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Reliable channel estimation is indispensable for orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) systems employing coherent detection and adaptive loading in order to achieve high data rate communications. Several options exist in practical OFDM systems-including training symbols, cyclic prefix, virtual carriers, pilot tones, and receiver diversity-to facilitate channel estimation. In this paper, a subspace blind channel estimation method based on exploiting the presence of virtual carriers is proposed for OFDM systems over a time-dispersive channel. The method can be applied to conventional OFDM systems with cyclic prefix as well as OFDM systems with no cyclic prefix. The reduction/elimination of cyclic prefix thereby provides the OFDM systems the potential to achieve higher channel utilization than most previously reported cyclic prefix based estimators. Sufficient channel identifiability condition is developed as well. Comparison with two other recently reported subspace methods is presented via computer simulations to support the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2003