +
special case. The following parameters set according to our -+ 5150 fixed
above discussion, were held constant throughout the - -+- - 5150 adapti\e
I~- 2120 adapti\e
simulation: - -

T a bl e I·
· parameters 1 2 3
10 10 10
Number of carriers 64 Eb/No
OFDM symbol time 64 symbol periods Fig II BER curves for various schemes
Guard time 16 symbol periods For comparison purposes, the fixed-rate SISO simulator was
MDAPSK available 0,1,2,4,6 implemented as reference, where the total number of bits per
Noise variance lxl0-3 tone was fixed for all tones, and variable power optimization
Channel HF(WSSUS model)[7] was applied. The BER results are plotted versus EblN o and its
performance of the adaptive SISO, adaptive MIMO, and
Given the these parameters, simulations were conducted with fixed-rate SISO are shown in Figure 2. In all simulations the
100 Monte Carlo iterations for each case. To demonstrate the MIMO system was held as a 2x 2 link. Clearly, at any given
bit allocation, an instance of the channel was generated and BER the fixed-rate SISO system will be outperformed by the
the adaptive bit loading algorithm help find the optimal bit adaptive SISO system, which in tum will be outperformed by
allocation. Figure 1 shows the channel frequency response, the the adaptive MIMO system as we have expected. For all these
allocation of bits to each tone, and also the corresponding three systems, the total number of bits per OFDM symbol
energy on each tone. were always held constant, to ensure fair comparison.

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In this paper, we have thoroughly analyzed adaptive
optImIzation algorithms for MIMO/OFDM HF
communications. Simulation results also indicate that the
adaptive algorithm improved a SISO/OFDM system which
outperforms the SISO system using fixed-rate variable-power
adaptive modulation. We conclude that MIMO/OFDM is a
very promising technology, and practical adaptive rate and
power optimization algorithms serve well to improve
performance further. The adaptive scheme can be a feasible
approach to further improve the performance of HF
communication systems. A very useful extension of this paper
would be in multiuser MIMO/OFDM systems, and
characterizing good rate and power sharing algorithms to
achieve good mutual BER performance of all users.

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[7] ETSI ES 201 980 vl.2.2 (2003-04) ETSI standard: digital radio
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