Wireless = OFDM

If you are a Physical Layer designer, then you must be stumbled by an upcoming modulation scheme called OFDM. The OFDM blessing (or bug?) has caught the whole Communication industry by storm. The scheme can potentially save you from nightmares on Equalizer design and provide better spectral efficiency !
Let me give a preview of the implication of this technology on Wireless space (or better call it OFDM space):
  1. LAN – The market started with the Spread Spectrum based techniques (DSSS and CCK) with 802.11b standard but soon found to be overtaken by 802.11a and 802.11g standards (both OFDM based.). And if this was not all, the upcoming 802.11n is also built on top of OFDM modulation.
  2. WAN – The market has been hyped by the likes of Intel, Samsung and Motorola with the WiMax and WiBro standards being the Next-In-Thing (both OFDM based).
  3. PAN – The market space failed to take off with the initial Bluetooth systems (FHSS based), but now with the growing market share of Multimedia Cellphones Bluetooth is becoming a must have feature. (Thanks this is not OFDM based !) But for how long ? The 802.15 committee on UWB is fighting towards the proposals MBOA (An OFDM technology) vs. the UWB based on Pulse Modulation. If the MBOA gets the market share then OFDM may again rule the space.
  4. Cellular – The 3G market space is occupied with the CDMA based solutions, but there is a market move in the 3GPP-LTE to consider the variations of OFDM solution moving ahead !
  5. Video Broadcasting – The market is picking up for TV on Mobile using the DVB-H standard (again an OFDM variant)

Does that mean we are moving towards Wireless = OFDM ? I may not be surprised. Researchers around the world are trying to tame OFDM and generate patents to remain in the Wireless-OFDM world.

BTW, I am too hit by this bug, having worked on 802.11a/g and working on WiMax standards.

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5 Responses

  1. OFDM is really cool, I think Flarion’s has one of the best offering around OFDM and Qualcomm acquired it nicely(http://rajan.wordpress.com/2005/11/04/brewing-the-future-well/)

    Rajan

  2. Even QC’s uses OFDM in its MediaFLO product. Its the technology of the future.

    Rajiv.

  3. Sure, atleast for next 5 years ofdm is going to be the dominant one it seems.

  4. Rahul, OFDMA (.. extreeme application of subchannelization), a derivative of OFDM is considered to be better scalable than CDMA. But I’m not sure if any vendor is implementing this as of now. Any thoughts ???

  5. Satish,

    OFDMA is used in WiMax. The various companies going for WiMax are Intel, Motorola, Beceem,…

    Rahul

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