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Carrier frequency synchronization is the critical technique in orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) systems. In this paper, an improved carrier frequency offset (CFO) estimation method is proposed, which divides the Schmidl's CFO estimation into coarse and fine estimation by using PN sequence iteration, the new method has higher estimation accuracy and larger estimation range than that of Schmidl's method in presence of the same computational complexity. The theoretical low bound of CFO estimation is derived by two mathematical methods. The validity of the new algorithm is verified in AWGN and multipath fading channels.