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Home /  Courses And Programs / Introduction to OFDM/OFDMA and 4G/5G Systems

This course covers the foundational principles OFDM/OFDMA

and the underlying technologies of broadband wireless systems. It is intended for practicing engineers, researchers, and students. Wireless access has evolved rapidly in the last two decades and has become the dominant medium for network connectivity in fixed and mobile applications. It started with cellular (1990), followed by Wi-Fi (2000), and these systems are evolving into an ecosystem involving 4G/5G and Wi-Fi (802.11n/ac/ax). The first part of the course focuses on the principles of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which forms the basis of 4G/5G/Wi-Fi systems. In addition to its benefits, key OFDM metrics are discussed. OFDM enhancements using multi-antenna MIMO and multi-user OFDMA are then described. An overview of LTE and Wi-Fi is provided next, together with a comparative assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of these systems. Additionally, the physical layers, MAC layers, and network architectures are studied and analyzed. The course concludes with some examples of real-world wireless deployments in indoor and outdoor settings. Upon completion of this course, the student will have acquired fundamental knowledge of OFDM and 4G/5G/Wi-Fi systems, including practical considerations in OFDM implementation and enhancement, and tools to apply OFDM in next-generation wireless networks. Participants will also work on a Matlab project.

Course Highlights:

  • Overview of 4G/5G and Wi-Fi systems evolution; radio spectrum and spectral efficiency
  • Wireless signal propagation, impairments, and interference; mobility and hand off
  • Channel assignment and aggregation: multiple access and duplexing
  • Channel coding and digital modulation; link adaptation; channel estimation
  • Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) and inverse FFT (IFFT); OFDM principles and analysis
  • OFDM metrics: FFT size, power spectral density, cyclic prefix, peak-to-average power ratio
  • OFDM transceiver design, sub carrier synchronization, and error performance
  • OFDM performance enhancements using multi-antenna MIMO and multi-user OFDMA
  • LTE and Wi-Fi technologies, architectures, and standards
  • Wireless applications and next-generation systems

Course Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the components of a broadband wireless system
  • Ability to design OFDM transceiver structures
  • Enhance OFDM performance using MIMO and OFDMA techniques
  • Apply fundamental knowledge of OFDM-based standards such as 4G LTE, 5G, and Wi-Fi

Software: Students will need the latest version of Matlab to complete their course project.The discounted student version is availabe for purchase online from MathWorks.

Course Typically Offered: Online in Winter and Summer quarters.

Prerequisite: EE-40034 Fundamentals of Digital Communication for Wireless Systems or equivalent knowledge and experience. A telecommunications or networking background is beneficial.

Next Step: After completing this course, consider taking other courses in the Wireless Engineering certificate program to continue learning.

Contact: For more information about this course, please email

Course Number: EE-40163
Credit: 3.00 unit(s)
Related Certificate Programs: Wireless Engineering

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