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1. Abstract

This Term Paper shows the overview of spread-spectrum principles and it

covers the direct sequence, frequency hopping and Time hopping methods. A
schematic of a code sequence generator is shown. Spectral plots illustrate
direct-sequence spread-spectrum (DSSS), frequency-hopping spread-
spectrum (FHSS) and Time-Hopping Spread Spectrum (THSS) methods.

2. Introduction

Spread spectrum is a form of wireless communication developed for military

and designed to provide secure communication. Spread spectrum was
developed during World War II to prevent the Nazis from jamming and
interception Allies military signals. It was invented by an actress Hedy
Lamarr and a musician George Antheil. Spread spectrum has been further
developed over the years. In the 50s engineers from Sylvania Electronics
started research into spread spectrum technology. They developed an
electronic spread spectrum communication system which was used during
Cuban missile crisis for secure communication. Because spread spectrum is
hard to detect and intercept it was used by military and kept in secret until
1980s when commercial uses of spread spectrum systems started.
Nowadays spread spectrum technology (because of it properties) is used in
large variety of different applications such as: GPS (Global Positioning
System), mobile and cordless phones, wireless video cameras, LAN (Local
Area Networks).
Spread spectrum is a means of transmission in which the signal occupies a bandwidth in
excess of the minimum necessary to send the information; the band spread is accomplished by
means of a code which is independent of the data, and a synchronized reception with the code
at the receiver is used for despreading and subsequent data recovery.

The means by which the spectrum is spread is crucial. Several of the techniques are
direct-sequence .modulation in which a fast pseudorandomly generated sequence causes
phase transitions in the carrier containing data, frequency hopping, in which the carrier is
caused to shift frequency in a pseudorandom way, arid time hopping, wherein bursts of
signal are initiated at pseudorandom times. Hybrid combinations of these techniques are
frequently used.

3. Spread Spectrum communication system and Its Techniques

Spread spectrum communication systems are widely used today in a variety
of applications for different purposes such as access of same radio spectrum
by multiple users (multiple access), anti-jamming capability (so that signal
transmission cannot be interrupted or blocked by spurious transmission from
enemy), interference rejection, secure communications, multi-path
protection, etc. However, irrespective of the application, all spread spectrum
communication systems satisfy the following criteria-
(I) As the name suggests, bandwidth of the transmitted signal is
much greater than that of the message that modulates a carrier.
(II) The transmission bandwidth is determined by a factor
independent of the message bandwidth. The power spectral
density of the modulated signal is very low and usually
comparable to background noise and interference at the receiver.
Spread-spectrum is apparent in the Shannon and Hartley channel-capacity theorem:
C = B log2 (1 + S/N) (Eq. 1)
In this
equation, C is the channel capacity in bits per second (bps), which is the maximum data rate for a
theoretical bit-error rate (BER). B is the required channel bandwidth in Hz, and S/N is the signal-
to-noise power ratio. To be more explicit, one assumes that C, which represents the amount of
information allowed by the communication channel, also represents the desired performance.
Bandwidth (B) is the price to be paid, because frequency is a limited resource. The S/N ratio
expresses the environmental conditions or the physical characteristics (i.e., obstacles, presence of
jammers, interferences, etc.).
This equation states that channel capacity is proportional to bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio.
In situation where the noise is "bigger" than the signal the best way to reduce impact of the noise
on the signal is to increase the bandwidth.
Because spread spectrum slightly increases noise level and its resistance to interference allows
spread spectrum system coexist with narrowband signals which is another advantages of this
There is an elegant interpretation of this equation, applicable for difficult environments, for
example, when a low S/N ratio is caused by noise and interference. This approach says that one
can maintain or even increase communication performance (high C) by allowing or injecting
more bandwidth (high B), even when signal power is below the noise floor. (The equation does
not forbid that condition!)
Modify Equation 1 by changing the log base from 2 to e (the Napierian number) and by noting
C/B = (1/ln2) ln(1 + S/N) = 1.443 ln(1 + S/N) (Eq. 2) that ln = loge. Therefore:
Applying the MacLaurin series development for
ln (1 + x) = x - x/2 + x/3 - x4/4 + ... + (-1) k+1xk/k +...:

C/B = 1.443 (S/N - 1/2 (S/N) + 1/3 (S/N) - ...) (Eq. 3)

S/N is usually low for spread-spectrum applications. (As just mentioned, the signal power
density can even be below the noise level.) Assuming a noise level such that S/N << 1, Shannon's
expression becomes simply:

C/B 1.433 S/N (Eq. 4)

Very roughly:

C/B S/N (Eq. 5)


N/S B/C (Eq. 6)

To send error-free information for a given noise-to-signal ratio in the channel, therefore, one
need only performs the fundamental spread-spectrum signal-spreading operation: increase the
transmitted bandwidth. That principle seems simple and evident. Nonetheless, implementation is
complex, mainly because spreading the baseband (by a factor that can be several orders of
magnitude) forces the electronics to act and react accordingly, which, in turn, makes the
spreading and de spreading operations necessary.
Spread spectrum is a noise-like signal which spreads the transmitted signal over a large
frequency but the signal PSD (Power Spectral Density - power in the signal per frequency) is
very small what makes it hard to detect, intercept or demodulate. In contrast, narrowband signals
(where PSD is higher and limited to a very narrow portion of the frequency bandwidth) can be
easy jammed and experience interference.
Different spread-spectrum techniques are available, but all have one idea in common: the key
(also called the code or sequence) attached to the communication channel. The manner of
inserting this code defines precisely the spread-spectrum technique. The term "spread spectrum"
refers to the expansion of signal bandwidth, by several orders of magnitude in some cases, which
occurs when a key is attached to the communication channel.

Fig 1: Spreading Process

The formal definition of spread spectrum is more precise: an RF communications system in
which the baseband signal bandwidth is intentionally spread over a larger bandwidth by injecting
a higher frequency signal (Figure 1). As a direct consequence, energy used in transmitting the
signal is spread over a wider bandwidth, and appears as noise. The ratio (in dB) between the
spread baseband and the original signal is called processing gain. Typical spread-spectrum
processing gains run from 10dB to 60dB.

To apply a spread-spectrum technique, simply inject the corresponding spread-spectrum code

somewhere in the transmitting chain before the antenna (receiver). (That injection is called the
spreading operation.) The effect is to diffuse the information in a larger bandwidth. Conversely,
you can remove the spread-spectrum code (called a de spreading operation) at a point in the
receive chain before data retrieval. A de spreading operation reconstitutes the information into its
original bandwidth. Obviously, the same code must be known in advance at both ends of the
transmission channel. (In some circumstances, the code should be known only by those two

Figure 2. Spread-spectrum communication system.

Spread-spectrum transmitters use similar transmit power levels to narrowband transmitters.

Because spread-spectrum signals are so wide, they transmit at a much lower spectral power
density, measured in watts per hertz, than narrow band transmitters. This lower transmitted
power density characteristic gives spread-spectrum signals a big plus. Spread-spectrum and
narrowband signals can occupy the same band, with little or no interference. This capability is
the main reason for all the interest in spread spectrum today.
The use of special pseudo noise (PN) codes in spread-spectrum communications makes signals
appear wide band and noise-like. It is this very characteristic that makes spread-spectrum signals
possess a low LPI (low probability of intercept). Spread-spectrum signals are hard to detect on
narrow band equipment because the signal's energy is spread over a bandwidth of maybe 100
times the information bandwidth (Figure 3).
Fig 3: In a spread-spectrum system, signals are spread across a wide bandwidth,
making them difficult to intercept, demodulate, and intercept

The spread of energy over a wide band, or lower spectral power density, also makes spread-
spectrum signals less likely to interfere with narrowband communications. Narrowband
communications, conversely, cause little to no interference to spread spectrum systems because
the correlation receiver effectively integrates over a very wide bandwidth to recover a spread
spectrum signal. The correlator then "spreads" out a narrowband interferer over the receiver's
total detection bandwidth.
Since the total integrated signal density or signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at the correlator's input
determines whether there will be interference or not. All spread spectrum systems have a
threshold or tolerance level of interference beyond which useful communication ceases. This
tolerance or threshold is related to the spread-spectrum processing gain, which is essentially the
ratio of the RF bandwidth to the information bandwidth.
Spread spectrum uses wideband, noise-like signals that are hard to detect, intercept, or
demodulate. Additionally, spread-spectrum signals are harder to jam (interfere with) than narrow
band signals. These low probability of intercept (LPI) and anti-jam (AJ) features are why the
military has used spread spectrum for so many years. Spread-spectrum signals are intentionally
made to be a much wider band than the information they are carrying to make them more noise-

3.1 Bandwidth Effects of the Spreading Operation

Figure 4 illustrates the evaluation of signal bandwidths in a communication link.

Figure 4. Spreading operation spreads the signal energy over a wider frequency

Spread-spectrum modulation is applied on top of a conventional modulation such as BPSK or

direct conversion. One can demonstrate that all other signals not receiving the spread-spectrum
code will remain as they are, that is, unspread.

3.2 Bandwidth Effects of the Despreading Operation

Similarly, dispreading can be seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5.The dispreading operation recovers the original signal.

Here a spread-spectrum demodulation has been made on top of the normal demodulation
operations. One can also demonstrate that signals such as an interferer or jammer added during
the transmission will be spread during the despreading operation!

3.3 Waste of Bandwidth Due to Spreading Is Offset by Multiple Users

Spreading results directly in the use of a wider frequency band by a factor that corresponds
exactly to the "processing gain". Therefore spreading does not spare the limited frequency
resource. That overuse is well compensated, however, by the possibility that many users will
share the enlarged frequency band (Figure 6).

Figure 6. The same frequency band can be shared by multiple users with spread-
spectrum techniques.

Spread Spectrum is a wideband technology. In contrast to regular narrowband technology, the

spread spectrum process is a wideband technology. W- CDMA and UMTS, for example, are
wideband technologies that require a relatively large frequency bandwidth, compared to
narrowband radio.

4 Spread Spectrum Techniques

Different spread-spectrum techniques are distinguished according to the point in the
system at which a PRN is inserted in the communication channel. This is very
basically illustrated in the RF front-end schematic in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Several spreading techniques are applied at different stages of the

transmit chain.

If the pseudo-random number (PRN) is inserted at the data level, this is the direct-sequence form
of spread spectrum (DSSS). (In practice, the pseudo-random sequence is mixed or multiplied
with the information signal, giving an impression that the original data flow was "hashed" by the
PRN.) If the PRN acts at the carrier-frequency level, this is the frequency-hopping form of
spread spectrum (FHSS). Applied at the LO stage, FHSS PRN codes force the carrier to change
or "hop" according to the pseudo-random sequence. If the PRN acts as an on/off gate to the
transmitted signal, this is a time-hopping spread-spectrum technique (THSS).

4.1 Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS)

DSSS significantly improves protection against interfering (or jamming) signals, especially
narrowband and makes the signal less noticeable. It also provides security of transmission if the
code is not known to the public. These reasons make DSSS very popular by the military. In fact,
DSSS was first used in the 1940s by the military.
DSSS encoder modulates the carrier wave with code sequence which is usually pseudorandom
binary code. This code sequence (also known as "pseudo-noise" or PN) changes the carrier phase
of the transmitted signal. The receiver must use the same code to decode the signal. DSSS uses
more bandwidth than FHSS what increases number of bits in the spreading code and it also has
low power density what makes it hard to detect. DSSS generates more bits per second and the
signal is spread over a wide range of frequencies. All these features provide good performance
and resistance to noise and interference.
DSSS can also be used as a multiple access technique, whereby several different pseudo random
spreading codes are being used simultaneously. This multiple access technique is better known as
Direct Sequence CDMA. DSSS is e.g. used in IEEE 802.11b and Zigbee.
Figure 8. Block diagram for Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum

Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) is spread spectrum technique where by the original
data signal is multiplied with a pseudo random noise spreading code. This spreading code has a
higher chip rate (this is bitrate of the code) which results in a wideband time continuous
scrambled signal.

Figure 8. Example of Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum

Information bit of one inverts the spreading code bits in the combination, while information bit
of zero causes the spreading code bits to be transmitted without inversion. The combination bit
stream has the death rate of the original spreading code sequence, so it has a wider bandwidth
than the information stream. In this example, the spreading code bit stream is clocked t four
times the information rate.
4.1.1 DSSS using BPSK

Rather than represent binary data with 1 and 0, it is more convenient for our purpose to use + I
and - 1 to represent the two binary digits. In that case, a BPSK signal can be represented as:
Where, A= amplified of signal
Fc=carrier frequency
d(t)=the discrete function that takes on the value +1 for one bit time if bit in the stream
bit is 1 and -1 for the one bit time if the corresponding bit in the bit stream 0.
To produce the DSS signal, we multiply the proceeding by C(t),which is the PN sequence taking
on values of +1 and -1:
S (t) =A d (t) c (t) cos (2fct)
At the receiver the incoming signal is multiplied again by c(t) but c(t)c(t)=1 and therefore
original signal is recovered:
S(t)c(t)=Ad(t) c(t) c(t) cos(2fct)=Sd(t)

Figure 9. Waveform of Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Using BPSK Example

4.2 Frequency hopping system

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly

switching a carrier among many frequency channels, using pseudorandom sequence known to
both transmitter and receiver. It is utilized as a multiple access method in the frequency-hopping
code division multiple access (FH-CDMA) scheme.
FSSH is used by the original Bluetooth standard and personal area network (PAN). In this system
the frequency spectrum is divided into channels. Data signal is split up and transmitted on these
channels in pseudorandom pattern which is known by transmitter and receiver only. If there are
other collocated networks they will use different pseudorandom pattern or hop code table which
allows multiple network coexist in close proximity without interfering. If interference is present
on one the channel then receiver and transmitter changes the channel and resends the signal.

Figure 10.1. Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum System (Transmitter)

Figure 10.2.Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum System (Receiver)
Figure.10.1 & 10.2 shows the Block diagram of frequency hopping system. For transmission,
binary data are fed into a modulator using some digital - to analog encoding scheme, such as
frequency shift keying (FSK) or binary phase shift keying (BPSK). A PN source serves as an
index into a table of frequencies each K bit on PN source specifies one of the 2k carrier

At each successive interval a new carrier frequency is selected. This frequency is then modulated
by the signal produced from the initial modulator to produce a new signal with the same shape.
On reception, the spread spectrum signal is demodulated using the same sequence of PN-derived
frequencies and then demodulated to produce the output data.

4.2.1 Types of frequency hopping are

(I) Slow frequency hopping
(2) Fast frequency hopping

(1) Slow-frequency hopping (SFH) - if hopping rate (Rh) less than Bit rate (Br)or symbol rate(Rs)
it called slow frequency hopping.
In slow frequency hoping the symbol rate (Rs) of the MFSK signal is an integer multiple of the
hop rate (Rh). That means several symbols are transmitted corresponding to each frequency
hopping. Therefore each frequency hopping several symbols i.e. Frequency hopping takes place

SFH Where one data symbol is transmitted in the same channel which allows coherent data
detection and deploys error correction mechanism.

(2) Fast frequency hopping-if hopping rate (Rh) is greater than Symbol rate (Rs) it is called Fast
Frequency Hopping.

In the fast frequency hopping the hop rate (Rh) is an integer multiple of the MFSK symbol rate
(Rs). That means during the transmission of one symbol, the carrier frequency will hop several
times. Therefore each symbol transmission several frequencies hops. Thus the frequency hopping
takes place at a fast rate.

4.3 Time-hopping spread spectrum (THSS)

THSS is a type of SS where turned off and on condition of a carrier is determine by

pseudorandom code sequence. In this type of spread spectrum period and duty cycle (pulse
duration divided by the pulse period) of a pulsed Radio Frequency carrier are varying by using
pseudorandom code sequence. THSS spectrum is often used with FHSS and they form a system
called time division multiple access (TDMA) which is used in military
Time hopped spread spectrum systems have found no commercial application to date. However,
the arrival of cheap random access memory (RAM) and fast micro-controller chips make time
hopping a viable alternative spread spectrum technique for the future.

Time hopping is a system in which burst signal are initiated at pseudo random rate. In this the
transmitter is switched ON and OFF by a code sequence. The main difference between a
frequency hopping and time hopping system is that in the former the transmitted frequency
changes at each code chip time in the later the frequency changes occurs only at zero/ one
transitions in the code sequence.

Figure 11.1.Block diagram of a time hopping transmitter

Figure 11.2.Block diagram of a time hopping receiver

5. Benefits of Spread Spectrum

Spread-spectrum systems provide some clear advantages to designers. As a recap, here are nine
benefits that designers can expect when using a spread-spectrum-based wireless system.
1. Reduced crosstalk interference: In spread-spectrum systems, crosstalk interference is
greatly attenuated due to the processing gain of the spread spectrum system as described
earlier. The effect of the suppressed crosstalk interference can be essentially removed
with digital processing where noise below certain threshold results in negligible bit
errors. These negligible bit errors will have little effect on voice transmissions.

2. Better voice quality/data integrity and less static noise: Due to the processing gain
and digital processing nature of spread spectrum technology, a spread-spectrum-based
system is more immune to interference and noise. This greatly reduces consumer
electronic device-induced static noise that is commonly experienced by conventional
analog wireless system users.

3. Lowered susceptibility to multipath fading: Because of its inherent frequency diversity

properties (thanks to wide spectrum spread), a spread spectrum system is much less
susceptible to multipath fading.

4. Inherent security: In a spread spectrum system, a PN sequence is used to either

modulate the signal in the time domain (direct sequence systems) or select the carrier
frequency (frequency hopping systems). Due to the pseudo-random nature of the PN
sequence, the signal in the air has been "randomized". Only the receiver having the exact
same pseudo-random sequence and synchronous timing can de-spread and retrieve the
original signal. Consequently, a spread spectrum system provides signal security that is
not available to conventional analog wireless systems.

5. Co-existence: A spread spectrum system is less susceptible to interference than other

non-spread spectrum systems. In addition, with the proper designing of pseudo-random
sequences, multiple spread spectrum systems can co-exist without creating severe
interference to other systems. This further increases the system capacity for spread
spectrum systems or devices.

6. Longer operating distances: A spread spectrum device operated in the ISM band is
allowed to have higher transmit power due to its non-interfering nature. Because of the
higher transmit power, the operating distance of such a device can be significantly longer
than that of a traditional analog wireless communication device.

7. Hard to detect: Spread-spectrum signals are much wider than conventional narrowband
transmission (of the order of 20 to 254 times the bandwidth of narrowband
transmissions). Since the communication band is spread, it can be transmitted at a low
power without being detrimentally by background noise. This is because when de-
spreading takes place, the noise at one frequency is rejected, leaving the desired signal.

8. Hard to intercept or demodulate: The very foundation of the spreading technique is the
code use to spread the signal. Without knowing the code it is impossible to decipher the
transmission. Also, because the codes are so long (and quick) simply viewing the code
would still be next to impossible to solve the code, hence interception is very hard.

9. Harder to jam: The most important feature of spread spectrum is its ability to reject
interference. At first glance, it may be considered that spread spectrum would be most
affected by interference. However, any signal is spread in the bandwidth, and after it
passes through the correlator, the bandwidth signal is equal to its original bandwidth, plus
the bandwidth of the local interference. An interference signal with 2 MHz bandwidth
being input into a direct-sequence receiver whose signal is 10 MHz wide gives an output
from the correlator of 12 MHz. The wider the interference bandwidth, the wider the
output signals. Thus the wider the input signal, the less its effect on the system because
the power density of the signal after processing is lower, and less power falls in the band
pass filter.

6. Implementations and Conclusions

A complete spread-spectrum communication link requires various advanced and up-to-date

technologies and disciplines: an RF antenna, a powerful and efficient PA, a low-noise and highly
linear LNA, compact transceivers, high-resolution ADCs and DACs, rapid low-power digital
signal processing (DSP), etc. Though designers and manufacturers compete, they are also joining
in their effort to implement spread-spectrum systems.
The most difficult area is the receiver path, especially at the despreading level for DSSS, because
the receiver must be able to recognize the message and synchronize with it in real time. The
operation of code recognition is also called correlation. Because correlation is performed at the
digital-format level, the tasks are mainly complex arithmetic calculations including fast, highly
parallel, binary additions and multiplications.
The most difficult aspect of today's receiver design is synchronization. More time, effort,
research, and money have gone toward developing and improving synchronization techniques
than toward any other aspect of spread-spectrum communications. Several methods can solve the
synchronization problem, and many of them require a large number of discrete components to
implement. Perhaps the biggest breakthroughs have occurred in DSP and in application-specific
integrated circuits (ASICs). DSP provides high-speed mathematical functions that analyze,
synchronize, and decorrelate a spread-spectrum signal after slicing it in many small parts. ASIC
chips drive down costs with VLSI technology and by the creation of generic building blocks
suitable for any type of application.

DSSS provides 11 Mbps capacity links, but it is a sensitive technology (collocation, multipath,
near/far, Bluetooth). The most limiting factor, multipath, may be minimized by using the
technology for short distances or in point to point applications. FHSS[5] provides only 3 Mbps
capacity links, but it is a very robust technology, with excellent behavior in harsh environment
characterized by large areas of coverage, multiple collocated cells, noises, multipath, Bluetooth
presence, etc. The technology allows easy cellular point- to-multipoint deployment, providing
excellent reliability.
7. References