A Survey on Higher-Order QAM Constellations: Technical Challenges, Recent Advances, and Future Trends

Praveen Kumar Singya, Parvez Shaik, Nagendra Kumar, Vimal Bhatia, Mohamed-Slim Alouini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Communication system’s performance is sensitive to bandwidth, power, cost etc. There have been various solutions to improve the performance, out of them, one of the fundamental solutions over the years is design of optimum modulation schemes. As the research on beyond 5G heats up, we survey and explore power and bandwidth efficient modulation schemes for the next generation communication systems in details. In the existing literature, initially square quadrature amplitude modulation (SQAM) was considered. However, only square constellations are not sufficient for varying channel conditions and rate requirements, thus, efficient odd power of 2 constellations were introduced. For odd power of 2 constellations, rectangular QAM (RQAM) is most commonly used. However, RQAM is not a good choice and modified cross QAM (XQAM) constellation is preferred which provides improved power efficiency over RQAM due to its energy efficient two dimensional (2D) structure. The increasing demand for high data-rates has further encouraged research towards more compact 2D constellations which leads to hexagonal lattice structure based hexagonal QAM (HQAM) constellations. In this work, various QAM constellations are discussed and detailed study of star QAM, XQAM, and HQAM is presented. Generation, peak and average energies, peak-to-average-power ratio, symbol-error-rate, decision boundaries, bit mapping, Gray code penalty, and bit-error-rate of star QAM, XQAM, and HQAM constellations for different constellation orders are presented. Finally, a comparative study of various QAM constellations is presented which justifies the supremacy of HQAM over other QAM constellations for various wireless communication systems and a potential modulation scheme for future standards.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society
StatePublished - 2021

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-03-22


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