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Analysis' of 'Pilot-Symbol Aided Channel'Estimation for

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HanZhang, Jiming Chen

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' 'University ofElectronic Science ahd Teclinology


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-'.Chengdu,610054;P.R. China -.. : . "

E-Mail: .


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Absfracl--Multiple transmit and receive antennas can be

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used to form multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
channels to increase the capacity by a factor of the
minimum number of transmit and .receive ,'antennas.
Orthogonal frequency division multipleXing (OFDM) for
MIMO: channels (MtMO-OPDM) .can :-improve-.the
performance by mitigating intersymbol interference and
.enhancing .System: capacity. Thiw paper investigates
pilot-symbol aided, channel estimation .(PSACE) .for
MIMO-O.F.DM. . . systems......Two'. app,roaches are
*investigated:..fir$t, zero. pilot .pattern .use all available
pilot symbols simultaneously;. .second, ' nonzero., pilot
pattern is. . al1o.cated for- each ., transmit, . antenna
exclqsively. The ,Wiener .filters are derived .for both
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Youxi Tang, Shaoqian Li

National Key Lab. of Communications
University'of Electronic Science and Technology
Chengdu, 610054, P.R. China
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National Key Lab. of Cohunications

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the received signal will have severe fading variations. .In

order to detect the received signal coherently, an' accurate
channel estimate is essential. By periodically inserting
pilots in the transmitted signa1,'while the.sampling theorem
is satisfied, the channel .response can be reconstru~ted~~~.
PSACE has been successfully applied to OFDM e.g. 141.
More recently, channel estimatiod for MIMO-OFDM
systems has been investigated['. 6l. The estimator based on
the least squares (LS) and minimum mean squared error
(MMSE) criterion for MIMO-OFDM systems have been
derived in [7].While a hard limit for the minimum
number of pilots for the LS estimator, Nu, the MMSE
estimator exists even if the.number of pilots, Np, is less than
By applying the 'sampling theorem, the minimum
number of pilots, Npnrjn,for which the signal can be
reconstructed, can be derived. In this paper it is shown that

,Keywoi.ds::MIMO;.OFDM,:channel estimation, MSE

if N& is sufficient to satisfy the .sampling theorem, the 'LS

estimator does exist, i.e. NPn,,=N,,. Otherwise, the MMSE
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) is
, .
estimator will experience an irreducible error floor: Thus,
:very attractive :for. high-speed wireless communication
by using an.MMSE estimator the requirements for Np are
because of its various advantages in lessening the severe
not relaxed..
effects ' of. freqaency-selective .fading' 'and 'Inter-symbol
., The channel estimation approaches assume that all NT
,'Infe~erence(ISI)['l: Applying' multiple antennas at both
transmit antennas utilize all available pilots .simultaneously,
ter 'and receiver -sides, especially when' the
e.g. zero pilot pattern.. Alternatively, by exclusively
ent provides rich scattering, can'greatly improve transmit antenna a subset of .all available
.the capacity" of a wireless .'So~nunication'link :in
pilots, e.g. nonzero pilot pattern, PSACE. for single antenna
flat-fading'21.To 'deal with the frequency-selective 'nature of
systems can be applied in a straightforward way. However,
broadband wireless channels, OFDM can be combined.with
if such zero pilot pattern sequences are used; the number of
multiple-input multiple-output,(MlMO) techniques. .
available pilots per transmit antenna kreduced by Nr times.
Transmitting a data signal over a wireless fading channel,
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In, this paper MIMO-OFDM .channel, estimation utilizing
zero and nonzero pilot pattern are compared. It is shown
* This Work was: pz$ly~s~pqarl~dby National 863 Program of'china
(2001AA1230131) and Nalional NaNral Science Foundation of China
that the requirements for N-in, as well as the MMSE of
(60390540-3) . . . . . . . . . .
both approaches are equivalent.
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0-7803-8647-7/04/$20.0002004 IEEE.


The rest of this paper is organized as follows: the system

model and channel model in MIMO-OFDM system are
briefly described in section II; the Wiener filter and the
corresponding MSE are derived in section 111; results are
presented in section IV; and the conclusions are finally
given in Section V.

The channel impulse response (CIR) is assumed to be

constant during one OFDM symbol. The channel of the
qth tap,

hti), impinging with time delay r y ) ,is a wide

sense stationary (WSS), complex Gaussian random

variable with zero mean. All channel taps and all


antennas are assumed to be mutually uncorrelated. The

For the considered MIMO-OFDM system with Nr

auto-correlation function of the CIR in (2) between

subcarriersm and n is given by

transmit antennas and Nn receive antennas, one OFDM


modulator is employed on each transmit antenna, as

illustrated in Fig. 1, For OFDM the signal stream is divided
into N, parallel substreams, e.g. subcamers. The kth
subcarrier, of the lth symbol block, named OFDM symbol,
transmitted from antenna i, is denoted by $1. Then, the
received signal of the jth receive antenna after OFDM
demodulation is obtained's1


B. lime-frequency Pilot Pattern

Channel estimation of OFDM system is dependent on the
choice of the pilot sequences and the pilot spacing D,in the
frequency and D, in the time. Fig. 2 denotes the pilot pattern
of frequency. In order to reconstruct the signal, there exists
a maximum Qand D,,dependent on the maximum delay of

j = l , ...,N,;k = I ,.._.

the channel, r,.

, and the number of transmit antennas Nr.

where N,,k denotes additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN)

with zero mean and variance No. Throughout the paper, it is
assumed that the intersymbol interference (ISI) is
completely eliminated by inserting the guard intervals;
meanwhile, time and frequency synchronization is perfect.

By using the sampling theorem, the following relation must

symbol duration with and without the guard interval, and


TSp,is the sample duration. The CGF, H"."(r,f), is the

received pilot sequences will in general be nonorthogonal

Fourier transform of the channel impulse response (CIR),

h'',')(f,r) . Considering a frequency selective, Rayleigh
fading channel, modeled by a tapped delay line with L
non-zero tapstS1, Ht;') can be described by[']

since the channel destroys the orthogonality of the pilots.

be satisfied D , N r r z / T S l and

f,JFD, S l / 2 , fm

denotes the maximum Doppler frequency, assuming that all

N f l ~channels have approximately the same maximum
c.r,, .
A. Channel Model
For PSACE utilizing a nonzero pilot pattern, the Nr pilot
The channel gain function (CGF), Hl(ln, is obtained by sequences are generally chosen from orthogonal designs.
sampling the analog CGF H ( ' . I ) ( t , f ) at time and We use phase-shifted sequences, defined b p l
2:) = e - / b i i l N ~,. k- = { l , ...,N p }
frequency instants f =IT,, and f = Wr, where Tsym=
( N F ~ + N ~ and
~ ) TT~ =~ NmTspl
represents the OFDM
i = (I.. ..,N,)


2;)forms a set of Nt. orthogonal sequences, the

By applying the sampling theorem, a condition for the

minimum number of pilots required to reconstmct the
signal of all Nr channels can be established.

z<r* pilo,

I It31 I I I I I<e,I I I I
I I I Iis1 1 1 I I IP,,' I
c .


T I 2 i.


Fig. 2 Pilot pattern of frequency (N,=2)

Fig.1 MIMO OFDM system model









throughout this paper, if other orthogonal sequences, e.g.

Walsh-Hadamard sequences, there is no difference in terms
of MSE or the maximum OFThe total transmit power that is
allocated for transmitted pilots, is futed. Thus, the

The estimator has to accomplish three tasks: to separate

transmission power for each transmit antenna is UNr of the

the Nr waveforms, corresponding to the Nr superimposed

signals; interpolate between the pilots in order to get an
estimate for each data symbol; as well as to average over
the noise. We consider two approaches. The first approach

total transmission power.

If a zero pilot pattern is used, one transmit antenna is
exclusively allocated a subset of all available pilot slots.
Mathematically, the N ~ p i l osequences
can be written in the

is based on utilizing a zero pilof pattern. Each transmit

antenna's signal has a dedicated number of pilot slots,
which is exclusively reserved for that transmit antenna. So,
if transmit antenna i is transmitting a pilot at a certain
subcarrier, all other transmit antennas are silent. The second

other antennas are silent that transmit antenna can use all

approach utilizes a nonzero pilot paftern. At a pilot slot all

Nrtransmit antennas transmit a pilot, as illustrated in Fig. 2.

available power.

The Nr signals are distinguished by N7 orthogonal pilot

Since only one transmit antenna is sending a pilot while all



B. Wiener filter

A. Frequency Domain Estimation

i we ~focus
~ on~channel
estimation in frequency
direction ( m a r r i e r index k). Thus, the index denoting
the OFDM symbol I, will be dropped in the following.
For PSACE, Np known pilot subcarriers are periodically
multiplexed into the N~ subcarriers. fie
two adjacent pilots isD, = L N , / N , ] , where 1x1 being the
largest integer not larger than x, PSACE was first
a d required a flat
introduced for single carrier

The task of the estimator is to separate Nrsuperimposed

signals, interpolate between pilots and average over the
noise. The channel gain function (CGF) estimate for

wbcamer is given by

fipn = w v . n ( k ) p ~= R m
( ' , ! I ( ~YY) ~ ( ! ! - ~ I

The Wiener filter is implemented by an FIR filter with Np




where the transmitted pilot

AWGN term are given by



+'", ...,$)y


in general, depends
and the

In order to determine the filer, knowledge about the
channel statistics is required. The auto-correlation matrix of
the Ieceived
pilots is described by

= E[pL,'ptij"

the MSE between the desired response, H?',

expressed as
5 4 1 = p$('l"'.'l


on the location of the desired symbol. The filer minimizes

fading channel'''. To describe PSACE it is useful to define a

subset of the transmitted signal sequence containing only
the pilots,
= {A'?} ,with k = b,.
In vector notation the received pilot sequence of one
OFDM symbol from receive antenna j can be conveniently



= ~ ~ ( o R ~ ; IN~I ( v



accounts for the auto-correlation matrix of at

(6) pilot positions. The auto-correlation matrix of AWGN is

the CGF, and the described by N$, where I denotes the.identity matrix. With
(3) the mthrow and nthcolumn of can be expressed as
[R!il)m,a = E [ fi"."#"."'





Note that the correlation function of two subcarriers spaced

n pilots apart is &'[D,n],
since the pilots sample the


channel gain function at a D/times lower rate.

The cross-correlation vector between the received pilots

pilot pattern.' The 'sampling theorem, derived for"PSACE

and the desired response is given by

channels have a similar maximum delay rkl';PSACE with,

R (,.,I
, ( k ) = E ,r+Iq(,J"


With ' L = l k / D , ]




k .~('1''


with' zero pilot 'pattern .in Appendix, states iliit, i f all.Nf

G o pilot pattern-has'the samerequirements on Dj

,. .(lo)

. ..

"I. ,.'.'I

The nth


entry of R:LJ(ki. specifies' the 'cotrelation between"the


channel gain' function of pilot symbol n and the' desired


response; i.e. the'CGF of subcarrier k, which is in the form'

, .
. .
{R!f(k)} = E[HYJ@'?] = pi:][& D,n] . , ( l l )



' ,


.. ,..
. . .



The MSE of an arbitrary estimator w ofdiniension .IxN p

can he expressed in the general fofm . . . . . . .. . .. . . . :


" '

.', .:;

. . . . . .


C. MSEAnalysis




where. p i : ' [ ] is defined in (3). To determine (8)

and (10)


we ha$e used the assumption that all. .transmit antennas'

signals are mutually uncorrelated. . ~.
Generally,'it is of great computational complexity to' use
all pilots Np. Instead a window of size M/can be slid over
. '
the'frequency grid, with MJ<Np.

with I??"= w q , The MI dimension 'vector

As shown in Appendix, for PSACE with nokero 'pilot

all pilot slots cany information for each transmit

D. Time Domain
. Estimation.



for the received pilot sequence of one OFDM symbol, and

is used to detekink'the cokelation functions RI( .and
.' (12);'is valid for a i y esiimatbr '. w "with' -or



antenna. Hence, the optimum Wiener filter W1',JJ(k)

(7j.wiiI have dimension'Np =N& , ,
. -.
To estimate the CGF of antenna pair (ij),pilot sequence


i can be utilized in the same way as for a single antenna

.. . .. . . .


without model mismatch.

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: . . .; . : . . . . . . s
After the fust-stage described -in previous section, we
finish the channel estimation in time by linear interpolate
using CIR of three 'pilot; Fig. 3;'denoteS the time
the channel
interpolation; Given a tertain subcariier, b,:
.. . . .. . . . .
estimation at time is'givenby[lol


system. However,' the effective pilot spacing for'the Ith

antenna's signal is NT times increased, so Dl. = D,NT.The
. .
resulting Wiener filter W'""(k) from (7) has one non-zero
. . . .
coefficient followed by NT1 zero coefficients. By using

. . .

. . . . . .

only those pilot suhcarriers from 9 in (6), which cany

infornktion about the CGF of antenna i, PSACE w j h zero,


where, Q - , ( n / D T ) = { ( n.../ Q ) ' -n/D,}/Z

.. . .. .. . . .



I .

pilot pattem can be described by an equivalent single'

antenna system Y".'J= 8","+ R dimension Dp= N ,. /,,.N, .
In terms of the equivalent single antenna system, ?','),





i W J ( k )=,R:$(~)R;;

dimension Dp contains all 'non-zero: coefficients of

w(',J1(+)from (7). Thus, .the dimension of the optimum
Wiener filter is Nr times lower than
for PSACE.



: ,

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. D,'



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Fig. 3 Time dimension interpolation

An OFDM system with N,=NR=2 is used; The chitinel

model is M.1225 Vehicular Channel A, with 6 paths, Tab. 1:.
presents the environment parameters of channel. A carrier
frequency is set to be 2GHz; and the maximum Doppler
frequency shift is lOOHz, adbandwidth of used,:
and guard interval is 12.8trs, the total number.of subcarriers
is N=1024, and the OFDM symbol is modulated by QPSK
(Quadrature Phase Shift Keying). The pilot spacing meets
the parameters D,NI 5 5 in the frequency domain, and

D,=5 in the time domain.


cornpiiring the performance using zero pilot pattern.

Tab. I parametem of channel

I Tap 1



Relative delay@)

Average power(dB)









[I] L.J.Cimini Jr. Adalysis and simulation of a digital

multiplexing, IEEE Trans. Commun., vol. 33, pp.


Fig. 4 BER vs SNR for a perfectly matched Wiener filter with

nonzero pilot pattern and zero pilot pattern

In Fig. 4 the BER for different pilot pattern is plotted

against the SNR EdNo. A Wiener filter is employed that is
perfectly matched to the channel statistics and uses all
available pilots. The performance of PSACE with zero pilot
pattern degrades about 0.5dB comparing with the
perforniance using nonzero pilot pattern.


665-675, July 1985.

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communications in a fading environment when using
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Pilot-Symbol-Aided Channel Estimation in Time and
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Mini-Conf. (CTMC) within IEEE Global Telecommun.
Conf. (GLOBECOM97), Phoenix, USA, pp. 90-96,
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[7] Y. Gong and K. Letaief, Low Rank Channel Estimation
for Space- Time Coded Wideband OFDM Systems, in

In this paper MIMO-OFDM channel estimation using

pilot sequences with a nonzero and zero pilot pattern were

examined. The Wiener filter, which is the optimum MMSE
estimator, has been derived for both approaches. Bounds for
the minimum number of pilots were derived by applying the
sampling theorem. The MMSE is independent on the
chosen pilot sequences, provided that a set of orthogonal
pilot sequences is chosen. Simulation results show the
performance using nonzero pilot pattern is improved,


Proc. IEEE Vehic. Technol. Conf. (VTC2001-Fall),

Atlantic City, USA, pp. 722-776,2001.
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McGraw-Hill, NY, USA, 3rd ed., 1995.

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