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Designing Digital Communication Systems

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Digital communication systems can be designed by following logical procedures. We generally begin with knowledge about the channel, its impairments, and whether the system is bandwidth-limited, power-limited, or both. From this starting point, we select a transmission waveform type, and then consider whether an error-correcting code is needed to meet the required performance. Throughout the design, subtle relationships among data bits, channel bits, symbols, and chips need to be taken into account. This article examines the following system examples: bandwidth-limited, power-limited, bandwidth- and power-limited, and spread spectrum.
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This article is intended to serve as a "road map" for outlining typical steps to be considered in meeting the bandwidth, power, and error-performance requirements of a digital communication system. The criteria for choosing modulation and coding schemes, based on whether a system is bandwidth-limited or power-limited, are reviewed for several system examples, and the article emphasizes the subtle but straightforward relationships that exist when transforming from data bits to channel bits to symbols to chips.

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Editor's Note: This article is offered in PDF in order to provide consistency and clarity to the in-text equations.
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