Multipath wireless solutions: The RAKE receiver

Multipath in wireless systems is what happens when a transmitted signal travels along multiple paths ( e.g. as a result of reflections from surfaces). At the receiver these received signals can add or subtract depending on the amplitude and phase of the signals causing what is known as frequency selective fading. Another name for multipath interference. Obviously this is a real problem for cellular systems and many different types of solutions have been proposed and are being used. One of these solutions is the so-called RAKE receiver. The RAKE receiver has a number of “sub-receivers” called fingers, each assigned to a different multipath component. Each finger independently receives a single multipath signal. Subsequently, the contribution of all fingers are combined in order to make the most use of the different transmission characteristics of each transmission path. The important parameters that need to be estimated as accurately as possible are, the time of arrival of each finger signal, its amplitude and phase. Knowing these, the signals are combined in what is known as a maximal ratio combiner or a MRC. In this combiner each individual finger signal is weighted by the complex valued channel gain. The effect of this weighting is to compensate for the phase shifts in the channel and the change in amplitude. As this is done successfully significant improvement in signal reception is obtained. For details on a RAKE receiver design please contact Signal Processing Group Inc., through the website located at

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