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Single Carrier Space-Frequency Block Coding

Performance Evaluation
Cristina Ciochina(1),(2), Damien Castelain(1), David Mottier(1) and Hikmet Sari(2)
(1) Mitsubishi Electric ITE-TCL, 1, alle de Beaulieu, CS 10806, 35708 Rennes 7, France (2) Suplec, Plateau de Moulon, 1-3 Rue Joliot Curie, 91192 Gif sur Yvette, France properties of SC transmission with the advantages of FDMA access. The frequency-domain implementation of SC-FDMA, also called DFT (Discrete Fourier Transform)-spread OFDM, has been chosen by the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) to be the uplink air interface for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) of UMTS (Universal Mobile Terrestrial Systems). This technique is in fact a DFT-precoded OFDMA which keeps the FDMA-like multiple access type, while regaining the low-variation envelope characteristics of SC transmission by means of DFT precoding. Since radio resources are limited and the demands of high throughputs and improved performance keep increasing, good spectral efficiency becomes a stringent issue. The use of the spatial dimension by employing multiple antennas both at the base station and at the terminals becomes a must. According to the transmission environment, multiple transmit and receive antennas may be used to increase diversity and improve Bit Error Rate (BER) performance, increase the cell range, increase the transmitted data rate through spatial multiplexing, and/or reduce interference from other users [3], [5]. Whereas a terminal with good propagation conditions may employ its transmit antennas for spatial multiplexing, a terminal located at the cell-edge may prefer to increase diversity and coverage using transmit diversity. As we shall detail in the sequel, compatibility with some framing constraints or with low PAPR constraints of SCFDMA has to be considered for the design of transmit diversity schemes. In this paper, we assess the performance of a novel space-frequency precoding scheme[6], which does not alter the PAPR of SC-FDMA. This paper is structured as follows: Section II describes the system model. Section III presents existing transmit diversity techniques and describes our proposed scheme. Simulation results are given in section IV. Finally, conclusions are presented in section V. II. SYSTEM MODEL

Abstract In this paper we investigate the performance of Single Carrier Space Time Block Coding (SC-SFBC), a new diversity technique compatible with Single-Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA). SC-FDMA has been adopted as a possible air interface for future wireless networks as it combines the advantages of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and the constant envelope properties of single carrier (SC) transmission. Existing transmit antenna diversity techniques as Space-Time Block Codes (STBC) and SpaceFrequency Block Codes (SFBC) are incompatible either with the system constraints or with the low envelope variations of SCFDMA. We describe the new proposed SC-SFBC precoding technique and we prove its good performance both in terms of Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR) and Bit Error Rate (BER) performance on frequency selective Multiple Input Multiple Output channel. Our new scheme is compared to existing OpenLoop Transmit Antenna Selection, Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD), STBC and classical SFBC schemes. Keywords: SC-FDMA, PAPR, STBC, SFBC, SC-SFBC, antenna selection, CDD, Alamouti



Lately, multicarrier (MC) communications techniques and especially Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) have gained large recognition due to their well known advantages [1]. Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and its precoded derivatives are now used by current proposals for the air interface of Beyond Third Generation (B3G) and Fourth Generation (4G) cellular systems [2]. MC systems have been largely studied and their performance were compared to single carrier (SC) systems [1],[3]; the debate is still not closed. Even if MC techniques are very popular and very effective in the downlink of wireless communications systems, they have a main drawback: The high peak to average power ratio (PAPR), problem which is particularly bothering in the uplink. In order to avoid nonlinear effects, the input signal should lie in the linear region of the high power amplifier (HPA). Increased linear dynamic range requirements impose the use of very costly HPAs. Whereas the use of such HPAs can be envisioned in downlink, the problem is much more delicate in the uplink of cellular systems, where low cost terminals and long battery life are required. Many PAPR reduction techniques have been developed, but they do not always yield significant gains in practical applications [4]. As opposed to OFDMA, i.e. MC FDMA, it seems that a SC FDMA technique would be suited to combine the low PAPR

A. SC-FDMA, IFDMA and DFT-precoded OFDMA The concept of SC-FDMA first emerged under the name of Interleaved FDMA (IFDMA) [7]. IFDMA is a technique which allows generating in the time-domain a SC-type signal with FDMA-type access in which users signals are interleaved in the frequency domain Recently, a frequency domain implementation of SC-FDMA has been investigated where a DFT-precoding is applied prior to OFDMA access [8]. If the

DFT outputs are mapped on regularly distributed subcarriers, the two implementations are mathematically equivalent. With DFT-precoded OFDMA, the implementation is not confined to a distributed scenario: DFT outputs may be mapped on localized subcarriers, which opens the door to channel-dependent subcarrier allocation. Because of this larger flexibility with respect to time-domain implementation, frequency domain implementation of SC-FDMA will be focused on in the sequel. B. Open-Loop Transmit Diversity in SC-FDMA Future generations of mobile terminals may employ multiple transmit antennas and RF chains to increase userthroughput and/or coverage in uplink. Antennas may thus be used for spatial multiplexing or diversity enhancement. To maximize overall network performance, a dynamic joint optimization of the coding, modulation and antenna schemes is needed according to the propagation conditions for each terminal. In the sequel, we focus on open-loop transmit diversity schemes which can increase performance of cell-edge terminals without available or reliable a priori channel information. Various open loop transmission strategies are investigated here. On one hand, Alamouti coding [9] takes benefit from decorrelation among signals radiated from antenna pairs to double diversity with both very low complexity and optimum decoding performance [8]. As a result of system design, OFDM-based transmission ensures non-selective fading on each subcarrier, fact that makes Alamouti scheme particularly attractive when precoding is processed on the frequency components of the signal, i.e. before the inverse Discrete Fourier Transform (IDFT), at the transmitter side. On the other hand, transmit diversity schemes that dont involve any specific decoding scheme have been proposed: Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD) [10] consists in transmitting cyclically delayed copies of the original signal from the different transmit antennas whilst Transmit Antenna Selection (TAS) relies on switching between multiple transmit antennas during the transmission of a coded data block [11]. Fig.1 presents the related transmitter block diagrams with two transmit antennas and M out of N allocated subcarriers. The Alamouti transmit diversity case is depicted in Fig. 1a). M modulation symbols xk(i) (k=0M-1) compose data block vector x(i), which is jointly DFT-precoded. DFT-output vectors s(i) are then Alamouti precoded to form two M-sized vectors sTx1(i) and sTx2(i). Mapping of vector sTx1(i) (resp. sTx2(i)) on M out of N inputs of the IDFT is applied on antenna branch Tx1 (resp. Tx2) according to the subcarrier mapping strategy. A cyclic prefix (CP) is inserted in order to avoid inter-symbol interference. Alamouti precoding is processed between the frequency components of single-carrier signals, i.e., on vectors s(i) obtained after DFT for reasons detailed in [6]. Fig. 1b) corresponds to the case when either Open-Loop TAS (OL-TAS) or CDD is employed as transmit diversity technique. Only one IDFT module is needed. In the case of OL-TAS, a switch sends the signal (the striped boxes are inactive) on either the first or the second transmit antennas, under some constraints detailed in section III. In the CDD case,

Figure 1. SC-FDMA transmitter (M out of N allocated subcarriers, 2 transmit antennas): a) Alamouti-based transmit diversity; b) Open-Loop Transmit Antenna Selection (OL-TAS, only the gray box is active) or Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD, only the striped boxes are active).

both transmit-antennas are simultaneously active, antenna Tx2 transmitting a cyclically delayed copy of the signal transmitted on antenna Tx1. Here, CP insertion is performed after the cyclic shift. At the receiver side, Alamouti coding requires appropriate decoding, whereas CDD and OL-TAS are transparent to the receiver. However, the very slight complexity increase of an Alamouti decoder can be easily tolerated in a base station. III. TRANSMIT DIVERSITY TECHNIQUES

Transmit diversity for SC-FDMA signals can be implemented in several ways as mentioned above. We shall analyze space-time and space-frequency block codes based on Alamouti precoding. For comparison purposes, we shall also present OL-TAS and CDD techniques, which are not based on Alamouti precoding. A. Alamouti-based precoding SC-FDMA signal can be combined with Alamouti precoding in several ways. However, some constraints have to be considered. In order to get optimum performance with a simple maximum ratio combiner (MRC), precoding should be applied on pairs of frequency components (sk(i), sm(j)) with similar channel realizations [9]. Also, precoding should keep the low PAPR properties of SC-FDMA signals, independently of the number of subcarriers allocated to a terminal. Besides, from a practical point of view, precoding should be compatible with system constraints such as frame length [8]. Space-Time Block Coding (STBC) STBC is the most straightforward approach for applying Alamouti coding. In this case, precoding involves pairs of frequency components (sk(2j), sk(2j+1)) to be sent onto two antennas over two successive time intervals. As presented in Table I, Alamouti STBC is performed between k-th frequency component sk(2j) of DFT output vector s(2j) at time 2j and the same k-th frequency component sk(2j+1) of successive output vector s(2j+1) at time 2j+1. As a result, for each subcarrier, the precoded components are mapped onto two consecutive SCFDMA blocks and the frequency structure of the signal from

one block to another is not altered. Because complex conjugation and/or sign changes do not break the low PAPR feature, the signals sent on the two transmit antennas are both single-carrier signals. However, because Alamouti STBC is applied on pairs of SC-FDMA blocks, data frames should be composed of an even number of blocks, which constrains the system design. Besides, Alamouti STBC may be sensitive to time variations of the channel over two successive blocks [12]. 1) Space-Frequency Block Coding (SFBC) When applied in the frequency dimension, Alamouti precoding involves two frequency components (sk1(i), sk2(i)) onto two antennas over two different frequencies. This results in Alamouti SFBC. Classically, these two frequencies are chosen to correspond to adjacent subcarriers: the variations of the channel are minimal. As shown in Table II, precoding is performed between the 2k-th frequency component s2k(i) of DFT output vector s(i) at time i and the successive 2k+1-th frequency component s2k+1(i) belonging to the same DFT output vector s(i). Notice that SFBC does not require an even number of SCFDMA blocks. Of course, the size of vector s(i) must be an even number, but in practical systems this condition is not constraining: DFT is usually implemented with an even number of points. According to Table II, the signal transmitted on Tx1 is a single carrier-type signal, thanks to the specific variant of the Alamouti scheme that we have used. However, SFBC consists of manipulations that change the frequency structure of the signal. On Tx2, the frequency inversions between successive subcarriers break the single-carrier property of the signal; The advantage of the low PAPR of SC-FDMA is lost. The frequency inversions performed by SFBC correspond to sending (at time i) on Tx2 a signal obtained from an equivalent constellation xequiv,Tx2|SFBC whose points are given by:
equiv xn ,Tx 2 n 1 j 2 M = e 2 1 j 2 n + e M 2 n = cos 2 M

guarantee that the original SC signal is sent on the first transmit antenna. The main difference with respect to classical SFBC is that the two frequencies involved in the Alamouti precoding do not correspond to successively used subcarriers any longer, but to carriers k1 and k2 = (p-1-k1)modM where p is an even integer. As the example in Fig. 2 shows, we use type 1 variant if k1 is even and type 2 variant if k1 is odd. In the frequency domain, this type of association corresponds to:
Tx sk 2 = ( 1) k +1 s(*p 1 k ) mod M , (k = 0... M 1) ,


which is equivalent to sending on the second transmit antenna at time i a signal corresponding to an equivalent constellation xequiv,Tx2|SC-SFBC whose points are given by:
equiv xn ,Tx 2



j 2

( p 1) n M

x(*n + M / 2) mod M

(n = 0...M 1) . (3)

Note that as all operations are performed within the same SC-FDMA block, time index i was omitted in the previous equations and in Fig. 2. In contrast to SFBC, for SC-SFBC the maximum distance between two Alamouti precoded frequency components equals M-p-1. Since subcarriers k1 and k2 can be rather distant, they may experience quite different channel realizations. This leads to a higher sensitivity of SC-SFBC to frequency selective channels than its classical SFBC counterpart. In order to minimize this sensitivity (and thus implicitly to minimize the distance between the subcarriers involved in Alamouti precoding), the optimal strategy consists in choosing p = M/2, as the example in Fig. 2. With this choice, the maximum distance between such subcarriers is M/2; this maximum distance increases with the number of resource units allocated to a same user.
TABLE I. On k-th subcarrier Tx 1 Tx 2 STBC PRECODING Time 2j Time 2j+1
Tx1,(2 j +1) k (2 = sk j +1) (2 j ) k


(x (x

* M n

x(*M / 2 n ) mod M + x(*M / 2 n ) mod M

* M n

) )=


n * * x( M / 2 n ) mod M + j sin 2 M xM n

Tx1,(2 j ) k


(2 j ) k

Tx (2 sk 2,(2 j ) = sk j +1)

Tx sk 2,(2 j +1)

where n = 0M-1. xk are QAM symbols corresponding to the original signal constellation x. Thus, not only xequiv,Tx2|SFBC does no longer correspond to a classical modulation, but this constellation has a different (higher) Peak to Average Ratio (PAR) than the corresponding original QAM constellation. More insight on this matter will be given in the next subsection. With respect to STBC, SFBC is reported to be more sensitive to large delay spreads [12], as a result of different channel realizations on adjacent subcarriers. 2) Single-Carrier SFBC (SC-SFBC) Our proposed new scheme, SC-SFBC, relies on Alamouti precoding, as its classical SFBC counterparty. With respect to SFBC, it has the advantage of conserving the single carrier property of SC-FDMA on both transmit-antennas. Two different types of Alamouti precoding in the frequency domain are simultaneously used, as indicated in Table III. Both types

( ) = (s )

TABLE II. At time i Tx 1 Tx 2 TABLE III. At time i Tx 1 Tx 2 (type 1) Tx 2 (type 2)

SFBC PRECODING Frequency 2k+1

Tx ( s2 k1,( i ) = s2ik)+1 +1

Frequency 2k

Tx1,( i ) 2k


(i ) 2k

Tx ( s2 k 2,( i ) = s2ik)+1

Tx ( s2 k 2,( i ) = s2ik) +1

( )

SC-SFBC PRECODING TYPES Frequency k1 Frequency k2

Tx (i sk2 1,( i ) = sk2)
* Tx ( sk2 2,( i ) = sk1i ) Tx sk2 2,( i )

Tx1,( i ) k1


(i ) k1

Tx (i sk1 2,( i ) = sk2) Tx sk1 2,( i ) (i ) k2

( ) = (s )

( ) = (s )
(i ) k1

B. Open-Loop Transmit Antenna Selection (OL-TAS) The principle relying behind the concept of TAS is a basic one: diversity is gained by switching between multiple transmit antennas during the transmission of a coded data block. We consider here only the simple case of Open-Loop TAS, when no channel knowledge is available at the transmitter. For example, if a block of 2K SC-FDMA symbols encoded together is to be transmitted, the first K will be transmitted on Tx1 and the remaining K on Tx2, regardless of the state of the channel. Closed-Loop TAS, which consists in choosing at each moment the antenna with the highest channel gain, would give better performance. However, it would need a feedback path from the receiver in order to get the channel state information. Besides, reliability of feedback information may be reduced in case of moving terminals.
Figure 2. SC-SFBC mapping for M = 8, p = 4.

We can see from (3) that the equivalent constellation sent on Tx2 is obtained by multiplying the complex conjugated symbols of the original vector by a phase ramp. Thus, unlike SFBC precoding - see (1) - SC-SFBC obviously leads to an equivalent constellation with the same PAR as the original constellation, since this operation does not modify the amplitude distribution of the non-oversampled signal. Let us suppose that x is a set of QPSK symbols. The symbols of the equivalent constellation xequiv,Tx2|SC-SFBC belong to a M'-PSK (Phase Shift Keying) constellation with M' = M/gcd(M,p-1) (we have denoted by gcd(a,b) the greatest common divisor of the integers a and b). Fig. 3a) presents the equivalent constellation xequiv,Tx2|SC-SFBC for M = 60 subcarriers allocated to a user and p = 30, which results in 60-PSK. For comparison, Fig. 3b) presents the equivalent constellation xequiv,Tx2|SFBC when classical SFBC is used. The star markers correspond to the original QPSK constellation x. The constellations are assumed normalized to unitary mean power. Obviously, the SFBC-equivalent constellation has a higher Peak to Average Ratio (PAR) than the SC-SFBC one. The oversampled SC-FDMA signals corresponding to the original and respectively to the equivalent SC-SFBC constellation are expected to have similar PAPR properties, since the bound of the PAPR of the resulting signal is known to be proportional to the PAR of the original signal constellation. This conclusion is confirmed by results given in [6].

C. Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD) Let us consider a system with two Tx antennas like in Fig. 1b. The signal after the N-point IDFT is split between two antenna branches: the original SC-FDMA symbol is sent on Tx1, and the SC-FDMA symbol on Tx2 is cyclically shifted by a delay , 0 N-1. At the receiver, the cyclic delayed copy is transparently received as additional echo or multipath. Let us denote by hk(rx,tx) the complex valued channel coefficient on subcarrier k from transmit antenna tx to receive antenna rx. At the receive antenna rx, the superposition of the original signal and the virtual echo results in a transformed channel coefficient
j 2 % N hk( rx ) = hkrx ,1 + hkrx ,2 e , k = 0... N 1 .


CDD technique transforms a system with multiple transmit antennas into an equivalent single transmit antenna system; the transformed channel finds its frequency selectivity increased as a result of the virtual echoes produced by the CDD technique. IV. SIMULATION RESULTS

We use a system with the dual-antenna transmitter structure presented in Fig. 1, with N = 512 subcarriers among which 300 are active and the remaining 212 are guard carriers, to fit a bandwidth of 5 MHz. The 300 data carriers can be split into 25 resource units of 12 carriers. When there are multiple receive antennas, diversity combining is used. We employ (753, 531)8 1/2-convolutionally coded QPSK. Coding is performed over groups of 14 SC-FDMA blocks affected by the same channel realization. We use Bran E channel profile [13] with frequency correlation but with no spatial correlation nor Doppler. We perform MMSE decoding. We assess the performance of our new proposed scheme (SC-SFBC) with respect to the other existing transmit diversity techniques (SFBC, STBC, OL-TAS and CDD). Let us first consider 5 resource units (60 localized subcarriers) allocated to each user with 2 receive antennas. Results in Fig. 4 show that, for a BER target of 10-4, SFBC loses 0.2 dB compared to STBC as a result of a larger impact of channel frequency selectivity (no Doppler). SC-SFBC additionally loses 0.2 dB because of quite different channel realizations on jointly precoded frequency components. However, SC-SFBC can gain

Figure 3. Equivalent constellation on Tx2 for M = 60, p = 30: a) SC-SFBC; b) SFBC.

number of subcarriers, we expect larger relative performance loss of OL-TAS/CDD with respect to Alamouti precoding schemes. Both Alamouti precoding and CDD require as many transmit analogue chains (filters, HPA) as the number of Tx antennas at the terminal. This could be viewed as a significant increase of complexity as compared to OL-TAS. But because future terminals will anyway require several transmit analogue chains to increase uplink peak user throughput (spatial multiplexing), this complexity is not considered as a key issue for the comparison of the different schemes. V. CONCLUSIONS

Figure 4. QPSK 1/2, 60 localized subcarriers, 2 Rx antennas

up to 1.1 dB in terms of output backoff with respect to SFBC (at a clipping rate 10-4) as shown in [6]. Moreover, SC-SFBC outperforms by 0.2 dB (resp. 0.8 dB) OL-TAS (resp. CDD) which shows how well SC-SFBC can gain diversity. Besides, in contrast to STBC, SC-SFBC provides flexibility to adapt to variable, even or odd, frame lengths. Let us now assume that one resource unit (12 subcarriers) is allocated to a user. This is a pertinent case for a user located at the cell edge, who may typically need to take advantage of transmit diversity. Performance results in this case are presented in Fig. 5. We can see that SC-SFBC has equivalent BER performance with STBC and SFBC. At a target BER of 10-4, with respect to Alamouti precoded techniques, OL-TAS (resp. CDD) loses 1.6 dB (resp. 2.2 dB) when one Rx antenna is employed, 0.7 dB (resp. 1.4 dB) for 2 Rx antennas, and 0.3 dB (resp. 0.6 dB) for 4 Rx antennas. Here, increasing the number of Rx antennas masks the relative degradation between different techniques as a result of larger diversity provided by the receiver. Note that the BranE channel has good diversity properties. On channels with lower diversity, even for a larger

In this paper we analyze the performance of a new Alamouti frequency precoding scheme, SC-SFBC. Known transmit diversity techniques have several disadvantages: STBC is sensitive to high Doppler and imposes framing constraints. The more flexible SFBC breaks the good PAPR performance of SC-FDMA, which is an essential feature in the uplink. Our new proposed scheme keeps the flexibility of SFBC without degrading the low PAPR characteristics of SCFDMA. We prove that SC-SFBC has good BER performance on frequency selective channels, outperforming OL-TAS and CDD techniques. The influence of the number of allocated subcarriers and number of Rx antennas is also analyzed. REFERENCES
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[12] [13] Figure 5. QPSK 1/2, 12 localized subcarriers, 1/2/4 Rx antennas.