Direct-sequence spread spectrum

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

In telecommunications, direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) is a spread spectrum modulation technique. Spread spectrum systems are such that they transmit the message bearing signals using a bandwidth that is in excess of the bandwidth that is actually needed by the message signal. This spreading of the transmitted signal over a large bandwidth make the resulting wideband signal appear as a noise signal which allows greater resistance to intentional and unintentional interference with the transmitted signal.[1]

One of the methods of achieving this spreading of the message signal is provided by DSSS modulation. In DSSS the message signal is used to modulate a bit sequence known as the Pseudo Noise (PN) code; this PN code consists of pulses of a much shorter duration (larger bandwidth) than the pulse duration of the message signal, therefore the modulation by the message signal has the effect of chopping up the pulses of the message signal and thereby resulting in a signal which has a bandwidth nearly as large as that of the PN sequence.[1] In this context the duration of the pulse of the PN code is referred to as the chip duration and the smaller this value, the larger the bandwidth of the resultant DSSS signal and the more immune to interference the resultant signal becomes.[1]

Some of the uses of DSSS include the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) channel access method and the IEEE 802.11b specification used in Wi-Fi networks.[2][3]



  1. DSSS phase-shifts a sine wave pseudorandomly with a continuous string of pseudonoise (PN) code symbols called "chips", each of which has a much shorter duration than an information bit. That is, each information bit is modulated by a sequence of much faster chips. Therefore, the chip rate is much higher than the information signal bit rate.
  2. DSSS uses a signal structure in which the sequence of chips produced by the transmitter is already known by the receiver. The receiver can then use the same PN sequence to counteract the effect of the PN sequence on the received signal in order to reconstruct the information signal.

Transmission method

Direct-sequence spread-spectrum transmissions multiply the data being transmitted by a "noise" signal. This noise signal is a pseudorandom sequence of 1 and −1 values, at a frequency much higher than that of the original signal.

The resulting signal resembles white noise, like an audio recording of "static". However, this noise-like signal is used to exactly reconstruct the original data at the receiving end, by multiplying it by the same pseudorandom sequence (because 1 × 1 = 1, and −1 × −1 = 1). This process, known as "de-spreading", mathematically constitutes a correlation of the transmitted PN sequence with the PN sequence that the receiver already knows the transmitter is using.

The resulting effect of enhancing signal to noise ratio on the channel is called process gain. This effect can be made larger by employing a longer PN sequence and more chips per bit, but physical devices used to generate the PN sequence impose practical limits on attainable processing gain.

If an undesired transmitter transmits on the same channel but with a different PN sequence (or no sequence at all), the de-spreading process has reduced processing gain for that signal. This effect is the basis for the code division multiple access (CDMA) property of DSSS, which allows multiple transmitters to share the same channel within the limits of the cross-correlation properties of their PN sequences.

As this description suggests, a plot of the transmitted waveform has a roughly bell-shaped envelope centered on the carrier frequency, just like a normal AM transmission, except that the added noise causes the distribution to be much wider than that of an AM transmission.

In contrast, frequency-hopping spread spectrum pseudo-randomly re-tunes the carrier, instead of adding pseudo-random noise to the data, the latter process results in a uniform frequency distribution whose width is determined by the output range of the pseudorandom number generator.


  • Resistance to intended or unintended jamming
  • Sharing of a single channel among multiple users
  • Reduced signal/background-noise level hampers interception
  • Determination of relative timing between transmitter and receiver


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Haykin, Simon (2008). Communication systems (4 ed.). John Wiley & Sons. pp. 488–99. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Rappaport, Theodore (January 2010). Wireless Communications Principles and Practice (2 ed.). Prentice-Hall, Inc. p. 458. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Capacity, Coverage and Deployment Considerations for IEEE 802.11G (PDF), Cisco Systems, Inc, 2005, p. 1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links