All posts by Yasir Ahmed (aka John)

About Yasir Ahmed (aka John)

More than 20 years of experience in various organizations in Pakistan, USA and Europe. Worked as Research Assistant within Mobile and Portable Radio Group (MPRG) of Virginia Tech and was one of the first researchers to propose Space Time Block Codes for eight transmit antennas. The collaboration with MPRG continued even after graduating with an MSEE degree and has resulted in 12 research publications and a book on Wireless Communications. Worked for Qualcomm USA as an Engineer with the key role of performance and conformance testing of UMTS modems. Qualcomm is the inventor of CDMA technology and owns patents critical to the 5G and 4G standards.

MSK Demodulation Using a Discriminator

It is widely believed that performance of non-coherent receivers is much worse than performance of coherent receivers in terms of Bit Error Rate (BER). Although this is true to some extent but as we show in this post the difference in performance is not that much in case of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK). In fact, there is only a difference of about one dB in an AWGN environment at high Signal to Noise Ratios (SNR). The difference is somewhat larger in flat fading environment but given the simplicity of implementation of a non-coherent receiver the trade-off might be worth it.
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Orthogonal Minimum Shift Keying (OMSK)

Some Background

Before we delve deep into Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) and its performance in presence of co-channel interference the reader is advised to look at the following posts.

Post 1 – MSK BER performance in AWGN and flat fading environment when viewed as extension of BPSK

Post 2 – MSK Power Spectral Density and its BER performance in AWGN when viewed as a CPM

Post 3 – MSK BER Performance in AWGN and flat fading environment when viewed as a CPM

Co-channel interference is a phenomenon widely encountered in wireless communication systems and the main reason for that is frequency reuse, which allows the same frequency band to be used over and over again in geographically non-contiguous areas. GSM and other wireless communication systems, using MSK modulation, suffer from the same problem. This has been widely studied in the literature and interference rejection techniques have been proposed. The worst case is one where the power of both the signals (wanted signal and interference) is almost the same and there is no frequency or phase offset. 
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MSK Bit Error Rate in Rayleigh Fading

I - In the previous two posts we discussed MSK performance in an AWGN channel, first presenting the MATLAB/OCTAVE Code for one sample per symbol case [Post 1], and then extending it to the more general case of multiple samples per symbol [Post 2]. This helps us visualize the underlying beauty of Continuous Phase Modulation (CPM) which reduces out of band energy and consequently lowers Adjacent Channel Interference (ACI). We also briefly touched upon the case of MSK in Rayleigh fading, but did not go into the details. So here we take a deeper dive.
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MSK – A Continuous Phase Modulation (CPM)

Some Background on MSK

I – In the previous post we presented the mathematical model and code for BER calculation of a popular modulation scheme called MSK. However in the code we shared, we only considered one sample per symbol, which makes MSK look like BPSK. While BPSK symbols fall on the real axis, MSK symbols alternate between real and imaginary axes, progressing by π/2 phase during each symbol period. MSK signal thus has memory and this can help in demodulation using advanced techniques such as Viterbi Algorithm. 
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Minimum Shift Keying Bit Error Rate in AWGN

I - Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) is a type of Continuous Phase Modulation (CPM) that has been used in many wireless communication systems. To be more precise it is Continuous Phase Frequency Shift Keying (CPFSK) with two frequencies f1 and f2. The frequency separation between the two tones is the minimum allowable while maintaining orthogonality and is equal to half the bit rate (or symbol rate, as both are the same). The frequency deviation is then given as Δf=Rb/4. The two tones have frequencies of fc±Δf where fc is the carrier frequency. MSK is sometimes also visualized as Offset QPSK (OQPSK) but we will not go into its details here. 
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Pulse Amplitude Modulation Symbol Error Rate in AWGN

Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) is a one dimensional or in other words real modulation. Simply put it is an extension of BPSK with M amplitude levels instead of two. This can be a bit confusing because BPSK can be looked at as a phase modulation and its natural extension must be QPSK or 8-PSK modulations. To remove this ambiguity lets call M-PAM an extension of simple amplitude modulation but with M levels. In the discussion below we consider M=4 but then extend it to the general case of M=2k (k=1,2,3…).

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