Cyclic Prefix (CP)
In telecommunications, the term cyclic prefix refers to the prefixing of a symbol with a repetition of the end. Although the receiver is typically configured to discard the cyclic prefix samples, the cyclic prefix serves two purposes.
- As a guard interval, it eliminates the intersymbol interference from the previous symbol.
- As a repetition of the end of the symbol, it allows the linear convolution of a frequency-selective multipath channel to be modelled as circular convolution, which in turn may be transformed to the frequency domain using a discrete Fourier transform. This approach allows for simple frequency-domain processing, such as channel estimation and equalization.
The intersymbolic interference is almost completely eliminated by introducing a guard time for a each OFDM symbol. The guard time is chosen larger than the expected delay spread such that multipath components from one symbol cannot interfere with the next symbol. This guard time could be no signal at all but the problem of intercarrier interference (ICI) would arise. Then, the OFDM symbol is cyclically extended in the guard time. Using this method, the delay replicas of the OFDM symbol always have an integer number of cycles within the FFT interval, as long as the delay is smaller than the guard time. Multipath signals with delays smaller than the guard time cannot cause ICI.
In order for the cyclic prefix to be effective (i.e. to serve its aforementioned objectives), the length of the cyclic prefix must be at least equal to the length of the multipath channel. Although the concept of cyclic prefix has been traditionally associated with OFDM systems, the cyclic prefix is now also used in single carrier systems to improve the robustness to multipath.
LTE Bandwidth/Resource Configuration (for normal CP – 7 OFDM symbols)
Channel Bandwidth [MHz]
Number of resource blocks (N_RB)
Number of occupied subcariers
Sample rate [MHz]
Samples per slot