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**Notes for ECE1520 Data Communications
**

Teng Joon Lim

Edwards S. Rogers Sr. Dept. of Elect. & Comp. Engineering

University of Toronto

Abstract

Multicarrier modulation helps to reduce the detrimental eﬀects of multipath fading. Because of its

robustness to multipath, and the ease of implementating it in transmitters and receivers using the

fast Fourier transform (FFT), the MCM concept is growing rapidly in practical importance. It can

be found today in IEEE standards 802.11a, 802.15.3 and 802.16a, as well as standards for digital

broadcasting of television and radio. This document serves to derive the multicarrier modulation

method from ﬁrst principles.

1 Scope and Objectives

Multicarrier modulation is an idea which was introduced over three decades ago and is of increasing

interest today because it can now be implemented using powerful integrated circuits optimized for

performing discrete Fourier transforms. Because of its increasingly widespread acceptance as the

modulation scheme of wireless networks of the future, it attracts a lot of research attention, in

areas such as time-domain equalization, peak-to-average ratio reduction, phase noise mitigation

and pulse shaping.

Despite the number of papers which have been written about multicarrier modulation in recent

years, a comprehensive review paper which covers the fundamentals of the topic for the beginning

graduate student is hard to ﬁnd. This document hopes to set this anomaly right, and introduces the

newcomer to the fundamental operations of an OFDM system using little more than fundamental

concepts of signal processing and linear algebra.

2 Fundamental Concepts

2.1 Motivation

Consider a system in which the required symbol or baud rate 1/T

sym

symbols/s is larger than the

coherence bandwidth of the channel 1/T

m

. T

m

is also known as the channel delay spread, and

can be visualized as the maximum time extent of the channel impulse response. The number of

symbols of inter-symbol interference (ISI) in the channel is given by

L =

_

T

m

T

sym

_

, (1)

where ¸x| is the largest integer smaller than the real number x. Clearly, the higher the required

symbol rate, the larger the value of L and the more severe ISI becomes for a given channel.

1

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 2

Traditionally, ISI is removed using an equalizer, which may be implemented either in the time

or frequency domains, with symbol-by-symbol or sequence estimation algorithms. However, the

complexity of an equalizer increases with the severity of the ISI introduced by the channel, and

in the modern context of wireless networks with broadband links providing several mega-bits per

second (e.g. 802.11a promises 54 Mbps), it may not be practical to implement an equalizer at all

because of overwhelming complexity.

On the other hand, if we could somehow reduce the symbol rate so that ISI becomes negligible

(ie. L = 0 or at least a very small integer) while still maintaining the required information bit

rate, equalization becomes unnecesssary. One way to do this is simply to increase the level of

modulation in an M-ary pulse modulation scheme but there is a limit on how large M can be

before modulation and demodulation complexity becomes overwhelming. For instance, suppose we

have 100 symbols of ISI (L = 100) which is realistic for transmissions at mega-bps over wireless

channels. Let each symbol carry only one bit. Then to increase the symbol interval to the extent

that L becomes close to nothing requires each symbol to carry 100 bits, or M = 2

100

, which would

be impossible to modulate or demodulate.

The other way to increase the symbol interval is through parallel transmission over many

orthogonal channels. Continuing with the previous example, if we choose 100 channels to transmit

over, each one will transport only one bit, e.g. using BPSK, per T = 100 T

sym

seconds, and ISI will

be avoided on all channels. To create these 100 orthogonal channels requires us to design a set of

100 signals g

n

(t), n = 0, . . . , 99, that are mutually orthogonal. If we constrain bandwidth usage to

be the same in the serial and parallel transmission schemes, we can use g

n

(t) = exp(j2πf

n

t)w(t),

where f

n

− f

n−1

= 1/T and w(t) = u(t) − u(t − T) is a rectangular window of length T seconds.

The bandwidth occupied by these 100 pulses is approximately 100/T Hz, which is identical to the

1/T

sym

Hz required by the serial transmission scheme.

So the lesson so far: To create N orthogonal channels for transporting N symbols at a symbol

rate of 1/T

sym

, we can use N complex sinusoids with frequency separation 1/NT

sym

Hz that will in

total occupy 1/T

sym

Hz, or the same bandwidth as the serial transmission scheme... in an AWGN

channel.

Question: Are these channels still orthogonal and thus easy to demodulate (by processing each

one independently of the others) in the severe ISI channel we face in broadband transmission?

Answer: Yes, but at the cost of some decrease in spectral eﬃciency, through the insertion of a

“cyclic preﬁx”. This will be explained shortly (with the aid of some mathematics).

Multicarrier modulation can be seen as a parallel transmission scheme developed to mitigate ISI

through the lengthening of the symbol interval – this removes ISI in time, i.e. symbols transmitted

in succession fusing together. However, ISI in frequency i.e. interference from other symbols being

transmitted at the same time over diﬀerent carriers, is non-negligible unless the cyclic preﬁx method

is used.

2.2 Signal Model for an AWGN Channel

From the description of the previous section, we can write the baseband-equivalent transmitted

signal over one symbol interval (T = NT

sym

where N is the number of orthogonal carriers used)

as

s(t) =

N/2

n=−N/2+1

a

n mod N

g

n

(t) (2)

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 3

E

Error

Encode

E

Modul-

ation

E

Freq.

Inter-

leave

E

Serial

to

Parallel

E i

c

e

jω

−N/2+1

t

E

E i

c

e

jω

−N/2+2

t

E

q

q

q

E i

c

e

jω

N/2

t

E

Σ

E

Amp/

Filter

d

' ' E E ' E

Bit Rate

M/RT

sym

Bit Rate

M/T

sym

Symbol Rate

1/T

sym

Symbol Rate

1/T

R = Code Rate

Fig. 1: Conceptual multicarrier transmitter. ω

n

is deﬁned as n∆ω, ∆ω = 2π/T. n ranges

from −N/2 + 1 to N/2 as described in the text.

where the N pulse shapes are

g

n

(t) =

1

√

T

exp [j2πf

n

t] w(t). (3)

The scale factor 1/

√

T has been added to make the energy of each pulse unity. The notation

n mod N is read “n modulo N”, and is the unique number within the range [0, N] given by n+iN,

where i is an integer (positive or negative). For instance, 4 mod 3 = 4 −3 = 1; (2P + 3) mod P =

(2P + 3) − 2P = 3; −10 mod 4 = −10 + 12 = 2. Therefore the pulse g

n

(t) is associated with a

n

when n = 0, . . . , N/2; but g

n

(t) is associated with a

n+N

when n = −N/2 + 1, . . . , −1. The reason

for this convoluted notation arises from the use of the IDFT to generate the transmitted signal

(see next section).

The frequencies satisfy f

n

− f

n−1

= 1/T for orthogonality, so assuming that f

0

= 0 we have

f

n

=

n

T

for n = −N/2 + 1, . . . , N/2. After up-conversion by the carrier frequency f

c

, the signal

spectrum ranges (approximately) from f

c

−

N

2T

to f

c

+

N

2T

.

The conceptual transmitter block diagram is shown in Figure 1. The information bit stream

is ﬁrst passed through an error correction encoder, and then a baseband pulse modulator, which

maps M bits at a time onto a complex symbol according to some predeﬁned signal constellation.

If necessary, symbol streams from other users or services can be multiplexed at this point, and

the resulting sequence interleaved to randomize the allocation of carriers to symbols. This ensures

that, on average, a faded carrier will aﬀect all streams in the multiplex equally. Next, N successive

symbols are buﬀered before each is used to modulate a complex sinusoid. Finally, these sub-carrier

signals are summed, ampliﬁed and ﬁltered before being transmitted.

At the receiver, assuming s(t) was transmitted over an AWGN channel so that r(t) = s(t)+n(t)

where n(t) is a white Gaussian process with PSD N

0

, the optimal projection receiver consists of

a bank of ﬁlters matched to g

n

(t), since the set ¦g

n

(t)¦ forms an orthonormal basis for the signal

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 4

subspace. The output of the nth matched ﬁlter is

y

n

=

1

√

T

_

T

0

r(t) exp(−j2πf

n

t)dt

= a

n mod N

+v

n

(4)

where v

n

∼ (^(0, N

0

). Due to the orthogonality of ¦g

n

(t)¦, v

n

and v

m

are independent whenever

m ,= n. Equation (4) show that the symbols ¦a

0

, . . . , a

N−1

¦ are transmitted over orthogonal

channels, and that the performance in every sense (BEP, spectral eﬃciency, etc.) of the minimum-

distance detector in an AWGN channel is unchanged by the use of MCM.

2.3 A Frequency Selective Channel

MCM or OFDM is only useful when dealing with frequency-selective channels, which cannot be

used at all without equalizers using conventional single-carrier methods. If the channel impulse

response is h(t), the received signal is

r(t) =

_

∞

−∞

h(τ)s(t −τ)dτ +n(t). (5)

If h(t) is non-zero from t = 0 to t = T

m

only, r(t) may be simpliﬁed to

r(t) =

_

T

m

0

h(τ)s(t −τ)dτ +n(t). (6)

If r(t) is processed by a bank of ﬁlters matched to g

n

(t), the mth output will be

y

m

=

N−1

n=0

a

n

_

T

m

0

_

T

0

h(τ)g

n

(t −τ)g

∗

m

(t)dt dτ. (7)

Since ¸g

n

(t −τ), g

m

(t)) is not zero for all values of τ, it appears that y

m

is a linear combination of

all N symbols ¦a

0

, . . . , a

N−1

¦ or in other words, the MCM system has lost its orthogonality in a

time-dispersive channel h(t).

There is no doubt that the last statement is true, but in the next section we will show that

the DFT/IDFT implementation of OFDM reveals a simple solution to the problem.

2.4 Discrete-Time Implementation Using the DFT/IDFT

If OFDM were actually to require N very precise frequency generators in each transmitter and

receiver, it would be a prohibitively expensive system. Practical implementation relies on the fact

that the transmitted signal can be generated using an inverse discrete Fourier transform (IDFT).

Referring to (2), we note that for a given set of symbols ¦a

n

¦, s(t) has a spectrum which

consists of the weighted sum of a number of sinc functions, each with main-lobe bandwidth 2/T

and centered on f

n

. Clearly the bandwidth is approximately N/T, but a substantial fraction of

the energy of s(t) lies outside f ∈ (−N/2T, N/2T), and s(t) will not be correctly represented

by sampling it at a rate of N/T. However, if a number of carriers at the edges of the band

(−N/2T, N/2T) are unused (i.e. a

n

= 0 for n = N/2−p+1, . . . , N/2+p for some integer p ¸ N),

then s(t) will approximately be given by its samples taken at the rate of N/T. This means that

s(t) can be reconstructed from its samples s(kT/N). Therefore, assume that s(t) is band-limited

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 5

E

E

E

r

r

r

r

r

IDFT

E

E

E

P/S

E i

+

c

E

DAC

Rate

N+P

T

E

a

N−1

a

1

a

0

s

0

s

1

s

N−1

s

k s(t)

Insert

Cyclic

Preﬁx

Fig. 2: Block diagram of OFDM transmitter with cyclic preﬁx insertion. P is the number

of samples in the cyclic preﬁx.

to within a bandwidth of N/T Hz because the carriers near the band edge are unused. Sampling

s(t) at rate N/T yields

s

k

=

N/2

n=−N/2+1

a

n mod N

g

n

_

kT

N

_

=

1

√

T

N/2

n=−N/2+1

a

n mod N

exp (j2πf

n

kT/N)

=

1

√

T

N−1

n=0

a

n

exp

_

j

2πnk

N

_

. (8)

Note the change in summation limits from −N/2 + 1, . . . , N/2 to 0, . . . , N − 1 compared to (2).

This is valid because exp(j2πnk/N) = exp(j2π(n + N)k/N), and replacing the n < 0 complex

sinusoidal terms in (2) with exp(j2π(n +N)k/N) gives (8).

Now, the IDFT of a sequence of N complex numbers X

n

is another sequence of N complex

numbers x

k

given by

x

k

=

1

N

N−1

n=0

X

n

exp

_

j

2πnk

N

_

(9)

when the DFT is deﬁned as

X

n

=

N−1

k=0

x

k

exp

_

−j

2πnk

N

_

. (10)

Therefore, (8) says that we can generate N samples of s

k

through the DFT of a

n

. In addition,

because of our assumption that s(t) is (almost) strictly bandlimited, the continuous-time signal

s(t) to be transmitted can be constructed from s

k

using a digital-to-analog converter at the rate of

N/T Hz. The block diagram of this implementation is shown in Figure 2, where we have ignored

the scaling factor N/

√

T necessary for a strictly accurate implementation.

Example Consider a multi-carrier system with constant-envelope PSK pulse modulation so that

[a

n

[ =

√

E

s

for all n. Then the signal s(t) of (2) has a spectral density that is the sum of sinc

functions, each with mainlobe width 2/T and centered at n/T, n = −N/2 + 1, . . . , N/2. This is

shown in the top half of Figure 3 where for simplicity, we assume T = 1 and N = 16.

The spectrum of the discrete-time signal s

k

of (8) is a periodic extension in frequency of the

spectrum of

N−1

n=0

a

n

exp(j2πnt/T)w(t), which is itself a sum of sinc functions separated by 1/T

Hz and centered on n/T Hz, where n = 0, . . . , N −1. This is shown in Figure 3(b).

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 6

Next, the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) output is the lowpass ﬁltered version of Figure 3(b)

– the passband of the lowpass ﬁlter is the region between the two thick dashed lines. Clearly, if the

carriers near the edge of the passband, i.e. n = N/2+1, . . . , N/2+p and n = N/2−p+1, . . . , N/2,

are turned oﬀ, the spectra of the DAC output and s(t) will be nearly identical. This demonstrates

that the DFT/DAC combination is capable of producing an OFDM signal.

The receiver is designed to be implementable using the DFT – it is a bank of ﬁlters matched

to the nth carrier waveform g

n

(t) rather than to h(t) ∗ g

n

(t) as it should be in theory. Since g

n

(t)

is associated with the (n mod N)th symbol, we label the matched ﬁlter outputs accordingly and

ﬁnd

y

n mod N

=

_

r(t)g

∗

n

(t)dt =

_

r(t) exp(−j2πf

n

t)dt, (11)

where again, we have left out the scaling term for simplicity. Note that in this expression, n runs

from −N/2 + 1 through N/2. Next, since the signal component of r(t), which is h(t) ∗ s(t), is

bandlimited by assumption to (−N/2T, N/2T), we can sample r(t) at rate N/T (after lowpass

ﬁltering) without loss of information, and express y

n mod N

as

y

n mod N

=

N−1

k=0

r

k

exp

_

−j

2πnk

N

_

(12)

to within a scale factor

1

.

If we deﬁne n

= n mod N, then n

**goes from 0 through N −1, and substitution in (12) yields
**

y

n

=

N−1

k=0

r

k

exp

_

−j

2πn

k

N

_

(13)

where the right-hand side holds because of the periodicity of the complex exponential. Therefore

y

0

to y

N−1

are obtained through the DFT of the samples r

0

through r

N−1

, where r

k

= r(kT/N).

This results in the receiver structure shown in Figure 4.

2.5 The Cyclic Preﬁx

The question now is: how do we ensure that y

n

does not suﬀer from interference from symbols

a

m

, m ,= n? The answer comes from a well-known result in digital signal processing which states

that circular convolution in the discrete-time domain is equivalent to multiplication in the discrete-

frequency domain.

To be precise, suppose x

k

is a length-N sequence. Its circular convolution with another se-

quence ¦h

k

¦

k=0,...,N−1

is deﬁned as

y

k

= x

k

h

k

=

N−1

l=0

h

l

x

(k−l) mod N

=

N−1

l=0

x

l

h

(k−l) mod N

. (14)

This is the same as periodically extending h

l

and x

l

to form the periodic sequences

˜

h

l

and ˜ x

l

, and

then summing

˜

h

l

˜ x

k−l

over one period of N samples, as illustrated in Figure 5 for k = 0 and N = 3.

Then the DFT of y

k

, k = 0, . . . , N − 1, is Y

n

= H

n

X

n

where H

n

=

N−1

k=0

h

k

exp(−j2πnk/N).

The proof of this result is straightforward and left as an exercise.

1

Calculating these scale factors is not important and is left to the interested reader.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 7

−15 −10 −5 0 5 10 15

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

a

N/2+1

Frequency (normalized so that T = 1)

a

N/2

(a)

−25 −20 −15 −10 −5 0 5 10 15 20 25

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

a

0 a

N−1

Frequency (normalized so that T = 1)

(b)

Fig. 3: (a) Spectrum of the desired OFDM baseband continuous-time signal s(t). (b)

Spectrum of the DFT output before (an endless repetition of the fundamental

segment shown in solid lines) and after (the part between the two dashed thick

lines) the DAC.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 8

s(t)

E

h(t)

E i

+

c

n(t)

E

r(t)

ADC

Rate

(N+P)

T

E

Remove

Cyclic

Preﬁx

E

S/P

E

E

E

DFT

E

E

E

y

0

y

1

y

N−1

r

0

r

1

r

N−1

r

k

Fig. 4: Block diagram of OFDM receiver based on the DFT.

d

d

d

h

l

l 0 1 2

E

d

d

d

x

−l

E

d

d

d

˜ x

−l

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

˜

h

l

d

d

d

d

d

d

0 1 2

E

h

k

x

k

[

k=0

Fig. 5: Circular convolution of x

k

and h

k

, both having three non-zero samples, so N =

3. Note that the convolution window can be moved to span any three sampling

intervals, and the result will remain the same.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 9

In OFDM, the baseband received signal sampled at rate N/T is obtained by passing the

sampled transmitted signal s

k

through a linear channel with discrete-time impulse response h

k

,

and then adding receiver noise n

k

i.e.

r

k

= h

k

∗ s

k

+n

k

=

L−1

l=0

h

l

s

k−l

+n

k

(15)

where ∗ denotes linear convolution. h

k

is obtained from the continuous-time channel response h(t)

by setting t = kT/N. In fact, when L ¸ N which is the usual case, linear convolution is identical

to circular convolution, except at the beginning and end of the sequence.

To make the two operations exactly identical, we can periodically extend the input x

k

, as

shown in Figure 6, by P samples where P ≥ L − 1. The input sequence will now have length

N + P, so that the output sequence will have N + P + L −1 samples. The N output samples at

times P + 1 through N +P can be shown to be the output of a circular convolution operation:

y

k

=

L−1

l=0

h

l

x

(k−l) mod N

= h

k

x

k

, k = P + 1, . . . , N +P. (16)

It is very important to note that the equivalence between linear and circular convolution exists

only under the following conditions:

1. The cyclic preﬁx is longer than the channel delay spread or P ≥ L −1;

2. The observation window applied to the output spans the samples P + 1 through N + P –

translating the window in either direction invalidates the result.

Assuming these conditions hold, we can now state the following theorem:

Theorem 1: For a discrete-time channel h

k

of length L, and a channel input s

k

that is periodically

extended in its preamble by P ≥ L −1 samples where ¦s

0

, . . . , s

N−1

¦ = IDFT¦a

0

, . . . , a

N−1

¦, the

channel output r

k

= h

k

∗ s

k

+n

k

has the property that

r

k

= h

k

s

k

+n

k

, k = P + 1, . . . , N +P, (17)

with representing circular convolution. The DFT of ¦r

P+1

, . . . , r

N+P

¦ is, by the duality between

circular convolution in the time domain and multiplication in the discrete frequency domain,

y = Fr = h

f

◦ a +n (18)

where all vectors have N complex elements, x ◦ y is the element-wise product of vectors x and

y, F

n,k

= exp(j2πnk/N) is the DFT matrix, h

f

= Fh is the Nth-order DFT of h and n is a

circularly symmetric Gaussian vector with covariance matrix N

0

I.

In scalar notation, the nth DFT output is y

n

= H

n

a

n

+ noise, where H

n

is the nth DFT

coeﬃcient of ¦h

0

, . . . , h

L−1

,

N−L

¸ .. ¸

0, . . . , 0¦. Since the nth “matched ﬁlter” output is independent of a

m

,

m ,= n, the cyclic preﬁx together with the DFT/IDFT implementation of the transceiver creates

N orthogonal ﬂat-fading channels.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 10

d

d

d

d d d d d d d d d

h

l

x

N+1−l

d d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

E

y

N+1

= h

k

∗ x

k

[

k=N+1

(Linear convolution)

d

d

d

d d d d d d d d d

h

l

˜ x

N+1−l

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

d

E

y

k

= h

k

x

k

k = 2, . . . , N + 1

(Linear convolution, but these

N samples identical to output

of circular convolution.)

Fig. 6: Adding a cyclic preﬁx to the input signal makes linear convolution look like circular

convolution, and removes ISI in the OFDM signal. In this example, the input

sequence length is N = 10, the channel response length is L = 3. If the input has

a cyclic preﬁx of length L −1 = 2, the N outputs ¦y

2

, . . . , y

N+1

¦ are obtained by

circular convolution of x

k

and h

k

.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 11

2.6 Single-Tap Equalization

Since y

n

= H

n

a

n

+ v

n

where E[v

m

v

∗

n

] = N

0

δ

m,n

, to recover a

n

one can estimate H

n

(usually

through the periodic transmission of known pilot symbols) and then form the statistic

ˆ a

n

=

y

n

ˆ

H

n

≈ a

n

+

v

n

ˆ

H

n

(19)

where

ˆ

H

n

is the latest estimate of H

n

. A slicer is then applied to ˆ a

n

to obtain hard decisions on a

n

.

This approach comes from minimum-distance detection applied independently to each y

n

, which

will produce the minimum symbol error probability decision given that v

m

and v

n

are independent.

2.7 Loss in Spectral Eﬃciency

When a cyclic preﬁx of P samples is added to the block of N samples in time, the sampling rate (at

the DAC) needs to increase to (N +P)/T because the N +P samples still need to be transmitted

over T seconds. The lowpass ﬁlter at the DAC will have a cutoﬀ frequency of (N + P)/2T Hz.

So the spectrum of the transmitted signal with cyclic preﬁx inserted occupies about (N +P)/2T,

whereas without the preﬁx, it occupies only N/2T Hz. In that sense, the preﬁx has “wasted” P/2T

Hz of bandwidth since it does not carry any information and there is a fractional loss of P/(N+P)

in spectral eﬃciency.

So it is clear that inserting the cyclic preﬁx to solve the ISI problem comes at a price, and in

practice we always strive to make P as small a fraction of N as possible to limit the wastage of

bandwidth.

3 Advanced Topics

3.1 Frequency Oﬀset in a Multi-User OFDMA Uplink

OFDM can be used to provide channel access to a number of users, much like FDMA (frequency

division multi-access) except that frequency bands used by diﬀerent users need not be separated by

a guard band. This gives OFDMA a potentially higher spectral eﬃciency than FDMA. However,

OFDMA is very sensitive to frequency oﬀsets, which may come from mismatches in the local

oscillators at transmitter and receiver ends of the link, or Doppler shifts in the case of mobile

applications. We now quantify the eﬀects of frequency oﬀsets.

3.1.1 Signal Model

Let T

k

= ¦π

k

(1), . . . , π

k

(N

k

)¦ be the set of carriers allocated to user k, and let ¦d

k,p

, p ∈ T

k

¦ be

the N

k

symbols transmitted by user k in some OFDM symbol. We assume that the guard interval

inserted into each OFDM symbol is long enough to prevent inter-symbol interference, and hence

the OFDM symbol index will be ignored. For a frequency oﬀset of δω

k

, the continuous-time signal

transmitted by user k will be

x

k

(t) =

_

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

_

e

jδω

k

t

p∈P

k

d

k,p

e

jωpt

0 < t ≤ T

e

jδω

k

t

p∈P

k

d

k,p

e

jωp(t+T)

−T

g

< t ≤ 0

(20)

where T is the OFDM symbol interval, and T

g

is the guard interval. ω

p

denotes the reference

frequency for the pth carrier, which in baseband-equivalent form would be ω

p

= 2πp/T. (With

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 12

pulse shaping to limit the bandwidth of the transmitted signal, the actual transmitted signal will

be x

k

(t) ∗ p(t) where p(t) is the impulse response of the pulse-shaping ﬁlter. However, since p(t)

can be absorbed into the channel, we lose no generality in treating x

k

(t) as the transmitted signal

and gain notational simplicity.)

The signal received from user k will be the convolution of x

k

(t) with the kth channel impulse

response h

k

(t), or

y

k

(t) = x

k

(t) ∗ h

k

(t). (21)

If we sample the received signal above its Nyquist rate and discard the cyclic preﬁx, we ﬁnd that

the linear convolution becomes equivalent to a circular or periodic convolution, or

y

k

[n] = x

k

[n] h

k

[n] (22)

with n = 0, . . . , N − 1 where N is the number of samples in T seconds, and x

k

[n] = x

k

(nT/N).

Note that the sampling rate is N/T – if the carriers near the band edges are not used, then the one-

sided bandwidth of the OFDM signal is N

c

/2T, and hence N = N

c

will yield suﬃcient statistics

for the detection of all transmitted symbols. We therefore assume that N = N

c

.

The discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT) of y

k

[n] is simply the product of the DTFT’s of

x

k

[n] and h

k

[n], or

Y

k

(Ω) = X

k

(Ω)H

k

(Ω). (23)

We can show from ﬁrst principles that X

k

(F) is a sum of frequency-shifted Dirichlet functions

2

:

X

k

(Ω) =

p∈P

k

d

k,p

drcl (Ω −(δω

k

+ω

p

)T/N

c

, N

c

) (24)

where

drcl(x, N)

=

sin(Nx/2)

N sin(x/2)

. (25)

To be more concise, we can write X

k

(Ω) =

p∈P

k

d

k,p

S

k,p

(Ω).

The complete received signal in the frequency domain is therefore

Y (Ω) =

K

k=1

Y

k

(Ω) +W(Ω) =

K

k=1

H

k

(Ω)X

k

(Ω) +W(Ω) (26)

=

K

k=1

H

k

(Ω)

p∈P

k

d

k,p

S

k,p

(Ω) +W(Ω), (27)

where W(Ω) is complex AWGN. In vector notation, treating Y (Ω), −π < Ω ≤ π as a vector y and

similarly converting all other frequency functions to vectors, we have

y =

K

k=1

H

k

S

k

d

k

+w (28)

where H

k

= diag(h

k

), h

k

is the vector representing H

k

(Ω), S

k

= [s

k,π

k

(1)

, . . . , s

k,π

k

(N

k

)

] and

d

k

= [d

k,π

k

(1)

, . . . , d

k,π

k

(N

k

)

]. Finally, we can also write

y = HSd +w (29)

with H = [H

1

, . . . , H

K

], S = diag[S

1

, . . . , S

K

] and d = [d

T

1

, . . . , d

T

K

]

T

.

2

Complex scaling term ignored.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 13

−4 −3 −2 −1 0 1 2 3 4

−0.4

−0.2

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

Ω (rad/s)

Fig. 7: 15 instances of S

k,p

(Ω), with zero frequency oﬀsets. N

c

= 16.

3.1.2 Interpretations

The Dirichlet function deﬁned in (25) is central to our analysis so we should study it more closely.

The following properties are important:

1. drcl(x, N) has zero crossings at x = 2πp/N for integer p;

2. drcl(0, N) = 1.

In this sense, the Dirichlet function is similar to the sinc function sinc(Nx/2) where sinc(x) =

sin x/x. In fact, a plot of the two functions would be virtually indistinguishable.

If all users transmit over AWGN channels with unit gain, i.e. h

k

= 1, then the frequency-

domain received signal will be a linear combination of Dirichlet functions, plotted in Figure 7 where

we assumed 16 carriers. This is the spectrum or discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT) of the

sequence y[n].

When the channels are frequency selective, the received signal will be a linear combination

of distorted versions of these Dirichlet functions, namely H

k

(Ω)S

k,p

(Ω), such as those plotted in

Figure 8. In this ﬁgure, the vertical lines indicate the frequencies Ω = 2πp/N

c

– notice that at

these frequencies, all but one of the functions are zero. This is due to these frequencies being at

the zero crossings of the shifted Dirichlet functions of Figure 7.

In the presence of frequency oﬀsets, the received signal becomes a linear combination of shifted

Dirichlet functions, which no longer all have zero crossings at Ω = 2πp/N

c

. For instance, with four

users each having its own frequency oﬀset, S

k,p

(Ω) will look like the curves in Figure 9.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 14

−4 −3 −2 −1 0 1 2 3 4

−0.5

−0.4

−0.3

−0.2

−0.1

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

Ω (rad/s)

Fig. 8: 15 instances of H

k

(Ω)S

k,p

(Ω), with zero frequency oﬀsets.

3.1.3 Interference Introduced by Frequency Oﬀset

Given that the desired component of y(t) is bandlimited to [−N

c

/2T, N

c

/2T], sampling at the rate

of N

c

/T over one OFDM symbol interval will yield suﬃcient statistics for detecting d. So the N

c

samples y(nT

c

/N), n = 0, . . . , N

c

−1, are suﬃcient statistics, and any invertible function applied

to them will yield suﬃcient statistics too. In particular, the continuous-frequency function Y (Ω)

must be suﬃcient for detecting d since the DTFT is invertible. But since there are a total of N

c

independent symbols transmitted using N

c

linearly independent vectors, the set ¦y(nT

c

/N), n =

0, . . . , N

c

−1¦ is a minimal set of suﬃcient statistics, whereas the function Y (Ω) is not minimal.

A minimal set of suﬃcient statistics in the frequency domain is obtained by sampling Y (Ω) at

N

c

points in [−π, π]

3

. The most convenient N

c

points to take are of course those evenly spaced

over [−π, π], in other words Y (2πp/N

c

), p = −N

c

/2, . . . , N

c

/2. These are directly found from the

discrete Fourier transform (DFT) of y[n].

We already established that in the absence of frequency oﬀset, the frequency-domain received

signal is

y = HSd +w (30)

where the columns of HS have the property that their zero crossings match. Sampling y at intervals

of 2π/N

c

will give

¯ y = Ad + ¯ w ∈ C

Nc

(31)

where A is a diagonal matrix, made up of the respective channel frequency responses at frequencies

2πp/N

c

.

3

This is guaranteed since any set of N

c

points in Y (Ω) is generated from a multiplication of the time-

domain received-signal vector with an invertible matrix.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 15

−2 −1.5 −1 −0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2

−0.2

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

Ω (rad/s)

Fig. 9: Some of the frequency-domain basis functions for x

k

[n], with frequency oﬀset. Ob-

serve that at frequencies Ω = 2πp/N

c

, marked by the dashed vertical lines, several

of these functions will be non-zero, in contrast to the zero oﬀset case.

Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 16

Since Ais diagonal, there is no interference in the minimal frequency-domain suﬃcient statistics

¯ y, and optimal detection proceeds on a per-user basis.

When frequency oﬀset is present, then the columns of HS do not have the same zero crossings

(except those belonging to the same user), as we can see from Figure 9. Uniform sampling of Y (Ω)

will then give (31) but with a non-diagonal A, indicating non-zero multi-user interference.

The most important point proven here is that frequency oﬀset in an OFDMA system creates

multi-user interference. Whether the oﬀsets can be estimated and then used in multi-user detection,

or whether practical frequency oﬀsets are small enough to avoid serious performance issues are

topics for future discussion.

e. i.11a promises 54 Mbps). symbols transmitted in succession fusing together.2 Signal Model for an AWGN Channel From the description of the previous section. is non-negligible unless the cyclic preﬁx method is used. One way to do this is simply to increase the level of modulation in an M -ary pulse modulation scheme but there is a limit on how large M can be before modulation and demodulation complexity becomes overwhelming. which may be implemented either in the time or frequency domains. Then to increase the symbol interval to the extent that L becomes close to nothing requires each symbol to carry 100 bits. or M = 2100 . For instance. 2. or the same bandwidth as the serial transmission scheme. This will be explained shortly (with the aid of some mathematics). but at the cost of some decrease in spectral eﬃciency. On the other hand. 99. Multicarrier modulation can be seen as a parallel transmission scheme developed to mitigate ISI through the lengthening of the symbol interval – this removes ISI in time. through the insertion of a “cyclic preﬁx”. in an AWGN channel. each one will transport only one bit. The other way to increase the symbol interval is through parallel transmission over many orthogonal channels. The bandwidth occupied by these 100 pulses is approximately 100/T Hz. ISI is removed using an equalizer. we can use N complex sinusoids with frequency separation 1/N Tsym Hz that will in total occupy 1/Tsym Hz.e.e. However. with symbol-by-symbol or sequence estimation algorithms. ISI in frequency i. n = 0. 802. So the lesson so far: To create N orthogonal channels for transporting N symbols at a symbol rate of 1/Tsym . which would be impossible to modulate or demodulate. If we constrain bandwidth usage to be the same in the serial and parallel transmission schemes. interference from other symbols being transmitted at the same time over diﬀerent carriers. and in the modern context of wireless networks with broadband links providing several mega-bits per second (e. Let each symbol carry only one bit. . However. we can use gn (t) = exp(j2πfn t)w(t). To create these 100 orthogonal channels requires us to design a set of 100 signals gn (t). . per T = 100·Tsym seconds. Continuing with the previous example.. equalization becomes unnecesssary. where fn − fn−1 = 1/T and w(t) = u(t) − u(t − T ) is a rectangular window of length T seconds. if we choose 100 channels to transmit over.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 2 Traditionally. we can write the baseband-equivalent transmitted signal over one symbol interval (T = N Tsym where N is the number of orthogonal carriers used) as N/2 s(t) = n=−N/2+1 an mod N gn (t) (2) .g. that are mutually orthogonal. which is identical to the 1/Tsym Hz required by the serial transmission scheme.g. the complexity of an equalizer increases with the severity of the ISI introduced by the channel. suppose we have 100 symbols of ISI (L = 100) which is realistic for transmissions at mega-bps over wireless channels. it may not be practical to implement an equalizer at all because of overwhelming complexity. and ISI will be avoided on all channels. Question: Are these channels still orthogonal and thus easy to demodulate (by processing each one independently of the others) in the severe ISI channel we face in broadband transmission? Answer: Yes. . if we could somehow reduce the symbol rate so that ISI becomes negligible (ie. using BPSK. . L = 0 or at least a very small integer) while still maintaining the required information bit rate..

and then a baseband pulse modulator. The reason for this convoluted notation arises from the use of the IDFT to generate the transmitted signal (see next section). . N ] given by n + iN . . a faded carrier will aﬀect all streams in the multiplex equally. and the resulting sequence interleaved to randomize the allocation of carriers to symbols. . This ensures that. 1: Conceptual multicarrier transmitter. since the set {gn (t)} forms an orthonormal basis for the signal . where i is an integer (positive or negative). For instance. The notation n mod N is read “n modulo N ”. Therefore the pulse gn (t) is associated with an when n = 0. where the N pulse shapes are 1 gn (t) = √ exp [j2πfn t] w(t). . After up-conversion by the carrier frequency fc . the signal N N spectrum ranges (approximately) from fc − 2T to fc + 2T . which maps M bits at a time onto a complex symbol according to some predeﬁned signal constellation. so assuming that f0 = 0 we have n fn = T for n = −N/2 + 1. The information bit stream is ﬁrst passed through an error correction encoder. Finally. n ranges from −N/2 + 1 to N/2 as described in the text. −1. ωn is deﬁned as n∆ω. .Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 3 Bit Rate M/RTsym E' Bit Rate M/Tsym E' Symbol Rate 1/Tsym E' Symbol Rate 1/T ejω−N/2+1 t c E E× i ejω−N/2+2 t E Error Encode E Modulation d Freq. symbol streams from other users or services can be multiplexed at this point. the optimal projection receiver consists of a bank of ﬁlters matched to gn (t). T (3) √ The scale factor 1/ T has been added to make the energy of each pulse unity. ∆ω = 2π/T . At the receiver. . . . . ampliﬁed and ﬁltered before being transmitted. . but gn (t) is associated with an+N when n = −N/2 + 1. . If necessary. The conceptual transmitter block diagram is shown in Figure 1. on average. 4 mod 3 = 4 − 3 = 1. and is the unique number within the range [0. (2P + 3) mod P = (2P + 3) − 2P = 3. Next. N/2. assuming s(t) was transmitted over an AWGN channel so that r(t) = s(t)+n(t) where n(t) is a white Gaussian process with PSD N0 . −10 mod 4 = −10 + 12 = 2. E Interleave Serial E to Parallel c E E× i q Σ q q E Amp/ Filter ejωN/2 t R = Code Rate c E E× i Fig. The frequencies satisfy fn − fn−1 = 1/T for orthogonality. N/2. N successive symbols are buﬀered before each is used to modulate a complex sinusoid. . these sub-carrier signals are summed.

which cannot be used at all without equalizers using conventional single-carrier methods. r(t) may be simpliﬁed to Tm r(t) = 0 h(τ )s(t − τ )dτ + n(t). Due to the orthogonality of {gn (t)}.e. Equation (4) show that the symbols {a0 . 2. There is no doubt that the last statement is true. . and that the performance in every sense (BEP. the MCM system has lost its orthogonality in a time-dispersive channel h(t). . if a number of carriers at the edges of the band (−N/2T. . . N/2 + p for some integer p N ). . . This means that s(t) can be reconstructed from its samples s(kT /N ). Clearly the bandwidth is approximately N/T . Practical implementation relies on the fact that the transmitted signal can be generated using an inverse discrete Fourier transform (IDFT). . but in the next section we will show that the DFT/IDFT implementation of OFDM reveals a simple solution to the problem. (6) If r(t) is processed by a bank of ﬁlters matched to gn (t). . However. Therefore. If the channel impulse response is h(t). The output of the nth matched ﬁlter is yn = = T 1 √ r(t) exp(−j2πfn t)dt T 0 an mod N + vn (4) where vn ∼ CN (0. aN −1 } are transmitted over orthogonal channels. and s(t) will not be correctly represented by sampling it at a rate of N/T . etc. it appears that ym is a linear combination of all N symbols {a0 . gm (t) is not zero for all values of τ . . spectral eﬃciency.4 Discrete-Time Implementation Using the DFT/IDFT If OFDM were actually to require N very precise frequency generators in each transmitter and receiver. 2. . each with main-lobe bandwidth 2/T and centered on fn . assume that s(t) is band-limited . an = 0 for n = N/2 − p + 1. N0 ). we note that for a given set of symbols {an }. (5) If h(t) is non-zero from t = 0 to t = Tm only. aN −1 } or in other words.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 4 subspace. . .) of the minimumdistance detector in an AWGN channel is unchanged by the use of MCM. the mth output will be N −1 Tm T 0 ym = n=0 an 0 ∗ h(τ )gn (t − τ )gm (t)dt dτ. s(t) has a spectrum which consists of the weighted sum of a number of sinc functions. Referring to (2). it would be a prohibitively expensive system. then s(t) will approximately be given by its samples taken at the rate of N/T . vn and vm are independent whenever m = n. but a substantial fraction of the energy of s(t) lies outside f ∈ (−N/2T. N/2T ). N/2T ) are unused (i. the received signal is ∞ r(t) = −∞ h(τ )s(t − τ )dτ + n(t). (7) Since gn (t − τ ).3 A Frequency Selective Channel MCM or OFDM is only useful when dealing with frequency-selective channels.

. . 2: Block diagram of OFDM transmitter with cyclic preﬁx insertion. . (10) Therefore. . . (8) says that we can generate N samples of sk through the DFT of an . 1 =√ T N/2 an mod N exp (j2πfn kT /N ) n=−N/2+1 = an exp j n=0 2πnk N (8) Note the change in summation limits from −N/2 + 1. This is shown in Figure 3(b). P is the number of samples in the cyclic preﬁx. n = −N/2 + 1. The block diagram of this implementation is shown in Figure 2. . N/2 to 0. .Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 5 a0 a1 r r r r r E E s0 E s1 E IDFT P/S sN −1 E Insert Cyclic Preﬁx c sk E i E + DAC s(t) E Rate aN −1 E N +P T Fig. N − 1. . . . . . which is itself a sum of sinc functions separated by 1/T Hz and centered on n/T Hz. . . and replacing the n < 0 complex sinusoidal terms in (2) with exp(j2π(n + N )k/N ) gives (8). each with mainlobe width 2/T and centered at n/T . to within a bandwidth of N/T Hz because the carriers near the band edge are unused. Example Consider a multi-carrier system with constant-envelope PSK pulse modulation so that √ |an | = Es for all n. Sampling s(t) at rate N/T yields N/2 sk = n=−N/2+1 an mod N gn 1 √ T N −1 kT N . because of our assumption that s(t) is (almost) strictly bandlimited. This is shown in the top half of Figure 3 where for simplicity. N − 1 compared to (2). . N/2. where we have ignored √ the scaling factor N/ T necessary for a strictly accurate implementation. In addition. This is valid because exp(j2πnk/N ) = exp(j2π(n + N )k/N ). Now. . the continuous-time signal s(t) to be transmitted can be constructed from sk using a digital-to-analog converter at the rate of N/T Hz. we assume T = 1 and N = 16. Then the signal s(t) of (2) has a spectral density that is the sum of sinc functions. . where n = 0. the IDFT of a sequence of N complex numbers Xn is another sequence of N complex numbers xk given by N −1 1 2πnk xk = Xn exp j (9) N n=0 N when the DFT is deﬁned as Xn = k=0 N −1 xk exp −j 2πnk N . The spectrum of the discrete-time signal sk of (8) is a periodic extension in frequency of the N −1 spectrum of n=0 an exp(j2πnt/T )w(t).

are turned oﬀ.N −1 is deﬁned as N −1 N −1 yk = xk hk = l=0 hl x(k−l) mod N = l=0 xl h(k−l) mod N . The proof of this result is straightforward and left as an exercise. . n = N/2 + 1.. as illustrated in Figure 5 for k = 0 and N = 3. 2. is Yn = Hn Xn where Hn = k=0 hk exp(−j2πnk/N ). If we deﬁne n = n mod N . Next. The receiver is designed to be implementable using the DFT – it is a bank of ﬁlters matched to the nth carrier waveform gn (t) rather than to h(t) ∗ gn (t) as it should be in theory.. and substitution in (12) yields N −1 yn = k=0 rk exp −j 2πn k N (13) where the right-hand side holds because of the periodicity of the complex exponential. Its circular convolution with another sequence {hk }k=0. . then n goes from 0 through N − 1. and express yn mod N as N −1 yn mod N = k=0 rk exp −j 2πnk N (12) to within a scale factor1 . m = n? The answer comes from a well-known result in digital signal processing which states that circular convolution in the discrete-time domain is equivalent to multiplication in the discretefrequency domain. . . and ˜ ˜ l xk−l over one period of N samples.e. . Therefore y0 to yN −1 are obtained through the DFT of the samples r0 through rN −1 . N/2. This results in the receiver structure shown in Figure 4. the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) output is the lowpass ﬁltered version of Figure 3(b) – the passband of the lowpass ﬁlter is the region between the two thick dashed lines. 1 Calculating these scale factors is not important and is left to the interested reader. . we label the matched ﬁlter outputs accordingly and ﬁnd ∗ yn mod N = r(t)gn (t)dt = r(t) exp(−j2πfn t)dt. . suppose xk is a length-N sequence. (14) ˜ This is the same as periodically extending hl and xl to form the periodic sequences hl and xl .5 The Cyclic Preﬁx The question now is: how do we ensure that yn does not suﬀer from interference from symbols am .. (11) where again. Clearly. . N/2 + p and n = N/2 − p + 1. . . is bandlimited by assumption to (−N/2T. which is h(t) ∗ s(t).. Since gn (t) is associated with the (n mod N )th symbol. N − 1. we can sample r(t) at rate N/T (after lowpass ﬁltering) without loss of information. then summing h ˜ N −1 Then the DFT of yk . Note that in this expression. n runs from −N/2 + 1 through N/2. we have left out the scaling term for simplicity. if the carriers near the edge of the passband. since the signal component of r(t). . where rk = r(kT /N ). This demonstrates that the DFT/DAC combination is capable of producing an OFDM signal. To be precise. . i. . k = 0. the spectra of the DAC output and s(t) will be nearly identical.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 6 Next. N/2T ).

(b) Spectrum of the DFT output before (an endless repetition of the fundamental segment shown in solid lines) and after (the part between the two dashed thick lines) the DAC. .2 0.9 aN/2+1 aN/2 0.6 0.1 0 −15 −10 −5 0 5 10 15 Frequency (normalized so that T = 1) (a) 1 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.1 0 −25 −20 −15 −10 −5 0 5 10 Frequency (normalized so that T = 1) 15 20 25 (b) Fig.7 0.3 0.7 0.3 0.9 0.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 7 1 0.4 0.8 0.6 0. 3: (a) Spectrum of the desired OFDM baseband continuous-time signal s(t).8 a0 aN−1 0.

both having three non-zero samples. . Note that the convolution window can be moved to span any three sampling intervals. 4: Block diagram of OFDM receiver based on the DFT. and the result will remain the same.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 8 n(t) c E s(t) h(t) E + r(t) E i ADC r0 E r1 E Remove E Cyclic Preﬁx rk E S/P rN −1 E DFT E y0 E y1 Rate (N +P ) T E yN −1 Fig. d x−l d d E ˜ d x−l d d d d d d d d E d d d ··· d hl d d l 0 1 2 E ˜ hl d d d d ··· × × × d d hk xk |k=0 0 1 2 Fig. 5: Circular convolution of xk and hk . so N = 3.

the cyclic preﬁx together with the DFT/IDFT implementation of the transceiver creates N orthogonal ﬂat-fading channels. we can periodically extend the input xk . . . . the nth DFT output is yn = Hn · an + noise. . k = P + 1. by P samples where P ≥ L − 1. .e. The cyclic preﬁx is longer than the channel delay spread or P ≥ L − 1. . . (16) It is very important to note that the equivalence between linear and circular convolution exists only under the following conditions: 1. . The N output samples at times P + 1 through N + P can be shown to be the output of a circular convolution operation: L−1 yk = l=0 hl x(k−l) mod N = hk xk . sN −1 } = IDFT{a0 . . and a channel input sk that is periodically extended in its preamble by P ≥ L − 1 samples where {s0 . linear convolution is identical to circular convolution. x ◦ y is the element-wise product of vectors x and y. so that the output sequence will have N + P + L − 1 samples. . hk is obtained from the continuous-time channel response h(t) by setting t = kT /N . k = P + 1. In scalar notation. . In fact. N + P. The observation window applied to the output spans the samples P + 1 through N + P – translating the window in either direction invalidates the result. . we can now state the following theorem: Theorem 1: For a discrete-time channel hk of length L. . . where Hn is the nth DFT N −L coeﬃcient of {h0 . by the duality between circular convolution in the time domain and multiplication in the discrete frequency domain. N + P. hf = Fh is the N th-order DFT of h and n is a circularly symmetric Gaussian vector with covariance matrix N0 I. . . . . hL−1 . 0. The DFT of {rP +1 . . the channel output rk = hk ∗ sk + nk has the property that rk = hk sk + n k . . 2. and then adding receiver noise nk i. Fn. Since the nth “matched ﬁlter” output is independent of am . aN −1 }. y = Fr = hf ◦ a + n (18) where all vectors have N complex elements.k = exp(j2πnk/N ) is the DFT matrix. rN +P } is. the baseband received signal sampled at rate N/T is obtained by passing the sampled transmitted signal sk through a linear channel with discrete-time impulse response hk . as shown in Figure 6. . 0}. . . Assuming these conditions hold. To make the two operations exactly identical. (17) with representing circular convolution. . . .Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 9 In OFDM. . m = n. L−1 rk = hk ∗ sk + nk = l=0 hl sk−l + nk (15) where ∗ denotes linear convolution. . . The input sequence will now have length N + P . except at the beginning and end of the sequence. when L N which is the usual case.

. In this example. If the input has a cyclic preﬁx of length L − 1 = 2. 6: Adding a cyclic preﬁx to the input signal makes linear convolution look like circular convolution. and removes ISI in the OFDM signal. . N + 1 (Linear convolution.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 10 d hl d d E yN +1 = hk ∗ xk |k=N +1 d d d d d d d d d × × × × × × × × × × × × d d d xN +1−l d d d d d d d d d (Linear convolution) d hl d d E yk = hk d d d d d d d d d × × × × × × × × × × d d d xN +1−l ˜ d d d d d d d d d xk k = 2. the N outputs {y2 . the input sequence length is N = 10. but these N samples identical to output of circular convolution. . yN +1 } are obtained by circular convolution of xk and hk . . . . .) Fig. . . the channel response length is L = 3.

7 Loss in Spectral Eﬃciency When a cyclic preﬁx of P samples is added to the block of N samples in time. . 3 3. The lowpass ﬁlter at the DAC will have a cutoﬀ frequency of (N + P )/2T Hz. OFDMA is very sensitive to frequency oﬀsets. So it is clear that inserting the cyclic preﬁx to solve the ISI problem comes at a price. πk (Nk )} be the set of carriers allocated to user k.p . to recover an one can estimate Hn (usually through the periodic transmission of known pilot symbols) and then form the statistic an = ˆ yn vn ≈ an + ˆ ˆ Hn Hn (19) ˆ where Hn is the latest estimate of Hn . 2. This gives OFDMA a potentially higher spectral eﬃciency than FDMA. and Tg is the guard interval. ωp denotes the reference frequency for the pth carrier. A slicer is then applied to an to obtain hard decisions on an . 3.n . (With . whereas without the preﬁx. it occupies only N/2T Hz.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 11 2. or Doppler shifts in the case of mobile applications. and in practice we always strive to make P as small a fraction of N as possible to limit the wastage of bandwidth. So the spectrum of the transmitted signal with cyclic preﬁx inserted occupies about (N + P )/2T . which in baseband-equivalent form would be ωp = 2πp/T . much like FDMA (frequency division multi-access) except that frequency bands used by diﬀerent users need not be separated by a guard band. which will produce the minimum symbol error probability decision given that vm and vn are independent. the sampling rate (at the DAC) needs to increase to (N + P )/T because the N + P samples still need to be transmitted over T seconds. the preﬁx has “wasted” P/2T Hz of bandwidth since it does not carry any information and there is a fractional loss of P/(N + P ) in spectral eﬃciency. p ∈ Pk } be the Nk symbols transmitted by user k in some OFDM symbol. and let {dk. We now quantify the eﬀects of frequency oﬀsets. which may come from mismatches in the local oscillators at transmitter and receiver ends of the link. We assume that the guard interval inserted into each OFDM symbol is long enough to prevent inter-symbol interference.1 Signal Model Let Pk = {πk (1). . the continuous-time signal transmitted by user k will be ejδωk t dk. For a frequency oﬀset of δωk .1. .6 Single-Tap Equalization ∗ Since yn = Hn an + vn where E[vm vn ] = N0 δm. and hence the OFDM symbol index will be ignored.p ejωp (t+T ) −Tg < t ≤ 0 p∈Pk where T is the OFDM symbol interval.p ejωp t 0<t≤T p∈Pk (20) xk (t) = ejδωk t dk. However. In that sense. ˆ This approach comes from minimum-distance detection applied independently to each yn . .1 Advanced Topics Frequency Oﬀset in a Multi-User OFDMA Uplink OFDM can be used to provide channel access to a number of users.

N − 1 where N is the number of samples in T seconds. . SK ] and d = [dT . Note that the sampling rate is N/T – if the carriers near the band edges are not used. . −π < Ω ≤ π as a vector y and similarly converting all other frequency functions to vectors.) The signal received from user k will be the convolution of xk (t) with the kth channel impulse response hk (t). HK ]. (23) We can show from ﬁrst principles that Xk (F ) is a sum of frequency-shifted Dirichlet functions2 : Xk (Ω) = p∈Pk dk. . dT ]T . . (21) If we sample the received signal above its Nyquist rate and discard the cyclic preﬁx. treating Y (Ω).p Sk. or yk (t) = xk (t) ∗ hk (t). N ) = sin(N x/2) . We therefore assume that N = Nc . . or yk [n] = xk [n] hk [n] (22) with n = 0.πk (Nk ) ]. dk.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 12 pulse shaping to limit the bandwidth of the transmitted signal.πk (1) . N sin(x/2) (25) To be more concise. . The discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT) of yk [n] is simply the product of the DTFT’s of xk [n] and hk [n]. or Yk (Ω) = Xk (Ω)Hk (Ω). The complete received signal in the frequency domain is therefore K K Y (Ω) = k=1 K Yk (Ω) + W (Ω) = k=1 Hk (Ω)Xk (Ω) + W (Ω) (26) (27) = k=1 Hk (Ω) p∈Pk dk. . Nc ) (24) where drcl(x.p (Ω) + W (Ω). we can write Xk (Ω) = p∈Pk dk. . .p drcl (Ω − (δωk + ωp )T /Nc . . hk is the vector representing Hk (Ω). we lose no generality in treating xk (t) as the transmitted signal and gain notational simplicity. . . . and xk [n] = xk (nT /N ).πk (1) . the actual transmitted signal will be xk (t) ∗ p(t) where p(t) is the impulse response of the pulse-shaping ﬁlter. we can also write y = HSd + w with H = [H1 . . . .πk (Nk ) ] and dk = [dk. since p(t) can be absorbed into the channel. .p Sk. In vector notation. However. we have K y= k=1 Hk Sk dk + w (28) where Hk = diag(hk ). . where W (Ω) is complex AWGN. Finally. . . 1 K 2 (29) Complex scaling term ignored. then the onesided bandwidth of the OFDM signal is Nc /2T . we ﬁnd that the linear convolution becomes equivalent to a circular or periodic convolution. . . and hence N = Nc will yield suﬃcient statistics for the detection of all transmitted symbols. sk. Sk = [sk. .p (Ω). S = diag[S1 . . .

namely Hk (Ω)Sk.1. all but one of the functions are zero. This is due to these frequencies being at the zero crossings of the shifted Dirichlet functions of Figure 7. Nc = 16.2 Interpretations The Dirichlet function deﬁned in (25) is central to our analysis so we should study it more closely.e. drcl(x. drcl(0. If all users transmit over AWGN channels with unit gain. In the presence of frequency oﬀsets. Sk. the received signal becomes a linear combination of shifted Dirichlet functions. i. the vertical lines indicate the frequencies Ω = 2πp/Nc – notice that at these frequencies. .p (Ω). the received signal will be a linear combination of distorted versions of these Dirichlet functions. plotted in Figure 7 where we assumed 16 carriers. In this ﬁgure. For instance. hk = 1.4 −4 −3 −2 −1 0 Ω (rad/s) 1 2 3 4 Fig. When the channels are frequency selective. N ) has zero crossings at x = 2πp/N for integer p.2 −0. a plot of the two functions would be virtually indistinguishable. N ) = 1. 7: 15 instances of Sk. with zero frequency oﬀsets. In fact.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 13 1 0. the Dirichlet function is similar to the sinc function sinc(N x/2) where sinc(x) = sin x/x. which no longer all have zero crossings at Ω = 2πp/Nc .p (Ω) will look like the curves in Figure 9. The following properties are important: 1. with four users each having its own frequency oﬀset. such as those plotted in Figure 8.6 0. 2.8 0. This is the spectrum or discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT) of the sequence y[n].p (Ω).4 0. then the frequencydomain received signal will be a linear combination of Dirichlet functions. In this sense.2 0 −0. 3.

with zero frequency oﬀsets.2 −0. But since there are a total of Nc independent symbols transmitted using Nc linearly independent vectors.5 −4 −3 −2 −1 0 Ω (rad/s) 1 2 3 4 Fig. the continuous-frequency function Y (Ω) must be suﬃcient for detecting d since the DTFT is invertible. So the Nc samples y(nTc /N ). 8: 15 instances of Hk (Ω)Sk. . n = 0.1 −0. A minimal set of suﬃcient statistics in the frequency domain is obtained by sampling Y (Ω) at Nc points in [−π. and any invertible function applied to them will yield suﬃcient statistics too.1. .p (Ω). sampling at the rate of Nc /T over one OFDM symbol interval will yield suﬃcient statistics for detecting d. are suﬃcient statistics. . . Sampling y at intervals of 2π/Nc will give ¯ ¯ y = Ad + w ∈ CNc (31) where A is a diagonal matrix. In particular. The most convenient Nc points to take are of course those evenly spaced over [−π. Nc − 1.3 −0. made up of the respective channel frequency responses at frequencies 2πp/Nc . n = 0. 3. . Nc − 1} is a minimal set of suﬃcient statistics. . . p = −Nc /2. We already established that in the absence of frequency oﬀset. the set {y(nTc /N ).5 0. Nc /2T ]. . . the frequency-domain received signal is y = HSd + w (30) where the columns of HS have the property that their zero crossings match. .4 0. Nc /2.4 −0.3 Interference Introduced by Frequency Oﬀset Given that the desired component of y(t) is bandlimited to [−Nc /2T. π].Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 14 0.1 0 −0. These are directly found from the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) of y[n].3 0.2 0. π]3 . whereas the function Y (Ω) is not minimal. in other words Y (2πp/Nc ). 3 This is guaranteed since any set of Nc points in Y (Ω) is generated from a multiplication of the timedomain received-signal vector with an invertible matrix. . . .

5 0 Ω (rad/s) 0.5 1 1.5 −1 −0.2 0 −0.8 0. . 9: Some of the frequency-domain basis functions for xk [n].6 0. Observe that at frequencies Ω = 2πp/Nc . with frequency oﬀset.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 15 1 0. several of these functions will be non-zero.5 2 Fig. in contrast to the zero oﬀset case.2 −2 −1. marked by the dashed vertical lines.4 0.

Uniform sampling of Y (Ω) will then give (31) but with a non-diagonal A. or whether practical frequency oﬀsets are small enough to avoid serious performance issues are topics for future discussion. The most important point proven here is that frequency oﬀset in an OFDMA system creates multi-user interference.Introduction to Multicarrier Modulation 16 Since A is diagonal. as we can see from Figure 9. and optimal detection proceeds on a per-user basis. When frequency oﬀset is present. . then the columns of HS do not have the same zero crossings (except those belonging to the same user). indicating non-zero multi-user interference. there is no interference in the minimal frequency-domain suﬃcient statistics ¯ y. Whether the oﬀsets can be estimated and then used in multi-user detection.

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