2005 Wireless Telecommunications Symposium
Novel Pilotfree Adaptive ModuIation for Wiretess OFDM Systems
‘Xiaozhou Huang, ’HsiaoChun Wu
and 2Yiyan Wu
I Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Louisiuna Start. Universig Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Email: wu@ece.lsu.edu
2 Conimuizicutions Reseurch Centre
Oftawu, Ontario, K2H 8S2
Canada
Emni1:yiyun.wu 0crc.m
Abstract
Orthogonal fiequency division multiplexing (OFDM) is the contemporary technology adopted for digitaI audioivideo broadcasting as well as wireless local area and metropolitanarea networks. Since the wireless multimedia services often have different qualityof service requirements and their performance is sensitive to the channel conditions, the conventional fixed OFDM modulation scheme might not be a satisfactory solution
nowadays. In this paper, we introduce a novel pilotfree adaptive modulation scheme, which is bandwidth efficient and allows variable data rates, for the future
robust OFDM systems. 
We 
design 
a 
number 
of 

modulation modes 
in 
a 
combination 
of different 
constellation sizes and different polynomial cancellation coding methods (PCC) to combat the crucial intercarrier interference problem. Instead of estimating the channel quality based on the overhead pilot symbols, we propose to directly estimate the signaltonoise ratio (SNR) without using any pilot. Besides, our scheme offers more modulation modes than some other existing adaptive modulation methods which are simply based on different constellation sizes. According to the Monte Carlo simulations, the empirical results show that our adaptive modulation scheme, in most channel conditions (SNR 2 15 dB), not only can satis@ the predetermined bit
error rate (BER) requirement (BERI
but also can
dynamically enhance the throughputs in the rather clean environments with high SNR values.
I. Introduction
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) is widely applied for the wireless communication systems everywhere. Compared to conventional singlecarrier modulated signals, OFDM subcarriers have a much narrower bandwidth which will experience frequencyflat fading and lead to more reliable
link quality. However, when traveling through a frequency selective fading channel, different subcarriers would be impaired differently. This would result in different signaltonoise ratios (SNR) among subcarriers in an OFDM block (symbol). Then the nonuniform bit
errur rate (BER) pedormance would occur accordingly.
It can often be observed that a burst of errors gather around a few severely faded subcarriers, while the rest of subcarriers can still carry the correct information in OFDM [I]. Therefore, an adaptive modulation scheme has been proposed to maintain a reliable performance across all subcarriers uniformly in OFDM _{1}_{1}_{1}_{.} The motivation to establish an adaptive OFDM modulation is that if we can identify the subset of subcarriers which
exhibit “sufSicieritiy low” error probabilities (based on our
predetermined maximum tolerable error requirement), we can remodulate these subcarriers using an alternative mode to achieve a higher data rate in the next transmission period. For those subcarriers exhibiting very high error rates, we may even forsake them during the transmission. Thus the overall BER can be improved by adaptive modulation in exchange for a little loss of the system throughput. However, this potential throughput loss can be mitigated by the aforementioned remodulated higher daterate subcarriers which exhibit low error probabilities. The adaptive modulation was previously proposed to exploit the timevariant Shulunnori charitiel capuciq of narrowband fading channels 121. In the pioneering work in [Z], an adaptive QAM system was designed with a variabIe number of modulation levels. The same principIe was invoked in the context of parallel modems [35J.In addition to varying the modulation modes or excluding the set of severely faded subcarriers, other transmission parameters such as coding _{e}_{f}_{i}_{c}_{i}_{e}_{n}_{c}_{y} can also be adaptively adjusted according to the perceived channel quality at the transceivers. In this paper, we will make the first attempt to incorporate the adaptive
modulation scheme with a variable datarate 
channel 

coding scheme, namely 
the 
polynoniial caricellation 

cuding (PCC). 
07S0388569/05/$20.00 02005 IEEE
55
It is well known that the timevarying channel characteristics would pose limitation to the OFDM system performance 161. Time variations of the channels destroy the orthogonality of the OFDM subcarrier waveforms [6] and intercurrier interfererice (1C1) occurs.
PCC methods, also known as 1CI selfcancellation scheme, were proposed in [7101 to greatly mitigate the IC1 in the OFDM receivers and showed promising
performances
frequencyflat
over
other
existing
methods
in
the
or frequencyselective fading channel
environments [7, IO, 111. In this paper, we propose an adaptive modulation scheme which combines the regular modulation modes in [12] with variablerate PCC coding schemes for next generation OFDM systems. Besides, the estimation of channel quality measures relies on no pilot information and therefore no further spectral efficiency sacrifice is needed for the modulation adaptation in our proposed scheme.
11. OFDM System Model
A general OFDM system is presented here. In the OFDM transmitter, the N buffered modulated data symbols are multiplexed onto the N subcarriers using the
inverse fast 
Fourier 
transform (IFFT). If an arbitrary 

QAM constellation 
is considered, 
the complexvalued 
OFDM symbols can be represented as
N 1
xi,n E
k=O
2dtl
Xi,ke
j
N
,n=O,l;*,Nl,
(1)
where
Xi,k
denotes
the kIh transmitted information
symbol in the ith OFDM block. In order to prevent the intersymbol interference (ISI), prefix codewords or guard intervals are required as the redundancy in an OFDM symbol. At the receiver, the OFDM symbols are demodulated using the fast Fourier transform (FFT). The channel is usually modeled as the impulse response function with Rayleigh fading. Provided p propagation
paths, the channel impulse response hnction is given by
P h(r, r) = cat (t)s(t q ) I 
(2) 
1=1 
where al(t) is the random process having a Rayleigh distribution, is the fh time delay. In this paper, the channel h(t,r) is assumed to be slowly timevarying and ai (t) does not vary notably within a few OFDM symbol periods. Since no IS1 exists with the help of prefix coding or guard intervals, the &Ih demodulated symbol, Ri,k, in the i* OFDM block, can be formulated as [ 11:
where Hi,k is the quasistationary frequency response of
the channel impulse response h(t,r) and wi,k is the additive aggregate mise which includes channel noise and intercamer interference. We propose to incorporate the aforementioned general OFDM system with PCC coding schemes [8] to construct additional modulation modes. In principle, the PCC coding technique in [XI is to repeatedly map each complexvalued information symbol _{X} _{i}_{.}_{k} onto a _{g}_{r}_{o}_{u}_{p} of m adjacent subcarriers rather than one subcarrier as the
_{r}_{e}_{g}_{u}_{l}_{a}_{r} OFDM system prior to the IFFT. The mapping is
simply realized using the predetermined weightings. The weighting coefficients are designed _{a}_{s} the coefficients of
the polynomial
(1 byp' ,
m = 1,2,3;.
Thus, the
corresponding PCC coding efficiency is obviously .
xl
The same set of weighting coefficients are applied for both PCC encoders and decoders. Zhao's PCC technique (m=2) in [ 1O] is taken as an illustration here. In this case, the PCC weighting coeficients are set as the coefficients
of a specific polynomial I  b ; therefore they are 1 and  1. Consequently, the symbol stream is transmitted to the PCC encoder such that the evenindexed symbols are the information symbols, while the oddindexed symbols are just the repetitions of inverted evenindexed symbols [lo]. At the receiver, the PCC decoder is simply implemented as a differential decoder [lo].
111. Novel Adaptive Modulation Scheme
In practice, the adaptation of transmission parameters has to promptly respond _{t}_{o} the timevarying channel quality. In order to appropriately update the transmission parameters, a proper channel quality measure and the associated reliable estimation algorithm are in demand. Once the channel quality is properly estimated, the transmitter can adapt the transmission parameters to improve the system performance in the next transmission period.
A. Pilotfres
Chatinel Qunlit?, Estimation
In adaptive modulation systems, the usual candidates for the channel quality measures are the instantaneous charinel SNR, the rudio signal strength, the decoded bit error probability and the average SNR. In this paper, we choose the average SNR for each subcarrier as the channel quality measure of interest. For a wide variety of signal processing applications, higher order moments were used to estimate the average SNR in
56
[13]. The estimate of the average SNR, namely 7,can be derived as
&j
(CR  2)
(4)
smaller throughputs than the regular QPSK OFDM
scheme (modl) but
their BER performances are not
superior to that of the regular QPSK OFDM scheme. Thus, we also remove the options of mod5 and mods.
Then we choose the target BER to be lo4, which is the usual requirement €or the wireless multimedia data communications, and derive the switching threshold for the five remaining modulation options as listed in Table
2.
and E is the statistical expectation operator. This average SNR estimation method can fully depend on the statistics of regular information symbols and requires no extra pilot information leading to the throughput reduction.
B. Adaptation of Transmission Pmameters
In our proposed
adaptive OFDM modulation
system, the adaptable transmission parameters are
constellation sizes and PCC coding efficiencies. In order to establish the adaptation criterion, first the qualityof
service in terms of BER is extracted
from the Monte
Carlo experiments for the Rayleigh fading channels according to the COST207 hilly terrain model [ 141. The system parameters comply with the IEEE 802. I 1 standard in [lZ] (44 subcarriers and 16 prefix symbols). It is assumed that the maximum time delay of the channel is less than the prefix length. Therefore, there is no ISI. At this stage of adaptation criterion establishment, perfect
channel estimation is assumed at the transceivers. Nine modulation candidates are discussed here and they are listed in Table I. For the comparison of qualityofservice measures associated with these modulation schemes, simulated BERs, which are derived from the average channel SNRs, are depicted in Figure 1.
According to Figure
1, PCC coded
64QAM
OFDM schemes (mod6, mod9) are not viable, because both of them have smaller throughputs than the regular 16QAM OFDM scheme (mod2) but their BER performances are not better than the regular 16QAM OFDM scheme. It is obvious that mod6 and mod9 will never be favored in our adaptive modulation system. Therefore, we leave out the options of mod6 and mod9. Similarly, PCC coded IGQAM OFDM schemes (mod5, mods) wiil never be favored either, because they have
TABLE I. MODULATION AND PCC CODING CANDII QPSK
(solid 

line) 

:epIar OFDM 
Mod1 

“0” 

PCC coded 
Mod4 

OFDM 
“0” 

(l?l=2) 

PCC coded 
Mod7 

OFDM“+” 
(1?l=.r)
I 

1 
oL71 

0 
5 
10 
I5 
20 
25 
L
30
35
Average Channel SNR (dE)
r
I
40
Figure 1. BER for different PCC and modulation schemes versus average channel SNR.
57
TABLE 2. SNR THRESHOLD FOR OUR ADAPTIVE estimated SNR, among the four subcarriers in the same 

:;I. 9 
MODllLATION 
subset, is compared with the predetermined SNR 

1 ;;; 
thresholds as provided by Table 2. Once the new 

ry l;; 
21.5) 
modulation 
mode 
is determined according 
to 
the 

minimum estimated 
SNR, 
all subcarriers 
in 
the 

m=4 
m=2 
_{R}_{e}_{g}_{u}_{l}_{a}_{r} 
Regular 
Regular 
corresponding subset are to be remodulated using that 

Modulation 
I6QAM 
64QAM 
mode for the future transmission. 

Option 
coded 
coded 
Four modulation schemes are compared here, 

QPSK 
QPSK 

IV. Simutation 
namely, the regular QPSK OFDM, the regular LGQAM OFDM, the regular 64QAM OFDM and our novel adaptivemodulation OFDM systems. The comparisons of throughputs, BE&, and the required SNRs for achieving 

To investigate the robustness of the proposed estimation error Elf  yl} versus the true average SNR 
BERl lo4 
are listed in Tables 3, 4 
and 5. Figure 3 

average SNR estimator as given by Eq. (4), we provide Figure 2 here to show the average absolute value of SNR ' y , for an arbitrary subcarrier in a QPSKOFDM system 
depicts the BERs and system throughputs versus the average channel SNRs for our adaptive modulation scheme with variable PCC coding efficiencies. As a result, our adaptive modulation scheme, in most of the average channel SNR range (SNR2 15 dB), can satisfy 

over different random Rayleigh fading channels, where the true average SNR y is given by 
4 the system requirement (BER< _{1}_{0} _{)} _{a}_{n}_{d} also dynamically enhance the throughputs in the rather clean environments with high SNRs. At the lower SNRs, our adaptive modulation scheme can also achieve the target BER, in the tradeoff of a lower system throughput. 
5
4.5 ~
4
zt 3.5
(U
C
0
._
3~
2.5
.I
c
2
U
Z
v3
1.5
1
and investigated for our adaptive modulation scheme.
Simulations show that our new adaptive modulation
OFDM system can satisfy the preset target BER
requirement and dynamically
enhance the throughputs
when there is satisfactory channel SNR headroom.
TABLE 3. THROUGHPUT COMPARISON AT DIFFERENT SNRS
58
TABLE 4. BER COMPARISON AT DIFFERENT SNRS
/Modulation1
BERst
I
QPSK
0.0408
I
1
f6QAM
0.1663
I
1
64QAM
0.2684
I
1
Adaptive 1
0.001
EER~~
0.0002
1 y=15dB
0.0058
0.0659
0.0001
y =35dB
Modulation
RequiredSNR
QPSK
15dB
16QA
M
22dB
64QA
M
26dB
Adaptive
13dB
105 i
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Average SNR (dB)
35
40
Figure 3. BER and throughput versus average channel
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Acknowledgment
This research work has been
supported by Research
Initiation Grant from Southeastem Center for Electrical Engineering Education, Information Technology Research Award for National Priorities from National Science Foundation (NSFECS 0426644), Research Enhancement Award from LouisianaNASA Space Consortium, and Faculty Research Grant from LOUiSiana State University.
59