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As with other multicarrier modulations, OFDMA signals (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) have large envelope fluctuations making them very prone to nonlinear distortion effects. In this paper we study the impact of nonlinear devices on OFDMA signals. We present an analytical characterization of the signals at the output of a nonlinear device that can be used for obtaining the spectral characterization of the transmitted signals, as well as the computation of the nonlinear interference levels on the received signals. It is shown that the power allocated to each user has a key impact on the nonlinear distortion effects. For this reason, we should avoid having low-power and high-power users in adjacent subcarriers. It is also shown that nonlinear distortion levels are lower when just a small fraction of the subcarriers is used (i.e., when the system load is small).
Date of Publication: November 2010