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Linksand references
The First generation wireless mobile communication systemswere introduced in early eighties and second generations systems in thelate 1980s were intended primarily for transmission of voice. The initialsystems used analog frequency modulation where as the second as well asthe subsequent mobile systems use digital communication techniques withtime division multiplexing (TDM), frequency division multiplexing (FDM)or the code division multiple access (CDMA). The third generation wirelesssystems which are just getting introduced in the world markets offer considerablyhigher data rates, and allow significant improvements over the 2G systems.The 3G Wireless systems were proposed to provide voice and paging servicesto provide interactive multimedia including teleconferencing and internetaccess and variety of other services. However, these systems offer widearea network (WAN) coverage of 384 kbps peak rate and limited coveragefor 2 Mbps. Hence providing broadband services would be one of the majorgoals of the 4G Wireless systems.
The following are somepossible features of the 4G systems :
1. Support interactive multimedia,voice, video, wireless internet and other broadband services.
2. High speed, high capacityand low cost per bit.
3. Global mobility, serviceportability, scalable mobile networks.
4. Seamless switching, varietyof services based on Quality of Service (QoS) requirements
5. Better scheduling andcall admission control techniques.
6. Ad hoc networks and multi-hopnetworks.
Thefollowing table shows comparisons between some key parameters of 3G Vspossible 4G systems.

4G Systems GmbH. Supported Operating Systems. Windows 7, Windows 2008, Windows Vista, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98SE, Windows 98, Windows 95, Mac OSX, Mac OS. WNWMV1.0B111020061.9.ZIP (6.1 MB).

Frequency Band
1.8 - 2.5 GHz 2 - 8 GHz
Bandwidth 5-20 MHz 5-20 MHz
Data rate Up to 2Mbps ( 384 kbps WAN) Up to 20 Mbps or more
Wideband CDMA
Multi-carrier- CDMA or OFDM(TDMA)
FEC Turbo-codes Concatenated codes
Switching Circuit/Packet Packet
Mobile top speeds 200 kmph 200 kmph

Physicaland MAC Layer specifications

One promising underlyingtechnology to accomplish the divisiveness is multi-carrier modulation,a derivative of frequency division multiplexing. MCM was earlier used inDSL modems and digital audio-video broadcasts. It is a baseband processthat uses parallel equal bandwidth channels to transmit information. Normallyimplemented with Fast Fourier transform (FFT) techniques, MCM's advantagesinclude better performance in the inter symbol interference (ISI) environment,and avoidance of single frequency interferers. However, MCM increases thepeak-to-average ratio (PAVR) of the signal, and to overcome ISI a cyclicextension or guard band must be added to the data.

Two different types of MCMare likely candidates for 4G as listed in the above table. These are themulti-carrier CDMA and orthogonal FDM using TDMA.

Similar to single carrierCDMA systems, the users are multiplexed with orthogonal codes to distinguishusers in MC-CDMA. However, in MC-CDMA, each user can be allocated severalcodes, where the data is spread in time or frequency. Either way, multipleusers access the system simultaneously. In OFDM with TDMA, the users areallocated time intervals to transmit and receive data.

Differences between OFDMwith TDMA and MC-CDMA can also be seen in the types of modulation usedin each subcarrier. Typically, MC-CDMA uses quadrature phase-shift keying(QPSK), while OFDM with TDMA could use more high-level modulations (HLM),such as, multilevel quadrature amplitude modulation (M-QAM) (where M =4 to 256). How-ever, to optimize overall system performance, adaptive modulationcan be used; where the level of QAM for all subcarriers is chosen basedon measured parameters.

Theallocation of the spreading codes or the time slots can be done in sucha way that the throughput is maximized. For example, all the resourcescan be allocated to a user whose channel is very clean and users who havevery noisy channels can be allocated little amount of bandwidth till theirchannel becomes better. However, the allocation should maintain certainamount of fairness while distributing the resources.

Errorcontrol coding

In 4G systems rate-adaptive coding schemes can be used which can make useof the channel information from the measured parameters or feedback fromthe Mobile Terminal (MT). A Hybrid ARQ scheme can be used to minimize theoverhead in case of retransmission. Space time codes, multiple antennassystems like the smart antennas can be used to further improve the datarates.

HigherLayer Issues in 4G

4G is going to be a packet-basednetwork. Since it would carry voice as well as internet traffic it shouldbe able to provide different level of QoS. Other network level issues includeMobility Management, Congestion control,and QoS Guarantees :

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Mobility Management includeslocation registration, paging and handover. The MT should be able to accessthe services at any place possible. The global roaming can be achievedby with the help of multi-hop networks that can include the WLANs or thesatellite coverage in remote areas. A seamless service (Ex : soft handoverof the MT from one network to another or from one kind of service to other)is also important. The hand-over techniques should be designed so thatthey make efficient use of the network (routing) and make sure that handoffs are not done too often.

New techniques in locationmanagement might be implemented. Each MT need not do location registrationeverytime. They can instead do concatenated location registration, whichreports to the network that they are concatenated to a common object. Ex-MTs in a train need to re-register only when they get off the train andtill the network knows that they are in the train.

Congestion control will be another critical issues in the high performance4G networks. Two basic approaches can be taken towards the congestion control: 1. avoidance or prevention of the congestion and 2. detection and recoveryafter congestion. The avoidance scheme will require the network to suitablyimplement the admission control (measurement based or pre-computed model)and scheduling techniques. The detection and recovery would require flowcontrol and feedback traffic management. A conservative approach mightbe proposed for the 4G systems because of the wide variety of QoS requirements.


Qualityof Service (QoS)
4G systems are expected to provide real-time and internet-likeservices. The real-time services can be classified into two kinds:
1. Guaranteed : pre-computeddelay bound is required for the service. Ex voice
2 : Better-than-best effort :
Predictive: Service needs upper bound on end-to-end delay.
Controlleddelay : service might allow dynamically variable delay.
Controlledload : Service needs resources (bandwidth and packet processing ).

Guaranteed and ControlledLoad services are proposed to appear in 4G.

Somenew challenges in 4G

1. Multi-access interface,timing and recovery.
2. Higher frequency reuseleads to smaller cells that may cause intra-cell interference or highernoise figures due to reduced power levels.
3. The Digital to analogconversions at high data rates, multiuser detection and estimation (atbase stations), smart antennas and complex error control techniques aswell dynamic routing will need sophisticated signal processing.
4. Issues in the interfacewith the ad hoc networks should be sorted out. 4G systems are expectedto interact with other networks like the Bluetooth, hiperlan, IEEE802.11b,etc.
5. Voice over multi-hopnetworks is likely to be an interesting problem because of the strict delayrequirements of voice.
6. Security will be an importantissue.
7. A new IP protocol mightbe needed because of the variable QoS services and the network should do' better than best ' effort.
8. Networking protocolsthat adapt dynamically to the changing channel conditions.
9. Seamless roaming andseamless transfer of services.



1. 4G is still in formativestages. They may become commercially available in 2010.
2. The work on 4G systemshas begun in the industry as well the academia. Ex:- Wireless World ResearchForum (WWRF) has Ericcson, Alcatel, Nokia and Siemens AG. The NationalScience Foundation (NSF) has announced a program in 1999 that calls forproposals that would look at issues involved in 4G systems. In the USA,Motorola, Lucent, AT&T, Nortel and other major companies are also workingon 4G systems.
3. Multimedia traffic willbe dominant in the future. It is estimated that voice would contributeto only 20-30 % of total traffic in the future.
4. A modified IP will bethe universal network layer protocol in the future.
5. Diverse array of applicationslike virtual navigation, tele-medicine, etc.
6. The entire network wouldbe digital and packet switched.

Linksand References

1. TheIEEE Personal Communications Magazine, October 2001 has a collectionof articles that looks at the IP based issues in the 4G wireless networks.
2. Physicalaspects of 4G
3. MobilityManagement
4. Groups working on 4G: WWRF , projectsfunded by NSF, Lucent , AT&T,Motorola, etc.
5. Research : GaTech , Ofdm-forum
6. Frequentlyasked question on 4G
7. 4Gin news
8. Slideshow on evolution of TDMA to 3G and 4G

RFIC start-up Otava has announced a wideband beamformer IC covering 24 to 40 GHz, which encompasses the n257, n258, n260 and n261 5G; satellite communications and military bands.

The OTBF103 beamformer was developed to be a single IC solution for multiple bands and phased array applications, reducing capital expenditures and engineering time to design systems covering various bands.

The functionality of the OTBF103 comprises:

Drivers 4g Systems Gmbh
  • Eight element Tx/Rx TDD beamformer.
  • Wideband low noise amplifier (LNA) and power amplifier (PA) designs.
  • Independent channel gain control: 20 dB range in 0.5 dB steps.
  • Independent channel phase control: 360 degree coverage with 5.6 degree steps.
  • Nominal and low power bias modes.
  • High speed LVDS or CMOS SPI control with integrated memory.
  • RMS power detection and temperature sensing.
  • Eight programmable gate drivers for external PA or LNA control.
  • Eight drivers for external T/R switch control.

Steve Fireman, Otava co-founder and the senior vice president of engineering, said, “Otava’s design engineers have been creating narrow and wideband mmWave SoCs for phased array applications for more than 12 years. The team’s combined expertise includes beamformers, transceivers and high performance mixed-signal devices in the commercial and DoD spaces. Transitioning into the 5G market was an easy choice considering how of all of our backgrounds seamlessly complement each other.”

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Fabbed by GlobalFoundries

The OTBF103 was designed on GlobalFoundries (GF) 90HP SiGe 9HP process, which is based on GF's 90 nm BiCMOS platform. In addition to its wide bandwidth capability, GF’s mature process offers low noise and high output power performance.


Otava is using GF’s post-fab turnkey services for mmWave test and packaging, which simplifies Otava’s back-end supply chain, reduces cost and accelerates time to market.

Peter Rabbeni, vice president of mobile and wireless infrastructure at GF, said, “We are pleased to provide advanced manufacturing services in support of Otava’s innovative beamforming chip, with its potential to impact the global 5G rollout, while leveraging our best-in-class post-fab turnkey services.”

Evaluation Board and Kit

Otava’s evaluation board for the beamformer, the OTBF103-EVAL, may be ordered on the company’s website in January 2021, priced at $7,499.

To accelerate the evaluation and integration of the OTBF103 in new systems, Avnet is offering a beamformer evaluation board and kit. The full kit, including the beamformer evaluation board, a MicroZed digital controller and accessories and software GUI will be available in early February 2021.


“Our evaluation board and kit will enable new designs based on this chip to happen even faster,” said Jim Beneke, vice president of products and emerging technologies at Avnet.

“The capability this new beamformer chip brings to market will enable extremely efficient data delivery routes and will reduce interference, enabling a better 5G system,” said Beneke.

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Source: Otava