A Survey of Various Propagation Models for Mobile Communication

Tapan Kumar Sarkar, Zhong Ji, Kyungjung Kim, Abdellatif Medouri, Magdalena Salazar-Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

737 Scopus citations


In order to estimate the signal parameters accurately for mobile systems, it is necessary to estimate a system's propagation characteristics through a medium. Propagation analysis provides a good initial estimate of the signal characteristics. The ability to accurately predict radio-propagation behavior for wireless personal communication systems, such as cellular mobile radio, is becoming crucial to system design. Since site measurements are costly, propagation models have been developed as a suitable, low-cost, and convenient alternative. Channel modeling is required to predict path loss and to characterize the impulse response of the propagating channel. The path loss is associated with the design of base stations, as this tells us how much a transmitter needs to radiate to service a given region. Channel characterization, on the other hand, deals with the fidelity of the received signals, and has to do with the nature of the waveform received at a receiver. The objective here is to design a suitable receiver that will receive the transmitted signal, distorted due to the multipath and dispersion effects of the channel, and that will decode the transmitted signal. An understanding of the various propagation models can actually address both problems. This paper begins with a review of the information available on the various propagation models for both indoor and outdoor environments. The existing models can be classified into two major classes: statistical models and site-specific models. The main characteristics of the radio channel - such as path loss, fading, and time-delay spread - are discussed. Currently, a third alternative, which includes many new numerical methods, is being introduced to propagation prediction. The advantages and disadvantages of some of these methods are summarized. In addition, an impulse-response characterization for the propagation path is also presented, including models for small-scale fading. Finally, it is shown that when two-way communication ports can be defined for a mobile system, it is possible to use reciprocity to focus the energy along the direction of an intended user without any explicit knowledge of the electromagnetic environment in which the system is operating, or knowledge of the spatial locations of the transmitter and the receiver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-82
Number of pages32
JournalIEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Communication channels
  • Fading channels
  • Land mobile radio cellular systems
  • Land mobile radio propagation factors
  • Multipath channels
  • Reciprocity
  • Transient response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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