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Evaluation of BER of Digital Modulation Schemes for AWGN

And Wireless Fading Channels

Ramanan Thangasalvam
Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Universitiy Malaysia Sabah
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Abstract Digital communication systems are vastly
developing. As a result of this vast development, ensuring
and maintaining the quality of service for real-time
transmission of video applications and give users more
powerful and efficient services by using better techniques
has become a necessity. The digital modulation techniques in
digital communication systems have various performance
characteristics such as power efficiency, Bandwidth
efficiency, Error rate, cost etc. Two well known techniques
are the M-ary Phase Shift Keying and M-ary Quadrature
Amplitude Modulation. These techniques are used in
wireless communication to test and verify the performance
of fading channels. In this paper, the evaluation of BER or
Bit Error Rate is performed under AWGN, Rayleigh and
Rician fading channels, and among these channels, the
Rician fading channel has shown better performances
comparing to the AWGN and Rayleigh channels.



The use of mobile communication and wireless

communication has risen prominently for the past few
years. The high demand is mainly due to its accessibility,
speed and portability. The upcoming generation of
wireless communication systems will face a higher
demand for increased data rates, higher mobility, higher
carrier frequency as well as link reliability [2]. The
understanding of the behaviour and characteristics of
wireless channels is very important to determine the
performance limits of the wireless channel.
An in-depth analysis of the propagation channel is
important such that comparative studies of different
communication channels are conducted to enable a more
strategic planning for designing the system [3]. In this
paper, consideration is given to performance analysis of
digital communication system with different modulation
schemes. Data transmission performance of wireless
communication systems is analyzed via analysis of their
bit error rate or BER as a function of SNR or signal to
noise ratio at the receiver. Few communication system
models have been understood and studied in order to
calculate the SNR of the system and these models use a
path loss exponent as well as a channel gain [1]. There
many distributed probability functions that are available to
model the wireless communication channel from which
the three main and most commonly used distributions are
the AWGN or additive white gaussian noise, Rayleigh and
Rician or Rice models [1][3][4].
The organization of the paper is as such: In section II
the method or techniques or modulations schemes used in
the selected project paper to evaluate the performance of
the channels is discussed which are the M-PSK and M-

QAM techniques. Section III comprises of the simulation

results of both the paper method and the proposed method.
The simulation results obtained are discussed in section
IV. Section V comprises of the conclusion.


The method used in the project paper to evaluate the

performance of AWGN, Rayleigh and Rician channels via
BER vs SNR analysis are the M-PSK and M-QAM
techniques and more specifically the M-PSK used in the
paper is the BPSK and the 8PSK whereas for the M-QAM
used in the paper is 16-QAM and 64-QAM.


The figures below shows the simulation results done

via MATLAB for both the M-PSK and M-QAM
techniques. The simulation results also include the
probability density function plot for Rayleigh fading
channel as well as for Rician fading channel to show the
characteristics of both the fading channels as well as the
constellation plot for 8-PSK and 16-QAM.

Figure 1. PDF of fading Rayleigh channel

Figure 2. PDF of fading Rician channel

Figure 3. 8-PSK constellation

Figure 4. 16-QAM constellation

Figure 5. BER performance of AWGN, Rayleigh

and Rician channels for BPSK and 8-PSK

Figure 6. BER performance of AWGN, Rayleigh

and Rician channels for 16-QAM and 64-QAM


Figure 1 shows the graph of the probability density

function (PDF) of a fading Rayleigh channel against a
normal probability density function. The PDF of Rayleigh
channel is unsymmetrical and this is due to the
consideration of different signal paths between the
receiver and transmitter in a Rayleigh channel. This path
variation affects the overall signal received at the receiver
end. Rician fading is combination of line of direct view
and multipath fading so the Rician fading has a direct path
to the receiver from the transmitter. Due to this direct path
the fading of the transmitted signal will be lesser in
Rician channel compared to Rayleigh channel. Figure 2
shows the PDF of Rician fading for different values of the
direct component, s. When s is zero, Rayleigh fading is
present whereas when the value of s increases as seen in
the figure from zero to one and more, the fading
disappears and only a channel with a Line of Sight (LOS)
component and no multipath component is present.
M-ary Phase Shift Keying or M-PSK is a modulation
scheme that conveys data by the changing or modulation
of the phase of a reference or message signal. This scheme
uses finite number of phases to represent its digital data
and the number of phase is determined by the M-value of
the scheme. The M-PSK forms used in the analysis are the
BPSK with B standing for Binary with M = 2 and 8-PSK
with M = 8. For BPSK the constellation will be a 0 and
1 as for M = 2 indicates 2-phases. For the 8-PSK
scheme, the constellation in Figure 3 shows the presence
of 8-phases for the scheme as indicated by the value of M
= 8. The other scheme type used in the channel analysis is
the m-QAM or M-ary Quadrature Amplitude Modulation
in which the baseband data of 1s and 0s are applied to a

serial-parallel converted to generate

two data sets each of half data rates.
The data sets are the used to modulate
two orthogonal signals with same
carrier frequency, fc, to generate inphase and quadrature components
which are then added to form the final
signal. The M-QAM forms used in the
channel analysis are the 64-QAM and
the 16-QAM. The Figure 4 indicates
the number of phases produced by the
16-QAM scheme as the number 16
indicates the number of phases which
is 16 different phases for the scheme
type. Similarly 64-QAM will show a
similar fashion but with 64 different
For the analysis of the channel
performance, as mentioned before the
BPSK and 8-PSK schemes are used
for the M-PSK and 16-QAM and 64QAM are used for the M-QAM
scheme. From Figure 5, it shows the
bit error rate performance of AWGN,
Rayleigh and Rician channels as
analyzed using the BPSK and 8-PSK
modulation schemes and from Figure
6, it shows the bit error rate
performance of AWGN, Rayleigh and
Rician channels as analyzed using the
16-QAM and 64-QAM modulation schemes. For larger
values of SNR, the BER decreases exponentially in
AWGN channel whereas in for the Rayleigh and Rician
channels, the BER decrease for increasing SNR shows a
linear fashion. Also from the analysis as M increases, the
number of bits in a symbol increases, error rate also
increases, thus, BER is minimum for AWGN and
maximum for Rayleigh and Rician. The AWGN isnt a
fading channel, hence, BER vs SNR is compared between
the two fading channels of Rayleigh and Rician. As the
fading has a strong rice dominant component the LOS
component is present, thus, the BER value for the Rician
channel is lower than the Rayleigh channel for the direct
transmission path. When analyzing the M-QAM
modulation scheme for the three channels at constant BER
of 10-2, for the 16-QAM scheme the SNR for AWGN is
seen to be at 8dB while for Rician and Rayleigh the SNR
is an approximate of 11dB and 17dB respectively. Due to
the absence of the direct line LOS from the transmitter to
the receiver, Rayleigh channel has low performance
compared to AWGN and Rician channels.


In the wireless communication system, the data rate

requirements are increasing day by day to ensure
application service quality that allows the real-time
transmission of video. Several modulation techniques are
used and by which it is possible to transmit more than the
bit rate in the channel. In this paper, the evaluation of
digital modulations MPSK and MQAM is performed for
wireless applications in the AWGN channel and fading
channels of Rayleigh and Rice. From the simulation
results, we see that for the same values of M, Rician
shows better performance than AWGN channel and
Rayleigh fading channel constant in terms of BER vs

SNR. Because Rician fading channel has higher BER than

AWGN channel and lower than Rayleigh fading channel.
BER of this channel has not been much affected by noise
under BPSK, 8PSK, 16QAM & 64 QAM modulation
I would like to say a special thanks to Ben Ltaief
Ahlem, Mohammed Bechir Dadi and Chibani Belgasem
Rhaimi for producing the IEEE conference paper on
Evaluation of BER of Digital Modulation Schemes for
AWGN And Wireless Fading Channels that I have used to
do this project. I would like to thank my lecturer Dr. Ali
Farzamnia for providing me with the opportunity and
imbibing the knowledge required to do and complete this
project successfully.







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