Lehigh University Communications Internship & Development Program Summer Workshop on Wireless Communications

Prof. Shalinee Kishore Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering Lehigh University e-mail: skishore@lehigh.edu July 26-August 3, 2004
This workshop was jointly supported by the National Science Foundation under grant CCF-0346945, Lehigh University, and the Susquehanna County Economic Development Office.


This summer workshop will introduce you to the core principles behind several important wireless technologies. First, we will discuss how wireless communications occurs, how radio signals are generated, how they move thru the air, etc. Once, these basic ideas are understood, we will look at how three important wireless networks operate.  

Content of Workshop 

The three wireless networks we focus on are: 

Cellular Telephony Global Positioning Systems WiFi 

We will also briefly talk about WiMax, an emerging fixed wireless application that may be relevant for Susquehanna in the future.

Outline of Workshop  July 26th-27th: Intro to Wireless Communications July 27th-28th: How do Cell Phones Work? July 29th-30th: How GPS Works July 30th: Basics of the Internet August 2nd-3rd: How WiFi Works     .

How Radios Work .

and data invisibly through the air over millions of miles.Radio Waves  Radio waves carry music. conversations. Radios can transmit and/or receive radio waves.  . pictures.

They¶re Everywhere  All wireless technologies use radio waves to communicate. . Some examples:       Some other examples:       AM/FM Radios Cell Phones GPS Receivers Wi-Fi Cordless Phones Garage Door Openers Radio-Controlled Toys Television Broadcasts Ham Radio Etc.

Some Other (not-so-obvious) Examples      Radar (police. air traffic control. military applications) Microwave ovens Navigation systems Airplanes (contain dozen different radio systems) Baby monitors .

Simple. Cheap Radio       Take a fresh 9V battery and a coin Find AM radio and tune to an area of dial where there is static Hold battery near antenna Quickly tap two terminals of battery using coin Radio crackles due to connection/disconnection by coin. Battery/coin combo is a radio transmitter! .

Could use static to tap Morse code messages and communicate over several inches. May not be practical but is a simple example of a functional radio transmitter. Why does it work? We¶ll go over this next.    . Transmits only over short distance. Cheap Radio (Cont¶d)   Battery/coin radio transmits static.Simple.

There is voltage in the wire. a magnetic field is created around the wire. Magnetic field is strong enough to affect a compass.How Simple Transmitters Work  Battery: connect to ends (terminals) of a battery with a piece of wire.   . When start electrons moving (create current in wire). Result: battery sends electricity (stream of electrons) thru the wire.

Simple Transmitter (Cont¶d) .

When you connect/disconnect the battery wire.Result of Simple Transmitter    Extend the experiment: take another wire. you will read a small voltage and current in the second wire. Voltmeter will give a measure amount of electricity in new wire. Connect a sensitive voltmeter to this new wire. place it parallel to the battery wire but a few centimeters away from it. .

we can cause an change in the electric field in the second wire.      Battery creates electron flow in one wire Moving electrons create magnetic field around one wire Magnetic field stretches out to second wire Electrons flow in second wire whenever magnetic field in first wire changes.Simple Transmitter (Cont¶d)  Observation: by changing the magnetic field in one wire. Specifically. .  Electrons flow in second wire only when you connect/disconnect battery.

.Simple Transmitter (Cont¶d)    We see then that a message can be converted to Morse code and then tapped using first wire (connect/disconnect). This first wire is a simple transmitter. The second wire is a receiver.

Result: communication of message occurs ³wirelessly´ (over a couple of centimeters) from the first wire to the second wire.   . Morse code message is then decoded to get the message from the first wire.Simple Receiver  Voltage changes in second wire can be used to determine Morse code taps.

9V 0V Time (s) . Result: square wave signal. When disconnected voltage in wire is 0V. When connected. voltage in wire is 9V. This can be done by connecting/disconnecting a battery. a current is induced in second wire.Creating Simple Transmitters    When we change current in first wire in time. create a rapidly changing electric current in a wire. To create any radio transmitter.

Simplest and smoothest continuously varying wave is a sine wave:  A simple radio transmitter created by running a sine wave thru a wire. .Sine Wave: Better than Square Wave  A better alternative to square wave is a continuously varying electric current in a wire.

transmit continuous sine waves to transmit information (audio.    . video. however. Why sine waves? To allow many different people/devices to use radio waves at the same time. All radios today.Sine Waves  By sending sine wave electric current to antenna. data). you can transmit sine wave into space.

1 Hz = 1 cycle/second. . we say that the sine wave as frequency 1/T Hertz (Hz).Sine Waves: Frequency One cycle of a sine wave is: Sine wave can be written as sin(2Tt/T) T seconds When one cycle of a sine wave lasts T seconds.

AM/FM broadcasts.More on Sine Waves  If there was a way to see radio waves.) Each different radio signal uses a different sine wave frequency.   . cell phone conversations. we would find there are literally thousands of different radio waves (sine waves) traveling thru the air (TV broadcasts. Use of different frequencies help separate different radio signals. etc.

For example. 880 on the AM dial corresponds to listening to a radio (sine) wave that has frequency 880.More on Frequency  When you listen to AM broacast.9 on FM dial corresponds to 90. So. FM signals operate in range of 10. your radio is tuning into sine waves oscillating at a frequency around 1.000.000 Hz = 880 KHz.000.900.9 MHz.000 cycles per second. 90.   .000 Hz = 90.000 Hz.

Mega.000.000.Kilo. etc. Giga.000 Hz = 1 MHz (megahertz) 1.000. 1 Hz 1000 Hz = 1 KHz (kilohertz) 1.000 Hz = 1 GHz (gigahertz) .

Both transmitter and receiver use antennas to radiate and capture radio waves. etc. pictures for TV set. Combination of encoded message on a radio wave is commonly referred to as a signal. Receiver receives radio waves and decodes messages from the sine waves.     .More on Radio Basics  Any radio setup has two parts: Transmitter and Receiver Transmitter takes some form of message (someone¶s voice.) encodes it into a sine wave and transmits it with radio waves.

Transmitter Description Radio Transmitter Radio Waves Combine Antenna Information (voice message) Sine Wave Transmitter generates its own sine wave using oscillators. .

Receiver Description Radio Transmitter Antenna Separate Information (voice message) Sine Wave .

Sine wave has to modulated in some way so that it contains information..   . you have a radio station.Modulation  If you have a sine wave and a transmitter that is transmitting the sine wave into space using an antenna (more antennas later).g. e. Problem with plain old sine wave: does not contain information. voice message.

Easy way to send Morse code.3 Basic Modulation Methods  Pulse Modulation (PM): turn sine wave on and off. .

.3 Basic Modulation Methods (Cont¶d)  Amplitude Modulation (AM): Amplitude (peak-topeak voltage) of sine wave is changed so as to contain information.  AM radio stations and picture part of TV signals use amplitude modulation to encode information signal.

Example of AM carrier = sine wave with a given frequency .

. sound part of TV signal. Used by FM radio stations. cordless phones.  Frequency modulation is most popular. etc.3 Basic Modulation Methods (Cont¶d)  Frequency Modulation (FM): Radio transmitter changes frequency of sine wave according to information signal. cellular phones.

data bit rate. etc. For example.Frequency of Signal after Modulation  Radio wave transmitted after modulating sine wave with information signal is not just a sine wave with frequency f.. width of frequency band. 2(f. called the frequency band. e. it may increase up to f+(f and be as small as f-(f. in FM. After modulating information signal. depends on the information signal (voice. the frequency varies around this frequency f.)    . the radio wave has some range of frequency. The bandwidth. For example.g.

centered on the frequency of the sine wave.   . Receiver needs to demodulate the radio wave to extract the information signal. The resulting radio wave occupies a band of frequency. information can be encoded into the radio wave.Summary of Modulation  By modulating a sine wave at a transmitter.

amplitude of sine wave is varied as DJ¶s voice varies. say 880 AM. High power amplification helps waves travel large distances.e.. e. .000 Watts for a large AM station.000 times per second).AM Modulation Example     Car radio is tuned to radio station. A power amplifier magnifies power of modulated sin wave. DJ¶s voice is modulated onto sine wave.000 Hz (sine wave repeats 880.. Transmitter¶s sine wave is transmitting at 880.g. to 50. i. Antenna then sends radio waves into space.

  .How do we receive AM signals?  Unless you sit right next to the transmitter.. Antenna will receive thousands of sine waves. the radio wave transmitted at 880 KHz. tuner separates out the radio wave that the listener desires.g. you need an antenna to pick out the radio waves from the air. An AM antenna is just a wire or a metal stick that increases the amount of metal the transmitter¶s waves interact with. e. Radio receiver also needs a tuner.

AM Reception (Cont¶d)  Tuners operate using a principle called resonance. tuners resonate at and amplify one particular frequency and ignore all other frequencies in the air. radio receiver has to extract the DJ¶s voice signal from the sine waves. That is. After tuning in. This is done using a demodulator (aka detector).   .

AM Reception (Cont¶d)    One type of a AM detector is something called an envelope detector. it determines the magnitude (amplitude) of the sine wave. What we hear is the DJ¶s voice. An amplify magnifies this amplitude signal and then the receiver sends the output to the car radio speakers. . Simply.

FM detector converts changes in sine wave frequency into sound. Specifically. amplifier are largely the same in FM as in AM. Difference: FM detector outputs changes in the sine wave frequency as opposed to amplitude. tuner.What about FM?  FM reception is very similar. Antenna.    .

Handout: AM Receiver 

Please refer to handout to develop a very simple AM receiver. It works only when you are near the AM radio station. If you are near an AM radio station and have the basic ingredients (a diode, two pieces of wires, small metal stake, and a crystal earphone), give this receiver a try.  

What about antennas? 

Almost every radio you see (cell phones, car radio, etc.) has an antenna. Antennas come in all shapes and sizes. Shapes and sizes depend on the frequency the antenna is trying to receive. Ranges from long stiff wire (as in car radios) to large satellite dishes (as used by NASA). For satellites that are millions of miles away NASA uses antenna dishes that 200 feet wide.   

More on Antennas   

Often radio stations use extremely tall antenna towers to transmit their signals. Antenna at radio transmitter: launch radio signals into space. Antenna at radio receiver: pick up as much of the transmitter¶s power as possible and feed it to the tuner.

  . Speed of light is 186. Reason for this: speed of light and the distance electrons can travel as a result.000 meters/sec).000 miles/sec (300.Antennas (Cont¶d)  Size of optimum radio antenna is related to frequency of the signal antenna is trying to transmit and/or receive.

and switch and pull them back. It is transmitting sine wave with frequency of 680. switch push them out.Determining Antenna Size     Say you are building an antenna tower for radio station 680 AM. transmitter is going to move electrons in the antenna in one direction. In one cycle of sine wave.000 Hz. switch and pull them back. That is electrons change direction four times during one cycle of the sine wave. time .

000.00000147 seconds.0684 miles (361 feet) in 0.    . electrons can travel 0. Cell phones operate using 900.000 Hz. At the speed of light.0000003675 seconds.0000003675 seconds.Antenna Size (Cont¶d)  When operating at 680.000 = 0. each cycle completes in 1/680.000 Hz. this means that it needs antennas that are about 3 inches high. One quarter of the cycle is 0.

AM radio stations transmit at high powers to compensate for the suboptimal receive antenna heights. reception would be better. If you made car radio antenna higher.  .Antenna Size (Cont¶d)    Question: why aren¶t car radio antennas 300 feet high? It would be impractical for one.

Some Questions     Why do radio waves transmit away from antenna into space at speed of light? How can radio waves transmit millions of miles? Doesn¶t antenna only create magnetic field in its vicinity? How can the magnetic field variation be registered millions of miles away? .

it creates a magnetic field around the antenna.Answer  When current enters antenna. This magnetic field creates an electric field (voltage and current) in another wire placed close to the antenna.    . This electric field induces another magnetic field in space. which induces another electric field. In space. « These electric and magnetic fields (electromagnetic fields) induce each other in space at the speed of light in a direction away from the antenna. magnetic field created by antenna induces electric field in space.

What is Radio Spectrum? .

. Radio waves have different frequencies and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency. you can pick up a specific signal.Radio Frequencies   A radio wave is an electromagnetic wave propagated by an antenna.

9 GHz 2.Radio Frequencies (Cont¶d) Frequency 10 kHz to 30 kHz 30 kHz to 300 kHz 300 kHz to 3 MHz 3 MHz to 30 MHz 30 MHz to 328.6 MHz to 2.6 MHz 328.9 GHz to 30 GHz 30 GHz and above Band Very Low Frequency (VLF) Low Frequency (LF) Medium Frequency (MF) High Frequency (HF) Very High Frequency (VHF) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Super High Frequency (SHF) Extremely High Frequency (EHF) .

   .. AM radio stations must use frequencies in 535 KHz to 1.7 MHz band. the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) who is able to use which frequencies for which purposes.FCC and Frequency Bands  In the U. FM radio stations transmit in band of frequencies from 88 MHz to 108 MHz.S. For example. It issues licenses to stations for specific frequencies.

Service providers are keen to get licenses for this use. cellular licenses are obtained for 10¶s to 100¶s of millions of dollars.Spectrum Licenses for Cellular  Cellular telephony has been a growing and profitable tech industry. For this reason.   .

Some examples:  Cell phones: 824 to 849 MHz  Global Positioning System: 1227 to 1575 MHz  Garage Door Openers: Around 40 MHz  Baby Monitors: 49 MHz  MIR Space Station: 145 to 437 MHz  Deep Space Communications: 2290 to 2300 MHz .Common Frequency Bands   There are hundreds of frequency bands for different wireless technologies.

Voice¶s frequency band is from 0 Hz to 4000 Hz.Another Important Frequency Band  Human voice also has its own frequency band.  .

Fast enough to oscillate and detect highly-changing signals. When AM radio invented electronic capabilities were fairly limited (compared to nowadays).Why is AM radio at a lower band than FM radio?        Mostly. . Transmitting at higher frequencies means that electronic equipment has to be faster. it was assigned unused frequencies at a higher band. AM was invented before FM. Hence lower frequencies were allocated. Later when FM radio was developed. due to history.

In other systems. These radios are called full-duplex.Duplexing   In some wireless systems. a radio unit will have capabilities to both transmit and receive (unlike a car radio but like a cell phone) at the same time. These radios care called half-duplex. a radio unit can either transmit or receive at a given time. .

More on interference later. both radios can transmit and receive at the same time. For example. In full-duplex systems. so one person can talk at a time. otherwise the signals would overlap and interfere with each.Duplexing (Cont¶d)     Both CB radios and walkie-talkies are half-duplex devices. . Two people communicating on a CB radio use same frequency. they use different frequencies to transmit and receive.

Duplexing (Cont¶d) CB Radio: Half-Duplex Cellular: Full-Duplex .

Beyond the Basics: Analog vs Digital .

Most new wireless systems are based on digital technology. What¶s the difference? .Analog versus Digital    AM and FM is analog technology.

Digital signals are quantized to take on one of a set of possible values.Analog versus Digital (Cont¶d)   Analog signals take on a continuous range of values. Quantization .

Quantization     One way to convert an analog signal to digital is quantization.g.y2.3. 0. We assume an analog signal takes on a continuous range of values from xmin to xmax (0 to 1 in previous slide). The digital signal is only allowed to take on values {y1. A quantizer takes the analog signal over an interval and determines which of the possible values {y1.«yN} best represents the analog signal in this range. .«yN}. 1.1..«0.0}.9. 0.y2. {0.2. 0. (e.

A digit is a single place that can hold numerical values in the range of 0 to 9. Binary signals can only take on one of two values: 0 or 1. To understand bits. digital signals used in communications systems today are binary signals.    .More on Digital Signals  More specifically. we first look at digits. commonly known as bits.

6.Digits     Digits are normally combined together to make larger numbers. this implies that digits use a base-10 number system. and 6 is holding the 1000¶s place.957 has four digits. For example. Each place can have 10 different values. 5 is holding the 10s. 7 is hold the 1s place. Each digit is placeholder for the next higher power of ten. 9 is holding the 100¶s place. .

  . A binary digit is a sequence of 0¶s and 1¶s that represent numbers.Bits  Bits use a base-2 (binary) number system. Bit stands for Binary digIT. Reason computers and communication systems use binary number system is that electronic components are cheap.

.More on Bits 0=0 1=1 2 = 10 3 = 11 4 = 100 5 = 101 6 = 110 7 = 111 8 = 1000 9 = 1001 10 = 1010 11 = 1011 12 = 1100 13 = 1101 14 = 1110 15 = 1111 16 = 10000 17 = 10001 18 = 10010 19 = 10011 20 = 10100 There are simple rules that have been developed to convert a digit to a bit.

Bytes    Bits are rarely seen alone in computers. a byte can represent values ranging from 0 to 255: 0 = 00000000 1 = 00000001 2 = 00000010 . They are typically grouped together into 8 bit collections. With 8 bits in a byte. . 254 = 11111110 255 = 11111111 . . called bytes.

«.e..yN}. the value yi is converted to binary format.  . i. Whenever the digital signal takes on particular value yi. a sequence of 0¶s and 1¶s.How is a Quantized Digital Signal converted into Bits?    After quantization.y2. Each possible discrete value can be represented in binary format. Result is a binary (digital) signal. a digital signal takes on one of a discrete set of values {y1.

How do we transmit binary signals using radio waves?    Binary signals are converted to radio signals using sine waves. called binary phase shift keying (BPSK). . There are several techniques (modulation) schemes. We described the most basic one.

it multiplies the sine wave by -1 and sends that. .BPSK    Rule for transmitting binary signals using BPSK is pretty simple. When the radio wants to transmit a 1. it just sends the normal sine wave. When the radio wants to transmit a 1.

An Example of BPSK Modulation Voice (analog signal) Analog to Digital Converter 1 0 Radio Waves Sine wave 1p1 0 p -1 1 -1 Antenna X .

Beyond Basics: Radio Propagation .

Radio Channel   There is another very important player in the wireless game: the physical environment over which radio waves travel. Transmitter Receiver . Radio waves can take many different paths to get from transmitter to receiver.

.Radio Channel    Essentially. the radio waves interact with the physical environment along each of these paths. Each path is called a multipath. There are typically (unless you are in free-space) many paths from the transmitter to the receiver.

Transmitter Receiver . sine waves along one path reach the receiver at different times than the same signal along a different path.Multipaths   The lengths of multipaths are different. As a result.

the output of the antenna will be: No Signal !! + = .Worst Case Example of 2 Multipaths Received radio wave along multipath 1 Received radio wave along multipath 2 The antenna combines (sums) these two multipaths. In the example above.

Another aspect of multipaths   Whenever a radio wave bounces off or passes through a physical obstruction. Reflection A -A Originally transmitted radio wave EA EA Received radio wave. the amplitude of the sine wave changes. E < 1 . Also amplitude of sine wave shrinks the further the radio wave travels. regardless of whether there are obstructions or not.

Radio Channel: Impact of Physical Environment Transmitted radio wave Overall combined received signal at receive antenna A -A fades in and out and is distorted . they combine together. etc.Impact of Multipaths   When all the radio waves on the multiple paths reach the receiver¶s antenna. some add up together constructively. Some multipaths cancel each other out. some partially cancel Signal each other.

fading of radio station in a car radio. if a signal transmitted at one frequency fades. which is both signal attenuation and distortion. it may not if transmitted at a different frequency. e.   .. Fading varies in frequency: assuming physical conditions are fixed. is a major challenge in wireless communications.Fading  Fading. We have all experienced it.g.

Problem with Distortion  Distortion not only impacts the strength of the received signal but also changes the ³shape´ of the received signal. Example is shown in next slide.  . this can be especially detrimental because bits can be inverted at the receiver due to multipath. In this digital communications.

.Fading (Cont¶d) 1 0 0 1 1 0 Signal along Multipath 1 Transmitted Signal Overall Received Signal Signal along Multipath 2 This type of distortion occurs anytime there is long time spread in the multipaths.

These ³echoes´ are particularly problematic in urban areas.Fading Challenges   Time spread of multipaths = delay due to echoes.   . Also problematic in hilly. Designers of radio systems have spent a lot of time and effort trying to overcome this fading challenge. like Susquehanna County. mountainous areas. due to reflections from buildings.

Both antennas can receive the desired radio wave. say 2.One Solution: Multiple Antennas   One way to overcome fading problem is to design receivers with multiple. antennas. Transmitter Receiver .

Result: fading of received signal on first antenna is different from fading of received signal on second antenna. then paths followed by radio waves to the first antenna are different from paths followed by radio waves to the second antenna. the other does not.   . Receiver can adaptively choose the ³stronger´ antenna to determine the received radio wave at any given time.Multiple Antennas (Cont¶d)  If receive antennas are adequately separated. Chances are if one antenna experiences a deep fade.

.Multiple Antennas on Cell Towers Cellular base station tower (antenna tower that cell phones ³talk´ to) use multiple antenna to improve the quality of voice signal received from cell phone users.

This is what adaptive antenna array do. we would like to make it in the direction of the strongest multipath. it is the strongest.   .Another Solution: Adaptive Antenna Array  Of all the multipath. if there is a line-of-sight (LOS) path between the transmitter and receiver. If we can design antennas receive patter.

if the LOS path is in a particular direction. the antennas work together to pick out as many radio waves in that direction as possible.   . the antennas ignore radio waves in nonsignificant directions.Adaptive Antenna Array (Cont¶d)  Adaptive antenna array is a group of receive antennas that work together to form a desirable radiation pattern. In doing so. These waves do not contribute to the overall fading. For example.

No signals received from this direction User 1 User 3 User 2 No signals received from this direction Cellular Base Station User 4 No signals received from this direction . The tower can use its antennas to form the following radiation power (bird¶s eye view).Cellular Tower Example Assume that a cellular base station tower is receiving signal from four cell phone users.

Other Fading Countermeasures     Both previous schemes are antenna techniques to counter fading. e. One simple coding method: repetition. Chances are one of the copies will be received without deep fades.. Designers have developed other methods. coding. .g. Repetition: transmit the same signal a few times.

Beyond Basics: Interference .

Ideally. only a limited number of transmitters can send radio waves at a given time. it becomes necessary to reuse frequencies. Problem with this: since there is only limited frequency (see radio spectrum). Because of limited radio spectrum.  .Limited Radio Spectrum    Assume one transmitter is sending a signal using a sine wave of frequency f1. we would like there to be only one transmitter sending a signal at this frequency.

  . the two sets of radio waves from the two transmitters may combine together at receiver to produce interference.Frequency Reuse  Regulators (FCC) and system designers allow multiple transmitters to use the same frequency to transmit radio waves. Problem with this: receive antenna may receive signals from the wrong (undesirable) transmitter. e. an undecipherable received signal..g. loud static on a car radio. Worse yet.

Methods to Reduce Multiple Access Interference   This multiple access interference is typically avoided by making sure that transmitters that use the same frequency are separated by large distances. Large distance ensures that interference power is small (recall: amplitude of radiated sine wave shrinks with distance). Interference Desired Signal Transmitter Receiver Interference Receiver Both transmitters use same frequency Desired Signal Transmitter .

Reuse Distance 

If the frequency reuse distance is large, then interference power is low compared to desired signal power. If desired signal power is much higher than the interference power, then, chances are, the receiver will be able to determine the (desired) transmitted signal correctly. 

Frequency Reuse 

This concept of frequency reuse is used in cellular systems (explained in more detail) next time. Frequency reuse also used in broadcast TV. In NYC, ABC, CBS, and NBC use channels 7,2, and 4, respectively. Channel number corresponds to specific frequency band assigned to the broadcaster in NYC. In Philadelphia, these channels are not used at all. These frequencies are not reused over a large region surrounding NYC. This is to ensure that broadcasters do not interfere.

Other Interference Avoidance Techniques 

Because of limited spectrum, interference is unavoidable in wireless systems. Reuse distance is one way to reduce the interference. Engineers have developed (and continue to develop) other interference avoidance techniques:  Receiver structures  Antenna methods  Etc. 

Next time. In the next few days.Summary  In these slides. we focus on the cellular phone system. we will look at how particular systems work. we have learned the basics of wireless communication systems.   .

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