Spectral efficiency

Spectral efficiency, spectrum efficiency or bandwidth efficiency refers to the information rate that can be transmitted over a given bandwidth in a specific communication system. It is a measure of how efficiently a limited frequency spectrum is utilized by the physical layer protocol, and sometimes by the media access control (the channel access protocol).[1]

Link spectral efficiency

The link spectral efficiency of a digital communication system is measured in bit/s/Hz,[2] or, less frequently but unambiguously, in (bit/s)/Hz. It is the net bitrate (useful information rate excluding error-correcting codes) or maximum throughput divided by the bandwidth in hertz of a communication channel or a data link. Alternatively, the spectral efficiency may be measured in bit/symbol, which is equivalent to bits per channel use (bpcu), implying that the net bit rate is divided by the symbol rate (modulation rate) or line code pulse rate.

Link spectral efficiency is typically used to analyse the efficiency of a digital modulation method or line code, sometimes in combination with a forward error correction (FEC) code and other physical layer overhead. In the latter case, a "bit" refers to a user data bit; FEC overhead is always excluded.

The modulation efficiency in bit/s is the gross bitrate (including any error-correcting code) divided by the bandwidth.

Example 1: A transmission technique using one kilohertz of bandwidth to transmit 1,000 bits per second has a modulation efficiency of 1 (bit/s)/Hz.
Example 2: A V.92 modem for the telephone network can transfer 56,000 bit/s downstream and 48,000 bit/s upstream over an analog telephone network. Due to filtering in the telephone exchange, the frequency range is limited to between 300 hertz and 3,400 hertz, corresponding to a bandwidth of 3,400 − 300 = 3,100 hertz. The spectral efficiency or modulation efficiency is 56,000/3,100 = 18.1 (bit/s)/Hz downstream, and 48,000/3,100 = 15.5 (bit/s)/Hz upstream.

An upper bound for the attainable modulation efficiency is given by the Nyquist rate or Hartley's law as follows: For a signaling alphabet with M alternative symbols, each symbol represents N = log2 M bits. N is the modulation efficiency measured in bit/symbol or bpcu. In the case of baseband transmission (line coding or pulse-amplitude modulation) with a baseband bandwidth (or upper cut-off frequency) B, the symbol rate can not exceed 2B symbols/s in view to avoid intersymbol interference. Thus, the spectral efficiency can not exceed 2N (bit/s)/Hz in the baseband transmission case. In the passband transmission case, a signal with passband bandwidth W can be converted to an equivalent baseband signal (using undersampling or a superheterodyne receiver), with upper cut-off frequency W/2. If double-sideband modulation schemes such as QAM, ASK, PSK or OFDM are used, this results in a maximum symbol rate of W symbols/s, and in that the modulation efficiency can not exceed N (bit/s)/Hz. If digital single-sideband modulation is used, the passband signal with bandwidth W corresponds to a baseband message signal with baseband bandwidth W, resulting in a maximum symbol rate of 2W and an attainable modulation efficiency of 2N (bit/s)/Hz.

Example 3: A 16QAM modem has an alphabet size of M = 16 alternative symbols, with N = 4 bit/symbol or bpcu. Since QAM is a form of double sideband passband transmission, the spectral efficiency cannot exceed N = 4 (bit/s)/Hz.
Example 4: The 8VSB (8-level vestigial sideband) modulation scheme used in the ATSC digital television standard gives N=3 bit/symbol or bpcu. Since it can be described as nearly single-side band, the modulation efficiency is close to 2N = 6 (bit/s)/Hz. In practice, ATSC transfers a gross bit rate of 32 Mbit/s over a 6 MHz wide channel, resulting in a modulation efficiency of 32/6 = 5.3 (bit/s)/Hz.
Example 5: The downlink of a V.92 modem uses a pulse-amplitude modulation with 128 signal levels, resulting in N = 7 bit/symbol. Since the transmitted signal before passband filtering can be considered as baseband transmission, the spectral efficiency cannot exceed 2N = 14 (bit/s)/Hz over the full baseband channel (0 to 4 kHz). As seen above, a higher spectral efficiency is achieved if we consider the smaller passband bandwidth.

If a forward error correction code is used, the spectral efficiency is reduced from the uncoded modulation efficiency figure.

Example 6: If a forward error correction (FEC) code with code rate 1/2 is added, meaning that the encoder input bit rate is one half the encoder output rate, the spectral efficiency is 50% of the modulation efficiency. In exchange for this reduction in spectral efficiency, FEC usually reduces the bit-error rate, and typically enables operation at a lower signal to noise ratio (SNR).

An upper bound for the spectral efficiency possible without bit errors in a channel with a certain SNR, if ideal error coding and modulation is assumed, is given by the Shannon-Hartley theorem.

Example 7: If the SNR is 1, corresponding to 0 decibel, the link spectral efficiency can not exceed 1 (bit/s)/Hz for error-free detection (assuming an ideal error-correcting code) according to Shannon-Hartley regardless of the modulation and coding.

Note that the goodput (the amount of application layer useful information) is normally lower than the maximum throughput used in the above calculations, because of packet retransmissions, higher protocol layer overhead, flow control, congestion avoidance, etc. On the other hand, a data compression scheme, such as the V.44 or V.42bis compression used in telephone modems, may however give higher goodput if the transferred data is not already efficiently compressed.

The link spectral efficiency of a wireless telephony link may also be expressed as the maximum number of simultaneous calls over 1 MHz frequency spectrum in erlangs per megahertz, or E/MHz. This measure is also affected by the source coding (data compression) scheme. It may be applied to analog as well as digital transmission.

In wireless networks, the link spectral efficiency can be somewhat misleading, as larger values are not necessarily more efficient in their overall use of radio spectrum. In a wireless network, high link spectral efficiency may result in high sensitivity to co-channel interference (crosstalk), which affects the capacity. For example, in a cellular telephone network with frequency reuse, spectrum spreading and forward error correction reduce the spectral efficiency in (bit/s)/Hz but substantially lower the required signal-to-noise ratio in comparison to non-spread spectrum techniques. This can allow for much denser geographical frequency reuse that compensates for the lower link spectral efficiency, resulting in approximately the same capacity (the same number of simultaneous phone calls) over the same bandwidth, using the same number of base station transmitters. As discussed below, a more relevant measure for wireless networks would be system spectral efficiency in bit/s/Hz per unit area. However, in closed communication links such as telephone lines and cable TV networks, and in noise-limited wireless communication system where co-channel interference is not a factor, the largest link spectral efficiency that can be supported by the available SNR is generally used.

System spectral efficiency or area spectral efficiency

In digital wireless networks, the system spectral efficiency or area spectral efficiency is typically measured in (bit/s)/Hz per unit area, in (bit/s)/Hz per cell, or in (bit/s)/Hz per site. It is a measure of the quantity of users or services that can be simultaneously supported by a limited radio frequency bandwidth in a defined geographic area.[1] It may for example be defined as the maximum aggregated throughput or goodput, i.e. summed over all users in the system, divided by the channel bandwidth and by the covered area or number of base station sites. This measure is affected not only by the single user transmission technique, but also by multiple access schemes and radio resource management techniques utilized. It can be substantially improved by dynamic radio resource management. If it is defined as a measure of the maximum goodput, retransmissions due to co-channel interference and collisions are excluded. Higher-layer protocol overhead (above the media access control sublayer) is normally neglected.

Example 8: In a cellular system based on frequency-division multiple access (FDMA) with a fixed channel allocation (FCA) cellplan using a frequency reuse factor of 1/4, each base station has access to 1/4 of the total available frequency spectrum. Thus, the maximum possible system spectral efficiency in (bit/s)/Hz per site is 1/4 of the link spectral efficiency. Each base station may be divided into 3 cells by means of 3 sector antennas, also known as a 4/12 reuse pattern. Then each cell has access to 1/12 of the available spectrum, and the system spectral efficiency in (bit/s)/Hz per cell or (bit/s)/Hz per sector is 1/12 of the link spectral efficiency.

The system spectral efficiency of a cellular network may also be expressed as the maximum number of simultaneous phone calls per area unit over 1 MHz frequency spectrum in E/MHz per cell, E/MHz per sector, E/MHz per site, or (E/MHz)/m2. This measure is also affected by the source coding (data compression) scheme. It may be used in analog cellular networks as well.

Low link spectral efficiency in (bit/s)/Hz does not necessarily mean that an encoding scheme is inefficient from a system spectral efficiency point of view. As an example, consider Code Division Multiplexed Access (CDMA) spread spectrum, which is not a particularly spectral efficient encoding scheme when considering a single channel or single user. However, the fact that one can "layer" multiple channels on the same frequency band means that the system spectrum utilization for a multi-channel CDMA system can be very good.

Example 9: In the W-CDMA 3G cellular system, every phone call is compressed to a maximum of 8,500 bit/s (the useful bitrate), and spread out over a 5 MHz wide frequency channel. This corresponds to a link throughput of only 8,500/5,000,000 = 0.0017 (bit/s)/Hz. Let us assume that 100 simultaneous (non-silent) calls are possible in the same cell. Spread spectrum makes it possible to have as low a frequency reuse factor as 1, if each base station is divided into 3 cells by means of 3 directional sector antennas. This corresponds to a system spectrum efficiency of over 1 × 100 × 0.0017 = 0.17 (bit/s)/Hz per site, and 0.17/3 = 0.06 (bit/s)/Hz per cell or sector.

The spectral efficiency can be improved by radio resource management techniques such as efficient fixed or dynamic channel allocation, power control, link adaptation and diversity schemes.

A combined fairness measure and system spectral efficiency measure is the fairly shared spectral efficiency.

Comparison table

Examples of predicted numerical spectral efficiency values of some common communication systems can be found in the table below. These results will not be achieved in all systems. Those further from the transmitter will not get this performance.

Spectral efficiency of common communication systems
Service Standard Launched,
Max. net bitrate
per carrier and
spatial stream,
R (Mbit/s)
per carrier,
B (MHz)
Max. link spectral efficiency,
R/B (bit/s⋅Hz)
Typical reuse factor, 1/K System spectral efficiency,
R/BK (bit/s⋅Hz per site)
1G cellular NMT 450 modem 1981 0.0012 0.025 0.45 N/A 17 0.064
1G cellular AMPS modem 1983 0.0003[3] 0.030 0.001 N/A 17[4] 0.0015
2G cellular GSM 1991 0.013 × 8 timeslots = 0.104 0.2 0.52 N/A 19 (​13[5] in 1999) 0.17[5] (in 1999)
2G cellular D-AMPS 1991 0.013 × 3 timeslots = 0.039 0.030 1.3 N/A 19 (​13[5] in 1999) 0.45[5] (in 1999)
2.75G cellular CDMA2000 1× voice 2000 0.0096 per phone call × 22 calls 1.2288 0.0078 per call N/A 1 0.172 (fully loaded)
2.75G cellular GSM + EDGE 2003 0.384 (typ. 0.20) 0.2 1.92 (typ. 1.00) N/A 13 0.33[5]
2.75G cellular IS-136HS + EDGE 0.384 (typ. 0.27) 0.200 1.92 (typ. 1.35) N/A 13 0.45[5]
3G cellular WCDMA FDD 2001 0.384 5 0.077 N/A 1 0.51
3G cellular CDMA2000 1× PD 2002 0.153 1.2288 0.125 N/A 1 0.1720 (fully loaded)
3G cellular CDMA2000 1×EV-DO Rev.A 2002 3.072 1.2288 2.5 N/A 1 1.3
Fixed WiMAX IEEE 802.16d 2004 96 20 4.8 14 1.2
3.5G cellular HSDPA 2007 21.1 5 4.22 1 4.22
4G MBWA iBurst HC-SDMA 2005 3.9 0.625 7.3 [6] 1 7.3
4G cellular LTE 2009 81.6 20 4.08 16.32 (4×4) [7] 1 (​13 at the perimeters[8]) 16.32
4G cellular LTE-Advanced 2013[9] 75 20 3.75 30.00 (8×8) [7] 1 (​13 at the perimeters[8]) 30
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/g 2003 54 20 2.7 N/A 13 0.900
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11n 2007 72.2 (up to 150) 20 (up to 40) 3.61 (up to 3.75) Up to 15.0 (4×4, 40 MHz) 13 5.0 (4×4, 40 MHz)
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac 2012 433.3 (up to 866.7) 80 (up to 160) 5.42 Up to 43.3 (8×8, 160 MHz)[10] 13 14.4 (8×8, 160 MHz)
WiGig IEEE 802.11ad 2013 6756 2160 3 N/A 1 3
Trunked radio system TETRA, low FEC 1998 4 timeslots = 0.019 (0.029 without FEC)[11][12][13] 0.025 0.8 N/A 17[14] 0.1
Trunked radio system TETRA II with TEDS, 64-QAM, 150kHz, low FEC 2011 4 timeslots = 0.538[11][12][13] 0.150 (scalable to 0.025) 3.6 N/A
Digital radio DAB 1995 0.576 to 1.152 1.712 0.34 to 0.67 N/A 15 0.07 to 0.13
Digital radio DAB with SFN 1995 0.576 to 1.152 1.712 0.34 to 0.67 N/A 1 0.34 to 0.67
Digital TV DVB-T 1997 31.67 (typ. 24)[15] 8 4.0 (typ. 3.0) N/A 17[16] 0.57
Digital TV DVB-T with SFN 1996 31.67 (typ. 24)[15] 8 4.0 (typ. 3.0) N/A 1 4.0 (typ. 3.0)
Digital TV DVB-T2 2009 45.5 (typ. 40)[15] 8 5.7 (typ. 5.0) N/A 17[16] 0.81
Digital TV DVB-T2 with SFN 2009 45.5 (typ. 40)[15] 8 5.7 (typ. 5.0) N/A 1 5.7 (typ. 5.0)
Digital TV DVB-S 1995 33.8 for 5.1 C/N (44.4 for 7.8 C/N)[17] 27.5 1.2 (1.6) N/A 14[18] 0.3 (0.4)
Digital TV DVB-S2 2005 46 for 5.1 C/N (58.8 for 7.8 C/N)[17] typ. 30 1.5 (2.0) N/A 14[18] 0.4 (0.5)
Digital TV ATSC with DTx 1996 32 19.39 1.6 N/A 1 3.23
Digital TV DVB-H 2007 5.5 to 11 8 0.68 to 1.4 N/A 15 0.14 to 0.28
Digital TV DVB-H with SFN 2007 5.5 to 11 8 0.68 to 1.4 N/A 1 0.68 to 1.4
Digital cable TV DVB-C 256-QAM mode 1994 38 6 6.33 N/A N/A N/A
Broadband CATV modem DOCSIS 3.1 QAM-4096, 25kHz OFDM spacing, LDPC 2016 1890[19][20] 192 9.84 N/A N/A N/A
Broadband modem ADSL2 downlink 12 0.962 12.47 N/A N/A N/A
Broadband modem ADSL2+ downlink 28 2.109 13.59 N/A N/A N/A
Telephone modem V.92 downlink 1999 0.056 0.004 14.0 N/A N/A N/A

N/A means not applicable.

See also


  1. ^ a b Guowang Miao, Jens Zander, Ki Won Sung, and Ben Slimane, Fundamentals of Mobile Data Networks, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 1107143217, 2016.
  2. ^ Sergio Benedetto and Ezio Biglieri (1999). Principles of Digital Transmission: With Wireless Applications. Springer. ISBN 0-306-45753-9.
  3. ^ C. T. Bhunia, Information Technology Network And Internet, New Age International, 2006, page 26.
  4. ^ Lal Chand Godara, "Handbook of antennas in wireless communications", CRC Press, 2002, ISBN 9780849301247
  5. ^ a b c d e f Anders Furuskär, Jonas Näslund and Håkan Olofsson (1999), "Edge—Enhanced data rates for GSM and TDMA/136 evolution", Ericsson Review no. 1
  6. ^ "KYOCERA's iBurst(TM) System Offers High Capacity, High Performance for the Broadband Era". Archived from the original on 2018-05-22.
  7. ^ a b "4G LTE-Advanced Technology Overview - Keysight (formerly Agilent's Electronic Measurement)". www.keysight.com.
  8. ^ a b Giambene, Giovanni; Ali Yahiya, Tara (1 November 2013). "LTE planning for Soft Frequency Reuse". doi:10.1109/WD.2013.6686468 – via ResearchGate.
  9. ^ "LTE-Advanced Archives - ExtremeTech". ExtremeTech.
  10. ^ "Whitepaper" (PDF). www.arubanetworks.com.
  11. ^ a b "TETRA vs TETRA2-Basic difference between TETRA and TETRA2". www.rfwireless-world.com.
  12. ^ a b "Application notes" (PDF). cdn.rohde-schwarz.com.
  13. ^ a b "Brochure" (PDF). tetraforum.pl.
  14. ^ "Data". cept.org.
  15. ^ a b c d "Fact sheet" (PDF). www.dvb.org.
  16. ^ a b "List publication" (PDF). mns.ifn.et.tu-dresden.de.
  17. ^ a b "Factsheet" (PDF). www.dvb.org.
  18. ^ a b Christopoulos, Dimitrios; Chatzinotas, Symeon; Zheng, Gan; Grotz, Joël; Ottersten, Björn (4 May 2012). "Linear and nonlinear techniques for multibeam joint processing in satellite communications". EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking. 2012 (1). doi:10.1186/1687-1499-2012-162.
  19. ^ "Info" (PDF). scte-sandiego.org.
  20. ^ [1]
CDMA spectral efficiency

CDMA spectral efficiency refers to the system spectral efficiency in bit/s/Hz/site or Erlang/MHz/site that can be achieved in a certain CDMA based wireless communication system. CDMA techniques (also known as spread spectrum) are characterized by a very low link spectral efficiency in (bit/s)/Hz as compared to non-spread spectrum systems, but a comparable system spectral efficiency.

The system spectral efficiency can be improved by radio resource management techniques, resulting in that a higher number of simultaneous calls and higher data rates can be achieved without adding more radio spectrum or more base station sites. This article is about radio resource management specifically for direct-sequence spread spectrum (DS-CDMA) based cellular systems.

Cellular traffic

This article discusses the mobile cellular network aspect of teletraffic measurements. Mobile radio networks have traffic issues that do not arise in connection with the fixed line PSTN. Important aspects of cellular traffic include: quality of service targets, traffic capacity and cell size, spectral efficiency and sectorization, traffic capacity versus coverage, and channel holding time analysis.

Teletraffic engineering in telecommunications network planning ensures that network costs are minimised without compromising the quality of service (QoS) delivered to the user of the network. This field of engineering is based on probability theory and can be used to analyse mobile radio networks, as well as other telecommunications networks.

A mobile handset which is moving in a cell will record a signal strength that varies. Signal strength is subject to slow fading, fast fading and interference from other signals, resulting in degradation of the carrier-to-interference ratio (C/I). A high C/I ratio yields quality communication. A good C/I ratio is achieved in cellular systems by using optimum power levels through the power control of most links. When carrier power is too high, excessive interference is created, degrading the C/I ratio for other traffic and reducing the traffic capacity of the radio subsystem. When carrier power is too low, C/I is too low and QoS targets are not met.

Channel allocation schemes

In radio resource management for wireless and cellular networks, channel allocation schemes allocate bandwidth and communication channels to base stations, access points and terminal equipment. The objective is to achieve maximum system spectral efficiency in bit/s/Hz/site by means of frequency reuse, but still assure a certain grade of service by avoiding co-channel interference and adjacent channel interference among nearby cells or networks that share the bandwidth.

Channel-allocation schemes follow one of two types of strategy:

Fixed: FCA, fixed channel allocation: manually assigned by the network operator


DCA, dynamic channel allocation

DFS, dynamic frequency selection

Spread spectrum

Comparison of mobile phone standards

This is a comparison of standards of mobile phones. A new generation of cellular standards has appeared approximately every tenth year since 1G systems were introduced in 1979 and the early to mid-1980s.

Compatible sideband transmission

A Compatible sideband transmission, also known as amplitude modulation equivalent (AME) or Single sideband-reduced carrier (SSB-RC), is a type of single sideband RF modulation in which the carrier is deliberately reinserted at a lower level after its normal suppression to permit reception by conventional AM receivers.

The benefits of AME over conventional AM are increased spectral efficiency due to a reduction in bandwidth of 50% as well as an increase in signal efficiency. Conventional AM transmitters waste 66% of the transmitter RF power due to AM's carrier and redundant sideband. By using AME, less RF power is required at the transmitter to transmit the same quality of signal the same distance. AME is currently most popular in high frequency military communications.

Continuous phase modulation

Continuous phase modulation (CPM) is a method for modulation of data commonly used in wireless modems. In contrast to other coherent digital phase modulation techniques where the carrier phase

abruptly resets to zero at the start of every symbol (e.g. M-PSK), with CPM the carrier phase is modulated in a continuous manner. For instance, with QPSK the carrier instantaneously jumps from a sine to a cosine (i.e. a 90 degree phase shift) whenever one of the two message bits of the current symbol differs from the two message bits of the previous symbol. This discontinuity requires a relatively large percentage of the power to occur outside of the intended band (e.g., high fractional out-of-band power), leading to poor spectral efficiency. Furthermore, CPM is typically implemented as a constant-envelope waveform, i.e., the transmitted carrier power is constant.

Therefore, CPM is attractive because the phase continuity yields high spectral efficiency, and the constant envelope yields excellent power efficiency. The primary drawback is the high implementation complexity required for an optimal receiver.


DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) is one of three prevalent mobile TV formats. It is a technical specification for bringing broadcast services to mobile handsets. DVB-H was formally adopted as ETSI standard EN 302 304 in November 2004. The DVB-H specification (EN 302 304) can be downloaded from the official DVB-H website. From March 2008, DVB-H is officially endorsed by the European Union as the "preferred technology for terrestrial mobile broadcasting". The major competitors of this technology are Qualcomm's MediaFLO system, the 3G cellular system based MBMS mobile-TV standard, and the ATSC-M/H format in the U.S. DVB-SH (Satellite to Handhelds) now and DVB-NGH (Next Generation Handheld) in the future are possible enhancements to DVB-H, providing improved spectral efficiency and better modulation flexibility. DVB-H has been a commercial failure, and the service is no longer on-air. Finland was the last country to switch-off its signals in March 2012.


Device-to-Device (D2D) communication in cellular networks is defined as direct communication between two mobile users without traversing the Base Station (BS) or core network. D2D communication is generally non-transparent to the cellular network and it can occur on the cellular frequencies (i.e., inband) or unlicensed spectrum (i.e., outband).In a traditional cellular network, all communications must go through the BS even if communicating parties are in range for proximity-based D2D communication. Communication through BS suits conventional low data rate mobile services such as voice call and text messaging in which users are seldom close enough for direct communication. However, mobile users in today's cellular networks use high data rate services (e.g., video sharing, gaming, proximity-aware social networking) in which they could potentially be in range for direct communications (i.e., D2D). Hence, D2D communications in such scenarios can greatly increase the spectral efficiency of the network. The advantages of D2D communications go beyond spectral efficiency; they can potentially improve throughput, energy efficiency, delay, and fairness.

Digital broadcasting

Digital broadcasting is the practice of using digital signals rather than analogue signals for broadcasting over radio frequency bands. Digital television broadcasting (especially satellite television) is widespread. Digital audio broadcasting is being adopted more slowly for radio broadcasting where it is mainly used in Satellite radio.

Digital links, thanks to the use of data compression, generally have greater spectral efficiency than analog links. Content providers can provide more services or a higher-quality signal than was previously available.

It is estimated that the share of digital broadcasting increased from 7% of the total amount of broadcast information in 2000, to 25% in 2007. Some countries have completed a Digital television transition.


Eb/N0 (the energy per bit to noise power spectral density ratio) is an important parameter in digital communication or data transmission. It is a normalized signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) measure, also known as the "SNR per bit". It is especially useful when comparing the bit error rate (BER) performance of different digital modulation schemes without taking bandwidth into account.

As the description implies, Eb is the signal energy associated with each user data bit; it is equal to the signal power divided by the user bit rate (not the channel symbol rate). If signal power is in watts and bit rate is in bits per second, Eb is in units of joules (watt-seconds). N0 is the noise spectral density, the noise power in a 1 Hz bandwidth, measured in watts per hertz or joules.

These are the same units as Eb so the ratio Eb/N0 is dimensionless; it is frequently expressed in decibels. Eb/N0 directly indicates the power efficiency of the system without regard to modulation type, error correction coding or signal bandwidth (including any use of spread spectrum). This also avoids any confusion as to which of several definitions of "bandwidth" to apply to the signal.

But when the signal bandwidth is well defined, Eb/N0 is also equal to the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in that bandwidth divided by the "gross" link spectral efficiency in bit/s⋅Hz, where the bits in this context again refer to user data bits, irrespective of error correction information and modulation type.Eb/N0 must be used with care on interference-limited channels since additive white noise (with constant noise density N0) is assumed, and interference is not always noise-like. In spread spectrum systems (e.g., CDMA), the interference is sufficiently noise-like that it can be represented as I0 and added to the thermal noise N0 to produce the overall ratio Eb/(N0 + I0).

Fairness measure

Fairness measures or metrics are used in network engineering to determine whether users or applications are receiving a fair share of system resources. There are several mathematical and conceptual definitions of fairness.

IMT Advanced

International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT-Advanced Standard) are the requirements issued by the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2008 for what is marketed as 4G (or sometimes as 4.5G) mobile phone and Internet access service.

Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (ICIC)

Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (ICIC) techniques, present a solution by applying restrictions to the radio resource management (RRM) block, improving favorable channel conditions across subsets of users that are severely impacted by the interference, and thus attaining high spectral efficiency. This coordinated resource management can be achieved through fixed, adaptive or real-time coordination with the help of additional inter-cell signaling in which the signaling rate can vary accordingly. In general, inter-cell signaling refers to the communication interface among neighboring cells and the received measurement message reports from user equipments (UEs).

NIMO (non-interfering multiple output)

An approach of an antenna and beamforming system, NIMO (non-interfering multiple output), is introduced that can be used to overcome bandwidth and capacity limitations on dense wireless networks. The new system combines beamforming technology with MIMO, providing a higher quality of service (QoS), and supports transparent integration with any telecommunication system. NIMO provides multiple narrow beams using a single antenna, and provides improved characteristics compared to conventional beamforming techniques such as reduced interference. Such a multi-beam antenna system increases spectral efficiency, user capacity, and throughput, as well as QoS. The improved performance makes it ideal for broadband wireless communications including mobile systems.

Radio resource management

Radio resource management (RRM) is the system level management of co-channel interference, radio resources, and other radio transmission characteristics in wireless communication systems, for example cellular networks, wireless local area networks, wireless sensor systems radio broadcasting networks. RRM involves strategies and algorithms for controlling parameters such as transmit power, user allocation, beamforming, data rates, handover criteria, modulation scheme, error coding scheme, etc. The objective is to utilize the limited radio-frequency spectrum resources and radio network infrastructure as efficiently as possible.

RRM concerns multi-user and multi-cell network capacity issues, rather than the point-to-point channel capacity. Traditional telecommunications research and education often dwell upon channel coding and source coding with a single user in mind, although it may not be possible to achieve the maximum channel capacity when several users and adjacent base stations share the same frequency channel. Efficient dynamic RRM schemes may increase the system spectral efficiency by an order of magnitude, which often is considerably more than what is possible by introducing advanced channel coding and source coding schemes. RRM is especially important in systems limited by co-channel interference rather than by noise, for example cellular systems and broadcast networks homogeneously covering large areas, and wireless networks consisting of many adjacent access points that may reuse the same channel frequencies.

The cost for deploying a wireless network is normally dominated by base station sites (real estate costs, planning, maintenance, distribution network, energy, etc.) and sometimes also by frequency license fees. The objective of radio resource management is therefore typically to maximize the system spectral efficiency in bit/s/Hz/area unit or Erlang/MHz/site, under some kind of user fairness constraint, for example, that the grade of service should be above a certain level. The latter involves covering a certain area and avoiding outage due to co-channel interference, noise, attenuation caused by path losses, fading caused by shadowing and multipath, Doppler shift and other forms of distortion. The grade of service is also affected by blocking due to admission control, scheduling starvation or inability to guarantee quality of service that is requested by the users.

While classical radio resource managements primarily considered the allocation of time and frequency resources (with fixed spatial reuse patterns), recent multi-user MIMO techniques enables adaptive resource management also in the spatial domain. In cellular networks, this means that the fractional frequency reuse in the GSM standard has been replaced by a universal frequency reuse in LTE standard.

Space-division multiple access

Space-division multiple access (SDMA) is a channel access method based on creating parallel spatial pipes next to higher capacity pipes through spatial multiplexing and/or diversity, by which it is able to offer superior performance in radio multiple access communication systems. In traditional mobile cellular network systems, the base station has no information on the position of the mobile units within the cell and radiates the signal in all directions within the cell in order to provide radio coverage. This method results in wasting power on transmissions when there are no mobile units to reach, in addition to causing interference for adjacent cells using the same frequency, so called co-channel cells. Likewise, in reception, the antenna receives signals coming from all directions including noise and interference signals. By using smart antenna technology and differing spatial locations of mobile units within the cell, space-division multiple access techniques offer attractive performance enhancements. The radiation pattern of the base station, both in transmission and reception, is adapted to each user to obtain highest gain in the direction of that user. This is often done using phased array techniques.

In GSM cellular networks, the base station is aware of the distance (but not direction) of a mobile phone by use of a technique called "timing advance" (TA). The base transceiver station (BTS) can determine how far the mobile station (MS) is by interpreting the reported TA. This information, along with other parameters, can then be used to power down the BTS or MS, if a power control feature is implemented in the network. The power control in either BTS or MS is implemented in most modern networks, especially on the MS, as this ensures a better battery life for the MS. This is also why having a BTS close to the user results in less exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

This is why one may be safer to have a BTS close to them as their MS will be powered down as much as possible. For example, there is more power being transmitted from the MS than what one would receive from the BTS even if they were 6 meters away from a BTS mast. However, this estimation might not consider all the Mobile stations that a particular BTS is supporting with EM radiation at any given time.

In the same manner, 5th generation mobile networks will be focused in using the given position of the MS in relation to BTS in order to focus all MS Radio frequency power to the BTS direction and vice versa, thus enabling power savings for the Mobile Operator, reducing MS SAR index, reducing the EM field around base stations since beam forming will concentrate RF power when it will be used rather than spread uniformly around the BTS, reducing health and safety concerns, enhancing spectral efficiency, and decreased MS battery consumption.

Spatial capacity

Spatial capacity is an indicator of "data intensity" in a transmission medium. It is usually used in conjunction with wireless transport mechanisms. This is analogous to the way that lumens per square meter determine illumination intensity.Spatial capacity focuses not only on bit rates for data transfer but on bit rates available in confined spaces defined by short transmission ranges. It is measured in bits per second per square meter.

Among those leading research in spatial capacity are Jan Rabaey at the University of California, Berkeley. Some have suggested the term "spatial efficiency" as more descriptive. Marc Weiser, former chief technologist of Xerox PARC, was another contributor to the field who commented on the importance of spatial capacity.The System spectral efficiency is the spatial capacity divided by the bandwidth in hertz of the available frequency band.

Trunked radio system

A trunked radio system is a digital two-way radio system that uses a digital control channel to automatically assign frequency channels to groups of users. In a half-duplex land mobile radio system a group of users with portable two-way radios communicate over a single shared radio channel, with one user at a time talking. These systems typically have access to multiple channels, up to 40 - 60, so multiple groups in the same area can communicate. Trunked radio systems are an advanced alternative to conventional systems in which the channel selection is done manually. In a conventional system, before use the group must decide on which channel to use, and manually switch all the radios to that channel. There is nothing to prevent multiple groups in the same area from choosing the same channel, causing conflicts. In a trunked system, the channel selection process is performed automatically.

Trunking is a more automated and complex radio system, but provides the benefits of less user intervention to operate the radio and greater spectral efficiency with large numbers of users. Instead of assigning a radio channel to one particular user group at a time, users are instead assigned to a logical grouping, a "talkgroup". When any user in that group wishes to converse with another user in the talkgroup, a vacant radio channel is found automatically by the system and the conversation takes place on that channel. Many unrelated conversations can occur on a channel, making use of the otherwise idle time between conversations. Each radio transceiver contains a microprocessor which handles the channel selection process. A control channel coordinates all the activity of the radios in the system. The control channel computer sends packets of data to enable one talkgroup to talk together, regardless of frequency.

The primary purpose of this type of system is efficiency; many people can carry many conversations over only a few distinct frequencies. Trunking is used by many government entities to provide two-way communication for fire departments, police and other municipal services, who all share spectrum allocated to a city, county, or other entity.


WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a family of wireless broadband communication standards based on the IEEE 802.16 set of standards, which provide multiple physical layer (PHY) and Media Access Control (MAC) options.

The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard, including the definition of predefined system profiles for commercial vendors. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL". IEEE 802.16m or WirelessMAN-Advanced was a candidate for the 4G, in competition with the LTE Advanced standard.

WiMAX was initially designed to provide 30 to 40 megabit-per-second data rates, with the 2011 update providing up to 1 Gbit/s for fixed stations.

The latest version of WiMAX, WiMAX release 2.1, popularly branded as/known as WiMAX 2+, is a smooth, backwards-compatible transition from previous WiMAX generations. It is compatible and inter-operable with TD-LTE.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.