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Link adaptation

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Link adaptation, or adaptive coding and modulation (ACM), is a term used in wireless
communications to denote the matching of the modulation, coding and other signal and protocol
parameters to the conditions on the radio link (e.g. the pathloss, the interference due to signals
coming from other transmitters, the sensitivity of the receiver, the available transmitter power
margin, etc.). For example, WiMAX uses a rate adaptation algorithm that adapts the modulation
and coding scheme (MCS) according to the quality of the radio channel, and thus the bit rate and
robustness of data transmission.[1] The process of link adaptation is a dynamic one and the signal
and protocol parameters change as the radio link conditions changefor example in High-Speed
Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) in Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)
this can take place every 2 ms.[2]
Adaptive modulation systems invariably require some channel state information at the
transmitter. This could be acquired in time division duplex systems by assuming the channel
from the transmitter to the receiver is approximately the same as the channel from the receiver to
the transmitter. Alternatively, the channel knowledge can also be directly measured at the
receiver, and fed back to the transmitter. Adaptive modulation systems improve rate of
transmission, and/or bit error rates, by exploiting the channel state information that is present at
the transmitter. Especially over fading channels which model wireless propagation environments,
adaptive modulation systems exhibit great performance enhancements compared to systems that
do not exploit channel knowledge at the transmitter.[3]

In HSDPA link adaptation is performed by:
Choice of modulation typethe link can employ QPSK for noisy channels and
16QAM for clearer channels. The former is more robust and can tolerate
higher levels of interference but has lower transmission bit rate. The latter
has twice higher bit rate but is more prone to errors due to interference and
noise hence it requires stronger forward error correction (FEC) coding which
in turn means more redundant bits and lower information bit rate;
Choice of FEC code ratethe FEC code used has a rate of 1/3, but it can be
varied effectively by bit puncturing and hybrid automatic repeat request
(HARQ) with incremental redundancy. When the radio link conditions are
good more bits are punctured and the information bit rate is increased. In
poor link conditions all redundant bits are transmitted and the information bit
rate drops. In very bad link conditions retransmissions occur due to HARQ
which ensures correct reception of the sent information but further decreases
the bit rate.
Thus HSDPA adapts to achieve very high bit rates, of the order of 14 megabit/sec, on clear
channels using 16-QAM and close to 1/1 coding rate. On noisy channels HSDPA adapts to
provide reliable communications using QPSK and 1/3 coding rate but the information bit rate
drops to about 2.4 megabit/sec. This adaptation is performed up to 500 times per second.
See also
Cliff effect
IEEE 802.11n-2009 Data rates
IEEE 802.11ac Theoretical
IEEE 802.11ax Rate Set
Hierarchical modulation
Radio resource management

Shami, Abdallah; Maier, Martin; Assi, Chadi (2010-01-23). Broadband Access
Networks: Technologies and Deployments. Springer Science & Business Media.
p. 100. ISBN 9780387921310.
Sauter, Martin (2010-12-30). From GSM to LTE: An Introduction to Mobile
Networks and Mobile Broadband. John Wiley & Sons. p. 177. ISBN 9780470978221.

1. Guowang Miao; Guocong Song (2014). Energy and spectrum efficient

wireless network design. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 1107039886.
Quantized radio modulation modes
Radio resource management

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