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what is OFDMA and how it works.

+1 vote

LTE is using OFDMA for downlink and SC-FDMA for uplink. How downlink data rate is high as compare to uplink. what factors create this difference.

posted Sep 1, 2013 by Vikram Singh

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1 Answer

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SC-FDMA is single carrier FDMA it has no relation with OFDMA it was adopted to control the peak to power ratio in the uplink direction, where as OFDMA has orthogonal frequencies as carrier frequencies which can overlap and minimal interference hence higher output for the same spectrum.

Concept of OFDMA
An OFDM signal consists of a number of closely spaced modulated carriers. When modulation of any form - voice, data, etc. is applied to a carrier, then sidebands spread out either side. It is necessary for a receiver to be able to receive the whole signal to be able to successfully demodulate the data. As a result when signals are transmitted close to one another they must be spaced so that the receiver can separate them using a filter and there must be a guard band between them. This is not the case with OFDM. Although the sidebands from each carrier overlap, they can still be received without the interference that might be expected because they are orthogonal to each another. This is achieved by having the carrier spacing equal to the reciprocal of the symbol period.

To see how OFDM works, it is necessary to look at the receiver. This acts as a bank of demodulators, translating each carrier down to DC. The resulting signal is integrated over the symbol period to regenerate the data from that carrier. The same demodulator also demodulates the other carriers. As the carrier spacing equal to the reciprocal of the symbol period means that they will have a whole number of cycles in the symbol period and their contribution will sum to zero - in other words there is no interference contribution.

One requirement of the OFDM transmitting and receiving systems is that they must be linear. Any non-linearity will cause interference between the carriers as a result of inter-modulation distortion. This will introduce unwanted signals that would cause interference and impair the orthogonality of the transmission.
In terms of the equipment to be used the high peak to average ratio of multi-carrier systems such as OFDM requires the RF final amplifier on the output of the transmitter to be able to handle the peaks whilst the average power is much lower and this leads to inefficiency. In some systems the peaks are limited. Although this introduces distortion that results in a higher level of data errors, the system can rely on the error correction to remove them.

answer Sep 2, 2013 by anonymous
Similar Questions
+1 vote

I was going through the OFDMA wiki page ( it seems that it is registered trademark of and giving the impression of OFDMA is new technology. But while Googling further I found that it was invented in 1957 [ Kineplex, multi-carrier HF modem (R.R. Mosier & R.G. Clabaugh)]

Now the question is why telecom industry took so much of time to adopt OFDMA as access technology in the form of LTE/WiMax. Was there some reason or it was ignorance of telecom industry?

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