A new approach for evaluating clipping distortion in multicarrier systems

Ahmad R.S. Bahai, Manoneet Singh, Andrea J. Goldsmith, Burton R. Saltzberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Multicarrier signals are known to suffer from a high peak-to-average power ratio, caused by the addition of a large number of independently modulated subcarriers in parallel at the transmitter. When subjected to a peak-limiting channel, such as a nonlinear power amplifier, these signals may undergo significant spectral distortion, leading to both in-band and out-of-band interference, and an associated degradation in system performance. This paper characterizes the distortion caused by the clipping of multicarrier signals in a peak-limiting (nonlinear) channel. Rather than modeling the effects of distortion as additive noise, as is widespread in the literature, we identify clipping as a rare event and focus on evaluating system performance based on the conditional probability of bit error given the occurrence of such an event. Our analysis is based on the asymptotic properties of the large excursions of a stationary Gaussian process, and offers important insights into both the true nature of clipping distortion, as well as the consequent design of schemes to alleviate this problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1046
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Clipping
  • OFDM
  • Peak-to-average ratio


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