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SC-FDMA Single Carrier FDMA in LTE

915-2725-01 Rev A November 2009

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....13 PAPR.systems..........................................................Long........................... ..................... SC-FDMA............OFDM......Carrier....SC-FDMA................... ........... References.....................favored.Contents Introduction............................... .......9 OFDM..7 ................ ................OFDM.................................11 Subcarrier..4 .......................................Spread.........4 ...................................................is...5 Why.............................Evolution.................Modulation......Mapping..........................Transmission..Term................broadband........................... ............................ 3GPP..........................................14 ........................................Modulation........................................................ Uplink.15 ..............analysis..................................11 ................................. Single..............................................10 OFDM.........................................................................................for............to..............................11 Frequency.........most................................

Thus. consisting of 20 slots of each 0. SC-FDMA is a modified form of OFDM with similar throughput performance and complexity. One radio frame . The generic radio frame has a time duration of 10 ms. LTE Frame Format 4 . The main advantage of OFDM. its use in LTE and its extension from OFDM. SC-FDMA inherits all the advantages of OFDM over other well-known techniques such as TDMA and CDMA.10ms Slot = . Two adjacent slots form a sub-frame of 1 ms duration. This is often viewed as DFT-coded OFDM where time-domain data symbols are transformed to frequency-domain by a discrete Fourier transform (DFT) before going through the standard OFDM modulation. SC-FDMA brings additional benefit of low peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) compared to OFDM making it suitable for uplink transmission by user-terminals. is its robustness against multipath signal propagation. LTE is based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) with cyclic prefix (CP) in the downlink. It supports both FDD and TDD duplex modes for transmission on paired and unpaired spectrum.05ms #0 #1 #2 #18 #19 OFDM symbols in a slot #0 #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 OFDM symbols Cyclic prefix copying Figure 1. as is for SC-FDMA. The major problem in extending GSM TDMA and wideband CDMA to broadband systems is the increase in complexity with the multipath signal reception. Each slot consists of seven OFDM symbols with short/normal cyclic prefix (CP) or six OFDM symbols with long/extended CP.Introduction Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA) is a promising technique for high data rate uplink communication and has been adopted by 3GPP for it next generation cellular system. which makes it suitable for broadband systems. called Long-Term Evolution (LTE).5 ms. 3GPP Long Term Evolution LTE is a next generation mobile system from the 3GPP with a focus on wireless broadband. SC-FDMA is a new technology used for uplink in LTE. and on Single-Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA) with cyclic prefix in the uplink. This white paper explores this technology. which is also one transmit-timeinterval (TTI).

the maximum number of resource blocks.Carrier Mapping IFFT CP insertion Figure 2. Each element in the resource grid is called a resource element and is uniquely defined by the index pair (k. For short cyclic prefix: TCP = 160×Ts for OFDM symbol l = 0 = 144×Ts for OFDM symbol l = 1. NRB.Uplink Transmission The uplink transmission scheme is based on single-carrier FDMA. DFT Symbols Sub. In the frequency domain. more specifically DFTSOFDM. The cyclic prefix timings for uplink are the same as for the downlink.…6 For long cyclic prefix: TCP-e = 512×Ts for OFDM symbol l = 0. There are two cyclic-prefix lengths defined: normal cyclic prefix and extended cyclic prefix corresponding to seven and six SC-FDMA symbols per slot. Transmitter scheme of SC-FDMA The sub-carriers are grouped into sets of 12 consecutive sub-carriers. 2. The uplink sub-carrier spacing Δf = 15 kHz.l) in a slot where k and l are the indices in the frequency (subcarrier) and time domain (symbol). respectively. 1…5 N symb UL Ts = 1/ (2048 × Δf) is the sampling time for 20 MHz system. 12 consecutive sub-carriers in one slot correspond to one uplink resource block – the same as in the downlink – which is depicted in Figure 3. corresponding to the uplink resource blocks. respectively. can range from NRB-min = 6 to NRB-max = [110]. 5 .

l) k= 0 1= 0 UL 1= Nsymb -1 Figure 3.FDMA symbols k= N UL N RB -1 RB sc Resource Block N UL xN RB sc symb resource elements s subcarriers N UL x N RB RB sc N RB sc subcarriers s Resource element (k. Uplink Slot format 6 .One uplink slot Tslot N UL symb SC.

GSM is a 200 kHz channel TDMA system with 270.70833 MHz symbol rate. Although these technologies can theoretically be extended to next generation broadband wireless systems. The channel time dispersion is viewed as the frequency selective or non-selective in the frequency domain. The receiver with an equalizer for 20 channel taps will either be impractical to implement or resort to inferior methods.833 kHz symbol rate with either binary GMSK or 8-PSK modulations. WCDMA technique can also be extended to broadband systems. The baseband signal uses partial response signaling. This is also called flat fading. Extending TDMA techniques to broadband system makes the receiver complexity unmanageable. as it requires more number of Rake receiver fingers. there is no ISI. More advanced receivers. This problem can easily be dimensioned over a 20 MHz broadband system. Multipath signal propagation makes the channel response time dispersive. it is the number of channel taps with strong energy at chip-time resolution over the channel dispersion period. practical implementation issues and complexities limit their acceptance. Complexity. require even more fingers as they try to place additional fingers around the desired signal.or 64-state DFSE equalizer for an 8-PSK EDGE signal. the received signal can have signal dispersion of about 5 symbol periods including its partial response signaling. and it is time dispersive relative to its symbol time. which spreads the symbol to three symbol periods. Let us take a closer look at this problem. For the same amount of channel dispersion. which are often called interference fingers. OFDM is not without its issues. the channel is not dispersive relative to its symbol time. the received symbol will be spread over 20 symbol periods. The factor that affects the receiver is the number of resolvable channel taps over the channel dispersion interval.e. i. are based on the number of Rake fingers the receiver can process. but its complexity increases. and often the gain of a Rake receiver. such as Generalized Rake receivers. In a TDMA system. it is the ratio of the channel dispersion to signal symbol time. For example. the signal will have independent effects over its bandwidth due to the channel. and hence. In the frequency selective channel. the channel dispersion is about 5 micro seconds in typical urban areas and 15 to 20 microseconds in rural and hilly terrain. making the receiver less complex. On the other hand. A typical WCDMA Rake receiver requires about 5-8 Rake fingers for a typical urban channel with dispersion of 5 microseconds.Why OFDM is most favored for broadband systems Second and third generation mobile systems are based on either TDMA or CDMA technologies. a typical GSM receiver requires a 16-state MLSE equalizer for GMSK signal and an 8. However. OFDM offers an easier solution and practical implementation. multipath propagation makes the channel frequency non-selective or less selective. For narrowband TDMA systems such as GSM. a 2 MHz system with 2. For a typical urban case with about 5 us channel dispersion. the amount of signal dispersion depends on the environment of operation. as the channel becomes very frequency selective. However. Suppose we want to scale up this technique to a wideband or broadband system by factor of ten. Similarly. in a CDMA system. Frequency non-selective channel means the signal over its entire bandwidth will have the same effect due to the multipath channel. In the time domain. Hence. Extending WCDMA 7 .

One major difference between an OFDM and the TDMA or CDMA techniques is important to note. Hence this ISI spill-over at the beginning of each symbol can easily be removed by adding a cyclic prefix to each transmit symbol. the LTE system uses OFDM symbol of 66 microseconds plus 5 microseconds of cyclic prefix. even a small amount of channel dispersion causes some spilling of each OFDM symbol to the next symbol. Even though OFDM symbol duration is much larger than channel dispersion. In traditional systems the symbol detection is on the samples at either symbol or chip rate. meaning that it can resolve channel taps with finer resolution. Therefore. 8 . thus it causes some ISI. and thus its complexity. Each subcarrier is usually narrow enough that multipath channel response is flat over the individual subcarrier frequency range. i. But. OFDM has become a most favored technique for broadband wireless system due to susceptibility to signal dispersion under multipath conditions. 3GPP is in the process of defining other ways of extending HSPA system to broadband systems. Hence OFDM is inherently susceptible to channel dispersion due to multipath propagation. OFDM can also be viewed as a multi-carrier narrowband system where the whole system bandwidth is split into multiple smaller subcarriers with simultaneous transmission. For example. and it is based on the expected signal dispersion in the environment of system operation. a.a. Simultaneous data transmission and reception over these subcarriers are handled almost independently. Cyclic prefix is the process of extending each symbol by duplicating a portion of the signal at the symbol ends. length of cyclic prefixes. which is thrown away at the receiver. Another way to look at is that an OFDM symbol time is much larger than the typical channel dispersion. i.e. The amount of symbol extension. based on multi-carrier HSPA.e. However this ISI spill-over is limited to only the initial part of the neighboring symbol.k. and it cares about the carrier-to-interference level only at the sampling points. This results in more fingers for the Rake receiver with strong signal energy. OFDM symbol detection requires that the entire symbol duration be free of interference from its previous symbols. frequency non-selective. inter-symbol interference.to a 20 MHz broadband system will require higher chip rates. extension of WCDMA/HSPA systems to a 20 MHz broadband system requires extension of similar factor on the number of fingers in Rake receiver. is a system design parameter. This means it is susceptible to maximum signal dispersion of 5 microseconds due to multipath channel propagation.

Data Block In Mod Symbol Mapping DFT Sub-carrier Mapper IFFT Cyclic Prefix P/S & DAC RF I-Q Mod Channel Data Block Out IDFT & Detection Equalizer Sub-carrier Demap FFT CP Remove ADC & S/P RF I-Q Mod Figure 4. Hence.SC-FDMA Modulation SC-FDMA is a new multiple access technique that utilizes single carrier modulation. OFDM Transmitter and Receiver 9 . SC-FDMA is currently adopted as the uplink multiple access scheme for 3GPP LTE. It is evident from the figures that SC-FDMA transceiver has similar structure as a typical OFDM system except the addition of a new DFT block before subcarrier mapping. It has a similar structure and performance as OFDM. SC-FDMA can be considered as an OFDM system with a DFT mapper. SC-FDMA Transmitter and Receiver Data Block In Mod Symbol Mapping Sub-carrier Mapper IFFT Cyclic Prefix P/S & DAC RF I-Q Mod Channel Data Block Out Detection Equalizer Sub-carrier Demap FFT CP Remove ADC & S/P RF I-Q Demod Figure 5. and frequency domain equalization. Transmitter and receiver structure for SC-FDMA and OFDM are given in Figures 4 and 5. DFTspread orthogonal frequency multiplexing.

and is preferably longer than the length of the channel response. The length of the cyclic prefix depends on the channel delay spread. The interference level on each subcarrier can also be different and vary uniquely with time. An OFDM symbol is the time used to transmit all of subcarriers that are modulated by the block of input data symbols. and it is in fact advantageous in harsh and time varying channel conditions. it is possible to have different modulation formats over multiple subcarriers. as it does not carry any useful information. A typical OFDM receiver includes an RF section. it removes the effect of ISI caused by the multipath signal propagation. The RF section modulates the I-Q samples to final transmission radio frequency. A transmitter includes a baseband modulator. Unlike other modulation techniques that operate symbol by symbol. cyclic prefix remover. At the receiver. and a digital-to-analog converter followed by an I-Q RF modulator. The baseband modulator transforms the input binary bits into a set of multi-level complex numbers that corresponds to different modulations formats such as BPSK. 10 . meaning the signal fading on each subcarrier is independent. The type of modulation format used often depends on the signal-to-noise level of the received signal and the receiver ability to decode them correctly. ADC. In general. It results in a different signal-to-impairment level on each of the subcarriers. the channel is frequency selective over its large system bandwidth.or 64-QAM. and this is called Channel-dependent scheduling. OFDM transmits a block of data symbols simultaneously over one OFDM symbol. parallel-serial conversion. A cyclic prefix block copies a portion of the samples at the end of the time domain samples block (at the IFFT output) to the beginning. the prefix part of the symbol is thrown away as it may contain ISI from its previous symbol. A typical OFDM transmitter and receiver structure is shown in Figure 2. Fourier transformer. These modulated symbols are then mapped to subcarriers. subcarrier mapping. cyclic prefix addition. 16. the same modulation format is used in all the subcarriers to keep the control information overhead small. having an appropriate modulation format on these subcarriers would help to maximize the overall system throughput. Hence. In a broadband system. QPSK. However. An inverse-FFT (IFFT) is used to transform the modulated subcarriers in frequency domain to time domain samples. The block of complex samples are then serialized in the time domain and converted to analog signals. the prefix is the overhead in an OFDM system. However. OFDM system inherits an adaptation of modulation formats to each of the subcarriers depending on channel conditions. A corresponding receiver does the inverse operations of the transmitter in the reverse order. let’s first review an OFDM system structure. inverse Fourier transform. sub-carrier demapper. Since the DFT/FFT outputs are periodic in theory. copying the samples to the beginning will make the signal continuous.OFDM As SC-FDMA is built over OFDM modulation. parallel-to-serial converter. equalizer and detector. Hence.

Subcarrier Mapping DFT output of the data symbols is mapped to a subset of subcarriers. the transmitter groups the modulation symbols into a block of N symbols. The subcarrier mapping assigns DFT output complex values as the amplitudes of some of the selected subcarriers. Figure 6 is a general picture of localized and distributed mapping. As each data symbol is spread over multiple subcarriers. An N-point DFT transforms these symbols in time domain into frequency domain. the DFT outputs of the input data are assigned to subcarriers over the entire bandwidth non-continuously. parallel to serial converter. resulting in zero amplitude for the remaining subcarriers. SC-FDMA can be viewed as frequency-spread OFDM or DFT-spread OFDM. where the occupied subcarriers are equally spaced over the entire bandwidth. A special case of distributed SC-FDMA is called interleaved SC-FDMA. Thus. hence the SC-FDMA is called DFT-precoded OFDM. The frequency domain samples are then mapped to a subset of M subcarriers where M is typically greater than N. which is followed by cyclic prefix. 11 . DAC and RF subsystems. Subcarrier mapping can be classified into two types: localized mapping and distributed mapping. Similar to OFDM. In distributed mapping. each data symbol is carried on a separate subcarrier. SC-FDMA offers spreading gain or frequency diversity gain in a frequency selective channel. an M-point IFFT is used to generate the time-domain samples of these subcarriers.OFDM to SC-FDMA The main difference between OFDM and SC-FDMA transmitter is the DFT mapper. In a standard OFDM. In localized mapping. After mapping data bits into modulation symbols. Frequency Spread OFDM Each data symbol is DFT transformed before mapping to subcarriers. In SC-FDMA. the DFT outputs are mapped to a subset of consecutive sub-carriers thereby confining them to only a fraction of the system bandwidth. a process called subcarrier mapping. multiple subcarriers carry each data symbol due to mapping of the symbols’ frequency domain samples to subcarriers.

SC-FDMA inherently offers frequency diversity gain over the standard OFDM. The DFT output of the data block has four complex frequency domain samples. Each user has a block of four data symbols to transmit at a time. x x x x Time domain symbols (4 symbols block) 0 1 2 3 DFT a 0 a 1 a 2 a 3 Frequency domain samples Subcarrier Mapping (12 subcarriers) Localized Mapping a 0 a 1 a 2 a 1 0 f5 0 f6 0 f7 0 f8 0 f9 0 f10 0 f11 0 f12 f2 f3 f1 Subcarrier bins = > f4 Interleaved Mapping a 1 0 0 2 0 3 a f 1 0 f 5 0 f 6 a 2 0 f 8 0 f 9 a 3 0 f 11 0 f12 f f f Subcarrier bins = > 4 f 7 f 10 Figure 7. Distributed mapping An example of subcarrier mapping is shown in Figure 7. which are mapped over 12 subcarriers using different mapping schemes.0 0 from DFT to IFFT from DFT L-1 Zeros to IFFT L-1 Zeros 0 L-1 Zeros L-1 Zeros Figure 6. Localized SC-FDMA in combination with channel-dependant scheduling can potentially offer multi-user diversity in frequency selective channel conditions. Localized mapping vs. the distributed SC-FDMA is more robust with respect to frequency selective fading and offers additional frequency diversity gain. However. since the information is spread across the entire system bandwidth. This example assumes three users sharing 12 subcarriers. Subcarrier Mapping Example 12 . as all information data is spread over multiple subcarriers by the DFT mapper.

SCFDMA. the SC-FDMA transmitter carries data symbols over a group of subcarriers transmitted simultaneously. is not as obvious and is often the reason why is not explained. Unlike the standard OFDM where the each data symbol is carried by the individual subcarriers. the time domain representation of the IFFT output. x x x x 3 0 1 2 Time domain symbols (4 symbols block) DFT a 0 a 1 a 2 a 3 Frequency domain samples Interleaved Subcarrier Mapping over 12 subcarriers a f 1 0 0 f 1 0 f 2 a IDFT 1 0 f x 5 0 f x 6 a 2 0 f 8 0 f x 9 a f x 3 0 f x 11 0 f12 x 2 3 f x 4 f x 7 10 x 0 x 1 x 2 3 0 1 2 x 3 0 1 2 3 Time domain samples => {Sn} Figure 8. as shown in Figures 8 and 9. Time domain representation of Interleaved SC-FDMA Data Block In Mod Symbol Mapping DFT Sub-carrier Mapper IFFT Cyclic Prefix P/S & DAC RF I-Q Mod Data Block In Mod Symbol Mapping Symbol Repetition Cyclic Prefix P/S & DAC RF I-Q Mod Figure 9. the group of subcarriers that carry each data symbol can be viewed as one frequency band carrying data sequentially in a standard FDMA. such as DFT-precoded OFDM or DFT-spread OFDM. the reasons for some of its names. Simplified Interleaved SC-FDMA Transmitter 13 . It can be mathematically shown that the SC-FDMA baseband time domain samples after IDFT or IFFT is the original data symbol set repeated in time domain over the symbol period.Single Carrier Modulation Based on SC-FDMA’s structure. are clear.. But for the use of ‘Single Carrier’ in its name. For some of the subcarrier mappings. In other words. will give more insight on the SC-FDMA signal.

“On 3G LTE Terminal Implementation – Standard.” Release 8 [7] 3GPP TS 36. Pulse shape filtering of SC-FDMA in fact degrades the PAPR level of interleaved SC-FDMA whereas it shows no effect with localized SC-FDMA.212 v8.4. Sept 2006 [3] 3GPP TR 25. Compared to OFDM PAPR. PAPR comparison between OFDM and SC-FDMA variations such as interleaved SC-FDMA and localized SC-FDMA has been done in [2].” Release 8 14 . “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) and Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN). References [1] Jens Berkmann. whereas that of localized SC-FDMA is only about 3 dB lower. the power amplifier operating point has to be backed off to lower the signal distortion. the main advantage of SC-FDMA is the low PAPR (peak-average-power ratio) of the transmit signal.4. Lower PAPR allows operation of the power amplifier close to saturation resulting in higher efficiency. “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA). Multiplexing and Channel coding. As SC-FDMA modulated signal can be viewed as a single carrier signal. “Single Carrier FDMA for Uplink Wireless Transmission.” Release 7 [4] 3GPP TS 36. Overall description.PAPR analysis SC-FDMA offers similar performance and complexity as OFDM. Algorithms. interleaved SC-FDMA is a preferred modulation technique for lower PAPR. Goodman. Physical layer procedures. Physical Channels and Modulation. interleavedSC-FDMA shows the best PAPR.0.300 v8. “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA). PAPR relates to the power amplifier efficiency at the transmitter. PAPR is defined as the ratio of the peak power to average power of the transmit signal. and thereby lowering amplifier efficiency.” Release 8 [5] 3GPP TS 36. IWCMC 2008 Mobile Computing Symposium.0.4. and David J.211 v8. Myung. Stage 2. et al. low PAPR makes the SC-FDMA the preferred technology for the uplink transmission. a pulse shaping filter can be applied to transmit signal to further improve PAPR. Complexities and Challenges”.912 v 7. “Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA).” Release 8 [6] 3GPP TS 36. the PAPR of interleaved SCFDMA with QPSK is about 10 dB lower. However.0.1.0. and the maximum power efficiency is achieved when the amplifier operates at the saturation point. Therefore.0.” IEEE Vehicular Technology. With no pulse shaping filters. Junsung Lim.7. these levels are about 7 dB and 2 dB lower respectively.213 v8. “Feasibility study for evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA) and Universal Terrestrail Radio Access Network (UTRAN). 2008 [2] Hyung G.. As PAPR is a major concern at the user terminals. With 16-QAM. With higher PAPR signal.

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