Finite-alphabet based channel estimation for OFDM and related multicarrier systems

Shengli Zhou, Georgios B. Giannakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Novel blind channel estimators based on the finite alphabet property of information symbols are derived in this paper for OFDM and related multicarrier code-division multiple access (MC-CDMA) systems. The resulting algorithms are applicable not only to standard OFDM transmitters with cyclic prefix, but also to the recently proposed zero padded OFDM transmissions that improve symbol recovery at the expense of altering the transmitter and complicating the equalizer. Based on FFT-processed received data, channel identifiability is guaranteed regardless of channel zero locations and various channel estimation algorithms become available by trading off complexity for performance. Unlike existing blind channel estimators, the proposed alternatives require short data records especially for PSK transmissions. The inherent scalar ambiguity is easily resolved because it has unit amplitude and phase values drawn from a finite set. Decoupling channel from symbol estimation enables a phase-directed operation that improves upon decision-directed schemes that are known to suffer from error propagation. Practical issues are also addressed including the presence of frequency guard intervals, constellation and power loading, various frame designs, coded transmissions as well as semi-blind and online implementations for systems with training sequences. The algorithms are tested with simulations and also compared with existing alternatives in a realistic HIPERLAN/2 setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1402-1414
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Paper approved by C. Tellambura, the editor for Multicarrier Systems of the IEEE Communication Society, Manuscript received March 10, 2000; revised December 24, 2000. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Wireless Initiative under Grant 99-79443 and the ARL under Grant DAAL01-98-Q-0648. This paper was presented in part at the Conference on Information Sciences and Systems (CISS), Princeton, NJ, March 15-17, 2000.


  • Blind channel estimation
  • Multicarrier transmission
  • OFDM


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