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http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/cn.2013.54035

Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) Systems:

The Case of LTE Downlink

Abayomi M. Ajofoyinbo

Department of Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Email: yomi_ajofoyinbo@yahoo.co.uk, aajofoyinbo@unilag.edu.ng

Received July 5, 2013; revised July 30, 2013; accepted August 5, 2013

Copyright 2013 Abayomi M. Ajofoyinbo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Li-

cense, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ABSTRACT

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) is a multi-carrier scheme used in modern broadband wireless

communication systems to transmit data over a number of orthogonal subcarriers. When transmitted signals arrive at the

receiver by more than one path of different length, the received signals are staggered in time; this is multipath propaga-

tion. To mitigate the effect of dispersed channel distortion caused by random channel delay spread, Cyclic Prefix (CP)

is introduced to eliminate Inter-Symbol Interference (ISI). In the literature, researchers have focused on carrying out

investigations (or studies) mainly on the two existing CP insertions, namely: normal and extended CPs. Both CPs have

limitations with respect to handling channel delay spreads. In the current work, a new CP, herein referred to as ultra

extended CP is proposed to address delay spreads beyond the limits of the normal and extended CPs. The efficacy of

the proposed ultra extended CP is tested via simulation under different scenarios. It is shown by the results obtained that

the proposed CP can efficiently handle delay spreads beyond the limits of the existing normal and extended CP, and can

indeed be implemented in the design of future telecommunication systems to accommodate higher channel delay

spreads and it ensures wider cell coverage.

vides optimized resource allocation and quality of service

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) is

support for different users. The smallest modulation

a multi-carrier scheme used in modern broadband wire-

structure in LTE is one symbol in time domain and one

less communication systems to transmit data over a num- subcarrier in frequency domain. The size of various fields

ber of orthogonal subcarriers. Whereas conventional in the time domain is expressed as a number of time unit

transmission uses only a single carrier modulated with all Ts 32.25 nanoseconds. Downlink and uplink trans-

the data to be sent, OFDM breaks the data to be sent into missions are organized into radio frames with frame du-

small chunks, allocates each sub-data stream to a sub- ration Tf = 10 ms duration. The time and frequency do-

carrier and subsequently sends the data in parallel or- mains are organized in a grid of physical resource blocks

thogonal sub-carriers. OFDMA (orthogonal frequency spanning a number of subcarriers and time slots. A Re-

division multiple access) dynamically assigns subset of source Block (RB) is the smallest unit to which user traf-

sub-carriers to individual users using either Time Divi- fic is allocated (i.e. two users cannot share one RB). In

sion Multiple Access (TDMAi.e., separate time frame) the time domain, RB spans one slot of 0.5 ms duration.

or Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMAi.e., The number of OFDM symbols in a slot depends on the

separate channels) technique. In the Long-Term Evolu- cyclic prefix length and configured sub-carrier spacing.

tion (LTE) systems, two frame types are supported The slot consists of 7 or 6 consecutive symbols. In the

namely: Type 1 (used in Frequency Division Duplex- frequency domain, RB spans 180 kHz, consisting of 12

ingFDD) and Type 2 (used in Time Division Duplex- consecutive sub-carriers with sub-carrier spacing of 15

ingTDD). OFDMA at the physical layer, in conjunc- kHz. The total number of sub-carriers during one slot is

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A. M. AJOFOYINBO 281

termed Resource Grid (RG), and the smallest unit, one carried out by Rappaport et al. [5] revealed that urban

symbol length on one sub-carrier, is called a Resource areas have Root Mean Square (RMS) delay spreads on

Element (RE). In case of multi-antenna transmission, one the order of 2 - 3 microseconds, about 5 - 7 microseconds

RG is defined per antenna port. Allocation of RBs to user in open and hilly residential areas, and high rise urban

is done by the scheduler and scheduling decision is taken areas exhibit larger delay spreads in excess of 20 micro-

during each Transmission Time Interval (TTI) of 1 ms seconds. In their own contribution, Seidel et al. [6]

for each sub-frame. Ajofoyinbo and Orolu [1] proposed showed that delay spreads are less than 8 microseconds

an optimal allocation technique of radio resource in cel- in open in macro-cellular channels, less than 2 micro-

lular LTE downlink based on truncated dynamic pro- seconds in micro-cellular channels, and 50 - 300 nano-

gramming under uncertainty. In an earlier work, the au- seconds in pico-cellular channels. Moreover, the work of

thors proposed an optimal allocation methodology of Rappaport [7] revealed that for indoor office building,

radio resource in cellular LTE downlink based on dy- RMS delay spread is 35 nanoseconds, while at factory

namic programming (Ajofoyinbo and Orolu [2]). A radio buildings the delay spread goes up to 300 nanoseconds.

frame carries both physical channels and physical signals. In Tarasak et al. [8], it was shown that with only two

When transmitted signals arrive at the receiver by more transmit antennas, Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD) effec-

than one path of different length, the received signals are tively improves symbol error rates performance and re-

staggered in time; this is multipath propagation. To miti- duces outage probability significantly especially when

gate the effect of dispersed channel distortion, Cyclic channel delay spread is short. Siddiq [9] investigated

Prefix (CP) is introduced to eliminate Inter-Symbol In- variable length CP in OFDM using multipath delay

terference (ISI). CP involves copying a section of the end tracking and found that the proposed system saves about

of the main body of an OFDM symbol and appending it 47.6% of the time and power spent by the same constant

to the start of the OFDM symbol. This process does not length CP in OFDM system tested under the same condi-

change the frequency content of the signal as the signal tions. Ghanbarisabagh et al. [10] investigated the prob-

includes the same set of frequency domain component. lem of cyclic prefix reduction for OFDM system over

Guard Interval/Time (GT) is the time spacing between multipath fading channels, and proposed two Time-do-

symbols being transmitted to prevent Inter-Symbol In- main Equalizer (TEQ) schemes for OFDM systems oper-

terference (ISI). It is implemented as CP to completely ating two-path fading channel to cancel the residual ef-

eliminate ISI and to preserve orthogonality among fect of ICI and ISI caused by the CP length being shorter

OFDM subcarriers; provided the GT length is suffi- than the Channel Impulse Response (CIR). The authors

ciently greater than channel delay spread. OFDM modu- found that the proposed receiver can achieve better Bit

lation in a transmitter includes Inverse Fast Fourier Error Rate (BER) performance than the conventional

Transform (IFFT) operation and CP insertion. In OFDM OFDM receiver under two-path fading channel. Li et al.

receiver, the CP is removed before the packet data are sent [11] analyzed the effect of cyclic prefix length and sub-

to the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) operation for de- carrier bandwidth on system interference and capacity. In

modulation. The FFT/IFFT provides a means of quanti- particular, their work investigated optimal selection of

fying the set of the frequency domain components in- cyclic prefix and sub-carrier for OFDM signal in Mobile

cluded within a time domain signal. The FFT algorithm Satellite communications channel. Moreover, the authors

computes efficiently components of waveform while found that in OFDM based satellite mobile communica-

IFFT algorithm translates the output of FFT back to sam- tions, time delay spread of satellite channel is much

pled data. In recent times, researchers have carried out smaller than that of terrestrial channel, so the CP length

studies in different areas of OFDM systems, especially in can be shortened in order to improve the system per-

relation to mitigating the effect of multipath propagation. formance. Their results also show that setting a large

In Osman and Rahman [3], a method was proposed to sub-carrier bandwidth and removing CP can restrain the

determine the optimal guard time length for mobile interference. In view of the fact that multipath propaga-

WiMAX system over ITU-R M.1225 multipath fading tion is dependent upon the surrounding physical envi-

channel. The results show that the optimum values of the ronment and the geometric relationships between trans-

GT are approximately dependent on the maximum delay mitter and receiver, the delay dispersion appears random.

spread. Delay spread values are found to be directly re- The existing extended CP can only address delay spread

lated to the propagation environment and not on the sys- of up to 16.67 s. The aim of the current work is to pro-

tem operating frequency (Nee and Prasad [4]). Delay pose an extension of the extended CP to effectively ad-

spread is not constant in wireless mobile communication dress delay spread beyond 16.67 s. This proposed ex-

channel and its values can span from very small value tension is herein called ultra extended CP. The re-

(say, tens of nanoseconds) to large values (say, micro- mainder of this paper is organized as follows. In Sec-

seconds) depending on the terrain and distances. Study tion 2, the problem definition is presented and Section 3

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282 A. M. AJOFOYINBO

results are presented in Section 4 and Section 5 con-

cludes the paper.

2. Problem Definition

In the downlink and uplink of UMTS (Universal Mobile

Telecommunication System) LTE, transmissions are or-

ganized into radio frames that are 10 milliseconds (ms)

long in time duration and each radio frame consists of ten

sub-frames of 1 ms each. A Resource Block (RB) is one Figure 2. Result of multipath propagation and mitigating

slot in the time domain and twelve consecutive subcar- effect of CP.

riers in the frequency domain. RB is the smallest unit to

which user traffic is allocated and two users cannot share where Tg is the guard interval/time, and T is the useful

one RB. Scheduling decision is taken during each Trans- symbol duration.

mission Time Interval (TTI) of 1 ms for each sub-frame; LTE specifies both normal and extended CP lengths.

which translates to two RBs. Relevant parameters of The normal CP results in 7 OFDM symbols per slot

Type 1 Radio Frame are presented in Figure 1 below. while the extended CP gives 6 OFDM symbols per slot.

Time domain fields are typically defined in terms of Table 1 shows the CP lengths for the downlink of LTE.

the basic time unit, Ts (3GPP [12]). That is, the time unit In the Base-2 FFT algorithm, 210, 211 and 212 points

is given as an integer number of Ts. correspond to 1024, 2048 and 4096 FFT size respectively.

1 The objective of the current work is to investigate the

Ts (1) case of an ultra extended CP for 15 kHz subcarriers

f N FFT

spacing using 1024 FFT size (i.e., N = 1024 complex

where N FFT is the FFT size. samples per OFDM symbol in time domain).

1 1

Ts s 32.55 ns 3. Problem Solution

15, 000 2048 30, 720, 000

One way to prevent ISI is to create a cyclically ex- A major parameter associated with the use of OFDM in

tended GT where each OFDM symbol is preceded by a LTE is the available channel bandwidth as it influences

periodic extension of the signal itself. The signal is al- several decisions including the number of sub-carriers in

ways continuous at the interface between the cyclic pre- the OFDM signal. The channel bandwidths that are cur-

fix and the main body of the OFDM symbol. One fun- rently supported by LTE are: 1.25 MHz, 2.5 MHz, 5

damental condition for orthogonality between the sub- MHz, 10 MHz, 15 MHz and 20 MHz. The sub-carriers

carriers is that each sub-carrier has integer number of are spaced 15 kHz apart from each other; and to maintain

cycles in the FFT processing interval. The resultant effect orthogonality among the subcarriers, the symbol duration

is that all sub-carriers are mutually orthogonal within the is defined as the reciprocal of the subcarrier spacing.

FFT interval. OFDM symbols have a basic duration of 66.667 s. This

The result of multipath propagation and the mitigating is called the useful symbol duration, which translates to

effect of CP are shown in Figure 2. DSmax represents the 2048 complex samples per OFDM symbol in the time

maximum delay spread. domain.

The duration of the CP should be longer than the dura-

tion of the maximum multipath delay spread which can 3.1. Existing CP Time Durations

occur in the channel. As presented in Figure 2, the total As stated in Section 2 above, to provide consistent and

symbol duration (Ttotal) is given by Equation (2): exact timing definitions, time intervals within the LTE

Ttotal Tg T (2) specifications are defined as multiples of basic unit Ts.

Given that the duration for one slot is 0.5 ms (=500 s),

the existing CP time durations are analyzed as follows:

1) The normal CP

The time duration for the first CP is obtained as:

1

CP0 160 Ts 160 s

30, 720, 000 (3)

Figure 1. Type 1 radio frame. 5.208 s 5.21 s

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A. M. AJOFOYINBO 283

Table 1. CP lengths for the downlink of LTE. CPue 0 CPue 1 CPue 4 1024 Ts

Normal Cyclic Prefix Extended Cyclic Prefix 1 (7)

1024 s 33.3 s

15 kHz subcarriers

15 kHz 7.5 kHz 30, 720, 000

subcarriers subcarriers

First CP Remaining CPs All CPs All CPs

Figure 5 shows the slot structure for the ultra extended

CP.

160 Ts 144 Ts 512 Ts 1024 Ts

To be sure, one slot (i.e., Tslot) is 0.5 ms duration. From

Duration 5.21 s 4.69 s 16.67 s 33.33 s Figure 5,

Tslot 5 33.3 s 5 66.67 s

The value 160 in Equation (3) represents the FFT (8)

points. Since number of OFDM symbol per time slot 500 s 0.5 ms

with normal CP is seven, then the CP for the remaining Clearly, the reduction in the number of OFDM sym-

six symbols CP1,2,,6 are obtained by Equation (4): bols (i.e., from 7 to 6, and now down to 5) as a result of

CP1 CP2 CP5 144 Ts the reduction in the useful symbol time duration, given

(4) the increased aggregate CP duration, will lead to de-

4.6875 s 4.7 s crease in the number of bits that are transmitted per

Figure 3 shows the slot structure for the normal CP sub-frame in every TTI. It is assumed in this study how-

insertions. ever, that the channel performance is not limited (or con-

2) The extended CP strained) by noise but rather by signal corruption as a

The time duration for the first CP is obtained as: result of channel time dispersion caused by longer delay

spread. The CPue duration of 33.3 s is long enough to

1 cater for multipath propagation (or delay spread) beyond

CP0 512 Ts 512 s 16.67 s (5)

30, 720, 000 the capability of existing extended CP which currently

accommodates delay spread of up to 16.67 s.

The value 512 in Equation (5) represents the FFT Table 2 shows the modulation schemes and applicable

points (i.e., FFT size). Extended CP yields six OFDM bits/symbol.

symbols per time slot, and CP0 CP1 CP5 im- There is a need to test the effectiveness of the pro-

plies that: posed ultra extended CP in relation to data transmission

CP0 CP0 ... CP5 16.67 s (6) and channel throughput. The effects of the proposed ul-

tra-extended CP on data transmission are investigated

Figure 4 shows the slot structure for the extended CP

via simulation in Section 4.0. The simulation is imple-

insertions.

mented in Microsoft Visual C# 2008 and MATLAB ver-

sion 7.10.0.499 (R2010a).

3.2. The Proposed Ultra Extended CP

OFDM subcarrier spacing of f = 15 kHz and 12 con- 4. Simulation and Discussion of Results

secutive subcarriers during one slot correspond to one

Recall that the proposed ultra extended CP yields five

downlink RB. In addition, there is also a lower subcarrier

OFDM symbols per time slot, resulting in ten OFDM

spacing of flow = 7.5 kHz, which are exclusively used

symbols per sub-frame. It is assumed that three of the ten

for MBMS (multimedia broadcast multicast service) with

OFDM symbols in a sub-frame are used for channel sig-

all cells on the same frequency (3GPP [13]). In the case of

naling. This gives seven symbols per sub-frame for ac-

7.5 kHz subcarrier spacing, there is only a single CP

tual data transmission.

length, TCPlow = 1024 * Ts, corresponding to three

OFDM symbols per slot. The introduction of the 7.5 kHz

4.1. Simulation Parameters

sub-carrier spacing is only partly implemented in the

LTE specifications. In this paper, we proposed an exten- Relevant simulation parameters are presented in Table 3.

sion to the existing extended CP, based on subcarrier In this paper, it is assumed that channel performance is

spacing of f = 15 kHz, which is herein referred to as not constrained by noise but rather signal corruption as a

ultra-extended CP. The proposed ultra-extended CP result of channel time dispersion caused by longer delay

(i.e., CPue) yields five OFDM symbols per time slot. The spread.

time duration for the CP is obtained by multiplying the The following variables are defined:

basic time unit (Ts) by 1024. The 1024 represents appli- ofdmext Net OFDM symbols/sub-frame for ex-

cable number of FFT points (i.e., FFT size). The time tended CP

duration of the ultra-extended CP is subsequently com- ofdmu ext Net OFDM symbols/sub-frame for ultra

puted as follows: extended CP

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284 A. M. AJOFOYINBO

QPSK 2

16QAM 4

64QAM 6

Description Value Description Value

Number of sub-frames per radio frame 10 Number of sub-frames per radio frame 10

Number of OFDM symbol per sub-frame 10 Number of OFDM symbol per sub-frame 12

Number of OFDM symbol per slot 5 Number of OFDM symbol per slot 6

Number of OFDM symbols for signaling per sub-frame Number of OFDM symbols for signaling per sub-frame

3 3

(i.e., 1 sub-frame = 2 RBs) (i.e., 1 sub-frame = 2 RBs)

Net OFDM symbols per sub-frame 7 Net OFDM symbols per sub-frame 9

Number of sub-frames for each user 10 Number of sub-frames for each user 10

Number of bits per OFDM symbol 2 Number of bits per OFDM symbol 2

Simulation runs 100 Simulation runs 100

Modulation scheme QPSK Modulation scheme QPSK

Number of users (N) 10 Number of users (N) 10

Delay Spread (DS) 5 s - 33 s Delay Spread 5 s - 33 s

Tbi Total bits available for transmission for user i Equations (9) and (10) specify the number of OFDM

Tbe i Bits available for transmission for user i using symbols per sub-frame after making provision for three

extended CP symbols for signaling. In this paper, every users data are

Tbue i Bits available for transmission for user i using transmitted using the two CP types namely: extended CP

ultra extended CP and ultra extended CP. Equations (11) and (12) show

Txe i Transmitted bits for user i using extended CP initial total bits for transmission by each user using ex-

Txue i Transmitted bits for user i using ultra ex- tended and ultra extended CPs respectively.

tended CP

Tbe i Tbi (11)

N subf Number of sub-frames used for transmission

by each user Tbue i Tbi (12)

CPe-iExtended cyclic prefix for user i

CPue-iUltra extended cyclic prefix for user i A user has integer multiples of allocated sub-frames

Data transmission for each user is modeled by Equa- for transmission; noting that a sub-frame consists of two

tions (9) to (16): RBs. Hence, Nsubf ranges from 1 to 10, per radio frame.

For the current work, a user is assumed to transmit data

ofdmext 9 (9) using a radio frame (i.e., 10 sub-frames); therefore

ofdmu ext 7 (10) N subf 10 (13)

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A. M. AJOFOYINBO 285

Recall that the proposed ultra extended CP gives net of spread of up to 33.3 s. To ensure fairness in assigning

seven OFDM symbols per sub-frame. This means that, in delay spread to individual user, ten entries (i.e., corre-

a given radio frame, a user will transmit seventy OFDM sponding to channel delay spreads), are generated ran-

symbols. domly by random number generator. The random delay

Depending on the applicable delay spread and CP, spreads in the range 5 s - 33 s are generated based on

Equations (14) and (15) compute transmitted bits per three scenarios namely: 5 - 33 s, 4 - 30 s and 10 - 20

radio frame. s. Data available for transmission for every user and the

Txe i N subf ofdmext CPe i (14) randomly generated applicable delay spreads for the dif-

ferent scenarios are presented in Table 4 below:

Txue i N subf ofdmu ext CPue i (15) The applicable modulation scheme is QPSK and bits

As data transmissions progress, Equations (16)-(19) transmitted per symbol are presented in Table 5 below.

update total bits available for transmission as appropri- The results of the simulation runs are presented in Fig-

ate. ures 6-8.

Tbe i Tbe i (16)

4.2. Analysis of Results

Tbue i Tbue i (17)

In Figures 6-8, TX-e and TX-ue represents transmission

Tbe i Tbei Txe i (18) using extended and ultra extended CP respectively.

In Figure 6, whereas user Number 3 transmitted 16

Tbue i Tbue i Txue i (19)

kilobits of data within the specified period using the ex-

As state in Section 2.0, the existing extended CP can tended CP, the same user could only transmit 14 kilo-

accommodate delay spread of up to 16.67 s while the bits of data using the proposed ultra extended CP. This

proposed ultra extended CP can accommodate delay was possible because of the randomly generated channel

Users 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Data (Kbits) 10 12 16 15 8 9 11 14 7 13

Delay Spread (4 - 30 s) 7 28 12 29 9 14 5 26 18 6

Delay Spread (5 - 33 s) 26 5 30 21 11 12 24 13 19 9

Delay Spread (10 - 20 s) 13 14 17 16 12 15 20 10 19 18

0 17 s 2 bits 2 bits

17 s ds 33 s 0 2 bits

16000

15000

14000 TX-e

13000 TX-ue

Data Transmitted (in bits)

12000

11000

10000

9000

8000

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

User Number

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286 A. M. AJOFOYINBO

16000

15000

14000 TX-e

13000

TX-ue

12000

11000

10000

9000

8000

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

User Number

16000

15000 TX-e

14000 TX-ue

13000

Data Transmitted (in bits)

12000

11000

10000

9000

8000

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

User Number

delay spread of 12 s for this particular user. Given the and ultra extended CP respectively. Clearly, the proposed

number of OFDM symbols per sub-frame, the transmis- ultra extended CP provides a basis for wider transmission

sion of user Number 3 clearly favoured extended CP in- coverage as it can effectively address the problem of

sertions. Conversely, user Number 8 with randomly gen- signal corruption due to longer delay spread.

erated delay spread of 26 s transmitted data using the It should be noted that longer CP may be beneficial in

proposed ultra extended CP while same user was unable specific environments with extensive delay spread; for

to successfully transmit any bit using extended CP. example in future telecommunication systems with large

In Figure 7, the proposed ultra extended CP generally cells (or wider cell coverage area).

leads to higher data transmission than the existing ex-

tended CP. Similar explanations go for results presented 5. Conclusions

in Figure 8.

Upon completion of the simulation runs, the total bits When transmitted signals arrive at the receiver by more

transmitted by the ten users using the proposed ultra ex- than one path of different length, the received signals are

tended CP was generally more than bits transmitted using staggered in time; this is multipath propagation. To miti-

the extended CP. For example, with the delay spread in gate the effect of dispersed channel distortion caused by

the range 4 - 30 s, 67 kilobits and 112 kilobits were random channel delay spreads, Cyclic Prefix (CP) is in-

transmitted by the ten users using the ultra extended and troduced to eliminate Inter-Symbol Interference (ISI). In

extended CP respectively. Similarly, with the delay this paper, a new approach for mitigating the effect of

spread in the range 5 - 33 s, 56 kilobits and 112 kilobits multipath propagation was proposed. This new approach,

were transmitted by the ten users using the extended and called the ultra extended CP, improved the capability

ultra extended CP respectively. Moreover, with the delay of the existing extended CP. Even though the number of

spread in the range 10 - 20 s, 69 kilobits and 114 kilo- OFDM symbols per slot was reduced from 6 to 5, the

bits were transmitted by the ten users using the extended shortfall in bits transmission was removed by the capa-

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A. M. AJOFOYINBO 287

bility offered by the ultra extended CP to effectively (AIC08), Rhodes, 20-22 August 2008, pp. 255-260.

transmit data when delay spread was beyond 16.67 s. It [4] R. V. Nee and R. Prasad, OFDM for Wireless Multime-

was assumed that channel performance was not con- dia Communications, Artech House, Boston, 2000.

strained by noise but rather signal corruption as a result [5] T. S. Rappaport, S. Seidel and R. Singh, 900-MHz Mul-

of channel time dispersion caused by longer delay spread. tipath Propagation Measurement for US Digital Cellular

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