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Performance Evaluation of WiMAX

Physical Layer
Ganesh K.B., K.V. Suresh
Department of Electronics &Communication, SIT, Tumkur, Karnataka, India

ABSTRACT - Worldwide Interoperability for high mobility and large area of coverage and lower
Microwave Access (WiMAX) is the latest technology data rate support provided by cellular technologies.
which is approved by IEEE 802.16 groups, which is a
standard for point-to-multipoint wireless networking, II. IEEE 802.16 PROTOCOL LAYERS
which can be deployed at a high speed for voice, video
and data service up to customer end. Orthogonal
Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) is adopted in
WiMAX physical layer for robust performance in
multipath environment. WiMAX vision is to deliver
“last mile” broadband connectivity to home or business
locations. This paper presents a brief idea about 802.16
physical layer and studies the performance of WiMAX
transmitter and receiver.

KEYWORDS - WiMAX, OFDM, IEEE 802.16, Physical

Layer, Broadband


Broadband availability brings high

performance connectivity to over a billion users’
worldwide, thus developing new wireless broadband
standards and technologies that will rapidly span
wireless coverage. WiMAX was formally introduced
in 2004, with the publishing of the IEEE 802.16-
2004 standard [1], which specifies the air interface, Fig.1.IEEE 802.16 protocol stack
including the medium access control (MAC) layer
and multiple physical (PHY) layer specifications for The IEEE 802.16 standard is structured in
fixed broadband wireless access (FBWA) systems the form of a protocol stack with well defined
supporting not only higher data rates over larger interfaces. As shown in figure 1, the MAC layer is
geographical areas but also claiming QoS support formed with three sub layers:
capability matching its wired counterparts. WiMAX Service specific convergence sub layer (CS)
is a wireless alternative to wired cable and DSL MAC common part sub layer (CPS)
(Data Subscriber Link) technology for last-mile Privacy sub layer.
solutions and a wireless metropolitan area (WMAN) The MAC CS receives higher level data
solution for providing backhaul services by through service access point (SAP) and provides
aggregating traffic emanating from various other transformation and mapping into MAC service data
wireless hotspots, there by filling in the gap between unit (SDU). MAC SDUs are then received by MAC
the high data rates but small area of coverage CPS through MAC SAP. The specification targeted
provided by wireless LAN (Local Area Network) and two types of traffic transported through IEEE 802.16

networks: Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and forum for reasons such as lower peak to average
Packets. Thus, Multiple CS specifications are ratio, fast Fourier transform (FFT) calculation and
available for interfacing with various protocols. The less stringent requirements for frequency
MAC CPS is the core part of the MAC layer, synchronization compared to 2048point
defining medium access method [1]. The CPS WirelessMAN(Metropolitan Network) OFDMA.
provides functions related to duplexing and The size of the FFT point determines the number of
channelization, channel access, PDU framing, subcarriers. Of the 256 subcarriers, 192 are used for
network entry and initialization. This provides the 18 user data, 56 are nulled for guard band and 8 are
rules and mechanism for system access, bandwidth used as pilot subcarriers for various estimation
allocation and connection maintenance. QoS purposes. The PHY allows accepting variable CP
decisions for transmission scheduling are also (Cyclic Prefix) length of 4, 8, 16 or 32 depending on
performed within the MAC CPS. The privacy layer the expected channel delay spread.
lies between the MAC CPS and the physical (PHY)
layer. Security is a major issue for public networks. OFDM SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION
This sub layer provides the mechanism for encryption The digital implementation of OFDM
and decryption of data transferring to and from PHY system is achieved through the mathematical
layer and is also used for authentication and secure operations called discrete Fourier transform (DFT)
key exchange. Data, PHY control, statistics are and its counterpart inverse discrete Fourier transform
transferred between the MAC CPS and the PHY (IDFT). These two operations are extensively used
through the PHY SAP. The PHY layer includes for transforming data between the time domain and
multiple specifications, which make the standard frequency domain [3]. In case of OFDM, these
adaptable to different frequency ranges. The transforms can be seen as mapping data onto
flexibility of the PHY enables the system designers to orthogonal subcarriers.
tailor their system according to the requirements. The In order to perform frequency domain data
PHY specifies some mandatory features to be into time domain data, IDFT correlates the frequency
implemented with the system including some domain input data with its orthogonal basis functions,
optional features. which are sinusoids at certain frequencies. In other
ways, this correlation is equivalent to mapping the
III. IEEE 802.16 PHYSICAL LAYER input data onto the sinusoidal basis functions. In
practice, OFDM systems employ combination of fast
The IEEE 802.16 standard supports multiple Fourier transform (FFT) and inverse fast Fourier
physical specifications due to its modular nature. The transform (IFFT) blocks which are mathematical
first version of the standard only supported single equivalent version of the DFT and IDFT.
carrier modulation. Since OFDM and scalable At the transmitter side, an OFDM system
OFDMA have been included to operate in NLOS treats the source symbols as though they are in the
(Non Line of Sight) environment and to provide frequency domain. These symbols are feed to an
mobility. The standard has also been extended for use IFFT block which brings the signal in to the time
in below 11 GHz frequency bands [2] along with domain. If the N numbers of subcarriers are chosen
initially supported 10-66 GHz bands. for the system, the basic functions for the IFFT are N
This PHY specification uses OFDM access orthogonal sinusoids of distinct frequency and IFFT
(OFDMA) with at least a single support of specified receive N symbols at a time. Each of N complex
multipoint transform (2048, 1024, 512 or 128) to valued input symbols determines both the amplitude
provide combined fixed and mobile BWA and phase of the sinusoid for that subcarrier. The
(Broadband Wireless Access). Operation is limited to output of the IFFT is the summation of all N
below 11 GHz licensed band. In this specification sinusoids and makes up a single OFDM symbol.
multiple accesses is provided by addressing a subset
of the multiple carriers to individual receivers. The length of the OFDM symbol is NT
The 256 point OFDM based air interface where T is the IFFT input symbol period. In this way,
specification seems to be favored by the WiMAX

IFFT block provides a simple way to modulate data IV. CHANNEL MODEL
onto N orthogonal subcarriers.
In order to evaluate the performance of the
developed communication system, an accurate
Mo S P description of the wireless channel is required to
dula to IFFT address its propagation environment. The radio
tion P architecture of a communication system plays very
significant role in the modeling of a channel. The
wireless channel is characterized by

The block diagram of the OFDM transmitter Path loss (including shadowing)
is as shown in figure 2. Data from the source is given Multipath delay spread
to the modulation where QPSK or QAM modulations Fading characteristics
are used. Then after converting the data into parallel Doppler spread
bit streams given to IFFT block for transforming data Co-channel and adjacent channel interference
between the time domain and frequency domain.
Then again converted back to serial data for adding All the model parameters are random in
cyclic prefix (CP) which avoids inter symbol nature and only a statistical characterization of them
interference (ISI). is possible, i.e. in terms of the mean and variance
value. They are dependent upon terrain, tree density,
CYCLIC PREFIX (CP) ADDITION antenna height and beam width, wind speed and time
The subcarrier orthogonality of an OFDM of the year.
system can be jeopardized when passes through a
multipath channel [4]. CP is used to combat ISI and PATH LOSS
ICI (Inter Carrier Interference) introduced by the Path loss is affected by several factors such
multipath channel. CP is a copy of the last part of as terrain contours, different environments (urban or
OFDM symbol which is appended to the front of rural, vegetation and foliage), propagation medium
transmitted OFDM symbol [5]. The length of the CP (dry or moist air), the distance between the
(Tg) must be chosen as longer than the maximum transmitter and the receiver, the height and location
delay spread of the target multipath environment, of their antennas, etc. It has only impact on the link
figure 3 depicts the benefits arise from CP addition, budget [6].
certain position within the cyclic prefix is chosen as
the sampling starting point at the receiver MULTIPATH DELAY SPREAD
max Tx Tg ----------------------- (1) Due to the non line of sight (NLOS)
where max is the maximum multipath spread. Once propagation nature of the WirelessMAN OFDM, we
the above condition is satisfied, there is no ISI since have to address multipath delay spread in our channel
the previous symbol will only have effect over model. It results due to the scattering nature of the
samples within [0, max]. And it is also clear from the environment. Delay spread is a parameter used to
figure that sampling period starting from T x will signify the effect of multipath propagation. It
encompass the contribution from all the multipath depends on the terrain, distance, antenna directivity
components so that all the samples experience the and other factors. The rms delay spread value can
span from tens of nano seconds to microseconds.
same channel and there is no ISI.
In a multipath propagation environment, the
received signal experiences fluctuation in its
amplitude, phase and angle of arrival. The effect is
described by the term multipath fading. Small scale
fading refers to the dramatic changes in signal
amplitude and phase that can be experienced as a
result of small changes (as small as a half
wavelength) in the spatial positioning between a
receiver and a transmitter. Small scale fading is
Fig.3.CYCLIC PREFIX IN OFDM called Rayleigh fading if there are multiple reflective
paths that are large in number and there is no line of
sight signal component; the envelope of such a

received signal is statistically described by a
Rayleigh PDF (Probability Distribution Function).
When a dominant non fading signal component is
present, such as a line of sight propagation path, the
small scale fading envelope is described by a Rician
pdf [7]. In other words, the small scale fading
statistics are said to be Rayleigh whenever the line of
sight path is blocked and Rician otherwise. In our
channel model we will consider Rician fading
distribution. The key parameter of this distribution is
the K factor, defined as the ratio of the direct
component power and the scatter component power.

DOPPLER SPREAD Fig.5.BER vs SNR for Rician Channel

In fixed wireless access, a doppler frequency
shift is induced on the signal due to movement of the V. CONCLUSION
objects in the environment. Doppler spectrum of
fixed wireless channel differs from that of mobile The key contribution of this paper is to
channel [8]. The shape of the spectrum is also explain the implementation of IEEE 802.16 OFDM
different than the classical Jake's spectrum for mobile in order to evaluate the PHY layer performance under
channel. Along with the above channel parameters, reference channel model. The implemented PHY
coherence distance, co-channel interference, antenna layer supports all the modulation and coding schemes
gain reduction factor should be addressed for channel as well as CP lengths defined in the specification.
modeling. Simulation was the methodology used to investigate
the PHY layer performance. The overall system
V. SIMULATION RESULTS performance can be evaluated under different channel
conditions. A key performance measure of a wireless
OFDM for WiMAX uses different communication system is the BER (Bit Error Rate)
modulation schemes in the presence of channel curves used to compare the performance of different
conditions. Higher SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) modulation schemes used.
required for transferring data means more energy is
required for each bit transfer. Figure 4 shows that for
M=16 QAM is the better modulation scheme than
PSK with less bit error rate and also less SNR.
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