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It is well known that multipath fading significantly affects the performance of communication systems. In order to incorporate the impact of this random phenomenon on system analysis and design, in many cases, we need to calculate the probability density function (pdf) of the received signal envelope in multipath fading channels. In this paper, we consider a general multipath fading channel with arbitrary number of paths, where the amplitudes of multipath components are arbitrary correlated positive random variables, independent of phases, whereas the phases are independent and identically distributed random variables with uniform distributions. Since the integral form of the envelope pdf for such a general channel model is too complicated to be used for analytic calculations, we propose two infinite expansions for the pdf: a Laguerre series and a power series. Based on the tight uniform upper bounds on the truncation error of these two infinite series, we show that the Laguerre series is superior to the power series due to the fact that for a fixed number of terms, it yields a smaller truncation error. This Laguerre series with a finite number of terms, which expresses the envelope pdf just in terms of simple polynomial-exponential kernels, is particularly useful for mathematical performance prediction of communication systems in those indoor and outdoor multipath propagation environments, where the number of strong multipath components is small.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009