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A novel cyclic-prefix based delay-spread estimation technique for wireless OFDM systems is proposed. In particular, the authors propose a technique for estimating the delays and powers of multipath components when the channel is sparse, i.e. a few strong multipaths distantly spaced in time, and a technique for estimating the RMS delay-spread when the channel has a large number of sample-spaced multipath components. The proposed techniques are based on a multiple-argument correlation function which exhibits change of gradient according to the delay path arrival pattern, i.e delay times and powers. Numerical results demonstrate the accuracy of the proposed techniques in estimating the relative timing and the power of delay paths for a sparse multipath channel, and the RMS delay-spread for a sample-spaced multipath channel. Moreover, the RMS delay-spread estimation can be used adaptively to operate the MMSE channel estimation process in the OFDM receiver at near optimum.