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On-Scene Networked Incident Management

Multiplexing for Wireless Networks

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

SANTA BARBARA

By

Graduate Student

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

aintini@engineering.ucsb.edu

December, 2000

Contents

1. Introduction _______________________________________________________________ 1

2. The Standard IEEE 802.11a _________________________________________________ 5

3. Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance __________________________ 10

4. Propagation Characteristics of mobile radio channels ______________________ 11

4.1. Attenuation____________________________________________________________ 12

4.2. Multipath Effects ______________________________________________________ 12

4.2.1. Rayleigh fading __________________________________________________________ 12

4.2.2. Frequency Selective Fading __________________________________________________ 13

4.3. Delay Spread __________________________________________________________ 14

4.4. Doppler Shift __________________________________________________________ 15

5. OFDM ____________________________________________________________________ 16

5.1. General Structure______________________________________________________ 16

5.2. Implementation________________________________________________________ 18

5.2.1. Guard time and cyclic extension _______________________________________________ 20

5.2.2. Windowing_____________________________________________________________ 20

5.3. Forward Error Correction Coding ______________________________________ 22

5.3.1. Block Codes ____________________________________________________________ 22

5.4. Interleaving ___________________________________________________________ 24

6. Synchronization __________________________________________________________ 26

6.1. Synchronization Using Special Training Symbols_________________________ 29

7. Detection _________________________________________________________________ 31

7.1. Coherent Detection ____________________________________________________ 32

7.2. Two-Dimensional Channel Estimators ___________________________________ 33

8. Simulation ________________________________________________________________ 36

Conclusion__________________________________________________________________ 38

Acknowledgements __________________________________________________________ 39

References__________________________________________________________________ 39

Figures

Figure 1. Concept of OFDM signal: orthogonal multicarrier technique..........................................2

Figure 2. Spectra of (a) an OFDM subchannel and (b) and OFDM signal. .....................................3

Figure 3. 5-Ghz frequency spectrum allocation ................................................................................7

Figure 4. IEEE 802.11a frame format for 5 GHz. .............................................................................8

Figure 5. IEEE 802.11a channel scheme.........................................................................................10

Figure 6. Typical Rayleigh fading while the Mobile Unit is moving (900 MHz)[11] .....................13

Figure 7. Multipath Delay Spread ...................................................................................................15

Figure 8 OFDM modulator..............................................................................................................17

Figure 9. Block diagram of an OFDM transceiver..........................................................................19

Figure 10. OFDM frame with cyclic extension and windowing for (a) single ................................21

Figure 11. Convolutional encoder (k = 7) .......................................................................................22

Figure 12. BER of the (16,11,4) RM code and rate 2/3 memory 2 and 3 ........................................24

Figure 13. Convolutional interleaver ..............................................................................................26

Figure 14. Synchronization using the cyclic prefix..........................................................................26

Figure 15. Received phasor, showing effect of noise on the received phase angle .........................28

Figure 16. OFDM training structure ...............................................................................................30

Figure 17. Block diagram of an OFDM receiver with coherent detection......................................32

Figure 18. Pilot Sequence Generator ..............................................................................................34

Figure 19. Pilot Frequency Allocation ............................................................................................34

Figure 20. Simulink OFDM Model ..................................................................................................36

Figure 21. OFDM Signal Spectrum .................................................................................................37

Figure 22. Received constellation for a given amout of noise.........................................................38

Tables

Table 1. Typical attenuation in a radio channel ..............................................................................12

Table 2. Cumulative distribution for Rayleigh distribution [11] .....................................................13

Table 3. Typical Delay Spread [11].................................................................................................15

Table 4. Physical layer parameters. ................................................................................................19

Table 5. Physical layer parameters. ................................................................................................20

ORTHOGONAL FREQUENCY DIVISION MULTIPLEXING

FOR WIRELESS NETWORKS

multicarrier transmission, where a single datastream is transmitted over a number of lower rate

subcarriers. In July 1998, the IEEE standardization group decided to select OFDM as the

basis for their new 5-GHz standard, targeting a range of data stream from 6 up to 54 Mbps.

This new standard is the first one to use OFDM in packet-based communications, while the

use of OFDM until now was limited to continuous transmission systems.

In this project, transmitter and receiver were simulated according to the parameters

established by the standard, to evaluate the performance and different possibilities in the

implementation. Also, some considerations about forward error correction coding,

synchronization and channel estimation are given oriented to improve the system performance.

1. Introduction

OFDM is of great interest by researchers and research laboratories all over the

world. It has already been accepted for the new wireless local area network standards IEEE

802.11a, High Performance LAN type 2 (HIPERLAN/2) and Mobile Multimedia Access

Communication (MMAC) Systems. Also, it is expected to be used for wireless broadband

multimedia communications.

Data rate is really what broadband is about. The new standard specify bit rates of up

to 54 Mbps. Such high rate imposes large bandwidth, thus pushing carriers for values

higher than UHF band. For instance, IEEE802.11a has frequencies allocated in the 5- and

17- GHz bands.

This project is oriented to the application of OFDM to the standard IEEE 802.11a,

following the parameters established for that case.

One of the main reasons to use OFDM is to increase the robustness against frequency

selective fading or narrowband interference. In a single carrier system, a single fade or

interferer can cause the entire link to fail, but in a multicarrier system, only a small

percentage of the subcarriers will be affected. Error correction coding can then be used to

correct for the few erroneous subcarriers. The concept of using parallel data transmission

and frequency division multiplexing was published in the mid-1960s [1, 2]. Some early

OFDM for Wireless Networks

development is traced back to the 1950s [3]. A U.S. patent was filed and issued in January

1970 [4].

In a classical parallel data system, the total signal frequency band is divided into N

nonoverlapping frequency subchannels. Each subchannel is modulated with a separate

symbol and then the N subchannels are frequency-multiplexed. It seems good to avoid

spectral overlap of channels to eliminate interchannel interference. However, this leads to

inefficient use of the available spectrum. To cope with the inefficiency, the ideas proposed

from the mid-1960s were to use parallel data and FDM with overlapping subchannels, in

which, each carrying a signaling rate b is spaced b apart in frequency to avoid the use of

high-speed equalization and to combat impulsive noise and multipath distortion, as well as

to fully use the available bandwidth.

versus conventional multicarrier technique

multicarrier technique and the overlapping multicarrier modulation technique. As shown in

Figure 1, by using the overlapping multicarrier modulation technique, we save almost 50%

of bandwidth. To realize the overlapping multicarrier technique, however we need to

OFDM for Wireless Networks

reduce crosstalk between subcarriers, which means that we want orthogonality between the

different modulated carriers.

between the frequencies of the carriers in the system. In a normal frequency-division

multiplex system, many carriers are spaced apart in such a way that the signals can be

received using conventional filters and demodulators. In such receivers, guard bands are

introduced between the different carriers and in the frequency domain, which results in a

lowering of spectrum efficiency.

sidebands of the individual carriers overlap and the signals are still received without

adjacent carrier interference. To do this, the carriers must be mathematically orthogonal.

The receiver acts as a bank of demodulators, translating each carrier down to DC, with the

resulting signal integrated over a symbol period to recover the raw data. If the other

carriers all beat down the frequencies that, in the time domain, have a whole number of

cycles in the symbol period T, then the integration process results in zero contribution from

all these other carriers. Thus, the carriers are linearly independent (i.e., orthogonal) if the

carrier spacing is a multiple of 1/T.

(a) (b)

Figure 2. Spectra of (a) an OFDM subchannel and (b) and OFDM signal.

Much of the research focuses on the high efficient multicarrier transmission scheme

based on "orthogonal frequency" carriers. In 1971, Weinstein and Ebert applied the

discrete Fourier transform (DFT) to parallel data transmission systems as part of the

modulation and demodulation process. Figure 2(a) shows the spectrum of the individual

data of the subchannel. The OFDM signal, multiplexed in the individual spectra with a

OFDM for Wireless Networks

frequency spacing b equal to the transmission speed of each subcarrier, is shown in Figure

1(b). Figure 2 shows that at the center frequency of each subcarrier, there is no crosstalk

from other channels. Therefore, if we use DFT at the receiver and calculate correlation

values with the center of frequency of each subcarrier, we recover the transmitted data with

no crosstalk. In addition, using the DFT-based multicarrier technique, frequency-division

multiplex is achieved not by bandpass filtering but by baseband processing.

required by frequency-division multiplex, completely digital implementations could be

built around special-purpose hardware performing the fast Fourier transform (FFT), which

is an efficient implementation of the DFT . Recent advances in very-large-scale integration

(VLSI) technology make high-speed, large-size FFT chips commercially affordable. Using

this method, both transmitter and receiver are implemented using efficient FFT techniques

that reduce the number of operations from N2 in DFT down to N log N.

In the 1980s, OFDM was studied for high-speed modems, digital mobile

communications, and high-density recording. One of the systems realized the OFDM

techniques for multiplexed QAM using DFT, and by using pilot tone, stabilizing carrier

and clock frequency control and implementing trellis coding are also implemented.

Moreover, various-speed modems were developed for telephone networks.

In the 1990s, OFDM was exploited for wideband data communications over mobile

radio FM channels, high-bit-rate digital subscriber lines (HDSL; 1.6 Mbps), asymmetric

digital subscriber lines (ADSL; up to 6 Mbps), very-high-speed digital subscriber lines

(VDSL; 100 Mbps), digital audio broadcasting (DAB), and high-definition television

(HDTV) terrestrial broadcasting.

ü By dividing the channel into narrowband flat fading subchannels, OFDM is more

resistant to frequency selective fading than single carrier systems are.

ü Eliminates ISI and IFI through use of a cyclic prefix.

ü Using adequate channel coding and interleaving one can recover symbols lost due to

the frequency selectivity of the channel.

ü Channel equalization becomes simpler than by using adaptive equalization

techniques with single carrier systems.

ü It is possible to use maximum likelihood decoding with reasonable complexity, as

discussed in OFDM is computationally efficient by using FFT techniques to

implement the modulation and demodulation functions.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

estimator.

ü Is less sensitive to sample timing offsets than single carrier systems are.

ü Provides good protection against cochannel interference and impulsive parasitic

noise.

ü The OFDM signal has a noise like amplitude with a very large dynamic range,

therefore it requires RF power amplifiers with a high peak to average power ratio.

ü It is more sensitive to carrier frequency offset and drift than single carrier systems

are due to leakage of the DFT.

The IEEE 802.11 specification is a wireless LAN (WLAN) standard that defines a set

of requirements for the physical layer (PHY) and a medium access control (MAC) layer.

For high data rates, the standard provides two PHYs - IEEE 802.11b for 2.4-GHz operation

and IEEE 802.11a for 5-GHz operation. The IEEE 802.11a standard is designed to serve

applications that require data rates higher than 11 Mbps in the 5-GHz frequency band.

The wireless medium on which the 802.11 WLANs operate is different from wired

media in many ways. One of those differences is the presence of interference in unlicensed

frequency bands, which can impact communications between WLAN NICs. Interference

on the wireless medium can result in packet loss, which causes the network to suffer in

terms of throughput performance.

Current 2.4-GHz 802.11b radios handle interference well because they support a

feature in the MAC layer known as fragmentation. In fragmentation, data frames are

broken into smaller frames in an attempt to increase the probability of delivering packets

without errors induced by the interferer.

When a frame is fragmented, the sequence control field in the MAC header

indicates placement of the individual fragments and whether the current fragment is the last

in the sequence. When frames are fragmented into request-to-send (RTS), clear-to-send

(CTS), and acknowledge (ACK), control frames are used to manage the data transmission.

Therefore, using fragmentation, designers can avoid interference problems in their WLAN

designs.

But interference is not the only problem for today's WLAN designers. Security

issues are also a major concern. To solve potential security problems, the IEEE has

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protects the content of data frames going over a wireless medium from eavesdroppers. The

mechanism, dubbed wired equivalent privacy (WEP), is an encryption engine that takes the

contents of the entire data frame and passes them through an encryption algorithm. The

encrypted data frames are transmitted with the WEP bit set in the frame control field of the

MAC header. The received encrypted data frames are decrypted using the same encryption

algorithm employed by the sending unit.

The encryption algorithm used by 802.11 is RC4. RC4 is a symmetric stream cipher

developed by RSA Data Security, Inc. that supports variable key lengths up to 256 bits.

The standard specifies a 40-bit key, but many 802.11-compliant products shipping today

support key lengths of up to 128 bits.

In order for a mobile station to communicate with other mobile wireless NICs in a

given service area, it must first locate those wireless NICs or access points. To enable

communication between the mobile station and the NIC, active and passive scanning

techniques are supported in the MAC.

Passive scanning involves listening for traffic only on an 802.11 network. Passive

scanning allows a mobile wireless NIC to find an IEEE 802.11 network while minimizing

DC power consumption. In this mode, the wireless NIC listens for special frames called

beacons and probe responses, while extracting information about the particular frequency

channel. Although passive scanning expends minimal power, the cost is the time spent

listening for a frame on a channel that is idle or may never occur.

Active scanning, on the other hand, requires the scanning wireless NIC to transmit

and receive responses from 802.11 wireless NICs and access points. Active scanning

allows the mobile wireless NIC to interact with another wireless NIC or access point. The

802.11 standard does not specify a method for scanning. However, many WLAN OEMs

support both methods and variants to differentiate their products in the market.

When developing WLAN systems, choosing the right modulation and frequency

band should be a priority in RF design, especially when designing IEEE 802.11a radios.

For the past decade, WLAN systems have been designed to operate in the unlicensed 2.4-

GHz frequency band. The 2.4-GHz band provides 83 MHz of total contiguous bandwidth,

spanning from 2.4 to 2.483 GHz.

Moving to the 5-GHz band offers over three times the operating bandwidth over the

available spectrum in the 2.4-GHz band. The 5-GHz band is also less susceptible to

interference, unlike the 2.4-GHz unlicensed band, which shares spectrum with other

wireless appliances such as Bluetooth devices.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

There are, however, a few things to consider when switching to 5 GHz. The first is

that the frequency allocation isn't contiguous across the band, and the transmit power levels

are restricted depending on which block of frequency is occupied. Secondly, in order to

achieve the same effective range as covered in the 2.4-GHz band, the transmit power of a

5-GHz system must be slightly increased. As a designer of 5-GHz radios, these issues must

be carefully considered in product development.

In the US, 300 MHz of bandwidth is allocated in the 5-GHz band to WLANs under

the rules of the Unlicensed-National Information Infrastructure (U-NII). The bandwidth is

fragmented into two blocks that are noncontiguous across the 5-GHz band.

In Europe, only Hiperlan WLANs are allowed to operate in the 5-GHz frequency

band. A total of 455 MHz of spectrum is allocated for Hiperlan radios. The frequency

spectrum allocations for each of the geographic regions are shown in Figure 3.

It's important to point out that although the PHY specifications for IEEE 802.11a

are similar to the Hiperlan2, radios compliant with the 802.11a specification are not

allowed to operate in the 5-GHz band according to ETSI rules. Efforts are under way by

IEEE 802 and ESTI together with the ITU-R to harmonize a global allocation of 5-GHz

spectrum for WLANs. Global harmonization could occur by late 2001.

When the IEEE 802.11 began evaluating proposals for 802.11a, the working group

adopted a joint proposal from NTT and Lucent that recommended orthogonal frequency

OFDM for Wireless Networks

division multiplexing (OFDM) as the baseline technology for 5-GHz WLAN systems.

OFDM was chosen because of its superior performance in combating fading multipath.

This battle is extremely important, particularly in applications that transmit streaming

video.

During the development of the 802.11a specification, ESTI was charging ahead with

a 5-GHz WLAN project called Hiperlan2. They too adopted OFDM. For the most part, the

PHY for 802.11a is similar to Hiperlan2. The differences between the two standards are

minimal and reside in the method by which convolution encoding is used to generate the

OFDM symbols and data rates. But it has been said that by making the convolution

encoder a programmable feature in the baseband processor, the same silicon can be used to

support both standards. This is an extremely attractive feature for those who want to

develop products for both standards. Unfortunately, the MAC layers are very different.

In the U-NII band, eight carriers are spaced across 200 MHz in the lower spectrum

(5.150 - 5.350 GHz) and four carriers are spaced across 100 MHz in the upper spectrum

(5.725 - 5.825 GHz). The channels are spaced 20 MHz apart, which allows for high bit

rates per channel. The channel scheme used for 5 GHz is illustrated in figure 4.

As figure 2 illustrates, there are 52 subcarriers per channel in the 5-GHz band. Of

these channels, only 48 carry actual data. The remaining four subcarriers are used as pilot

tones, which assist in phase tracking for coherent demodulation. The duration of the guard

interval is equal to 800 ns, which provides excellent performance on channels with delay

spread of up to 250 ns. To efficiently use the spectrum provided in the 5-GHz range,

designers of IEEE 802.11a systems use OFDM techniques. OFDM is a unique form of

multicarrier modulation. The basic concept is to transmit high data rate information into

OFDM for Wireless Networks

several interleaved, parallel bit streams and let each of these bit streams modulate a

separate sub carrier. In this way, the channel spectrum is passed into a number of

independent, non-selective frequency sub-channels for transmission between wireless NICs

and access points.

The OFDM modulation technique is generated through the use of complex signal

processing approaches such as fast Fourier transforms (FFTs) and inverse FFTs in the

transmitter and receiver sections of the radio. One of the benefits of OFDM is its strength

in fighting the adverse effects of multipath propagation with respect to intersymbol

interference in a channel. OFDM is also spectrally efficient because the channels are

overlapped and contiguous.

OFDM is well tested and has been adopted by a number of standards bodies for

several applications, including a wired global standard for asymmetric digital subscriber

line (ADSL) and for digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in the European market.

To complement OFDM, the IEEE 802.11a specification also offers support for a

variety of other modulation and coding alternatives. For example, the standard allows

engineers to combine BPSK, QPSK, and 16-QAM modulations with convolution encoding

(R = 1/2 and constraint length seven) to generate data rates of 6, 12, and 24 Mbps. All

other combinations of encoding rates, including R = 2/3 and R = 3/4 combined with 64-

QAM, are used to generate rates up to 54 Mbps, which are optional in the standard.

During development of the 802.11a standard, the IEEE 802.11 working group

carefully optimized the PHY for traffic transmitting multimedia content such as streaming

video. The packet date frame defined in the 802.11a specification consists of the PHY

header, PHY layer convergence protocol (PLCP) and the payload (PSDU). This is similar

to the structure used in the IEEE 802.11b specification.

The first field of the PLCP header is called the preamble. The preamble consists of

12 symbols, which are used to synchronize the receiver. The second field is the signal

field. The signal field is used to indicate the rate at which the OFDM symbols of the PSDU

payload are transmitted.

The PLCP header is always BPSK modulated and convolution encoded at R = 1/2.

The PSDU packet payload is modulated and transmitted at the rate indicated in the signal

field. This rate is variable from 6 up to 54 Mbps. The structure of the packet data frame is

illustrated in figure 5.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Since different physical transmission layers are supported by IEEE 802.11, the

wireless MAC protocol should be transparency to physical layers, which include Direct

Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS), Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS)

diffused infrared and recently OFDM. Since spectrum is a scare resource above all

different physical layers, the throughput and packet delay performance is one of the most

critical considerations in the design of a wireless MAC protocol.

The basic protocol level in the 802.11 MAC protocol is the Distributed

Coordination Function (DCF), which supports asynchronous communication between

multiple users [5]. The DCF allows sharing medium between similar and dissimilar

systems through the use of the CSMA/CA and a random back off delay algorithm. The

CSMA/CA is similar to the Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection

(CSMA/CD) used in a Ethernet. As the Ethernet, the CSMA/CA uses carrier-sense

mechanism to determine whether other terminals are using the medium. If a channel is

sensed idle, the packet transmission is started immediately in both cases. However, if the

channel is sensed busy, the CSMA/CA and the CSMA/CD operate differently to resolve

the contention. In the case of the CSMA/CD, when a terminal senses a busy channel, it

waits until the channel goes idle and then it transmits a packet with probability one. When

two or more terminals are waiting to transmit, a collision is absolutely occurred because

each terminal will transmit immediately at the end of channel busy period. While a

terminal, operates in the CSMA/CA protocol, senses the busy channel, it waits until the

channel goes idle and waits for delay period, which is called backoff delay. In the

CSMA/CA, the collision probability between multiple terminals under above situation is

reduced since a random backoff arrangement is used to resolve medium contention

conflicts. The Collision Detection (CD) function detects collisions in the CSMA/CD, but

the CD function is not viable in wireless LANs because the dynamic range of signals in the

medium is very large. Thus, packet transmission errors are increased in wireless

OFDM for Wireless Networks

asynchronous and time-bounded services using different priority levels with different Inter

Frame Space (IFS) delay controls.

Three kinds of IFS are used to support three backoff priorities such as a Short IFS

(SIFS), a Point coordination function IFS (PIFS) and Distributed Coordination function

IFS (DIFS); SIFS is the shortest IFS and is used for all immediate response actions which

include ac-knowledgement (ACK) packet transmissions, Clear To Send (CTS) packet

transmissions and contention-free response packet transmissions. PIFS is a middle length

IFS and is used for terminal polling in time-bounded services. DIFS is the longest IFS and

is used as a minimum delay for asynchronous transmission in the contention period.

A random backoff algorithm of the IEEE 802.11 MAC is similar to that of

Ethernet.The slot time is the sum of transmitter turn-on time, medium propagation delay

and medium busy detect response time. In wireless communication environments, packet

transmission suffers from “hidden terminal”, so IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol provides three

alternative ways of packet transmission flow control [5]. First, actual data packet is only

used for packet transmission which is called Basic CSMA/CA. Second, immediate positive

acknowledgements are employed to confirm the successful reception of each packet. We

call this scheme Stop-and-Wait (SW) CSMA/CA. The last is 4-Way Handshake (4-WH)

CSMA/CA which use Request

To Send (RTS) and Clear To Send (CTS) packets prior to the transmission of the actual

data

packet. The packet transmission flow of three kinds of CSMA/CA is summarized as follow

2. SW CSMA/CA: Data - ACK - Data - ACK - …

3. 4WH CSMA/CA: RTS - CTS - Data - ACK -…

In an ideal radio channel, the received signal would consist of only a single direct

path signal, which would be a perfect reconstruction of the transmitted signal. However in

a real channel, the signal is modified during transmission in the channel. The received

signal consists of a combination of attenuated, reflected, refracted, and diffracted replicas

of the transmitted signal. On top of all this, the channel adds noise to the signal and can

cause a shift in the carrier frequency if the transmitter, or receiver is moving (Doppler

effect). Understanding of these effects on the signal is important because the performance

of a radio system is dependent on the radio channel characteristics.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

4.1. Attenuation

Attenuation is the drop in the signal power when transmitting from one point to

another. It can be caused by the transmission path length, obstructions in the signal path,

and multipath effects. Any objects, which obstruct the line of sight signal from the

transmitter to the receiver, can cause attenuation.

Shadowing of the signal can occur whenever there is an obstruction between the

transmitter and receiver. It is generally caused by buildings and hills, and is the most

important environmental attenuation factor.

Shadowing is most severe in heavily built up areas, due to the shadowing from buildings.

However, hills can cause a large problem due to the large shadow they produce. Radio

signals diffract off the boundaries of obstructions, thus preventing total shadowing of the

signals behind hills and buildings. However, the amount of diffraction is dependent on the

radio frequency used, with low frequencies diffracting more then high frequency signals.

Thus high frequency signals, especially, Ultra High Frequencies (UHF), and microwave

signals require line of sight for adequate signal strength. To over come the problem of

shadowing, transmitters are usually elevated as high as possible to minimise the number of

obstructions. Typical amounts of variation in attenuation due to shadowing are shown in

table 1.

Heavily built-up urban center 20dB variation from street to street

Sub-urban area (fewer large buildings) 10dB greater signal power then built-up urban center

Open rural area 20dB greater signal power then sub-urban areas

Terrain irregularities and tree foliage 3-12dB signal power variation

Table 1. Typical attenuation in a radio channel

Shadowed areas tend to be large, resulting in the rate of change of the signal power

being slow. For this reason, it is termed slow-fading, or log-normal shadowing.

In a radio link, the RF signal from the transmitter may be reflected from objects

such as hills, buildings, or vehicles. This gives rise to multiple transmission paths at the

receiver.

The relative phase of multiple reflected signals can cause constructive or destructive

interference at the receiver. This is experienced over very short distances (typically at half

wavelength distances), thus is given the term fast fading. These variations can vary from

OFDM for Wireless Networks

10-30dB over a short distance. Figure 6 shows the level of attenuation that can occur due to

the fading.

Figure 6. Typical Rayleigh fading while the Mobile Unit is moving (900 MHz)[11]

The Rayleigh distribution is commonly used to describe the statistical time varying

nature of the received signal power. It describes the probability of the signal level being

received due to fading. Table 2 shows the probability of the signal level for the Rayleigh

distribution.

(dB about median) Level being less than the

value given

10 99

0 50

-10 5

-20 0.5

-30 0.05

Table 2. Cumulative distribution for Rayleigh distribution [11]

In any radio transmission, the channel spectral response is not flat. It has dips or

fades in the response due to reflections causing cancellation of certain frequencies at the

receiver. Reflections off near-by objects (e.g. ground, buildings, trees, etc) can lead to

multipath signals of similar signal power as the direct signal. This can result in deep nulls

in the received signal power due to destructive interference.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

For narrow bandwidth transmissions if the null in the frequency response occurs at

the transmission frequency then the entire signal can be lost. This can be partly overcome

in two ways.

the spectrum only result in a small loss of signal power, rather than a complete loss.

Another method is to split the transmission up into many small bandwidth carriers, as is

done in a COFDM/OFDM transmission. The original signal is spread over a wide

bandwidth thus, any nulls in the spectrum are unlikely to occur at all of the carrier

frequencies. This will result in only some of the carriers being lost, rather then the entire

signal. The information in the lost carriers can be recovered provided enough forward error

corrections is sent.

The received radio signal from a transmitter consists of typically a direct signal, plus

reflections of object such as buildings, mountings, and other structures. The reflected

signals arrive at a later time than the direct signal because of the extra path length, giving

rise to a slightly different arrival time of the transmitted pulse, thus spreading the received

energy. Delay spread is the time spread between the arrival of the first and last multipath

signal seen by the receiver.

In a digital system, the delay spread can lead to inter-symbol interference. This is

due to the delayed multipath signal overlapping with the following symbols. This can

cause significant errors in high bit rate systems, especially when using time division

multiplexing (TDMA). Figure 7 shows the effect of inter-symbol interference due to delay

spread on the received signal. As the transmitted bit rate is increased the amount of inter-

symbol interference also increases. The effect starts to become very significant when the

delay spread is greater then ~50% of the bit time.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Table 3 shows the typical delay spread that can occur in various environments. The

maximum delay spread in an outdoor environment is approximately 20µsec, thus

significant intersymbol interference can occur at bit rates as low as 25kbps.

Length Difference

Indoor (room) 40nsec - 12m - 60 m

200nsec

Outdoor 1usec - 20usec 300m - 6km

Table 3. Typical Delay Spread [11]

reduce the symbol rate by reducing the data rate for each channel (i.e. split the bandwidth

into more channels using frequency division multiplexing). Another is to use a coding

scheme, which is tolerant to intersymbol interference such as CDMA.

When a wave source and a receiver are moving relative to one another the frequency

of the received signal will not be the same as the source. When they are moving toward

each other the frequency of the received signal is higher then the source, and when they are

approaching each other the frequency decreases. This is called the Doppler effect. An

OFDM for Wireless Networks

example of this is the change of pitch in a car’s horn as it approaches then passes by. This

effect becomes important when developing mobile radio systems.

The amount the frequency changes due to the Doppler effect depends on the relative

motion between the source and receiver and on the speed of propagation of the wave. The

Doppler shift in frequency can be written: [10]

v

∆f ≈ ± f 0

c

where ∆f is the change in frequency of the source seen at the receiver, fo is the frequency of

the source, v is the speed difference between the source and transmitter, and c is the speed

of light.

For example: Let fo= 5.9 GHz, and v = 80km/hr = 22.22m/s (50 miles/hr aprox) then

the Doppler shift will be:

22.22m / s

f 0 = 5.9 x10 9 Hertz = 437 Hz

3 x10 8 m / s

This shift of 437Hz in the carrier will generally not effect the transmission.

However, Doppler shift can cause significant problems if the transmission technique is

sensitive to carrier frequency offsets or the relative speed is higher, which is the case for

OFDM. If we consider now a link between to cars moving in opposite directions, each one

with a speed of 80 km/hr, the Doppler shift will be double.

5. OFDM

The basic principle of OFDM is to split a high-rate datastream into a number of

lower rate streams that are transmitted simultaneously over a number of subcarriers. The

relative amount of dispersion in time caused by multipath delay spread is decreased

because the symbol duration increases for lower rate parallel subcarriers. The other

problem to solve is the intersymbol interference, which is eliminated almost completely by

introducing a guard time in every OFDM symbol. This means that in the guard time, the

OFDM symbol is cyclically extended to avoid intercarrier interference.

phase shift keying (PSK) or quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). The symbol can be

written as:

OFDM for Wireless Networks

ì N2S −1 ü

ï i + 0.5 ï

s (t ) = Reí å d i + N S / 2 exp( j 2π ( f c − )(t − t s ))ý , t S ≤ t ≤ t S + T

ïi = − N S T ï

î 2 þ

s (t ) = 0, t < t S and t > t S + T

where :

NS is the number of subcarriers

T is the symbol duration

fc is the carrier frequency

NS

−1

2

i

s (t ) = åd NS

i+ N S / 2 exp( j 2π

T

(t − t s )) , tS ≤ t ≤ tS + T

(1)

i =−

2

In this case, the real and imaginary parts correspond to the in-phase and quadrature

parts of the OFDM signal. They have to be multiplied by a cosine and sine of the desired

frequency to produce the final OFDM signal. Figure 8 shows the block diagram for the

OFDM modulator.

exp(-jπNS(t-ts)/T)

Serial .

. OFDM signal

QAM data to .

exp(-jπ(NS-2)(t-ts)/T)

Parallel

The complex baseband OFDM signal defined the equation (1) is the inverse Fourier

transform of Ns QAM input symbols. The time discrete case is the inverse discrete Fourier

transform. In practice, this transform can be implemented very efficiently by the inverse

fast Fourier transform (IFFT). The IFFT drastically reduces the amount of calculations by

exploiting the regularity of the operations in the IDFT.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

5.2. Implementation

In practice, the OFDM signal for the standard IEEE 802.11a is generated as follows:

In the transmitter, binary input data is encoded by a rate ½ convolutional encoder. The rate

can be increased to 2/3 and ¾. After interleaving, the binary values are converted to QAM

values. Four pilot values are added each 48 data values, resulting in a total of 52 QAM

values per OFDM symbol. The symbol is modulated onto 52 subcarriers by applying the

Inverse Fast Fourier Transform (IFFT). The output is converted to serial and a cyclic

extension is added to make the system robust to multipath propagation. Windowing is

applied after to get a narrower output spectrum. Using an IQ modulator, the signal is

converted to analog, which is upconverted to the 5 GHz band, amplified, and transmitted

through the antenna.

Basically, the receiver performs the reverse operations of the transmitter, with

additional training tasks. In the first step, the receiver has to estimate frequency offset and

symbol timing, using special training symbols in the preamble. After removing the cyclic

extension, the signal can be applied to a Fast Fourier Transform to recover the 52 QAM

values of all subcarriers. The training symbols and the pilot subcarriers are used to correct

for the channel response as well as remaining phase drift. The QAM values are then

demapped into binary values, and finally a Viterbi decoder decodes the information bits.

Figure 9 shows the block diagram of an OFDM modem, including the transmitter

and the receiver. The IFFT modulates a block of input QAM values onto a number of

subcarriers. In the receiver, the subcarriers are demodulated by the FFT, which is the

reverse operation of the IFFT. These two operations are almost identical. In fact, the IFFT

can be made using an FFT by conjugating input and output of the FFT and dividing the

output by the FFT size. This makes it possible to use the same hardware for both the

transmitter and the receiver. Of course, this saving in complexity is only possible when the

modem does not have to transmit and receive simultaneously, which is the case for the

standard.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Add cyclic

IQ modulator extension

and

windowing

HPA

Binary Parallel Serial

input data IFFT (TX)

FFT(RX)

FEC Decoder Deinterleaving QAM demapping Parallel

Correction Serial

Binary

output

data

corrected

Timing and signal Remove

IQ Detector frequency cyclic

synchronization extension

LNA

AFC Clock

Recovery

Symbol

timing

In case of the standard IEEE 802.11a, the parameters for the physical layer (e.g. for

OFDM) are as follows:

Data rate Modulation Coding rate Coded bits per Coded bits per Data bits per

(Mbits/s) (R) subcarrier OFDM symbol OFDM symbol

(NBPSC) (NCBPS) (NDBPS)

6 BPSK 1/2 1 48 24

9 BPSK 3/4 1 48 36

12 QPSK 1/2 2 96 48

18 QPSK 3/4 2 96 72

24 16-QAM 1/2 4 192 96

36 16-QAM 3/4 4 192 144

48 64-QAM 2/3 6 288 192

54 64-QAM 3/4 6 288 216

Table 4. Physical layer parameters.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Parameter Value

NSD : Number of data subcarriers 48

NSP : Number of pilot subcarriers 4

NS : Number of subcarriers, total 52 (NSD + NSP)

∆F : Subcarrier frequency spacing 0.3125 MHz (=20 MHz/64)

TFFT : IFFT/FFT period 3.2 µs (1/∆F)

TPREAMBLE : PLCP preamble duration 16 µs (TSHORT + TLONG)

TSIGNAL : Duration of the SIGNAL BPSK-OFDM symbol 4.0 µs (TGI + TFFT)

TGI : GI duration 0.8 µs (TFFT /4)

TGI2 : Training symbol GI duration 1.6 µs (TFFT /2)

TSYM : Symbol interval 4 µs (TGI + TFFT)

TSHORT : Short training sequence duration 8 µs (10 ×TFFT /4)

TLONG : Long training sequence duration 8 µs (TGI2 + 2×TFFT)

Table 5. Physical layer parameters.

One of the most important problems in for wireless communications is the multipath

delay spread. OFDM deals with it very efficiently. The parallel transmission implies that

the input datastream is divided in NS subcarriers and the symbol duration is made NS times

smaller, which also reduces the relative multipath delay spread, relative to the symbol time,

by the same factor.

guard time for a each OFDM symbol. The guard time is chosen larger than the expected

delay spread such that multipath components from one symbol cannot interfere with the

next symbol. This guard time could be no signal at all but the problem of intercarrier

interference (ICI) would arise. Then, the OFDM symbol is cyclically extended in the guard

time. Using this method, the delay replicas of the OFDM symbol always have an integer

number of cycles within the FFT interval, as long as the delay is smaller than the guard

time. Multipath signals with delays smaller than the guard time cannot cause ICI.

If multipath delay exceeds the guard time by a small fraction of the FFT interval

(for example 3%), the subcarriers are not orthogonal anymore, but the interference is still

small enough to get a reasonable constellation. Considering that the multipath delay

exceeds the guard time by 10% of the FFT interval, the constellation is seriously affected

and an unacceptable error rate is obtained.

5.2.2. Windowing

Essentially, an OFDM signal consists of a number of unfiltered QAM subcarriers.

This means that the out-of-band spectrum decreases rather slowly, following a sinc

OFDM for Wireless Networks

function. For larger number of subcarriers, the spectrum goes down rapidly in the

beginning, which is caused by the fact that the sidelobes are closer together.

To make the spectrum decrease faster, windowing is applied to the OFDM signal.

The standard doesn’t specify the kind of window to be used but an example is included

using the following function [5]:

ì 2æπ æ t ö ö÷ TTR T

ïsin çç çç 0.5 + ÷÷

÷ for (− < t < TR )

ï 2

è è T TR ø ø 2 2

ïï TTR T

wT (t ) = í1 for ( ≤ t < T − TR ) (2)

ï 2 2

ï 2æπ æ t − T ö ö÷ TTR T

ïsin çç çç 0.5 − ÷ for (T − ≤ t < T + TR )

ïî è2è TTR ÷ø ÷ø 2 2

considering that TTR is the transition time between two consecutive periods of FFT, as it

can be seen in Figure .

Figure 10. OFDM frame with cyclic extension and windowing for (a) single

reception or (b) two receptions of the FFT period

Figure 10 also illustrates the possibility of extending the windowing function over

more than one period, TFFT , and additionally shows smoothed transitions by application of

a windowing function, as exemplified in Equation (2). In particular, window functions that

extend over multiple periods of the FFT are utilized in the definition of the preamble.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Several other conventional windows were simulated including raised cosine, Hann,

Hamming, Blackman and Kaiser. The best performance was obtained for the Blackman

window, considering the resulting stopband attenuation and the transition bandwidth.

According to the standard, data must be encoded with a convolutional encoder of

coding rate R = 1/2, 2/3, or 3/4, corresponding to the desired data rate. The convolutional

encoder uses the industry-standard generator polynomials, g0 = 1338 and g1 = 1718 of rate

R = 1/2, as shown in Figure 11.

Output data A

Input data Tb Tb Tb Tb Tb Tb Tb

Output data B

The bit denoted as “A” shall be output from the encoder before the bit denoted as

“B”. Higher rates are derived from it by employing “puncturing”. Puncturing is a

procedure for omitting some of the encoded bits in the transmitter reducing the number of

transmitted bits and increasing the coding rate, and inserting a dummy “zero” metric into

the convolutional decoder on the receive side in place of the omitted bits. Decoding by the

Viterbi algorithm is recommended.

Even thought the convolutional code is established by the standard, block codes

may be more desirable in certain applications, such as packet voice or data

communications, in which the length of the packet may be made equal to a multiple of the

code length. In these applications, block codes are more attractive than convolutional

codes, since the memory of the convolutional codes must be brought to a known state to

terminate the trellis, which lowers the effective code rate.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

A block code encodes a block of k input symbols into n coded symbols, with n

being larger than k. The purpose of adding the redundant n-k symbols is to increase the

minimum Hamming distance, which is the minimum number of different symbols between

any pair of code words. For a minimum Hamming distance of dmin, the code can correct t

errors where t is given by:

æ d −1ö

t ≤ floor ç min ÷ (3)

è 2 ø

symbols n-k as:

d min ≤ n − k + 1 (4)

For binary codes, only repetition codes and single-parity check codes reach this

upperbound. A class of nonbinary codes that doesn’t reach the above bound are the Reed-

Solomon codes. Because of their good distance properties and the availability of efficient

coding and decoding algorithms, Reed-Solomon codes are the most popularly used block

codes. Reed-Solomon codes are defined for block symbols with m bits per symbol, where

the code length n is related to m by:

n = 2m −1

The number of input symbols k is related to m and the required minimum Hamming

distance dmin as:

k = 2 m − d min

There appears to be little flexibility in the available code lengths. However, a Reed-

Solomon code can easily be shortened to any arbitrary length by leaving a number of input

bits zero and deleting the same amount of output bits. It is also possible to extend the code

length to a power of 2 by adding an extra parity symbol.

Using equations (3) and (4), a Reed-Solomon code can correct up to floor ((n-k)/2)

erroneous symbols. Each symbol contains m bits, so a maximum amount of m floor((n-

k)/2) erroneous bits may be corrected. If the Reed-Solomon code is designed to correct up

to two symbol errors containing 8 bits per symbol, it cannot correct an arbitrary

combination of three bit errors, as these errors can occur in three different symbols. This

characteristic makes Reed-Solomon codes particularly useful for correcting bursty

channels. The OFDM link in presence of fading multipath is a very good application for

this code.

Another block codes is the Reed-Muller code [6]. Using the Viterbi algorithm with

soft decision it results a very attractive implementation.

Using the results from [7], the performance of this code can be evaluated and

compared with that of convolutional codes. Also, compared with other block codes, Reed–

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Muller codes are preferable where soft decision decoding is required since they have a

simple structure, resulting in computationally manageable decoding.

Figure compares the performance of the (16,11,4) RM code with rate 2/3, memory 2

and 3 punctured convolutional codes [8]. This figure shows that the performance curve of

the (16,11,4) RM code falls midway between that of the two convolutional codes.

Figure 12. BER of the (16,11,4) RM code and rate 2/3 memory 2 and 3

5.4. Interleaving

Because of the frequency fading of typical radio channels, the OFDM subcarriers

generally have different amplitudes. Deep fades in the spectrum may cause groups of

subcarriers to be less reliable than others, thereby causing bit errors to occur in bursts

rather than being randomly scattered. Interleaving is applied to randomize the occurrence

of bit errors prior to decoding. At the transmitter, the coded bits are permuted in a certain

way, which makes sure that adjacent bits are separated by several bits after interleaving.

According to the standard, all data bits must be interleaved by a block interleaver

with a block size corresponding to the number of bits in a single OFDM symbol, NCBPS.

The interleaver is defined by a two-step permutation. The first permutation ensures that

adjacent coded bits are mapped onto nonadjacent subcarriers. The second ensures that

adjacent coded bits are mapped alternately onto less and more significant bits of the

constellation and, thereby, long runs of low reliability (LSB) bits are avoided.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Considering k the index of the coded bit before the first permutation, i the index

after the first and before the second permutation and j the index after the second

permutation, just prior to modulation mapping, the first permutation is defined by the rule:

The function floor (.) denotes the largest integer not exceeding the parameter.

The value of s is determined by the number of coded bits per subcarrier, NBPSC, according

to:

s = max(NBPSC /2,1)

The deinterleaver, which performs the inverse relation, is also defined by two

permutations. Here, j denotes the index of the original received bit before the first

permutation, I the index after the first and before the second permutation, and k the index

after the second permutation, just prior to delivering the coded bits to the convolutional

(Viterbi) decoder. The first permutation is defined by the rule:

where

s = max(NBPSC /2,1)

shows a convolutional interleaver. The interleaver cyclically writes each input symbol or

bit into one of the K shift registers that introduce a delay of 0 to k-1 symbol durations.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Input T T Output

data data

T T T

T T

6. Synchronization

Before an OFDM receiver can demodulate the subcarriers, it has to perform at least

two synchronization tasks. The first one is to find out where the symbol boundaries are and

what the optimal timing instants are to minimize the effects of intercarrier interference

(ICI) and intersymbol interference (ISI). The second task is to estimate and correct the

carrier frequcncy offset of the received signal to avoid the ICI.

Also, for coherent receivers, the carrier phase has to be synchronized. Further, a

coherent QAM receiver needs to detect the amplitudes and phases of all subcarriers to

define the decision boundaries for the QAM cosntellation of each subcarrier.

Usually, the OFDM received signal has a frequency offset, which immediately

results in ICI. This means that the subcarries are not perfectly orthogonal, producing phase

noise.

Using the cyclic prefix an considering that the first TG seconds of each symbol is

identical to the last part, this property can be exploited for both timing and frequency

synchronization, using a system showed in figure 14.

Phase of Frequency

T

Conjugation maximum offset

Delay

OFDM Maximum

signal

ò dt Timming

TG correlation

OFDM for Wireless Networks

This device correlates a TG long part of the signal with a part that is T seconds

delayed. The output can be written as [12]:

TG

x(t ) = ò r (t − τ )r (t − τ − T )dτ

0

symbols and the peak amplitudes show a significant variation. The reason for this is that

although the average power for a T-seconds interval of each OFDM symbol is constant, the

power in the guard time can substantially vary from this average power level. Another

effect is the level of the undesired correlation sidelobes between the main correlation

peaks. These sidelobes reflect the correlation between two pieces of the OFDM signal that

belong partly or totally to two different OFDM symbols. Because different OFDM

symbols contain independent data values, the correlation output is a random variable,

which may reach a value that is larger than the desired correlation peak. The standard

deviation of the random correlation magnitude is related to the number of independent

samples over which the correlation is performed. The larger the number of independent

samples, the smaller the standard deviation is. In the extreme case where the correlation is

performed over only one sample, the output magnitude is proportional to the signal power,

and there is no distinct correlation peak in this case. In the other extreme case where the

correlation is performed over a very large number of samples, the ratio of sidelobes-to-

peak amplitude will go to zero. Because the number of independent samples is proportional

to the number of subcarriers, the cyclic extension correlation technique is only effective

when a large number of subcarriers are used, preferably more than 100. An exception to

this is the case where instead of random data symbols, specially designed training symbols

are used. In this case, the integration can be done over the entire symbol duration instead of

the guard time only. The level of undesired correlation sidelobes can be minimized by a

proper selection of the training symbols.

The phase of the correlation output is equal to the phase drift between samples that

are T seconds apart. Hence, the frequency offset can simply be found as the correlation

phase divided by 2πT. This method works up to a maximum absolute frequency offset of

half the subcarrier spacing. To increase this maximum range, shorter symbols can be used,

or special training symbols with different PN sequences on odd and even subcarrier

frequencies to identify a frequency offset of an integer number of subcarrier spacings [13].

The noise performance of the frequency offset estimator is now determined for an

input signal r(t) that consists of an OFDM signal s(t) with power P and additive Gaussian

noise n(t) with a one-sided noise power spectral density of N0 within the bandwidth of the

OFDM signal:

OFDM for Wireless Networks

The frequency offset estimator multiplies the signal by a delayed and conjugated

version of the input to produce an intermediate signal y(t) given by [13]

y(t) = r(t)r*(t - T) = |s(t)|2 exp(jφ) + n(t)s*(t - T)+ n*(t - T)s(t) + n(t)n*(t - T) (5)

The first term in the right-hand side of the equation 5 is the desired output

component with a phase equal to the phase drift over a T-second interval and a power

equal to the squared signal power. The next two terms are products of the signal and the

Gaussian noise. Because the signal and noise are uncorrelated, and because noise samples

separated by T seconds are uncorrelated, the power of the two terms is equal to twice the

product of signal power and noise power.

Finally, the power of the last term is equal to the squared noise power. If the input

SNR is much larger than one, the power of the squared noise component becomes

negligible compared with the power of the other two noise terms.

The frequency offset is estimated by averaging y(t) over an interval equal to the

guard time TG and then estimating the phase of y(t). Because the desired output component

of ( ) is a constant vector, averaging reduces the noise that is added to this vector.

Assuming that the squared noise component may be neglected, the output SNR is

approximated as [13].

P2 PT

SNR0 ≅ = G

2 PN 0 / TG 2 N 0

Figure show the effect of noise on the received phase angle. If we let the amplitude

of the transmitted signal be 1, and the length of the noise vector be A with angle f, then the

received phase error is θerr.

Figure 15. Received phasor, showing effect of noise on the received phase angle

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Using trigonometry,

Since,

Therefore,

The signal to ratio determines the relative amplitude of the received signal and the

noise level. Since the signal is scaled to an amplitude of 1, the amplitude of the noise is:

The SNR is base on the amplitudes of the signals thus must be scaled correctly

when converting it to dB.

Substituting this in,

The synchronization technique based on the cyclic extension is particularly suited to

tracking or to blind synchronization in a circuit-switched connection, where no special

training signals are available. For packet transmission, however, there is a drawback

because an accurate synchronization needs an averaging over a large (>10) number of

OFDM symbols to attain a distinct correlation peak and a reasonable SNR. For high-rate

packet transmission, the synchronization time needs to be as short as possible, preferably a

few OFDM symbols only. To achieve this, special OFDM t symbols can be used for which

the data content is known to the receiver. In this, the entire received training signal can be

used to achieve synchronization, whereas the cyclic extension method only uses a fraction

of each symbol.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

According to [5], the physical layer convergence procedure (PLCP) preamble field

is used for synchronization. It consists of 10 short symbols and 2 long symbols, shown in

figure 16.

Figure 16 shows the OFDM training structure (PLCP preamble), where t1 to t10

denote short training symbols and T1 and T2 denote long training symbols. The PLCP

preamble is followed by the SIGNAL field and DATA. The total training length is 16 µs.

The dashed boundaries in the figure denote repetitions due to the periodicity of the inverse

Fourier transform.

the elements of the sequence S, given by

1+j, 0, 0, 0, 0,0, 0, 0, –1–j, 0, 0, 0, –1–j, 0, 0, 0, 1+j, 0, 0, 0, 1+j, 0, 0, 0, 1+j,

0, 0, 0, 1+j, 0,0}

the resulting OFDM symbol, which utilizes 12 out of 52 subcarriers.

The fact that only spectral lines of S–26:26 with indices that are a multiple of 4 have

nonzero amplitude results in a periodicity of TFFT/4 = 0.8 µs. The interval TSHORT is equal to

ten 0.8 µs periods (i.e., 8 µs).

A long OFDM training symbol consists of 53 subcarriers plus a zero value at dc,

which are modulated by the elements of the sequence L, given by

L–26, 26 = {1, 1, –1, –1, 1, 1, –1, 1, –1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, –1, –1, 1, 1, –1, 1, –1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0,1,

–1, –1, 1, 1, –1, 1, –1, 1, –1, –1, –1, –1, –1, 1, 1, –1, –1, 1, –1, 1, –1, 1, 1, 1, 1}

This information is used, also, to estimate the channel and to improve the system

performance.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

The receiver has to perform two operations: tracking and acquisition. During the

tracking mode, only small frequency fluctuations have to be corrected. But during the

acquisition mode the frequency offset can take large values. This is the most challenging

task to be managed by the synchronizer structure.

During the tracking mode, it can be assume that the remaining frequency offset is

substantially smaller than ∆F/2, with ∆F representing the subcarrier frequency spacing (for

the standard, ∆F=0.3125MHz [5]). Considering just one subchannel, then this frequency

synchronization problem is similar to that in case of single carrier problem. Therefore,

frequency estimation algorithms derived from maximum likelihood theory [14] can be used

in this case. The underlying principle of these frequency algorithms is that the frequency

estimation problem can be reduced to a phase estimation problem by considering the phase

shift between two subsequent subchannel samples. The influence of the modulation is

removed in this case by the multiplication with the conjugate complex value of the

transmitted symbols.

The known symbols are taken from the training sequence and the pilot signals. In

several papers, like [14], it is recommended to transmit the synchronization sequences in

different channels instead of doing it over a single subchannel. They should be spread

uniformly over the whole frequency domain. That is how the standard implement it.

Equations (6) and (7) in [15] describe generalized estimators for this cases. In order

to avoid a large decoder performance degradation due to the crosstalk, it may be necessary

to correct the frequency offset prior to the demodulation even during the tracking mode. It

is theoretically possible to correct a small offset on the subchannel level. In practice, this

will depend on the maximum magnitude of the frequency offset which the tracking unit has

to cope with.

The acquisition process should be performed fast. The special acquisition training

preamble should be avoided to increase the transmission efficiency. Using the same

training synchronization symbols from the pilot signals, the operation involved in

acquiring an initial frequency offset estimate coincides with the search operation for the

training symbols transmitted on the channel. The acquisition rule is based on the fact that

the magnitude of the correlation function reaches a maximum, if the estimation coincides

with the received frequency. The acquisition time is directly proportional to the frequency

range to be scanned, depending of the expected Doppler value in the channel.

7. Detection

In an OFDM link, the data bits are modulated on the subcarriers by some form of

phase shift keying (PSK) or quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). To estimate the bits

OFDM for Wireless Networks

at the receiver, knowledge is required about the reference phase and amplitude of the

constellation on each subcarrier. In general, the constellation of each subcarrier shows a

random phase shift and amplitude change, caused by carrier frequency offset, timing offset,

and frequency selective fading. To cope with these unknown phase and amplitude

variations, two different approaches exist. The first one is coherent detection, which uses

estimates of the reference amplitudes and phases to determine the best possible decision

boundaries for the constellation of each subcarrier. The main issue with coherent detection

is how to find the reference values without introducing too much training overhead. The

second approach is differential detection, which does not use absolute reference values, but

only looks at the phase and/or amplitude differences between two QAM values.

Differential detection can be done both in the time domain and in the frequency domain. In

the first case, each subcarrier is compared with the subcarrier of the previous OFDM

symbol. In the case of differential detection in the frequency domain, each subcarrier is

compared with the adjacent subcarrier within the same OFDM symbol. Differential

detection implies differential encoding, which is not the case for the standard IEEE

802.11a, so this last case will not be treated.

Figure 17 shows a block diagram of a coherent OFDM receiver. After

downconversion and analog-to-digital conversion, the fast Fourier transform (FFT) is used

to demodulate the N subcarriers of the OFDM signal. For each symbol, the FFT output

contains N QAM values. However, these values contain random phase shifts and amplitude

variations caused by the channel response, local oscillator drift, and timing offset. It is the

task of the channel estimation block to learn the reference phases and amplitudes for all

subcarriers, such that the QAM symbols can be converted to binary soft decisions.

Receiver Detection Output

Data

Channel

Estimation

OFDM for Wireless Networks

In general, radio channels are fading both in time and in frequency. Hence, a

channel estimator has to estimate time-varying amplitudes and phases of all subcarriers.

One way to do this is to use a two-dimensional channel estimator that estimates the

reference values based on a few known pilot values. In this case, the signal has 4

subcarriers containing known pilot values to allow the estimation.

To be able to interpolate the channel estimates both in time and frequency from the

available pilots, the pilot spacing has to fulfill the Nyquist sampling theorem, which states

that the sampling interval must be smaller than the inverse of the double-sided bandwidth

of the sampled signal. For the case of OFDM, this means that there exist both a minimum

subcarrier spacing and a minimum symbol spacing between pilots. By choosing the pilot

spacing much smaller than these minimum requirements, a good channel estimation can be

made with a relatively easy algorithm. The more pilots are used, however, the smaller the

effective SNR, becomes that is available for data symbols. Hence, the pilot density is a

tradeoff between channel estimation performance and SNR loss.

To determine the minimum pilot spacing in time and frequency, we need to find the

bandwidth of the channel variation in time and frequency, These bandwidths are equal to

the Doppler spread Bd in the time domain and the maximum delay spread τmax in the

frequency domain [16]. Hence, the requirements for the pilot spacings in time and

frequency st and sf are

st < 1/Bd

sf < 1/τmax

These simple equations can be used to estimate the theoretical limits of the standard.

In terms of Doppler effect, and considering that the pilot signals are transmitted

continuously, the pilot spacing in time is not a limitation.

The spacing in frequency imposes a limit to the delay spread. The pilots signal are

the subcarriers number –21, -7, 7 and 21. This means that the spacing between pilots is

4.375MHz (21×0.3125MHz). In these conditions, the maximum delay spread τmax to be

allowed is 228 nsec.

In the literature, there are several algorithms to estimate the OFDM channel the one

explained in [12]. This algorithm can be used with the parameters indicated by the

standard. According to it, the pilots must be BPSK modulated by a pseudo binary sequence

to prevent the generation of spectral lines.The contribution of the pilot subcarriers for the

nth OFDM symbol is produced by Fourier transform of sequence P, given by:

OFDM for Wireless Networks

0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, –1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0}

cyclic extension of the 127 elements sequence and is given by:

p 0..126 = {1,1,1,1, -1, -1, -1,1, -1, -1, -1, -1, 1,1, -1,1, -1, -1,1,1, -1,1,1, -1, 1,1,1,1,

1,1, -1,1,1,1, -1,1, 1, -1, -1,1, 1,1, -1,1, -1, -1, -1,1, -1,1,-1,-1, 1,-1,-1,1,

1,1,1,1, -1,-1,1,1,-1,-1,1,-1, 1,-1,1,1, -1,-1,-1,1, 1,-1,-1,-1, -1,1,-1,-1, 1,-1,1,1,

1,1,-1,1, -1,1,-1,1,-1,-1,-1,-1, -1,1,-1,1, 1,-1,1,-1, 1,1,1,-1, -1,1,-1,-1, -1,1,1,1,

-1,-1,-1,-1, -1,-1,-1}

The sequence, pn can be generated by the scrambler defined by figure 18 when the

“all ones” initial state is used, and by replacing all “1’s” with –1 and all “0’s” with 1. Each

sequence element is used for one OFDM symbol.

X7 X6 X5 X4 X3 X2 X1

Output

Sequence

The channel estimation techniques were designed to estimate a channel that varied

both in time and frequency. These techniques are especially suitable for continuous

transmission systems such as Digital Audio Broadcasting or Digital Video Broadcasting.

Even thought the standard has previsions about it, according to [12] they are not very

suited for packet-type communications for two reasons. First, in many packet transmission

OFDM for Wireless Networks

systems, such as wireless LAN, the packet length is short enough to assume a constant

channel during the length of the packet. This means there is no need to estimate time

fading, which greatly simplifies the channel estimation problem. Second, using pilots

scattered over several OFDM data symbols introduces a delay of several symbols before

the first channel estimates can be calculated. Such a delay is undesirable in packet

transmission like in an IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN, which requires an acknowledgment to

be sent after each packet transmission. Any delay in the reception of a packet will also

delay the acknowledgment and hence decrease the effective throughput of the system. An

additional disadvantage is the fact that the receiver needs to buffer several OFDM symbols,

thereby requiring extra hardware.

However, for applications with fading and strong Doppler effect, like the signal

between a car in movement and an access point in a highway, the pilot signals can be

useful to improve the BER. The mobile channel introduces multipath distortion of the

signaling waveforms. Both the amplitude and phase are corrupted and the channel

characteristics changes because of movements of the mobile. In order to perform coherent

detection, reliable channel estimates are required.

The problem is to decide where and how often to insert pilot symbols. The spacing

between the pilot symbols shall be chosen small enough to enable reliable channel

estimates but large enough not to increase the overhead too much.

of the channel impulse response, as opposed to a single-carrier system. It is no use to make

efforts to determine already known parts. The impact of pilot signals was analyzed by

Cavers in [17] who made an exhaustive theoretical analysis for single-carrier systems. He

pointed out that it was appropriate that 14% of the sent symbols were pilot symbols to be

able to handle large Doppler values (fdTS = 0.05). This means that the standard pilot

scheme could be redundant. Also, Tufvesson and Maseng [18] analyzed several pilot

patterns specifically for OFDM systems, arriving to the conclusion that the ability to

estimate the channel reliably when it changes due to e.g. vehicle movements is highly

dependent on the pilot pattern used. By rearranging the pilot pattern it is, in some cases,

possible to handle 10 times higher Doppler frequency and to reduce the number of needed

pilot symbols the same amount, still retaining the same bit error rate. Alternatively the new

pilot pattern could be used to reduce the bit error rate up to a factor 5, even more in a low

noise environment. For a given propagation environment, e.g. a base station site, it is

possible to precalculate a suitable pilot pattern. This is an alternative to improve the

standard performance in terms of throughput.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

8. Simulation

The OFDM system was modeled using Matlab to allow various parameters of the

system to be varied and tested, including those established by the standard. The aim of

doing the simulations was to measure the performance of OFDM under different channel

conditions, and to allow for different OFDM configurations to be tested.

OFDM Modulation and Demodulation

Run "Parameters.m" in the Workspace before simulation

C 1

Re(u)

Convolutional

Random int Block MATLAB MATLAB Complex to

Encoder A-QASK Time

interleave Function Function Real

Scope

Random Data PIlot Insertion zeropad

Convolutional Interleave Mapping Serial to parallel

Generator

Encoder

IQ Modulator Subsystem Window Add cyclic Im(u)

Function Parallel to serial Extension IFFT

Pulse

blackman MATLAB Complex to

Out1 In1 IFFT Time

Function Imag

Scope1

Transmitter

B-FFT

Buffered FFT

Frame Scope

Complex Complex

AWGN

Rayl Fading Rician Noise

channel

Channel

MATLAB MATLAB

FFT Out1 In1

Function Function

Commutator2 Remove zeros FFT Remove cyclic Serial to parallel1 IQ Demodulator Subsystem

Extension1

simout1 C1 1

Constellation

A-QASK To Workspace

Block

interleave Viterbi Decoder

A-map QASK Pulse

demod baseband Interleave1

Viterbi Decoder

Rece iver

Errors

In1

Out1 0

In1 Out1 In2

Delay Subsystem

The following routines must be included in the path:

zeropad.m

Run "constellation" after the simulation zerounpad.m

in the workspace to watch the received constellation cyclic.m

remcyc.m

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Using MatLab 5.3 and Simulink the OFDM transceiver was simulated. The model

can be seen in figure 20

The simulation includes all the stages for transceiver and receiver, according to the

standard. Because of the Matlab sampling time, the transmission was implemented in

baseband to avoid long periods of simulation.

Considering Gaussian and Rician noise and Rayleigh fading effect, a good

approximation to the real performance can be observed, over all in the degradation of the

BER. Also the channel effect can be observed in the output constellation before the Viterbi

decoder using some routines in MatLab.

In figure 21, the OFDM signal spectrum can be seen corresponding to a random

binary input sequence. According to the standard, the 0 (DC) input must be set to zero in

the IFFT implementation. This can be clearly observed at frequency zero on the graph.

35

30

25

20

B 15

d,

e

d 10

ut

i

n

g

a 5

M

0

-5

-10

-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8

Frequency (MHz)

OFDM for Wireless Networks

Using the 64QAM modulation scheme, the signal is observed after the QAM

demodulator with the distortion due to the noise. The effect of the channel over the

constellation can be seen in the figure 22.

Conclusion

The IEEE802.11 Standard Committee has developed the standard for wireless

networks with a 5GHz PHY layer and OFDM modulation. But, the industry has not offered

any interface yet. Many companies are still researching and developing, over all for the

receiver, which is the key part of the system. The standard does not give rules about it and

its implementation is up to the designer.

high performance wireless telecommunications. Some factors were not tested here like

peak power clipping, start time error and the effect of frequency stability errors.

The codification used for the system could be improved, just using block codes

instead of convolutional codes, but this fact would be out of the standard. Also, the pilot

signal distribution could be modified to reduce the redundancy.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

receiver to make the system more resistant to fading and Doppler effects, over all, if it is

going to be used aboard of cars in a highway.

Wireless LAN is a very important application for OFDM and the development of

the standard promises to have not only a big market but also application in many different

environments.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my supervisor Dr Ronald Iltis for the suggestions, ideas and

advise. I would also like to thank Mr Ramez Gerges and Prof Stephen Pope for their

support, and talks to keep me on track.

Finally, I would like to thank my family for the patience during the writing of this

project.

References

[1] Chang R. W., Synthesis of Band Limited Orthogonal Signals for Multichannel

Data Transmission, Bell Syst. Tech. J., Vol. 45, pp. 1775-1796, Dec. 1996.

IEEE Trans. Comm., Vol. COM- 15, pp. 805 - 813, Dec. 1967.

[3] Mosier, R. R., and Clabaugh, R.G., A Bandwidth Efficient Binary Transmission

System, IEEE Trans., Vol. 76, pp. 723 - 728, Jan. 1958.

[4] Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, U.S. Patent No. 3, 488,4555, filed

November 14, 1966, issued Jan. 6, 1970.

[5] Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY)

Specification, IEEE Standard, Supplement to Standard 802 Part 11: Wireless

LAN, New York, NY, 1999.

[6] F.J. MacWilliams and N.J.A. Sloane, The Theory of Error Correcting Codes,

New York: North-Holland, 1977.

OFDM for Wireless Networks

An Indoor Wireless Environment, Wireless Personal Communications 6: 359–

371, 1997, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.

[8] Haccoun D. and Begin G., High-rate punctured convolutional codes for Viterbi and

sequential decoding, IEEE Trans. Commun., Vol. 37, pp. 1113–1125, 1989.

[9] Beach M., Propagation and System Aspects, University of Bristol, Future

Communication Systems course, April 1994.

[10] Tipler P., Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 3rd Edition, Worth Publishers, pp.

464-468, 1991.

[11] Rappaport, T.S., Wireless Communications Principles and Practice, IEEE Press,

New York, Prentice Hall, pp. 169-177, 1996.

[12] Van Nee, R., Prasad R., OFDM for wireless Multimedia Communications,

Artech House, Boston, pp 80-81, 2000.

[13] Schmidl, T. M., and Cox, D.C., Robust Frequency and timing Synchronization on

OFDM, IEEE Trans. on Comm., Vol. 45, No. 12, pp. 1613-1621, Dec.

1997.

synchronizer for digital radio, Proceeding ICC'93, pages 493-497, 1993

suitable for communications over frequency selective fading channels, Proceedings of

IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC), IEEE, 1994. pp.1655-9.

[16] Proakis, J. G., Digital Communications, Prentice Hall, 3rd edition, 1995.

[17] Cavers, J. K., An Analysis of Pilot Symbol Assisted Modulation for Rayleigh

Fading Channels, IEEE Trans. Vehic. Tech, vol 40, no 4, pp 686-693, nov

1991.

[18] Tufvesson, F, Maseng, T, Pilot assisted channel estimation for OFDM in mobile

cellular systems, IEEE 47th Vehicular Technology Conference Technology in

Motion, Phoenix, AZ, USA, 4-7 May 1997, vol.3 pp.1639-43,1997.

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