Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access

Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is a multi-user version of the popular orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) digital modulation scheme. Multiple access is achieved in OFDMA by assigning subsets of subcarriers to individual users as shown in the illustration below. This allows simultaneous low data rate transmission from several users.

Key features

The advantages and disadvantages summarized below are further discussed in the Characteristics and principles of operation section. See also the list of OFDM Key features.

Claimed advantages over OFDM with time-domain statistical multiplexing

Claimed OFDMA Advantages

Recognised disadvantages of OFDMA

Characteristics and principles of operation

Based on feedback information about the channel conditions, adaptive user-to-subcarrier assignment can be achieved.[2] If the assignment is done sufficiently fast, this further improves the OFDM robustness to fast fading and narrow-band cochannel interference, and makes it possible to achieve even better system spectral efficiency.

Different numbers of sub-carriers can be assigned to different users, in view to support differentiated Quality of Service (QoS), i.e. to control the data rate and error probability individually for each user.

OFDMA can be seen as an alternative to combining OFDM with time division multiple access (TDMA) or time-domain statistical multiplexing communication. Low-data-rate users can send continuously with low transmission power instead of using a "pulsed" high-power carrier. Constant delay, and shorter delay, can be achieved.

OFDMA can also be described as a combination of frequency domain and time domain multiple access, where the resources are partitioned in the time-frequency space, and slots are assigned along the OFDM symbol index as well as OFDM sub-carrier index.

OFDMA is considered as highly suitable for broadband wireless networks, due to advantages including scalability and use of multiple antennas (MIMO)-friendliness, and ability to take advantage of channel frequency selectivity.[1]

In spectrum sensing cognitive radio, OFDMA is a possible approach to filling free radio frequency bands adaptively. Timo A. Weiss and Friedrich K. Jondral of the University of Karlsruhe proposed a spectrum pooling system in which free bands sensed by nodes were immediately filled by OFDMA subbands.


OFDMA is used in:

OFDMA is also a candidate access method for the IEEE 802.22 Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRAN). The project aims at designing the first cognitive radio based standard operating in the VHF-low UHF spectrum (TV spectrum).

OFDMA subcarriers

Trademark and patents

The term "OFDMA" is claimed to be a registered trademark by Runcom Technologies Ltd., with various other claimants to the underlying technologies through patents.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Hujun Yin and Siavash Alamouti (August 2007). "OFDMA: A Broadband Wireless Access Technology". IEEE Sarnoff Symposium, 2006. IEEE: 1–4. doi:10.1109/SARNOF.2006.4534773.
  2. Guowang Miao; Guocong Song (2014). Energy and spectrum efficient wireless network design. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 1107039886.


External links

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