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Electronics and Communications in Japan, Part 1, Vol. 89, No.

3, 2006
Translated from Denshi Joho Tsushin Gakkai Ronbunshi, Vol. J88-B, No. 3, March 2005, pp. 634642

A Study of Adaptive Modulation Technique in OFDM


Tsutomu Usui, Fumio Ishizu, and Keishi Murakami
Information Technology R&D Center, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Kamakura, 247-8501 Japan

lution is provided by multicarrier transmission systems


such as OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) [1].
Although high-capacity, high-speed communications
is made possible by broadband wireless communications,
the frequency resources are limited and must be utilized
efficiently. The technique of adaptive modulation, in which
the modulation scheme is adaptively modified in accordance with channel conditions in order to improve the system
throughput by using high transmission speeds in channels
with good quality and low speeds in channels with severe
quality is effective in achieving high frequency use efficiency [2].
In the adaptive modulation technique, a method using
a modulation scheme selection chart has been proposed, in
which the carrier-to-noise ratio (CNR) and the delay spread
(DS) are used as performance functions [3, 4]. Here the
delay spread does not directly express the effect due to
delayed waves exceeding the guard interval (GI). Rather,
the use of the interference caused by delayed waves exceeding the GI as the performance function allows selection of
the appropriate modulation method so as to improve the
PER and the throughput.
In this paper, in the application of the adaptive modulation technique to OFDM, convolution-encoded soft-decision Viterbi signal processing is assumed. As a measure of
the channel condition, the entire-packet DUR is estimated.
The effect of the delayed wave is recognized and the following channel condition evaluation function is proposed.
In DUR, the sum of the total carrier power inside the GI and
the signal power of the delayed waves outside the GI is
treated as the total signal power (D component). The power
sum of the ISI and ICI due to delayed waves outside GI is
defined as the total interference power (U component).
Then the instantaneous DUR component per packet is

SUMMARY
This paper presents the results of a study of the
OFDM adaptive modulation technique. The adaptive
modulation technique, which selects the modulation
scheme according to the transmission conditions, is effective in improving system throughput. Then, it is important
to study evaluation function under various propagation
conditions. In this paper, we propose an adaptive modulation technique using the instantaneous DUR (desired signal
to undesired signal ratio) per packet as the performance
measure of the transmission path, in which the intersymbol
interference (ISI) and intercarrier interference (ICI) power
of delayed waves exceeding the guard interval are used
under the assumption of convolution coding and soft-decision Viterbi decoding. A DUR estimation method is also
proposed. The effectiveness of the approach is confirmed
by numerical simulation. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Electron Comm Jpn Pt 1, 89(3): 3645, 2006; Published
online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.
wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/ecja.20254

Key words: OFDM; adaptive modulation; DUR;


ISI; ICI.

1. Introduction
Recently, the demand for multimedia wireless communications, such as data and image transmission, via the
Internet has increased. As a result, bandwidth enhancement
of wireless communications is indispensable. Intersymbol
interference by the delayed wave is an important problem
for broadband wireless communications. One effective so-

2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


36

pilot symbols is processed by the IFFT (Inverse Fast Fourier


Transform) and then is transmitted with the GI attached.
The receiving side is divided into two sequences. In
one of them, the delay profile information is calculated by
using the pilot signals at the head of the packet. From the
delay profile information, the instantaneous DUR is estimated. Depending on the DUR, the modulation method to
be transmitted next is selected and this information is fed
back to the transmitter. In the other, the GI is removed and
the FFT is applied, followed by equalization. Demodulation
is accomplished by demapping, deinterleaving, and soft-decision Viterbi decoding [8].

Fig. 1. Packet composition.

estimated [5, 6]. The numerical simulation indicates that the


use of adaptive modulation based on the instantaneous
DUR estimated in this manner improves the throughput.
The assumed system block diagram is presented in
Section 2. The adaptive modulation technique based on the
proposed DUR estimation scheme is given in Section 3, The
results of the numerical simulation are presented in Section
4, and the paper is summarized in Section 5.

3. Proposed DUR Estimation Scheme


In this section, we present the proposed DUR estimation method using the delay profile information and the
adaptive modulation technique.
Information for the OFDM signal is carried by several orthogonal subcarriers. Due to multipath channels, a
receiving level difference occurs for each subcarrier as
shown in Fig. 3. The information carried on subcarriers with
small amplitude such as that subcarrier in section fb2 is
susceptible to error due to interference components. In such
cases the performance is improved by means using an
interleave of sufficiently large size and applying soft-decision error correction. Therefore, the carrier-to-interference
power ratio of all subcarriers is effective as an index that
presumes performance by using interleave and error correction. A scheme to select a modulation method for each
subcarrier (or each block where several subcarriers are
treated as a block) is proposed in Ref. 9. The process which
selects a modulation method for each subcarrier or block,
becomes complex, because the amount of feedback information is overwhelming. Hence, in the present paper, a

2. System Block of Proposed Adaptive


Modulation Technique
Figure 1 shows the packet composition of the OFDM
signal, and Fig. 2 presents a system block diagram of the
proposed adaptive modulation technique. As shown in Fig.
1, pilot symbols for channel estimation are added at the
head of the packet and are followed by the data. Next, using
Fig. 2, the signal flow is explained. The convolution-encoded transmitted data sequence is interleaved along the
frequency axis and then is mapped to a modulation method
that is identical for all subcarriers. In the present research,
QPSK, 16QAM, or 64QAM may be used as the modulation
method. Subsequently, pilot symbols with a length of
20FDM symbols are inserted at the head of the packet so
that the channel condition can be estimated for demodulation on the receiver side [7]. The signal after insertion of the

Fig. 2. System block diagram.

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Fig. 3. Received spectrum.

Fig. 4. Example of a received signal.


modulation method that is identical for all subcarriers is
used.
Based on the above assumptions, the proposed
scheme is now explained. As an example, let us consider
the case in which three waves are received: the preceding
wave, delayed wave 1 with its delay within the GI, and
delayed wave 2 with a delay exceeding the GI. At the
OFDM demodulator, an ideal time window w(n) as shown
in Fig. 4 is multiplied by the received signal and then FFT
processing is applied. Since the GI is a repetitive waveform,
the preceding wave and delayed wave 1 become the signal
components. Since section a of delayed wave 2 has a
different symbol component, ISI takes place. Also, the
signal component is contained in section b. As described
later, ICI takes place due to a breakdown of orthogonality.
Hence, the carrier-to-interference power ratio is determined
by the signals contained in the preceding wave and delayed
waves 1 and 2 versus the interference power of the ISI and
ICI. This carrier-to-interference power ratio is estimated by
the delay profile. The delay profile can be obtained by first
preparing a time waveform identical to the pilot symbols
shown in Fig. 1 on the receiver side and then taking the cross
correlation with the received signal [8].
In the following sections, the representations of the
received signal are explained. Subsequently, the proposed
DUR estimation method and the adaptive modulation technique are explained.

(1)
Here gn(n) is additive white Gaussian noise, s(n) is the
transmitted signal, 0, 1, and 2 are the powers of the paths,
0, 1, and 2 are phases of the paths, and 1 and 2 are the
delays. The delay of delayed wave 1 is within the GI while
that of delayed wave 2 exceeds the GI.
In the OFDM demodulator, the received signal r(n)
is multiplied by an ideal time window w(n) and then FFT
processing is applied. If the frequency is m, the FFT output
for the received signal r(n) is R(m), and the FFT process is
F[], then

(2)
Here R0(m), R1(m), R2(m), and GN(m) are the FFT outputs
of r0(n), r1(n), r2(n), and gn(n). Also,
(3)

3.1. Representation of received signals

(4)

As shown in Fig. 4. when the preceding wave [r0(n)],


delayed wave 1 [r1(n)], and delayed wave 2 [r2(n)] are
received, the received signal [r(n)] is given by the following
(where n denotes the time):

where N is the FFT size. Here S(m) is the FFT output of


s(n).

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Next, let us consider the third term on the right-hand


side of Eq. (2). As shown in Fig. 4, delayed wave 2 r2(n)
consists of the time width a [O a c, c is the time width
of w(n)] in which the previous symbol is leaking in, and the
self-symbol component of the remaining width b = c a. If
the transmitted symbol one slot earlier is sp(n) and the time
window of a is wa(n), then the FFT output of the leaking
component is the ISI and is given by

(7)

3.2. Proposed DUR estimation method


In Section 3.1, each component of the OFDM signal
after FFT is expressed. In the present section, the results are
used to express the estimated DUR value. When convolution coding, soft-decision Viterbi decoding, and sufficiently
large interleave processing including the frequency axis are
assumed for the OFDM signal, the signal power D is the
sum of the signal powers of all subcarriers. Specifically, the
result is the sum of the power of Eqs. (3) and (4) and the
first term on the right-hand side of Eq. (7):

(5)
Here RISI(m) is the FFT output of the previous symbol
component leaking in and Wa(m) is the FFT output of
wa(n). 0 denotes the convolution process. The ISI component is spread along the frequency axis.
With regard to the self-symbol, let the FFT output be
Rc(m) and the time window function of the self-symbol
component be wb(n). Then,

(8)
The interference component U is the sum of Eq. (5) (ISI
component) and the second term on the right-hand side of
Eq. (7) (ICI component):

(6)

(9)

Here Wb(m) is the FFT output of wb(n). The frequency


response of w(n) is orthogonal to the other subcarrier component as shown in Fig. 5(a), and the frequency response of
wb(n) is spread as shown in Fig. 5(b), so that orthogonality
is lost. Thus, ICI with other subcarrier components take
place. As a result, the FFT output Rc(m) of the self-symbol
of delayed wave 2 is expressed as the sum of the signal
component Rs(m) and the ICI component RICI(m):

Hence, if there is no noise component, the DUR is given by

(10)

Note that the above DUR can be calculated simply as


described in the next section if the delay profile can be
estimated as in Fig. 4.
3.3. Proposed adaptive modulation technique
The method of DUR estimation in the frequency
domain was expressed in Section 3.2. In the present section,
a method of DUR estimation in the time domain by using
the delay profile information obtained from the received
signal is proposed. The proposed adaptive modulation technique varies the modulation method according to the estimated DUR value.
As shown in Fig. 4, let P0, P1, and P2 be the received
powers of the preceding wave, delayed wave 1, and delayed
wave 2 calculated from the cross correlation between the
known pilot signal and the received waveform.
Since the time waveform of the OFDM signal behaves like noise, the variation of the average power on the
time axis for each OFDM symbol is considered negligible.

Fig. 5. Intercarrier interference.

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Hence, the power ratio of the other symbol components and


the self-symbol component contained in the FFT processing section for delayed wave 2 is PISI : Pc = a : b and is given
by

(16)

(11)
(12)

where the preceding wave is considered as the zeroth arrival.


The method proposed in this paper calculates the
deterioration by the ISI and ICI in the presence of delayed
waves exceeding the GI by means of the DUR [given by
Eq. (16)] and selects the modulation method adaptively
depending on the DUR.

Next, the self-symbol component Rc(m) is the sum of


the signal component Rs(m) and the ICI component
RICI(m) as shown in Eq. (7). Since the self-symbol component is multiplied by the time window, that is, b / (a + b) of
the FFT window section, the signal power of delayed wave
2 Ps is expressed as

4. Numerical Simulation
(13)
4.1. Propagation model

Also, since the remaining component is the ICI component,


the ICI power PICI is

The propagation model used for numerical simulation is an equally spaced exponentially decaying model
with 18 waves. Each path is assumed to have an independent Rayleigh distribution. The parameters of the propagation model used in this paper are given in Table 1.

(14)

4.2. Effectiveness of the DUR estimation


method

Hence, the approximate equation of the DUR* is

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed


estimation method for ISI and ICI (instantaneous DUR), the
instantaneous DUR versus the PER obtained by numerical
simulation is shown in Fig. 6. The simulation parameters
are listed in Table 2. As shown in the table, the modulation
method is 64 QAM. As the propagation model, model E is
used, in which many delayed waves exceeding the GI arrive
so that both ISI and ICI are generated. Also, in order to focus
on the effects of ISI and ICI, we let CNR = . The figure
shows that a correlation of the smoothly decreasing PER
with an increase of the proposed instantaneous DUR occurs, and the effectiveness of the instantaneous DUR estimation scheme is confirmed. In the region where the DUR

(15)

In the above, an explanation is given for the case in


which three waves, namely, the preceding wave and the
delayed waves within the GI and exceeding the GI, are
received. Cases with more delayed waves can be handled
similarly. Let Np be the number of arriving delayed waves,
Pi be the received power of the i-th arriving wave, ai be the
time width in which other symbols penetrate into the FFT
section, and bi be the time width containing the self-symbol.
Then, an approximate equation for the DUR is

Table 1. Propagation model


*

Originally, the power sum is as follows and the third term is considered
negligible:

Propagation
model
A
C
E

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Path spacing
[ns]
20
50
80

Attenuation
between
Delay spread
[ns]
paths [dB]
1.70
1.35
1.28

50
150
250

Fig. 7. Resending delay.

before the next packet is received. This delay time depends


on the number of resends and affects the effective throughput. In the present simulation, it is assumed that there is a
delay corresponding to the number of resends as shown in
Table 3 (see the specification of IEEE802.11a for 5-GHz
wireless LAN [10]). In the present specification, the resend
delay time is not uniquely determined by the number of
resends.
Table 3 gives the average values; it is seen that the
resending delay time increases as the number of resends
increases. Hence, if the propagation path conditions are
poor, limitation of the increase in the number of resends by
the use of adaptive modulation to select the modulation
method for secure communications is important for improvement of throughput.
Figure 7 shows the number of resends and the delay
time (packet spacing). In the case shown, the packet received at t2 to t3 contains a packet error and is resent at t4 to
t5 and correctly demodulated. Since Packet 1 at t0 to t1 and
Packet 2 at t4 to t5 are correctly received, the time required
before the next packet is received is 145.5 s, as given in
Table 3. Since Packet 2 at t2 to t3 contains packet error, the
time before the next packet is received is 217.5 s. In the
resending process, information identical to that of the prior
packet is used for modulation by the modulation method
reported to the other party, and the packet is transmitted. On

Fig. 6. PER performances of instantaneous DUR.

is large, the PER is not monotonically decreasing. This is


attributed to the lack of an absolute number of corresponding packet errors.
4.3. Definitions of resending delay and
throughput
As shown in Fig. 7, there is a spacing between packets
in wireless communications, and hence there is a delay

Table 2. Parameters of simulation


Modulation method
Coding rate
Interleave
FFT size
Number of carriers
GI
Number of transmitted
packets
Transmitted data length
Propagation model
Doppler frequency
Receiving filter
Sampling frequency
CNR
Synchronization
Channel estimation

64QAM
1/2 (constraint length 7)
Bit interleave (along the
frequency axis)
64
48
16
5000

Table 3. Resending delay time

1000 bytes
E
50 Hz
Ideal
25 MHz

Number of resends
0
1
2
3
4
5
More than 6

Ideal
Cross correlation process
with the received signal and
replica

41

Interpacket time (s)


145.5
217.5
361.5
649.5
1225.5
2377.5
4681.5

the receiving side, demodulation and error-correcting decoding are carried out with a single packet.
Next, the effective throughput defined in this simulation is explained. The effective throughput is defined as the
total number of bits of the packets correctly received divided by the total transmission time. Using Fig. 7 as an
example, the effective throughput is the number of bits
contained in Packets 1, 2, and 3 divided by (t7 t0).
4.4. Numerical simulation results
In order to verify the effectiveness of the method
proposed in this paper, a numerical simulation was performed. The simulation parameters are listed in Table 4. As
the modulation method, QPSK, 16QAM, or 64QAM was
used for each packet in accordance with the proposed
adaptive modulation technique. The propagation models
used were Model A (delay spread 50 ns, Doppler frequency
20 Hz) and Model C (delay spread 150 ns, Doppler frequency 20 Hz), both of which had delays almost all within
the GI, and Model E (delay spread 250 ns, Doppler frequency 50 Hz) with many delayed waves exceeding the GI
arriving. Also, it was assumed that synchronization, CNR
estimation, and reporting of adaptive modulation informa-

Fig. 8. Selection chart of modulation scheme


(conditions 1).

tion were ideal and that the reporting of the adaptive modulation information was without delay.
Next, we explain the chart used for selecting the
modulation method (selecting the modulation format by the
CNR and the instantaneous DUR) in the adaptive modulation technique. In the selection charts shown in Figs. 8 and
9, the CNR is the averaged value. In the simulation, the
estimation of the CNR is assumed to be ideal in order to
focus on the effect of the proposed DUR estimation scheme.
In Figs. 8 and 9, the threshold values are set so that 16QAM
and 64QAM are selected even in the region where the CNR
is small. This is because the instantaneous CNR and instantaneous DUR may become large instantaneously, so that
error-free communications is possible with either the
16QAM or 64QAM modulation method. The threshold
values in the modulation method selection chart were obtained by calculation of the throughput at each CNR by
numerical simulation with the threshold value as the parameter followed by selection of an optimum threshold. In
this instance, two types of selection charts are presented, as
shown in Figs. 8 and 9, because the suitable modulation
scheme selection chart can differ depending on the propagation model. Figure 8 shows a modulation scheme selection chart suitable for a propagation model in which the
delayed waves are almost all within the GI (with the DUR
threshold DURth specified) (suitable for propagation model
A, C). Figure 9 is a chart suitable for a propagation path
with many delayed waves exceeding the GI (suitable for
propagation model E). The results given by the adaptive
modulation technique for each selection chart are denoted
as AMC1 and AMC2* in Figs. 10 to 15. It is assumed that

Table 4. Parameter of simulation


Modulation method
Coding rate
Interleave
FFT size
Number of carriers
GI
Number of transmitted
packets
Transmitted data length
Propagation model
Doppler frequency
Receiving filter
Sampling frequency
Synchronization
CNR estimation
Notice of adaptive modulation information
Channel estimation

QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM


1/2 (constraint length 7)
Bit interleave (along the
frequency axis)
64
48
16
5000
1000 bytes
A, C, E
20, 50 Hz
Ideal
25 MHz
Ideal
Ideal
Ideal
Cross correlation process
with received signal and
replica

AMC: Adaptive Modulation and Coding.

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Fig. 11. PER performances of CNR (Model C).

Fig. 9. Selection chart of modulation scheme


(conditions 2).

each modulation scheme selection chart is used for all


propagation models.
Based on the above, Figs. 10 to 15 show the PER
characteristics and the effective throughput when the adaptive modulation technique is used with the proposed instantaneous DUR as the performance function. In these figures,
the horizontal axis represents the CNR and the vertical axis
represents the PER in Figs. 10 to 12 and the effective
throughput in Figs. 13 to 15. Figures 10 and 13 show the
simulation results for Model A, Figs. 11 and 14 those for
Model C, and Figs. 12 and 15 those for propagation model
E.
In Figs. 10 to 15, the case of communications by
means of fixed QPSK is denoted as QPSK, that with
16QAM as 16QAM, and that with 64QAM as 64QAM.
The figures are interpreted as follows.

Fig. 12. PER performances of CNR (Model E).

Fig. 13. Effective throughput performances of CNR


(Model A).

Fig. 10. PER performances of CNR (Model A).

43

be used. In Model E, in which ISI and ICI are generated,


the PER becomes poor for modulation method with large
multiplicity such as 64QAM (PER > 20%) so that the
resending delay is substantially increased. It is then effective to increase the threshold for 64QAM and 16QAM at a
high CNR, at which 64QAM is easily used. In paths in
which there is no (or negligible) ISI and ICI, such as Models
A and C, the PER of 64QAM becomes rather good (PER <
10%). Hence, by reducing the threshold of 64QAM and
16QAM, it becomes effective to increase the application
rate of 64QAM.
(3) In propagation model E, the throughput of
64QAM is substantially less than in A and C (see Fig. 15).
In Model E, many delayed waves have delays exceeding the
GI arrive. Owing to the ISI and ICI of these delayed waves,
the PER becomes poor. Because PER > 20% even at a high
CNR (as shown in Fig. 12), the number of resends increases
and the transmission time becomes excessively long (see
Table 3).

Fig. 14. Effective throughput performances of CNR


(Model C).

(1) From Figs. 13 to 15, it is found that high throughput is obtained in all propagation models regardless of the
CNR, so that the effectiveness of the proposed method is
confirmed. Also, from Figs. 10 to 12, it is confirmed that
the proposed method can achieve high quality and high
throughput, since PER < 10% (IEEE802.11a specification)
is almost always satisfied when modulation scheme selection chart AMC2 is used.
(2) From Figs. 13 to 15, the following is found. If a
relatively high throughput is desired for all propagation
models, the modulation scheme selection chart in Fig. 9 is
used. When high throughput is desired only for Models A
and C, in which the delay of the delayed wave is within the
GI, the modulation scheme selection chart in Fig. 8 should

In the present simulation, the Doppler frequency is


chosen as 20 Hz (with a moving velocity of 1.2 m/s) for
Models A and C, assuming a small room such as an office
environment, and as 50 Hz (with a moving velocity of 2.9
m/s) for model E, assuming a rather large area such as a
large hall or factory. If we consider that the applied modulation method is fed back, it is impossible to keep up with
the fading variations when the Doppler frequency becomes
high, so that the characteristics are degraded. Hence, evaluation with the Doppler frequency as a parameter and the
development of remedies for high-speed motion are topics
of future research.
Other future topics of study include finding a method
of estimation of the instantaneous CNR and creating an
adaptive modulation technique using the instantaneous
CNR and the instantaneous DUR.

5. Conclusions
In this paper, under the assumption of convolution
coding and soft-decision Viterbi decoding, a method of
modulation scheme selection using the instantaneous DUR
and taking account of the ISI and ICI by delayed waves
exceeding the GI is proposed for adaptive modulation in
OFDM. The effectiveness of the proposed method was
confirmed by numerical simulation.

Acknowledgments. The authors thank Director H.


Koezuka and Manager K. Kikuchi of the Information Technology R&D Center for providing the opportunity to perform this research.

Fig. 15. Effective throughput performances of CNR


(Model E).

44

7. Small Power Data Communication Systems/Broadband Mobile Access Communication System


(HiSWANa). Association of Radio Industries and
Businesses; 2000.
8. Taira A, Ishizu F, Miyake M. A timing synchronization scheme for OFDM in frequency selective fading
environment. Trans IEICE 2001;J84-B:12551265.
9. Yoshiki T, Sampei S, Morinaga N. OFDM based
adaptive modulation systems with a multilevel transmit power control for high bit rate transmission.
Trans IEICE 2001;J84-B:11411150.
10. IEEE Std 802.11a-1999. Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY)
specifications. High-speed Physical Layer in the 5
GHz Band, 1999.
11. Yamazaki K, Ishizu F, Miki M, Murakami K. A
timing synchronization scheme making use of FFT
gain for OFDM. Trans IEICE 2003;J86-B:2097
2106.

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AUTHORS (from left to right)

Tsutomu Usui (member) graduated from the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, Kanazawa University, in 1998, completed the M.S. program in 2000, and joined Mitsubishi Electric. Since then, he has been engaged in research
and development related to broadband mobile communications systems. He is now affiliated with the Wireless IP Access
Technology Department of the Information Technology R&D Center.
Fumio Ishizu (member) graduated from the Department of Electronic and Communications Engineering, Waseda
University, in 1983, completed the M.S. program in 1985, and joined Mitsubishi Electric. Since then, he has been engaged in
research and development in the fields of satellite communications and digital modulation and demodulation schemes for mobile
communications. He is now a manager in the Wireless IP Access Department of the Information Technology R&D Center.
Keishi Murakami (member) graduated from the Department of Electronic and Communications Engineering, Waseda
University, in 1974, completed the M.S. program in 1976, and joined Mitsubishi Electric. Since then, he has been engaged in
research and development in the fields of satellite communications systems, digital mobile communications systems, and digital
modulation and demodulation systems. He is now a manager in the Communication Laboratory of the Information Technology
R&D Center. He is a member of IEEE and the Society of Information Theory and Its Applications.

45