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JOURNAL OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS, VOLUME 34, ISSUE 2, OCTOBER2016

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A Survey on 5G Multi-carrier waveforms- Evaluation


and Comparison for Diversified Application Scenarios
and Service Types
Anwar Mousa and Tara Javidi
AbstractThis survey evaluates and compares the challenging candidates of multi-carrier waveforms focusing on their
performance in mixed service scenarios envisaged for 5G systems. As it is difficult for a specific waveform to fulfill all the
requirements of different application scenarios and service types of 5G, multiple waveforms coexist in 5G systems, each for a
specific scenario. However, the most suitable waveform and numerology are selected to enable the best performance for each
service. For this purpose, a sophisticated switching mechanism between different waveforms to choose the most appropriate
scheme according to the existing scenario is required. In this survey, a simplified switching process is presented and discussed,
depending on two important factors: latency and moving speed.
Index Termsmulticarrier waveform; 5G; mixed service scenarios; CP-OFDM; FBMC; UFMC; GFDM.

1 INTRODUCTIONAND RELATED LITERATURE


Generally, the design of new multi-carrier waveforms
should identify the requirements of scenarios and services. Firstly, the new multi-carrier waveform needs to better
support new services in specific scenarios. While 4G
mainly focuses on the Mobile Broad-Band (MBB) services,
5G will offer diversified types of services, such as massive
Machine-Type Communications (mMTC), ultra-reliable
MTC (uMTC), extreme Mobile Broad-Band (xMBB) and
Vehicle-to- Device/Infrastructure/Vehicle Communications (V2X) [1].
These new services should enjoy channel characteristics with reduced out-of-band emission (OOBE) and relaxed synchronization. Besides, to avoid collision among
fast-moving vehicles, the design of vehicle-to-vehicle
communication should be aiming at ultra-low latency and
ultra-high reliability [2]. Orthogonal frequency division
multiplexing (OFDM) and single carrier frequency division multiplexing (SC-FDMA) are the two waveforms
used in current 4G systems [3]. However, those two
waveforms do not fulll all of the above requirements
because the OFDM numerology is unied across the assigned bandwidth and frame structure of 4G LTE, chosen
mainly for mobile MBB service [4]. This does not provide
the required low latency and high reliability needed for
different types of services and the associated channel characteristics. Hence, new multi-carrier waveforms have
been proposed for 5G.

Anwar Mousa is a visiting scholar at the University of California, San


Diego- Jacobs School of Engineering.
Tara Javidi is an Associate Professor at the University of California, San
Diego- ECE Dept.

It is exciting to note that all proposed candidate 5G


waveforms are generalizations of OFDM but trying to
overcome its shortcomings. Some of the strongest candidates are: Filter-Bank-based Multi-Carrier (FBMC), Universal Filter Multi-Carrier (UFMC, also known under the
term UF-OFDM), harmonized OFDM (H-OFDM),
ltered-OFDM (F-OFDM), Generalized Frequency Division Multiplexing (GFDM) and Multicarrier Faster-ThanNyquist (MC-FTN).
These new waveforms with filtering afford good spectral containment of the transmit signals by partitioning the
spectrum into independent sub-bands that can be individually configured according to the requirements of a service. They also attain good compatibility with other technologies such as new modulation, coding and multiple
access schemes [5].
With lter-bank multi-carrier (FBMC) additional pulseshaping lters are applied to every subcarrier [6]. The filtering is performed to eliminate side-lobes containing the
wasted portion of energy that is spread beyond the subcarrier and creates interference. FMBC offers very high frequency containment; exhibiting very low level of out of
band interference. This feature of FMBC allows for increased spectrum efficiency over OFDM, as well as for expanded flexibility for utilizing white spaces in cognitive
radio networks [7]. Besides, FMBC improves synchronization and resistance to frequency misalignments. Moreover,
it does not have a cyclic prefix hence it enjoys high level of
spectral efficiency. However, the required additional filtering increases the implementation complexity. Note that the
FMBC subcarrier filters are very narrow and as a result
they require long filter time constants. Typically, the time
constant is four times that of the basic multicarrier symbol
length resulting in single symbols overlapping in time. To

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achieve orthogonality, Offset Quadrature Amplitude


Modulation (OQAM) is used as the modulation scheme
yielding FBMC orthogonality in the real plane only.
Alternatively, UFMC, seen as a generalization of OFDM
and FBMC, applies ltering over group of subcarriers [8].
The objective of UFMC is to combine the advantages of
OFDM and FBMC while avoids their main drawbacks.
When filtering groups of adjacent subcarriers, the sidelobelevels is significantly reduced, compared to OFDM. Besides, the prototype filter length is also shortened compare
with FBMC. In the meanwhile, it realizes high frequency
containment enabling easy aggregation and scaling of cells.
Contrary to FBMC, UFMC waveform is more appropriate
for short burst data exchange planned for IoT. UFMC also
alleviates some of the concerns about implementation
complexity of FMBC is offered by UFMC. UFMC does not
need to use a cyclic prefix, resulting in increased spectral
efficiency. However, a cyclic prefix can be used to improve
the inter-symbol interference protection. By doing so, separation of single sub-bands in frequency domain is improved, where each sub-band is tuned independently according to the link characteristics (both related to channel,
service type and device class being served) [9].
Likewise, GFDM is a multi-carrier technique enjoying
flexible resource and QoS management [10]. It handles
modulation for single blocks, comprised of subcarriers and
subsymbols. Having many similarities with OFDM, the
main difference is that the carriers are not orthogonal to
each other. Furthermore, GFDM uses circular convolution
instead of linear convolution for the ltering of the subcarriers. However, GFDM provides better control of OOBE
and reduces the peak to average power ratio, PAPR. Both
of these issues are the major drawbacks of OFDM technology. Moreover, GFDM waveform is used in cognitive radio
as an opportunistic use of spectrum and in machine-tomachine communication with special attention to asynchronous low duty cycle transmission [11]. However, contrary to OFDM, it can benefit from transmitting multiple
symbols per sub-carrier and from reducing inter-symbol
interference (ISI) and inter-carrier interference (ICI).
With F-OFDM, the bandwidth available for the channel
on which the signal is to be transmitted is split up into several sub-bands. Different types of services are accommodated in different sub-bands with the most suitable waveform where in each subband, optimized numerology can
be applied to suit the needs of certain type of services. This
enables a much better utilization of the spectrum for the
variety of services to be carried[12]. Furthermore, intersubband asynchronous transmission can be supported as
the requirement on global synchronization is relaxed with
F-OFDM. Finally, similar to other candidate waveforms,
with suitably designed lters, the OOBE is significantly
reduced and the guard band consumption can be kept to a
minimum level. Likewise, H-OFDM applies the principle
of scalable radio numerology, that is why it is called harmonized OFDM[13]. Scaling can be done in time domain
numerology such as the delay spread, the cyclic prefix (CP)
length and the frame structure that vary according to the
carrier frequency. Similar to all the aforementioned waveforms, H-OFDM reduces the OOBE and the PAPR com-

pared to the OFDM system at the expense of additional


complexity in the receiver design.
For sake of faster transmission, the FTN concept was introduced by Mazo in 1975 [14] where the signal is modulated faster than the Nyquist rate. However, this introduces intentional ISI at the transmitter side. The Multicarrier Faster-Than-Nyquist (MC-FTN), in its turn, is the application of the FTN to the multicarrier System. The MCFTN compresses the transmitted signal in the time and
frequency grid. This results in an increase in system capacity and spectrum efficiency by containing more data in the
time and / or frequency domains [15].
The rest of the survey is organized as follows. Section 2
introduces the anticipated 5G scenarios and services and
section 3 illustrates the main characteristics and features of
the 5G candidate multi-carrier waveforms focusing on their
advantages and drawbacks. It links each waveform with its
favorite 5G scenario(s) and service(s) and discusses switching process between different waveforms according to the
existing scenario and service requirements. Finally, section
4 concludes the paper presenting corresponding challenge
for future research.

2 5G SCENARIOS AND SERVICES


This section provides a description of the expected scenarios of 5G networks with its accommodated services, Figure 1.

2.1 Scenarios
Detailedthe anticipated scenarios for 5G systems can be
classified as follows [16]:
Communications in Crowded Places
Communications in crowded places such as shopping
malls, stadiums, open air festivals, crowded public transportation or other public events that attract a lot of
people. It is expected from 5G systems to provide good
service even in very crowded places and without traffic
jams. 5G might also permit authorities such as police, fire
taskforces, and ambulances to use the public communication networks in these crowded locations. Services that
can be provided in crowded places include Machine-toMachine (M2M) communication, Device-to-Device (D2D)
communication, Ultra Dense Networks (UDN) and Extreme Mobile BroadBand communications (xMBB). The
technical challenge is to provide such services with high
traffic density at relatively small blocking and dropping
probabilities for a large number of user equipments (UEs)
[17].
On Move Communications
This scenario includes communications by fast mobile
devices in cars or trains, Vehicle-to Vehicle/Infrastructure
(V2X) applications, sensors or actuators monitoring
transported goods or moving components in industries,
plants or vehicles. The technical challenge is to provide
such services with similar user experience as for static
users at home or in the office! Robust and reliable connectivity solutions are needed to combat the effects of fast
fading caused by Doppler spread with high velocity moving. This is of course equally true for communicating ma-

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chines as for human end users.


Real Time and Reliable Communications
Real time and reliable communications require much
higher reliability and lower latency than todays communication systems. Some examples are traffic safety and
traffic efficiency communications, smart grid, e-health,
uMTC and efficient industrial M2M communications. The
technical challenge for those services are no longer
throughput or capacity, but the reduction of the probability for an undesired event or issue to occur, e.g. the
avoidance of a traffic accident. Hence, very low latency
and very high reliability, e.g. 99.999%. are needed for the
design of those applications with real-time constraints.
Massive Deployments of sensors and Actuators
This scenario addresses the communication requirements
of a massive deployment of ubiquitous MTC, ranging
from low complexity devices such as sensors and actuatorsto more advanced ones including components of a
smart electrical grid, industrial devices, and medical
equipment. The technical challenge for these settings are
very low energy consumption and low cost, but also the
capacity of connecting massive number of devices.
Communications in Mixed Scenarios
The above mentioned first three scenarios could be gathered on somehow in mixed scenario; service in crowd,
on move with real time communications. Imagine
crowded public transportation equipped with real time
communication devices such as E-health and M2M
equipment.

2.2 Services
ForServices are classified according to the required minimum data rates, latency, reliability, data packet size, coverage, battery life, air interface, etc. Although, some kinds
of air interfaces will more suitable for specific services,
different services would still dynamically share the same
time frequency resources, achieving efficient spectrum
utilization. However, in 5G systems, when hosting a new
service an operator would not have to buy a new spectrum band nor to deploy a specific radio access technology for this purpose. Instead, in the 5G concept a new service could be accommodated sharing existing resources.
The expected services for 5G systems based on the aforementioned scenarios can be classified as follows [1]:

ultra-reliable Machine Type Communications


(uMTC)
Machine-Type Communication (MTC) or machine-tomachine communications (M2M) represents the broad
area of wireless communication with devices not directly
operated by humans such as sensors, actuators, physical
objects, embedded controllers and other. It refers to automated data communications that may occur between an
MTC device and a server, or directly between two MTC
devices. MTC services and applications spans wide range
of industries such as healthcare industries, logistics, manufacturing, process automation, energy, utilities and others [18]. It is subdivided into two main service classes:

ultra-reliable MTC (uMTC) and massive MTC (mMTC):

uMTC refers to services that address the needs for


ultra-reliable and time-critical missions with very
short latencies. It is appropriate for safety critical or
mission critical applications such as V2X (Vehicle-toVehicle/Infrastructure), automated cyber-physical
systems and industrial process control, for which a
service failure would have severe consequences.
Hence the main technical challenges for an uMTC
service are very high reliabilities, e.g., 99.999% and
very short latency (an ultra-reliable service should
deliver messages before the latency exceeds an established deadline with very high probability) [19].

mMTCrefers to services where a typically large number of cost and energy-constrained devices (sensors)
monitor certain events in a wide-area for surveillance
and measurements. Possible mMTC functions could
be in a smart agriculture, a smart city monitoring and
operation, or asset tracking and logistics. The main
technical challenge is the ability to connect massive
number of devices with simple, scalable and energy
efficient communication. Delay and reliability are not
critical issues as the case with uMTC. Moreover, the
required data rates decrease as the number of devices
grows significantly [20].

xMBB
While 4G systems mainly focus on the Mobile BroadBand (MBB) services, 5G will offer, among other services,
extreme Mobile Broad-Band. xMBB provides increased
data rates, in the order of Gbps with improved QoE. On
the one hand, increased data rates are demanded by applications, such as augmented reality or remote presence.
On the other hand, improved QoE is requested by reliability and latency critical applications, normally function
with moderate rates in the order of tens of Mbps [21].
V2X: Vehicle-to- Device/Infrastructure/Vehicle
V2X is an intelligent transport system connecting vehicles, devices and infrastructure with each other. V2X
enjoys a highly dynamic network topology as the communicating nodes can move quickly in and out of radio
coverage. It allows cars to wirelessly exchange data with
other cars, traffic signals and infrastructures or core networks and get more precise knowledge of the traffic situation across the entire road network. V2X comprises the
following connectivity options:
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V): When all cars have V2V
technology, they have a 360-degree situational
awareness for each vehicles surroundings. It allows
cars to calculate the current and future positions of
each nearby vehicles by manipulating the exchanged
information with embedded computing device on
each car. This can help forecast risky situations and
aware drivers of precautions to avoid crashes.

Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I): The main functions


for V2I are alleviating traffic congestion and improv-

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ing fuel efficiency. It can provide advisories on the


traffic signals timing to vehicles systems to optimize
fuel efficiency; tell the driver how many seconds left
at a red light or green light and what speed to drive
(under the safest limit) to anticipate green lights. It
can also give information about traffic jam around.
This greatly enhances safety and efficiency for everyone on the road.

Vehicle-to-device (V2D): Crash Prevention: Vehicle to


Device (V2D) communication is a system that consists in the exchange of information between a vehicle
and any electronic device, enabling cars to communicate alerts of traffic ahead which transmitted to various devices such as cell phones or traffic control devices. Hence, V2D can potentially help prevent accidents by facilitating vehicle connectivity with mobile
apps with great potential to offer a better driving experience. This is attained by providing information
regarding the surrounding vehicles and infrastructure and making the interaction between the car and
its driver much simpler.

D2D: Device-to-Device Communications


D2D enables direct communication between nearby mobiles without routing the data paths through a network
core or infrastructure. Its potential applications include,
among others, smart communication between vehicles,
advertisements, local exchange of information, public
safety support and emergency communications, where
devices provide connectivity even in case of damage to
the network infrastructure. D2D services normally require reliable and low latency connection.
Emergency Communications
Currently, numerous promising communication technologies are being developed for use in emergency communications and disasters forecasting and mitigation. Modern tools such as broadband wireless networking, remote
sensing, global positioning systems, the Internet and others may be used in tracking approaching hazards, alerting
authorities and warning affected populations. Vehicular
Ad Hoc Networks (VANET) plays an important role in
safety and emergency communications by notifying drivers of car accidents and bad weather conditions. Applications in VANET can be deployed by using V2I or V2V
communications. Cognitive Radio (CR) is also used in
public safety and emergency where in natural disasters,
existing communication infrastructure may temporarily
be disabled or destroyed. Consequently, emergency personnel working in the disaster field need to establish
emergency networks. Cognitive Radio based emergency

networks have different requirements compared to ordinary networks. Since emergency networks deal with the
serious information, reliable communication should be
assured with minimum latency. CR networks can sense
and use the existing spectrum without the need for an
infrastructure. Furthermore, the wireless-equipped
healthcare systems (e-health) can remotely and continuously monitor the patients' health status in emergency
situations at home and outdoor. Early detection of patients' emergency situations via wireless communications
makes it possible to provide timely first-aid and access to
patients' health information in a pervasive manner, thereby improving both system reliability and efficiency [22].

3 5G MULTI-CARRIER WAVEFORMS: MAIN


FEATURES, ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS
This section illustrates the main characteristics and features of the 5G candidate multi-carrier waveforms focusing on their advantages and drawbacks. It links each
waveform with its favorite 5G scenario(s) and service(s).
Table 1 summarizes the main features and usage for each
scheme. Table 2 evaluates each scheme, showing its advantages and drawbacks, based on the following factors
(the considered baseline scheme for comparison is CPOFDM):
Adaption to the characteristics of doubly selective
channels and robustness against multi-path fading
channel.
Spectral efficiency.
Easy combination with MIMO transmission.
Complexity and cost of implementation
Out-of-band emission and interference.
Sensitivity to time and frequency synchronization
error.
Adaption to coexistence of multiple services.
Capability of spectrum sharing.
Capability of simultaneously carrying out spectrum
sensing and transmission functions with the same
device.

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5G

Scenarios &
Services

On Move
Communications
-Monitoring
Transported Goods
-Monitoring Moving
Components or Vehicles
- Public Transportations
-V2X
Communications

Massive
Deployments
Real Time/Reliable CommunicaService in Crowd
of sensors
tions
andActuators
-E-Health
-Shopping Malls
-Smart Elect. Grids
-Traffic Safety
-Stadiums
-Industrial Devices
-Efficient
Industry
-Open Air Festivals
-Medical Devices
Communications.
-Crowded
Public
-Machine Type Devic-Smart Elect. Grids
Transportations
-M2M
Communica-M2M Communicaes
tions
tions
-D2D
Communica-uMTC
tions
-UDN
-xMBB

Mixed Services
Crowded
Public
Transportation (Service in Crowd) and
(On Move)
Equipped with (Real
Time Comm. Devices) E-health and
M2M

Unrestricted

FBMC

H-OFDM

GFDM

F-OFDM

CPOFDM

UFMC

MC-FTN

Fig. 1.5G Scenarios and Services with appropriate Multicarrier Waveforms

TABLE 1
MULTI-CARRIER WAVEFORMS: MAIN FEATURES AND USAGE

Waveform

Main Filters
Features

Orthogonality

Numerology

Favorite Scenarios

Favorite Services

CP-OFDM

Granularity:
whole band
Length: up to CP
length

Orthogonal in
time and frequency

Unied

Services in Crowd

4G LTE, WLAN
(802.11.a/g/n),
MBB
UDN

F-OFDM

Non-orthogonal
in time and
Quasiorthogonal
in
frequency
/

According
to
the waveform
and service in
accommodated
sub-bands
Scalable

-Services in Crowd
-Mixed services

Different types of
services are accommodated
in
different sub-bands

H-OFDM

Granularity: per
sub-band
Length:
1/2 Symbol
duration
/

-Services in Crowd
-On Move Communications

MBB, UDN,
V2V

FBMC

Granularity:per

Orthogonal

Non-unified

-On Move Communi-

-moving networks;

in

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sub-carrier
Length: up to 5
times
symbol
duration,
Granularity: per
subbandLength:
equals
CP
length

real domain in
both time and
frequency
orthogonal
in
time and Quasi-orthogonal in
frequency

GFDM

Granularity:block
of subcarriers
Length:
much
longer
than
Symbol duration

Non-orthogonal

MC-FTN

Compresses the
signal to be
transmitted faster than Nyquist

Non-orthogonal

UFMC

cations

for V2V and highspeed train.


-cognitive radio

According to
the link characteristics

-Massive
Deployments of sensors and
Actuators
-Real Time/Reliable
Communications

Non-unified

-Massive
Deployments of sensors and
Actuators

-MTC
devices
(Sporadic, contention based access)
-IoT
-Short burst transmissions
-broadband
and
real-time services
-IoT and wireless
networks.
-opportunistic use
of spectrum (CR)
-M2M
Unrestricted

-Unrestricted
/

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TABLE 2
MULTI-CARRIER WAVEFORMS, ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS

Waveform

Advantages

Drawbacks

CP-OFDM

High robustness against multi-path fading


channel.

Easy combination with MIMO transmission.

High OOBE since OFDM has a rectangular


pulse shaping in time domain, which leads to
an unsatisfactory energy localization in
frequency domain.

Flexible frequency selective scheduling.

Efficient and low-cost implementation:


(IFFT/FFT).

Sensitive to time-frequency synchronization


error.

Elegant solution to combat the frequency


selectivity and to boost the spectrum efciency.

Same waveform numerology for the whole


bandwidth.

A loss in spectral efficiency due to CP


insertion and guard bands.

Higher sensitivity to narrowband interferers.

Multiple services cannot easily coexist, in the


same band without causing inter-service
interference due to the poor frequency subband isolation.

High computational complexity

High computational complexity

Sensitive to time frequency synchronization


error.

FBMC suffers from high time domain


overheads; the subcarrier filters are very

F-OFDM

H-OFDM

FBMC

Flexible frequency multiplexing.

Simple channel equalization.

Accommodates different types of services in


different sub-bands with the most suitable
waveform and numerology.

Within each subband, optimized numerology


can be applied to suit the needs of certain type
of services, enabling a much better utilization
of the spectrum for the variety of services to be
carried.

Provides more throughput gains over the


conventional OFDM scheme.

The requirement on global synchronization is


relaxed and inter-subband asynchronous
transmission can be supported.

OOBE can easily be suppressed with suitably


designed lters.

Can be combined with multi-antenna


transmission without any special processing.

Allows using a unified baseband design for a


broad range of carrier frequencies going up to
millimetre waves.

Enables a frame structure that is fully scalable


over the range of operating frequencies and
supports self-backhauling as well as advanced
multi-antenna techniques.

Significant gains over CP-OFDM can be


achieved, such as 10 to 100 times higher user
data rate via adaptive TDD, wider bandwidth
and beamforming.

Offers high flexibility due to individual filtering

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of single subcarriers.

The FBMC long filter duration introduces extra


overhead for Short bursts- the lter length in
FBMC is typically very long (e.g., more than 3
times of the symbol duration) and thus is
resource-consuming.

Sub-channels can be optimally designed in the


frequency domain to have desired spectral
containment and are spectrally separated as
soon as an empty sub-channel is present inbetween.

While FBMC is very efficient when transmitting


long sequences, it suffers when transmits
short bursts/frames (e.g. for M2M
communications) and under very tight
response time requirements (e.g. for V2V).

Does not require redundant CP and thus is


more spectral efficient

Users do not need to be synchronized before


they gain access to the transmission system.

FBMC systems still have problems related to


synchronization, equalization, and tracking of
channel variations.

FBMC still have some difficulties of combining


with multi-antenna transmission.

Individual filtering of single subcarriers causes


some changes in the signal structure,
requiring the redesign of some signal
processing procedures.

Has high computational complexity; the


additional filtering required increases the
implementation complexity.

Suffers from high computational complexity;

Needs to find the best features of its


algorithms such as number of subcarriers,
number of IDFT points, length of the filter, in
order to alleviate complexity.

Self-induced inter-carrier and inter-symbol


interferences need to be accounted for.

Has high computational complexity

GFDM

UFMC

Considered as a key enabler for a flexible air


interface design, as it facilitates spectrum
sharing of a multitude of different radio
services with high efficiency and enables the
system to be configured according to the
individual needs of each service.

narrow in frequency domain and require long


filter time constants.

In cognitive radio, FBMC offers the possibility


to simultaneously carry out spectrum sensing
and transmission functions with the same
device.
Can better adapt to the characteristics of
doubly selective channels by optimizing the
prototype filters using real-time channel state
information.

Enables services with strict reliability


requirements such as road safety applications.

Maintains the conventional OFDM signals


structure for compatibility issues by filtering
sub-bands consisting of a minimum number of
subcarriers.

It is the best choice for short burst


transmissions, required to support fast TDD
switching, and enabling low latency modes.

Supports small packet transmissions with low


energy consumption and with high efficiency.

Outperforms FBMC in case of very short


packets while performing similar for long
sequences.

Does not suffer from high time domain


overheads.

Spectrally more efficient than OFDM.

More robust to inter-carrier interferences

A loss of orthogonality cannot be a problem.

A flexible modulation scheme that benefits


from transmitting multiple symbols per subcarrier.

Provides better control of the OOBE.

Reduces the peak to average power ratio,


PAPR.

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MC-FTN

Exhibits strong frequency localization per


subcarrier by applying adjustable pulse
shaping filters.

Increases system capacity by containing more


data in the time and/or frequency domains.

Provides greater increase in spectrum


efficiency.

3.1 Performance in Mixed Service Scenarios


TheBased on Table1, Figure 1 links each waveform
with its favorite scenario with its services in ascending
order. For instance, for the On Move Communications
scenario, the first most favorite waveform is FBMC and
the second most favorite waveform is H-OFDM. Similarly, for the Real Time/Reliable Communications scenario,
the first most favorite waveform is UFMC and the second
most favorite waveform is FBMC, and so on. For the performance in Mixed Scenarios envisaged for 5G systems,
where three individual scenarios could be encountered;
service in crowd, on move with real time communications, what are the most favorite waveforms? As shown
in Figure 1 and according to the characteristics of waveforms in Tables 1 and 2, F-OFDM is found to be the first
most favorite waveform in Mixed Scenarios. This is because this waveform can accommodate different types of
services in different sub-bands with the most suitable
waveform and numerology. And within each subband,
optimized numerology can be applied to suit the needs of
certain type of services, enabling a much better utilization
of the spectrum for the variety of services to be carried.
The second most favorite waveform in Mixed Scenarios
could be the FBMC as it facilitates spectrum sharing of a
multitude of different radio services with high efficiency.
Besides, it enables the system to be configured according
to the individual needs of each service with strict reliability requirements such as road safety applications. Now,
for the third most favorite waveform in Mixed Scenarios,
UFMC can be chosen as the best choice for short burst
transmissions, required to support low latency modes for
Real Time/Reliable Communications. Moreover, it supports small packet transmissions with low energy consumption and with high efficiency and also modifies its
numerology according to the link characteristics.
Switching between different waveforms according to
the existing scenario and service requirements is needed
to choose the most appropriate scheme on time. Generally, services are classified according to the required minimum data rates, latency, reliability, data packet size, coverage, battery life, air interface, etc. Scenarios are classified by moving speed, reliability, crowdedness of users

Although, MC-FTN is very efficient for


reducing the spectral bandwidth, such a
reduction is useless, unless the receiver
decodes the right symbols.

So an equalizer-step is required but adds a


large complexity in the system.

The complexity of the equalizer increases


drastically for higher order modulation
schemes.

and the capability of massive deployment of devices.


Switching process may depend on a cost function comprising all these factors depending on the weight of each.
A simplified switching process is shown in Figure 2, depending on the most two important factors: latency and
moving speed. Short latency is mandatory for safety critical or mission critical applications. The main technical
challenges are very high reliabilities, e.g., 99.999% and
very short latency. An ultra-reliable service should deliver messages before the latency exceeds an established
deadline with very high probability. Latency is defined as
the time from which the transmitter request to send a
message until the it is successfully received. UFMC is the
best choice for enabling low latency modes. Moving
speed impacts the type of the channel; fast fading with
high Doppler spread with high speed and slow fading
with low Doppler spread with low speed. Doppler spread
leads to frequency dispersion and time selective fading.
Some waveforms are better suited to accommodate these
conditions than others. FBMC is the most appropriate
waveform for moving users with high speed as it can better adapt to the characteristics of doubly selective channels by optimizing the prototype filters using real-time
channel state information.
In Figure 2, two important parameters of the mixed
scenario and its services, the moving speed and the latency, are measured. Two consecutive tests are carried out: if
the moving speed exceeds a predefined threshold, FBMC
is preliminarily chosen as the multicarrier waveform otherwise, F-OFDM is selected. For the second test and whichever waveform was chosen in the first test, if the latency exceeds an established deadline, then UFMC waveform is selected. Otherwise, the waveform already selected in the first test is kept active for a delay T1 after
which the two tests will be repeated. On its turn, when
UFMC waveform is selected, it is kept active for another
delay T2 after which the two tests will also be repeated to
account for possible changes in speed and latency parameters.

26

Scenario and services parameters

Start

Speed and Latency


measurements

Yes

No

Speed>Ts

FBMC

F-OFDM

Delay

No

Yes

Latency>Td

T1

Delay

UFMC

T2

Figure 2: Switching between different waveforms according to the existing scenario and service requirements

CONCLUSIONAND CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE


RESEARCH

A direct comparison between different 5G candidate multicarrier waveforms with respect to their performance in
mixed service scenarios was presented. The survey illustrated the main characteristics and features of the waveforms focusing on their advantages and drawbacks. It linked
each waveform with its favorite 5G scenario(s) and service(s) and discussed switching process between different
schemes according to the existing scenario and service requirements.
Switching process depends on specific factors related to
services and scenarios such as minimum data rates, latency,
reliability, data packet size, coverage, battery life, moving
speed, etc. Hence, switching mechanism could be based on a
cost function comprising all those factors with correspond-

ing weight for each. However, combining the different proposed schemes to form fully harmonized and configurable
(adaptive) multi-carrier waveform, fulfilling the various requirements of 5G system is still left for future research.
Moreover, the development of efficient metrics and algorithms needed to select the best configuration, guaranteeing
targeted radio coverage, data rate and QoS is another challenge for future research.

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