PHY-Layer Resiliency in OFDM Communications: A Tutorial

This tutorial paper addresses the physical layer security concerns and resiliency of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) communications; the de facto air-interface of most modern wireless broadband standards including 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMAX. The paper starts with a brief introduction to the OFDM waveform and then reviews the robustness of the existing OFDM waveform in the presence of noise, multipath fading, and interference.

The paper then moves on to build comprehensive adversarial models against OFDM waveforms. Robustness of OFDM is first investigated under AWGN noise and noise-like jamming attack scenarios, then under uncorrelated yet colored interferences from modulated sources (both intentional and unintentional). Finally, the paper explores some of the more recent developments in the field of energy efficient correlated jamming attacks that can disrupt communication severely by exploiting the knowledge of the target waveform structure. Potential countermeasures against such jamming attacks are presented, in an attempt to make a robust and resilient OFDM waveform.

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