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BSTE 06/U/5761/PSA 206006175
BSc. In Telecommunications Eng, Department of Electrical Engineering
Faculty of Technology, Makerere University
Kampala, Uganda

Abstract- the characteristics, performance and A. AMPLITUDE MODULATION (AM)

resulting physical realization of a communication
system are significantly affected by the choice of a For a sinusoid, Ac cos (2π fc t + φ0 ), where Ac is
modulation scheme. At the same time, the choice the (constant) amplitude, fc is the (constant)
of a scheme depends on the physical frequency in Hz and φ0 is the initial phase angle. Let
characteristics of the channel, required levels of the sinusoid be written as Ac cos[ θ(t) ] where θ(t)=
performance and target hardware trade-offs, 2π fct + φ0 . The condition that Ac is a function of the
therefore some schemes will prove a better fit message signal m(t), gives rise to amplitude
than others. Consideration must be given to the modulation. This is a technique used majorly in
required data rate, acceptable level of latency, electronic communication, most commonly for
available bandwidth, anticipated link budget and transmitting information via a radio carrier wave. In
target hardware cost, size and current AM, a quantity called modulation depth, indicates by
consumption. The objective of this paper is to how much the modulated variable varies around its
review the key characteristics and salient features 'original' level. For AM, it relates to the variations in
of the main analog and digital modulation the carrier amplitude and is defined as:
schemes used, including consideration of the Where M and A were introduced above. So if h =
receiver and transmitter requirements.

0.5, the carrier amplitude varies by 50% above and

INTRODUCTION below its unmodulated level, and for h = 1.0 it varies
by 100%.
In telecommunications, modulation is the process
of conveying a message signal, for example a digital • Double-Sideband AM (DSB-AM)[2]
bit stream or an analog audio signal, inside another Since each sideband is equal in bandwidth to that of
signal that can be physically transmitted. [1] A device the modulating signal, Amplitude modulation that
that performs modulation is a modulator and a results in two sidebands and a carrier is often called
device that performs the inverse operation of double sideband amplitude modulation (DSB-AM).
modulation is a demodulator (also detector). A Amplitude modulation is inefficient in terms of
device that can do both operations is a modem (short power usage and much of it is wasted. At least two-
for "Modulator-Demodulator"). There are basically thirds of the power is concentrated in the carrier
two methods for modulating- Analog and Digital signal, which carries no useful information; the
techniques. remaining power is split between two identical
sidebands, though only one of these is needed since
they contain identical information.

In analog modulation, there is continuous

modulation applied in response to the analog
information signal. The aim of analog modulation is
to transfer an analog baseband signal, for example an
audio signal over an analog pass band channel. The
common analog modulation techniques are:
Amplitude and Angle Modulation.
Figure 1: The (2-sided) spectrum of an AM signal. [2]


To increase transmitter efficiency, the carrier can be Vestigial sideband (VSB) [2]
removed from the AM signal. This produces a A vestigial sideband is a sideband that has been only
double-sideband suppressed-carrier (DSBSC) partly cut off or suppressed. Television broadcasts
signal. A suppressed-carrier amplitude modulation use this method if the video is transmitted in AM,
scheme is three times more power-efficient than due to the large bandwidth used. It may also be used
traditional DSB-AM. If the carrier is only partially in digital transmission, the Milgo 4400/48 modem
suppressed, a double-sideband reduced-carrier (circa 1967) used vestigial sideband and phase-shift
(DSBRC) signal results. DSBSC and DSBRC keying to provide 4800-bit/s transmission over a
signals need their carrier to be regenerated to be 1600 Hz channel. To conserve bandwidth, SSB
demodulated using conventional techniques. would be desirable, but the video signal has
significant low frequency content (average
• Single-Sideband AM (SSB-AM)[2] brightness) and has rectangular synchronizing
This is a type of amplitude modulation that uses pulses. The engineering compromise is vestigial
electrical power and bandwidth more efficiently. sideband modulation since the full upper sideband of
SSB was also used over long distance telephone bandwidth W2 = 4 MHz is transmitted, but only W1
lines, as part of a technique known as frequency- = 1.25 MHz of the lower sideband is transmitted,
division multiplexing (FDM). This enabled many along with a carrier. This makes the system AM at
voice channels to be sent down a single physical low modulation frequencies and SSB at high
circuit, for example in L-carrier. SSB allowed modulation frequencies. The absence of the lower
channels to be spaced just 4,000 Hz apart, while sideband components at high frequencies must be
offering a speech bandwidth of nominally 300– compensated for, and this is done by the RF and IF
3,400 Hz. Most often, the carrier is reduced or filters.
removed entirely, being referred as single sideband
suppressed carrier (SSBSC). Quadrature AM (QAM) [2]
This is both an analog and a digital modulation
scheme. It conveys two analog message signals, or
two digital bit streams, by modulating the amplitudes
of two carrier waves, using the AM analog
modulation scheme or amplitude-shift keying (ASK)
digital modulation scheme. These two waves,
usually sinusoids, are out of phase with each other
by 90° and are thus called quadrature carriers or
components — hence the name of scheme. In the
digital QAM case, a finite number of at least two
phases and at least two amplitudes are used. PSK
modulators are often designed using the QAM
principle, but are not considered as QAM since the
amplitude of the modulated carrier signal is constant.

Analog QAM
When transmitting two signals by modulating them
with QAM, the transmitted signal will be of the

Where I(t) and Q(t) are the modulating signals and f0

is the carrier frequency. At the receiver, these two
modulating signals can be demodulated using a
coherent demodulator. Such a receiver multiplies the
Figure 2: The LSB spectrum is inverted compared to the received signal separately with both a cosine and
baseband. For example, a 2 kHz baseband signal modulated sine signal to produce the received estimates of I(t)
onto a 5 MHz carrier produces an SSB frequency of 5.002 MHz
if USB is used or 4.998 MHz if LSB is used. and Q(t) respectively. Because of the orthogonality


property of the carrier signals, it is possible to detect Frequency Modulation (FM) and Phase modulation
the modulating signals independently. (PM).
In the ideal case I(t) is demodulated by multiplying
the transmitted signal with a cosine signal: • FREQUENCY MODULATION (FM)
Consider the case where fi (t) is a function of m(t) ;
that is, fi(t) = fc+ kf m(t)

kf is a constant, which we will identify shortly. A

frequency modulated signal s(t) is described in the
time domain by

kf is termed as the frequency sensitivity of the

modulator with the units Hz/volt. As with other
modulation indices, this quantity indicates by how
much the modulated variable varies around its
unmodulated level. It relates to the variations in the
frequency of the carrier signal:
Figure 3: Analog QAM

Digital QAM where is the highest frequency component

Like all modulation schemes, QAM conveys data by
present in the modulating signal xm(t), and is the
changing some aspect of a carrier signal, in response
Peak frequency-deviation, i.e the maximum
to a data signal. In the case of QAM, the amplitude
deviation of the instantaneous frequency from the
of two waves, 90 degrees out-of-phase with each
carrier frequency. If , the modulation is
other (in quadrature) are changed (modulated or
called narrowband FM, and its bandwidth is
keyed) to represent the data signal. Amplitude
modulating two carriers in quadrature can be approximately . If , the modulation is
equivalently viewed as both amplitude modulating called wideband FM and its bandwidth is
and phase modulating a single carrier. Phase approximately . While wideband FM uses more
modulation (analog PM) and phase-shift keying bandwidth, it can improve signal-to-noise ratio
(digital PSK) can be regarded as a special case of significantly. With a tone-modulated FM wave, if the
QAM, where the magnitude of the modulating signal modulation frequency is held constant and the
is a constant, with only the phase varying. This can modulation index is increased, the bandwidth of the
also be extended to frequency modulation (FM) and FM signal increases, but the spacing between spectra
frequency-shift keying (FSK), for these can be stays the same. A rule of thumb, Carson's rule states
regarded as a special case of phase modulation. that nearly all (~98%) of the power of a frequency-
modulated signal lies within a bandwidth of
where ,as defined above,
B. ANGLE MODULATION [3] is the peak deviation of the instantaneous frequency
from the center carrier frequency .
Consider a sinusoid, Ac cos (2π fc t + φ0 ), where Ac is
the (constant) amplitude, fc is the (constant)
frequency in Hz and φ0 is the initial phase angle. Let • PHASE MODULATION (PM)
the sinusoid be written as Ac cos[ θ(t) ] where θ(t)= For PM, θi (t ) is given by
2π fct + φ0 . When Ac is a constant but θ(t), instead of The term 2πfct is the angle of the unmodulated
being equal to 2πfc t + φ0 , is a function of m(t) . This carrier and the constant kp is the phase sensitivity of
leads to what is known as the angle modulated the modulator with the units, radians per volt. the
signal. Two important cases of angle modulation are phase modulated wave s(t) can be written as


In digital modulation, an analog carrier signal is
modulated by a digital bit stream with the aim of
PM is not very widely used for radio transmissions transfering a bit over an analog pass band channel.
because it tends to require more complex receiving These are the most fundamental digital modulation
hardware thus presenting problems in determining techniques; PSK (uses a defined number of phases),
whether, for example, the signal has changed phase FSK (uses a finite number of frequencies), ASK (uses
by +180° or -180°. a defined number of amplitudes), QAM (uses finite
number of at least two phases, and at least two
amplitudes). Now the details-


PSK is achieved by modulating the phase. This can

be achieved simply by defining a relative phase shift
from the carrier, usually equi-distant for each
required state. The resulting signal will, probably,
Figure 4: An example of FM, showing the modulating, or not be constant amplitude and not be very spectrally
message, signal, xm(t), superimposed on the carrier wave, xc(t) efficient due to the rapid phase discontinuities.
Phase modulation requires coherent generation and
as such if an I-Q modulation technique is employed
this filtering can be performed at baseband. PSK can
be further classified as discussed below.


This is the simplest form of phase modulation. With

Figure 5(a): An example of phase modulation, diagram shows binary (two level) phase modulation, the carrier
the modulating signal superimposed on the carrier wave [4] phase has only two states, +/- π/2. The transition
from a one to a zero, or vice versa, will result in the
modulated signal crossing the origin of the
constellation diagram resulting in 100% AM. Figure
6(a) below shows the theoretical spectra of a 1 Mbits
BPSK signal with no additional filtering.

Figure 5(b): diagram shows the resulting phase-modulated

signal. [4]

The modulation index relates to the variations in the

phase of the carrier signal: where Δθ is the peak
phase deviation. For a single large sinusoidal signal,
PM is similar to FM, and its bandwidth Figure 6(a): Theoretical BPSK
is approximately where fM = ωm / 2π Several techniques are employed in real systems to
and h is the modulation index defined below. This is improve the spectral efficiency. One such method is
also known as Carson's Rule for PM. to employ Raised Cosine filtering. figure 6(b) below
DIGITAL MODULATION shows the improved spectral efficiency achieved by
applying a raised cosine filter with b=0.5 to the
baseband modulating signals.


Figure 8: Constellation points for QPSK.
• π/4–QPSK
This final variant of QPSK uses two identical
Figure 6(b): Raised Cosine BPSK β=0.5 constellations which are rotated by 45° (π / 4 rads)
with respect to one another. Usually, either, the even
One potentially undesirable feature of BPSK that the or odd symbols are used to select points from one of
application of a raised cosine filter will not improve the constellations and the other symbols select points
is the 100% AM. Further hybrid versions of BPSK from the other constellation. This reduces the phase-
are used in real systems that combine constant shifts from a maximum of 180°, but only to a
amplitude modulation with phase modulation. One maximum of 135° and so the amplitude fluctuations
such example would be Constant Amplitude ‘50%’ of π / 4–QPSK are between OQPSK and non-offset
BPSK, generated with shaped I and Q vectors QPSK. One property this modulation scheme
designed to rotate the phase around the unit circle possesses is that the modulated signal does not pass
between the two constellation points. For a 010 data through the origin. This lowers the dynamical range
sequence the trajectory spends 25% of the time of fluctuations in the signal which is desirable when
travelling from one point to other, 50% of the time at engineering communications signals. On the other
the required point and 25% of the time returning. hand, π / 4–QPSK lend itself to easy demodulation
and have been adopted for use in, for example,
TDMA cellular telephone systems.
Figure 9: Constellation points for π/4-QPSK.
• Offset-QPSK (OQPSK)
As previously discussed the potential for a 180o

The resulting carrier phase shift is shown in figure 7

Figure 7: Constant Amplitude ‘50%’ BPSK.


QPSK uses four points on the constellation diagram,

equispaced around a circle. Higher order modulation
phase shift in QPSK results in the requirement for
schemes, such as QPSK, are often used in preference
better linearity in the Power Amplifiers (PA) and the
to BPSK when improved spectral efficiency is
potential for spectral re-growth due to the 100% AM.
required. QPSK utilizes four constellation points, as
O-QPSK reduces this tendency by adding a time
shown in figure 8 below, each representing two bits
delay of one bit period (half a symbol) in the Q-arm
of data. Again as with BPSK the use of trajectory
of the modulator. The result is that the phase of the
shaping (raised cosine, root raised cosine etc) will
carrier is modulated every bit (depending on the
yield an improved spectral efficiency, although one
data), not every other bit as for QPSK, hence the
of the principle disadvantages of QPSK, like BPSK,
phase trajectory never approaches the origin. The
is the potential to cross the origin, hence generating
ability of the modulated signal to demonstrate a
100% AM.


phase shift of 180o is thus removed. The shaping of This precludes its use in this basic form from cellular
the phase trajectory between constellation points is and even cordless systems.
typically implemented with a raised cosine filter to
improve the spectral efficiency. Due to the I. BINARY-FSK (BFSK) [6]
similarities between QPSK and O-QPSK similar
signal spectra and probability of error are achieved. The simplest FSK is binary FSK (BFSK). BFSK
O-QPSK is utilized in the North American IS-95 literally implies using a pair of discrete frequencies
CDMA cellular system for the link from the mobile to transmit binary (0s and 1s) information. With this
to the base station. scheme, the "1" is called the mark frequency and the
"0" is called the space frequency. The time domain
of an FSK modulated carrier is illustrated in the
figures to the right.
Figure 11: Binary (2 level) FSK modulation. [3]
Minimum Shift Keying is FSK with a modulation index
of 0.5. Therefore the carrier phase of an MSK signal will
be advanced or retarded 900 over the course of each bit
period to represent either a one or a zero. Due to this
exact phase relationship MSK can be considered as either
phase or frequency modulation. The result of this exact
phase relationship is that MSK can’t practically be
generated with a voltage controlled oscillator and a digital
Figure 10(a): OQPSK, Signal doesn't cross zero, because only waveform. Instead an I-Q modulation technique, as for
one bit of the symbol is changed at a time PSK, is usually implemented.
• Gaussian Minimum Shift Keyed (GMSK)
A variant of MSK that is employed by some cellular
systems (including GSM) is Gaussian Minimum
Shift Keying. GMSK can also be viewed as either
frequency or phase modulation. The phase of the
carrier is advanced or retarded up to 90o over the
course of a bit period depending on the data pattern,
although the rate of change of phase is limited with a
Gaussian response. The result is the dependence on
the Bandwidth Time product (BT), the achieved
phase change over the bit may fall short of 90o. This
will obviously have an impact on the BER, although
the advantage of this scheme is the improved
bandwidth efficiency. The extent of this shaping can
clearly be seen from the 'eye' diagrams in figures
below for BT=0.3, BT=0.5 and BT=1.
Figure 10(b): Difference of the phase between QPSK and
Figure 12: Eye Diagrams for GMSK with BT=0.3 (up), BT=0.5
B. FREQUENCY MODULATION (FSK) (centre) and BT=1 (down).

A frequency modulation scheme in which digital III. AMPLITUDE SHIFT KEYING (ASK) [6]
information is transmitted through discrete frequency
changes of a carrier wave. FSK has the advantage of It is a form of modulation that represents digital data
being very simple to generate, simple to demodulate as variations in the amplitude of a carrier wave. Like
and due to the constant amplitude can utilize a non- AM, ASK is also linear and sensitive to atmospheric
linear PA. Significant disadvantages, however, are noise, distortions, propagation conditions on
the poor spectral efficiency and BER performance. different routes in PSTN, etc. Both ASK modulation
and demodulation processes are relatively


inexpensive. The ASK technique is also commonly
used to transmit digital data over optical fiber. For
LED transmitters, binary 1 is represented by a short
pulse of light and binary 0 by the absence of light.
• Binary-ASK (B-ASK) [7]
A binary amplitude-shift keying (BASK) signal can
be defined by equation (1)…......s(t) = A m(t)
cos(2πfct), 0 < t < T where A is a constant,
m(t) = 1 or 0, fc is the carrier frequency, and T is the
bit duration. It has a power
P = A2/2, so that A = √2P. Thus equation (1) can be

where E = PT is the energy contained in a bit

duration. If we take Φ1(t) = √2/T (cos(2pfc t))as the
orthonormal basis function, the applicable signal
space or constellation diagram of the BASK signals

• M-ary Amplitude-Shift Keying (M-ASK) [7]

An M-ary amplitude-shift keying (M-ASK) signal
can be defined by equation (2) below,

Where Ai = A[2i - (M - 1)] for i = 0, 1, ..., M - 1 and

M > 4. Here, A is a constant; fc is the carrier
frequency, and T is the symbol duration. The signal
has a power , so that , Thus
equation (2) can be written as

where Ei = PiT is the energy of s(t) contained in a

symbol duration for i = 0, 1, ..., M - 1.


Clearly, the various modulation techniques have

been analyzed with focus on their behavior,
advantages, and disadvantages with a follow up on
where they find suitable application. The objective
of this academic paper therefore has been achieved.


1. modulation
2. Single-sideband_modulation.htm
3. Indian institute of Technology, Mandras- Principles of
Communication by Prof. V. Venkata Rao
5. Introduction to Digital modulation schemes by Geoff Smithson