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What is OFDM?
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing Method of encoding digital data on multiple carrier frequencies Conceptually OFDM is a specialized FDM, the additional constraint being - all the carrier signal are orthogonal to each other

The Birth of OFDM

Evolution of FDM towards OFDM.

FDM - total bandwidth available in a communication medium divided into a series of non-overlaping frequency sub-bands Guard bands or empty spectral regions are were placed between the signals to ensure that they could be seperated with with the use of filters at the receiver. Spectral efficiency is lower

OFDM is a special case of multicarrier transmission , where a single data stream is transmitted over a number of lower rate subcarrier Single carrier transmission
The concept of single-carrier is that each user transmits and receives data stream with only one carrier at any time.

Single carrier transmission

Multicarrier carrier transmission

cos(2 f1t )

Multicarrier transmission
The concept of multi-carrier transmission is that a user can employ a number of carriers to transmit data simultaneously.

cos(2 f 2t )

s (t )

cos(2 f1t )

cos(2 f N t )

s (t )

OFDM is a combination of modulation and multiplexing technique Unlike general multiplexing technique - it is applied only to one independent channel A set of signals from the same source is divided or splitted into number of independent channels and each modulated by seperate carrier Then it is multiplexed into into and OFDM signal for transmission

The orthagonality of sub-carriers in OFDM makes it to be special. What is orthogonal? Orthogonal means peak of one carrier occurs at null of the other This means the each sub-channel of the main signal is being multiplied by a carrier which is orthogonal to each other. Carrier - sine or cosine wave - area under one sine or cosine wave is simply zero Orthogonal carrier means if the first carrier frequency is f1 the second carrier will be 2xf1, the third carrier will be 3xf1, and so on.

This kind of orthogonality of the carriers allows simultaneous transmission of sub-carriers in a tightly spaced bandwidth without interfering from each other because each carrier is orthogonal to each other making the result of their multiplication a zero.

Advantage of OFDM
bandwidth efficient comapared to FDM system OFDM system provides higher data rate compare to FDM system in the same bandwidth usage. In FDM case entire bandwidth is used by user/subscriber, while in OFDM bandwidth is divided into many narrow band channels and each is allocated to user/subscriber. Hence OFDM supports more subscribers/channels compare to FDM.

Where OFDM technique is implemented?

FDM systems are used in radio, satellite communications requiring good amount of guard bands between adjacent frequency bands. OFDM systems are used in wimax16d/16e, wlan-11g/11n and LTE technologies requiring higher data rate and mainly used for broadband internet service.