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Elektrobit Ltd, Tutkijantie 8, FIN-90570 Oulu, Finland
jaakko.talvitie@elektrobit.fi
tel. +358 424 9999 583, fax +358 8 551 4515
http://www.elektrobit.fi

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The coming 3rd generation WCDMA systems will pose whole new requirements for the test equipment
utilised in R&D, validation and type approval tests. The wide bandwidth of the radio signal will be the most
significant factor determining the new requirements as compared to testing GSM and other 2nd generation
systems.
Due to the higher bandwidth employed, the time resolution of the radio signal is an order of magnitude
higher than previously. Also, the range of physical environments in which the 3rd generation radios will be
used includes scenarios not considered when 2nd generation systems were designed. This means that the
WCDMA signal propagating in the radio channel is subject to a range of phenomena that have not been
relevant for 2nd generation systems. Thus, the performance and features of the radio channel simulators to be
utilised in WCDMA system development, validation and type approval will have an increasingly critical
role in making WCDMA radios work.
Receiver architectures will experience a significant change in 3rd generation when compared to the receivers
of the 2nd generation equipment. RAKE receivers will be widely applied in the WCDMA systems. Thorough
testing of the acquisition and tracking capabilities of such receivers requires dynamic channel models where
the propagation path delays vary in time. Fixed path delays have been utilised in the testing of the 2nd
generation radios. This is one of the novel features required in the radio channel simulators that are used in
the testing of WCDMA equipment.
Multiple access interference (MAI) is an important feature of the WCDMA systems. Also the role of space
diversity will be more pronounced in the 3rd generation systems. The testing of these features requires
multiple radio channels in the channel simulator.
This paper addresses the requirements set by WCDMA systems to radio channel simulators for R&D,
validation and type approval tests.

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The purpose of a radio channel simulator is to reproduce those features of the physical radio channel that are
critical to the performance of the radio equipment under test. These features include

frequency selective multipath fading


dynamic channels with fading propagation paths whose delays vary in time
slow fading (shadowing)
replay of measured channel response

A typical configuration for simplex tests with a radio channel simulator is shown in Fig. 1. The interface to
the Tx-Rx pair under test can be on RF, IF or baseband levels.

Channel
Simulator

Tx

Rx

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To enable more advanced test configurations, a channel simulator with two separate channels with
individually controllable characteristics is required. With a two-channel simulator a transponder (TRx) pair
can be tested in a full duplex configuration. This is shown in Fig. 2.

Channel
Simulator

TRx

TRx

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A two-channel simulator also enables two-branch diversity (for example antenna diversity) tests, as depicted
in Fig. 3.

Tx

RF
splitter

Channel
Simulator

Rx

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For the two-channel tests, especially diversity tests, it is necessary also to be able to control the degree of
correlation between the two channels.

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Unified and standardised channel models to be used for WCDMA testing are still to be defined. Thus, it is
not yet possible to specify in detail the requirements for the WCDMA channel simulator. However, starting
from the general UMTS and WCDMA system characteristics [1, 2] it is possible to present some general
requirements.

The operating scenarios for WCDMA systems will range from outdoor, high mobility macro-cells to indoor,
static terminal scenarios. Thus, the range of propagation characteristics encountered in WCDMA systems
will be much more diverse than in GSM and other 2nd generation cellular systems. Mainly this is an issue for
the channel model definition work, but also the simulator hardware must be able to cope with the extreme
case. In this respect the outdoor high mobility macro-cell represents the extreme, with long delays and high
Doppler shifts. The latter calls for a high bandwidth fading process, i.e. a high update rate for the generation
of the fading process. For example, at 2 GHz carrier frequency and 200 km/h velocity (high-speed train), the
maximum Doppler shift equals 370 Hz and thus the bandwidth of the fading process can be up to 740 Hz.
The chip clock rates considered for the WCDMA radio signal are 4.096, 8.192 and 16.384 MHz [1]. The
respective RF bandwidths of the signal are of the order of 5, 10 and 20 MHz. The channel simulator should
cover a bandwidth equal to at least the RF signal bandwidth. Thus, in the first phase a bandwidth of 5 MHz
is enough. However, for future proofness a bandwidth of at least 20 MHz would be better.
The number of multipath components (MPCs) resolved by the WCDMA signal depends on the maximum
excess delay Gmax (delay range) of interest, and of the delay resolution G (minimum resolvable delay
difference). The delay resolution of the RF signal is limited to the inverse of the RF bandwidth ::

1
:

Then, the number of resolved multipath components is given by Gmax/G. For example, for a delay range of
20 s and a bandwidth of 5 MHz (G = 200 ns), the maximum number of MPCs resolved by the signal is
100. The channel simulator should in this case be able to reproduce at least 100 distinct propagation paths
with a resolution of better than 200 ns. In 20 MHz bandwidth the number of resolvable MPCs is 400 and
the delay resolution shall be better than 50 ns.
For realistic simulation of the WCDMA channel, the quasi-static approach with fixed delays, employed for
example for UMTS channel models [2], is not adequate. Modern receiver techniques (RAKE and multi-user
receivers) are dependent on accurate channel estimation for reliable operation. Especially the accuracy of
delay estimation is of critical importance, for example for RAKE finger allocation and tracking. For receiver
testing purposes the channel simulator must be able to simulate dynamically changing delays. In other
words, the time-variant impulse response must be able to slide anywhere within the simulated delay range
during the simulation, the sliding speed being governed by the simulated terminal velocity.
With the 2 GHz carrier frequency and 200 km/h mobile velocity the worst case rate of change of the
propagation delay is 185 ns/s. At high mobile velocity the impulse response generated by the channel
simulator needs to be updated frequently (several thousand updates per second). Between two impulse
response updates the propagation delay variation is small. In order to reliably reproduce the sliding delay the
channel simulator must be able to update its path delays with resolution that is comparable to the
propagation path delay change between two impulse response updates. In this respect, the delay resolution
computed above with regard only to the simulation bandwidth will not be sufficient. For dynamic channel
simulation with sliding delays a delay resolution of the order of 1 ns or better is required.
In general, the channel simulator should be able to support at least the following tests:

BER and FER


receiver AGC
diversity with controllable correlation between the fading channels
handover (hard, soft and softer)
antenna array tests
dynamic channels with time varying propagation path delays (RAKE finger allocation and tracking)

For antenna array tests, a multi-channel simulator is needed. The number of potentially independent RF

channels should be equal to the number of array elements to be tested. There should also be a possibility to
control the mutual correlation of the RF channels. Antenna array tests are needed for both beam forming and
interference cancellation tests. As an example, a basic configuration for antenna array tests with a 4-element
receiver array is depicted in Figure 4.

Channel Simulator

Tx

channel 1

Rx1

channel 2

Rx2

channel 3

Rx3

channel 4

Rx4

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A simulator with 4 independent fading channels can also be utilised for receiver diversity tests combined
with interference testing. For this type of test the configuration shown in Figure 5 can be utilised. In this
example Tx1 is the intended transmitter and Tx2 is the interfering transmitter (or vice versa).

Channel Simulator
Tx1

channel 1

Rx1

channel 2
channel 3
Tx2

channel 4

Rx2

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To provide an even higher amount of fading channels several channel simulators need to be connected
together and run synchronously.
There are some system features in 3rd generation systems that were not present in 2nd generation, that have
considerable effect on the channel simulator requirements. The RF modulation of the WCDMA systems
exhibits non-constant envelope characteristics. Additionally, WCDMA systems include closed loop power
control where base stations are controlling the transmit powers of the mobiles and vice versa. Closed loop
power control will be tested in the duplex test configuration shown in Fig. 2.
Traditionally in the channel simulations of the 2 nd generation systems the burst power of the input signal to
the simulator is constant or exhibits very small variation. Both the non-constant-envelope modulation and
the closed loop power control applied in the WCDMA system increase the input signal power variation
considerably. In WCDMA simulations several tens of dB variations are expected. This sets increased
demands on the simulator linearity.
The linearity of the simulator affects also the error vector magnitude (EVM), which is a measure of the error

in the received signal constellation. Especially this is critical when several signals are present at receiver
input like in the case of WCDMA. The obvious requirement for the channel simulator is that it does not
increase noticeably the error vector magnitude of the receiver in static non-fading conditions. This means
that the increase in the error vector magnitude should be of the order of 2% or less.
For the most realistic channel simulation, a stored channel approach employing a measured channel
response is required. To reach ultimate degree of reality in test situations, the simulator should be able to
import measured channel responses and then reproduce the measured channel as accurately as possible.

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In conclusion, the emerging WCDMA systems pose a whole new set of requirements for the channel
simulators employed in radio system tests. The key simulator characteristics required due to the introduction
of 3rd generation WCDMA systems are

High number of resolvable multipath components and improved delay resolution due to increased signal
bandwidth
Dynamic channel modelling with time varying propagation delays
Multi-channel simulators for antenna array, diversity and interference tests
Improved simulator linearity

Many of these features can be found in some of the channel simulators currently available in the market
[3,4].

5HIHUHQFHV
1. Volume 3 Specifications of Air Interface for 3G Mobile System, ARIB IMT-2000 Study Committee,
Air Interface WG, SWG2, Document I_AIFWG10-3 (S), Version 1.0-1.0, December 22, 1998.
2. Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS); Selection procedures for the choice of radio
transmission technologies of the UMTS (UMTS 30.03 version 3.2.0),ETSI TR 101 112 V3.2.0 (199804).
3. Channel Simulator for W-CDMA Applications, 0LFURZDYH-RXUQDO, Vol. 42, No. 3, March 1999, p.
170176.
4. Jms T., Poutanen T., Hakalahti H., Realization of a Multipath Radio Channel Simulator for
Wideband Wireless radio Systems, 3URFWK9LUJLQLD7HFK035*6\PSRVLXPRQ:LUHOHVV3HUVRQDO
&RPPXQLFDWLRQV, Blacksburg, Virginia, June 1113, 1997, p. 2-12-11.

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