Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Arslan, Hüseyin


adaptive modulation, orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, noise power estimation, signal-to-noise ratio estimation, modulation detection


OFDM has been recognized as a powerful multi-carrier modulation technique that provides efficient spectral utilization and resilience to frequency selective fading channels. Adaptive modulation is a concept whereby the modulation modes are dynamically changed based on the perceived instantaneous channel conditions. In conjunction with OFDM systems, adaptive modulation is a very powerful technique to combat the frequency selective nature of mobile channels, while simultaneously attempting to fully maximize the time-varying capacity of the channel. This is based on the fact that frequency selective fading affects the sub-carriers unevenly, causing some of them to fade more severely than others. The modulation modes are adaptively selected on the sub-carriers depending on the amount of fading, to maximize throughput and improve the overall BER. Transmission parameter adaptation is the response of the transmitter to the time-varying channel quality.

To efficiently react to the dynamic nature of the channel, adaptive OFDM systems rely on efficient algorithms in three key areas namely, channel quality estimation, transmission parameter selection and signaling or blind detection mechanisms of the modified parameters. These are together termed as the enabling techniques that contribute to the effective performance of adaptive OFDM systems. This thesis deals with higher performance and efficient enabling parameter estimation algorithms that further improve the overall performance of adaptive OFDM systems. Traditional estimation of channel quality indicators, such as noise power and SNR, assume that the noise has a flat power spectral density within the transmission band of the OFDM signal. Hence, a single estimate of the noise power is obtained by averaging the instantaneous noise power values across all the sub-carriers.

In reality, the noise within the OFDM bandwidth is a combination of white and correlated noise components, and has an uneven affect across the sub-carriers. It is this fact that has motivated the proposal of a windowing approach for noise power estimation. Windowing provides many local estimates of the dynamic noise statistics and allows better noise tracking across the OFDM transmission band. This method is particularly useful for better resource utilization and improved performance in sub-band adaptive modulation, where adaptation is performed on the sub-carriers on a group-by-group basis based on the observed channel conditions. Blind modulation mode detection is another relatively unexplored issue in regard to adaptation of OFDM systems. The receiver has to be informed of the appropriate modulation modes used at the transmitter for proper demodulation.

If this can be done without any explicit signaling information embedded within the OFDM symbol, it has the advantage of improved throughput and data capacity. A model selection approach is taken, and a novel statistical blind modulation detection method based on the Kullback-Leibler (K-L) distance is proposed. This algorithm takes into account the distribution of the Euclidian distances from the received noisy samples on the complex plane to the closest legitimate constellation points of all the modulation modes used.