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Modulation Techniques

Radio communication has been employed as a replacement for copper based cables in
the long distance media for several years. More recent developments in digital radios and
advances in micro-electronic circuits have given rise to wireless in local loop (WILL)
systems and cellular mobile systems.
Modulators have assumed considerable importance in radio communication systems.
heir performance! to a large e"tent! determines the #uality of recovered speech and
acapacity of the system. In Mobile $ommunications and for fi"ed wireless applications!
bandwidth is a limited natural resource. %pectrally efficient modulators can accommodate
more information content in the limited available bandwidth. his article describes the
various parameters and factors governing the choice of a modulator for a mobile or fi"ed
wireless digital cellular radio system.
Frequency Band
&arious 'Micro( and 'Macro( cellular digital radio technologies used for cellular
mobile systems ) fi"ed applications i.e. wireless in local loop (WLL) systems available in
different fre#uency bands and their important parameters are indicated below*
+%M +lobal %ystem for Mobile $ommunication
,-M.% ,igital -dvance Mobile .hone %ervice
$,M- $ode ,ivision Multiple -ccess
$-/ $ordless elephony 0 /
,1$ ,igital 1nhanced $ordless echnology
.2% .ersonal 2andiphone %ervice
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Modulation Techniques
Fig !"1 #A$
Fig !"1
a) -mplitude %hift 6eying (-%6)
b) 7re#uency %hift 6eying (7%6)
c) .hase %hift 6eying (.%6)
%ometimes a combination of above basic methods is used for a typical application.
he signal to be transmitted is a stream of 3s and 8s i.e. 9: or 977 in the shape of
pulses. heoretically an infinite bandwidth is re#uired to transmit such stream of pulses.
%ince any communication system has a limited availability of R7 4andwidth! this band
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$ell %i>e
Multiple -ccess
R7 $hannel
4it Rate
Macro $ellular Micro $ellular
D/ 6bEs
B?F 6bEs
Modulation Techniques
limiting introduces detection errors at the receiver. hat is why the filter bandwidth must be
chosen to optimi>e trade-off between R7 bandwidth and error rates. his constraint forms the
basis of design and selection of bandwidth limited digital modulators ) demodulators.
- variety of digital modulation schemes are used in wireless communication systems.
We shall discuss the various modulation schemes used particularly in handheldE cellular
mobile radio environment.
T%e Ce&&u&ar En'iron(ent
In a Mobile :etworG it is a challenge to serve thousands of subscribers with a limited
fre#uency resource at an affordable cost. In order to overcome this problem $ellular radio
systems operates on principles of fre#uency reuse where the R7 carrier fre#uencies are
simultaneously reused at geographically separated locations. - typical seven cell pattern is
depicted in fig./.3. 4oth cells numbered as '3( use same set of R7 channels and hence are
termed as co-channel cells.
Fig !"! Frequency )eu*e +attern N,-
%uch systems are thus naturally limited by co-channel interference. 2ence cellular
radio systems must use modulators that are both bandwidth efficient and are capable of
tolerating relatively higher levels of co-channel interference.
)equire(ent* o. a good (odu&ation *c%e(e
o suit the specific re#uirements of digital cellular radios the modulators should
preferably satisfy the following properties.
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Modulation Techniques
Co(/act +o0er Den*ity S/ectru(
o minimi>e the effect of adHacent channel interference it is necessary that the power
radiated into adHacent channels is about C8 d4 below as compared to power transmitted in
desired channel. In other words the modulation techni#ue which offers narrow main beam in
the desired channel and fast diminishing side lobes is desirable.
1ood Bit Error )ate +er.or(ance
Modulators with a low (good) bit error rate performance (41R) in the presence of a
typical cellular environment characteri>ed by appreciable co-channel interference and
channel impairments are desirable.
A )e&ati'e&y Con*tant En'e&o/e
.ortable and Mobile handsets generally use more efficient amplifiers to minimi>e the
battery drain. %uch amplifiers are non linear ($lass '$() amplifiers. %uch non linear
amplification shall lead to degraded 41R performance of modulation schemes that transmit
the information in the amplitude of the carrier. 2ence it is desirable that a relatively constant
envelope signal (wherein the modulated signal stays within a constant envelope of amplitude)
is used alongwith non-linear amplifiers to prevent the regrowth of undesirable spectral
sidelobes during non-linear amplification.
Modu&ation Met%od*
Let us now discuss the following modulation methods and their suitability for digital
cellular radio environment.
A(/&itude S%i.t 2eying #AS2$
In -mplitude %hift 6eying we modulate the baseband signal into changes in
amplitude of the transmitter carrier and the fre#uency of R7 carrier remains the same.
=nfortunately the error performance (41R) of -%6 signal is inferior to the other forms of
digital modulation particularly when non-linear amplifiers are used as it is the case with
mobileE WLL systems. 2owever there is a very important use of amplitude modulation
combined with phase modulation e.g! 3C #uadrature amplitude modulation (<-M) in fi"ed
point to point radio applications.
Frequency S%i.t 2eying
In 7re#uency %hift 6eying! R7 fre#uency is varied in accordance to the amplitude of
the modulating signal and the R7 carrier amplitude remains constant. 7%6 allots one fi"ed
fre#uency tone (say) f3 for 8s and another fi"ed fre#uency tone (say) f/ for 3s. in other words
the input data se#uence is used to switch bacG and forth between these two fre#uencies
according to change from 8 to 3 or 3 to 8. (Ref fig /./). In this simplest form as depicted in
fig././ it has two fre#uencies ) is called a two level (binary) 7%6 i.e. (47%6).
$/ technology uses 47%6 with /A 6h> deviation from nominal R7 $arrier
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Modulation Techniques
Fig !"3 Binary Frequency S%i.t 2eying
Mini(u( S%i.t 2eying #MS2$
$ontinuous phase modulation is a broad class of fre#uency modulation techni#ue
where the carrier phase varies in a continuous manner. %uch 7re#uency shifted carriers have a
property that the phase of the carrier traces out a continuous phase traHectory in time
according to the modulation se#uence. -s the carrier phase is integral of carrier fre#uency!
the 4.%6 modulated carriers can be decoded by phase modulation also! using the processing
techni#ues that attempt to tracG these phase changes. his phase demodulation provides
decoding advantage over standard fre#uency detection. hat is why 7M digital carriers of this
type are generally called as $ontinuous .hase 7%6 ($.7%6). M%6 is a special form of
binary $.7%6. wo level 7%6 modulation! where transmission bit rate 'R( is e"actly four
times the fre#uency shift (between 3s and 8s) is called Minimum %hift 6eying M%6 has
following properties.
a) 7or a modulation bit rate of R 2igher fre#uency I f J 8./AR and Lower
fre#uency I f - 8./AR and hence difference between higher and lower
fre#uency I 8.AR
b) he signal has a constant envelope.
M%6 is attractive because it has relatively compact spectrum and its out-of-band
performance is better than 7%6.
-n 1%I standard ,1$ technology uses +aussian filtered fre#uency shift Geying
(+7%6) with a nominal deviation of /?? 6h>. It has properties of a constant envelope and
relatively narrow bandwidth modulation scheme.
+%a*e S%i.t 2eying
.%6 modulation is widely used in ,igital Radio %ystems. In .%6 the phase of the
carrier is varied in accordance with the baseband signal and the amplitude and fre#uency of
the carrier remains unchanged. 2ence .%6 is also a constant envelope modulation method. In
its simplest form of two level .%6! the incoming bit stream is given a phase reversal of 3?8
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Modulation Techniques
every time a 3 changes to a 8 and vice versa. he special cases of .%6 are indicated by the
number of levels of digital signal e.g /.%6! F.%6 and ?.%6 etc.
If we use two signals that have phases '8( ) '3?8
( then the modulation method is
called as binary .%6 i.e. 4.%6 (Ref fig /.B) if we define four signals each with a phase
differing by @8
! then the modulation method is termed as four level (<uadrature) .%6 i.e.
<.%6 (Ref fig /.F)
/ .hase %ystem (i.e. only one binary stream)
.hase 4inary 4inary $ode of %tream
8 8 8
3 3
%ignal %pace ,iagram
3?8 8
(3) (8)
Fig !"4 Binary +%a*e S%i.t 2eying #B+S2$
%ince a bit stream is a series of binary digits it re#uires
Where phases of 8
) 3?8
correspond to the 3s and 8s of the bit stream. If the
incoming bit steam is divided into two parallel streams by a serial to parallel converter then
these two bit steams re#uire /
I F bits as shown in fig /.F. these two bit streams are Gnown
as in phase (3) and the #uadrature (<) bit streams.
F. .hase %ystem (i.e. two binary streams)
.hase <uaternary 4inary $ode of two streams (I)9)
8 8 8
3 3 8
/ 3 3
B 8 3
Signa& S/ace Diagra(
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Modulation Techniques
56 #176$
186 6
#171$ #676$
!-6 #671$
Fig !"9 Quadrature /%a*e *%i.t :eying #Q+S2$
In 4.%6 each of the two phases convey an information e#uivalent to a single bit only
where as in <.%6 each of the four phases of carrier represent two bits of data. hus every
phase shift of the carrier (%ymbol)! now in <.%6 contains double the information as
compared to 4.%6. In other words since! symbol rate for <.%6 is half the bit rate hence
twice the information can be carried in the same R7 channel bandwidth as compared to
O..*et Quadrature +%a*e S%i.t 2eying #OQ+S2$
It can be seen that in <.%6! phase transition ranges from 8
to 3?8
and occurs at an
interval of twice the bit rate '/(. -t the same time if we delay '<( stream by half bit
interval with respect to 'I( bit stream! then phase transition range is 8 to @8
only ) occurs
twice as often (i.e. at '( interval as compared to '/( in earlier case). 2ence this offsetting
of one stream w.r.t another stream causes limited phase change leading to reduced envelope
fluctuations of the signal maGing it less susceptible to amplifier non-linearities and reduced
the re#uired dynamic range of the amplifier. It also provides better interference tolerance
capability. his type of <.%6 is Gnown as offset <.%6 (9<.%6) Modulation scheme. his
effect could have been achieved by filtering a normal <.%6 envelope and forces the
undesirable use of highly linear amplifiers.
:orth -merican digital cellular standard I%-AF (,-M.%) uses E F shifted
,ifferential .%6 modulation scheme.
1au**ain Mini(u( S%i.t 2eying #1MS2$
M%6 can be derived from 9<.%6 by replacing the rectangular :RK pulses in
amplitude with a half cycle sinusoidal pulses. M%6 modulation maGes the phase changes
linear and limited to E/ over a bit interval ' (. his enables M%6 to provide a
significant improvement over <.%6 in respect of adHacent channel interference by having
low side lobes. 2owever the main lobe becomes wider than <.%6. 9ne method to improve
the main lobe as well as side lobes is to preshape the data stream with a filter prior to M%6
modulation. - +aussian 0 shaped filter which accepts about one percent inter symbol
interference (I%I) has a considerable better out of band performance. hat is why this type of
modulation is termed as +aussian M%6 or +M%6 modulation.
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Modulation Techniques
he relationship between the pre-modulation filter bandwidth '4( and the bit period
'( defines bandwidth of system. If 4 L 3E! then the waveform essentially remains a
'M%6(. When 4M3E! then an I%I occurs. - narrow filter increases the I%I and reduces the
signal power. 2owever a small amount of I%I can be tolerated (traded) for bandwidth
reduction. In +%M a '4.( product of 8.B is used with a channel data rate of /D8.? 6bEs. In
,1$ technology! utili>ing +7%6 modulation! a '4.( product of 8.A is used with a data rate
of 33A/ 6bEs.
he spectral efficiency of 9<.%6 is about /8N more than +M%6 modulation. 4ut
out-of-band performance of M%6 is significantly better than 9<.%6. his maGes M%6
carriers somewhat more favourable than <.%6 systems where both out of band spectra
control and constant envelope carriers are desired. In +%M technology +M%6 modulation
techni#ue is used. - '4.( product of 8.B is a best compromise between bandwidth
occupancy and interference resistance.
S/ectra& E..iciency ; Carrier +o0er )equire(ent*
In cellular systems e"cessive demand for limited available bandwidth forces the
modulator to be efficient in use of this R7 bandwidth. 7or this reason! the modulator chosen
must be spectrally efficient. If a digital linG transmits 'R( bitsEs utili>ing '4W( 2> of R7
bandwidth then the bandwidth efficiency () is measured by the channel throughput defined
as follows*
I RE4W bitsEsE2>
heoretically bandwidth efficiency () for different modulation schemes can be
calculated to be as follows*
wo level Modulation system 0 3 bitEsE2>
7our level Modulation system I / bitEsE2>
1ight level Modulation system I B bitEsE2>
We can also have ? level .%6 (?-.%6) and 3C-.%6. 4ut higher the level of
modulation! more the system is vunerable to e#uipment impairments and atmospheric
disturbances. his leads to degradation in transmission #uality. 9bviously that means a higher
level modulation scheme shall then need a better signal i.e. more carrier power (more 1bE:o)
for same 41R performance! at the demodulator input which is again not a desirable feature in
cellular systems. Infact a four level .%6 demodulator needs precisely twice (Bd4 more)
carrier power as compared to a two level .%6 demodulator for the same 41R performance.
In other words! the higher the level of modulation employed! less robust the system is! and
higher received signal level is re#uired to achieve a desired 41R performance. he cellular
systems being interference limited! shall be more vunerable to co-channel interference if
carrier power level is boosted to overcome transmission distortions. 9n the other hand! as
indicated above! a higher level modulation scheme is more spectrally efficient as compared to
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Modulation Techniques
low level modulation schemes. 2ence a careful trading between carrier power ) spectral
efficiency has to be adopted while selecting a modulator for cellular systems.
-s a practice today a four level .%6 systems seems to be more popular choice for
mobile and portable applications. hat allows relatively robust and cheap implementation of
several variants of <.%6 (e!g 9<.%6 and +M%6).
Future Trend*
9rthogonal 7re#uency ,ivision Multiple"ing (97,M) is a modulation techni#ue that
has been recently suggested for use in cellular radios. In this scheme the incoming serial bit
stream is converted into a number of blocGs of bits which are then transmitted in parallel by
using a number of sub-carriers which are orthogonal in nature. With this type of blocG
transmission the symbol rate of these sub-carrier blocGs is much less than the incoming serial
bit stream and the effects of delay spread of the R7 channel are very much reduced. his has
practical advantages because it may reduce to a great e"tent the need for channel
- variety of digital modulation schemes are employed in digital cellular radio
systems. he prime re#uirements of a good modulator can be summarised as constant
envelope modulation! compact power spectrum density and good bit error rate performance
in the presence of co-channel interference and fading conditions. he most popular digital
modulation schemes employed in cellular radio systems are four level phase shift Geying
(<.%6) and its variants such as +M%6 and E F shifted <.%6 (9<.%6). he selection
criterion being a low cost solution with careful trading between carrier power ) spectral
efficiency while providing a good bit error rate performance in interference limited
environment of a digital cellular digital system.
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