Tag Archives: LTE

Open Signal Coverage Maps for Pakistan

Open Signal is a mobile application that collects the data about your wireless network (2G/3G/4G) and generates coverage maps and host of other reports. The data is collected in the background while the user is busy in his daily routines. But data can also be collected on the request of the user. This is much better than drive testing since the data is collected in real life scenarios and on thousands of different devices that are in use.

The app works while the user is indoor or outdoor, at rest or in motion, on land or on water, at sea level or on a mountain, in dry weather or in rain. Basically anywhere and anytime there are wireless signals available. There are currently 20 million users of the app (both Android and iOS combined) and this number is increasing. In Pakistan all major networks are supported including Jazz, Telenor, Zong and Ufone (both 2G/3G and 4G networks are supported).

JAZZ Islamabad Coverage Map

Telenor Islamabad Coverage Map

Zong Islamabad Coverage Map

Ufone Islamabad Coverage Map

Shannon Capacity CDMA vs OFDMA

We have previously discussed Shannon Capacity of CDMA and OFMDA, here we will discuss it again in a bit more detail. Let us assume that we have 20 MHz bandwidth for both the systems which is divided amongst 20 users. For OFDMA we assume that each user gets 1 MHz bandwidth and there are no guard bands or pilot carriers. For CDMA we assume that each user utilizes full 20 MHz bandwidth. We can say that for OFDMA each user has a dedicated channel whereas for CDMA the channel is shared between 20 simultaneous users.

We know that Shannon Capacity is given as


or in the case of CDMA


where ‘B’ is the bandwidth and SINR is the signal to noise plus interference ratio. For OFDMA the SNR is given as


where ‘Pu’ is the signal power of a single user and ‘No’ is the Noise Power Spectral Density. For CDMA the calculation of SINR is a bit more complicated as we have to take into account the Multiple Access Interference. If the total number of users is ‘u’ the SINR is calculated as


The code given below plots the capacity of CDMA and OFDMA as a function of Noise Power Spectral Density ‘No’.

% u - Number of users
% Pu - Power of a single user
% No - Noise Power Spectral Density
% Copyright RAYmaps (www.raymaps.com)

clear all
close all




plot(No,C_CDMA/1e6);hold on
plot(No,C_OFDMA/1e6,'r');hold off
xlabel('Noise Power Spectral Density (No)')
ylabel('Capacity (Mbps)')
Shannon Capacity of CDMA and OFDMA
Shannon Capacity of CDMA and OFDMA

We see that the capacity of OFDMA is much more sensitive to noise than CDMA. Within the low noise region the capacity of OFDMA is much better than CDMA but as the noise increases the capacity of the two schemes converges. In fact it was seen that as the noise PSD is further increased the two curves completely overlap each other. Therefore it can be concluded that OFDMA is the preferred technique when we are operating in the high SNR regime.

Does Shannon Capacity Increase by Dividing a Frequency Band into Narrow Bins

Somebody recently asked me this question “Does Shannon Capacity Increase by Dividing a Frequency Band into Narrow Bins”. To be honest I was momentarily confused and thought that this may be the case since many of the modern Digital Communication Systems do use narrow frequency bins e.g. LTE. But on closer inspection I found that the Shannon Capacity does not change, in fact it remains exactly the same. Following is the reasoning for that.

Shannon Capacity is calculated as:




Now if the bandwidth ‘B’ is divided into 10 equal blocks then the transmit power ‘P’ for each block would also be divided by 10 to keep the total transmit power for the entire band to be constant. This means that the factor P/(B*No) remains constant. So the total capacity for the 10 blocks would be calculated as:


So the Shannon Capacity for the entire band remains the same.

PS: The reason for the narrower channels is that for a narrow channel the channel appears relatively flat in the frequency domain and the process of equilization is thus simplified (a simple multiplication/division would do).

Note: ‘No’ is the Noise Power Spectral Density and ‘B*No’ is the Noise Power.

Inside Qualcomm Snapdragon S4

We have previously looked at the antennas inside a cell phone. Now we look at another important component of a cell phone; the mobile station modem (MSM). One of the most popular MSM in cell phones today is the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. The details of this MSM are given in the table below.

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4

As can be seen from the above table this small chipset (can easily fit on a fingertip) packs a punch as far as processing power is concerned. It supports a number of wireless standards from GSM/GPRS to LTE and from CDMA 2000 to TD-SCDMA. One of its close competitors is the NVIDIA Tegra 3 which has four ARM Cortex A9 cores (compared to Snapdragon’s two).

Qualcomm Snapdragon – S4

Planar Inverted F Antenna (PIFA)

A Planar Inverted F Antenna or PIFA is a very common antenna type being used in cell phones. In fact a cell phone would have multiple PIFAs for LTE, WiMAX, WiFi, GPS etc. Furthermore, there would be multiple PIFAs for diversity reception and transmission. A PIFA is composed of 5 basic elements.

1. A large metallic ground plane

2. A resonating metallic plane

3. A substrate separating the two planes

4. A shorting pin (or plane)

5. A feeding mechanism

Planar Inverted F Antenna
Planar Inverted F Antenna

The resonant frequency of the PIFA can be calculated from the relationship between the wavelength of the antenna and the dimensions of the antenna. The relationship is given as:


It must be remembered that the wavelength here is the guided wavelength which is given as  λgo/√εr. Here εr is the relative permittivity of the substrate and λo is the wavelength in free space. There exist two special cases of the above relationship. First is the case where the shorting plane has width W1. In this case the above relationship is reduced to:


In the second case the width of the shorting plane is reduced to zero i.e. the shorting plane is actually a shorting pin. In this case the relationship is reduced to:


In cell phones with multiple PIFAs the ground plane is actually one large ground plane for all the resonating surfaces and may include the body of the cell phone as well. Lastly, the input impedance of the PIFA is controlled by changing the distance of the feeding pin from the shorting plane. The impedance is zero at the shorting plane and is maximum at the other end (away from the shorting plane).

[1] http://www.antenna-theory.com/antennas/patches/pifa.php

Implementing a Non-Uniformly Spaced Tapped Delay Line Channel Model

Since you are good on fundamentals I would like to ask you a question that puzzles me. LTE channels models are defined at irregular time intervals as shown in [1].

The EPA, EVA and ETU channel taps can best be described as being sampled at multiples of 10 nsec. However, LTE signal is sampled at multiples of 3.84 MHz (Ts=260.416667 nsec). So how does one perform convolution operation.

Empirical multipath channel is usually characterized as a τ-spaced tapped delay line (TDL), whose power delay profile (PDP) is either uniformly spaced, or more frequently, spaced with arbitrary time delay(s). Converting a τ-spaced empirical model to a more tractable T-spaced (sampling time-spaced) statistical model will greatly facilitate the link-level simulation and performance evaluation of the broadband digital wireless system. The practical approaches to accomplish this task could be either approximation or interpolation,

1. Approximation
a. Ceil or Floor a τ-spaced tap to the neighbouring sampling time.
b. Split the energy of a τ-spaced tap to the adjacent sampling times.
2. Interpolation
An Ideal Bandlimited (sinc) Interpolator can fulfil the goal.

It should be noted that although T-spaced statistical model is simpler for analysis, τ-spaced empirical model represents the channel more accurately.

[1] http://www.steepestascent.com/content/mediaassets/html/LTE/Help/PropagationConditions.html