System spectral efficiency or area spectral efficiency In digital wireless networks, the system spectral efficiency or area spectral efficiency is typically measured in bit/s/Hz/area unit [(bit/s)/Hz per unit area], bit/s/Hz/cell [(bit/s)/Hz per cell] or bit/s/Hz/site [(bit/s)/Hz per site]. It is a measure of the quantity of users or services that can be simultaneously supported by a limited radio frequency bandwidth in a defined geographic area. It may for example be defined as the maximum throughput or goodput, summed over all users in the system, divided by the channel bandwidth. This measure is affected not only by the single user transmission technique, but also by multiple access schemes and radio resource management techniques utilized. It can be substantially improved by dynamic radio resource management. If it is defined as a measure of the maximum goodput, retransmissions due to co-channel interference and collisions are excluded. Higher-layer protocol overhead (above the media access control sublayer) is normally neglected.
- Example 6: In a cellular system based on frequency-division multiple access (FDMA) with a fixed channel allocation (FCA) cellplan using a frequency reuse factor of 4, each base station has access to 1/4 of the total available frequency spectrum. Thus, the maximum possible system spectral efficiency in bit/s/Hz/site is 1/4 of the link spectral efficiency. Each base station may be divided into 3 cells by means of 3 sector antennas, also known as a 4/12 reuse pattern. Then each cell has access to 1/12 of the available spectrum, and the system spectral efficiency in bit/s/Hz/cell or bit/s/Hz/sector is 1/12 of the link spectral efficiency.
The system spectral efficiency of a cellular network may also be expressed as the maximum number of simultaneous phone calls per area unit over 1 MHz frequency spectrum in (E/MHz)/cell (erlangs per megahertz per cell), (E/MHz)/sector, (E/MHz)/site, or (E/MHz)/km². This measure is also affected by the source coding (data compression) scheme. It may be used in analog cellular networks as well. Low link spectral efficiency in (bit/s)/Hz does not necessarily mean that an encoding scheme is inefficient from a system spectral efficiency point of view. As an example, consider Code Division Multiplexed Access (CDMA) spread spectrum, which is not a particularly spectral efficient encoding scheme when considering a single channel or single user. However, the fact that one can “layer” multiple channels on the same frequency band means that the system spectrum utilization for a multi-channel CDMA system can be very good.
- Example 7: In the W-CDMA 3G cellular system, every phone call is compressed to a maximum of 8,500 bit/s (the useful bitrate), and spread out over a 5 MHz wide frequency channel. This corresponds to a link throughput of only 8,500/5,000,000 = 0.0017 (bit/s)/Hz. Let us assume that 100 simultaneous (non-silent) simultaneous calls are possible in the same cell. Spread spectrum makes it possible to have as low a frequency reuse factor as 1, if each base station is divided into 3 cells by means of 3 directional sector antennas. This corresponds to a system spectrum efficiency of over 1 · 100 · 0.0017 = 0.17 bit/s/Hz/site, or 0.17/3 = 0.06 bit/s/Hz/cell (or bit/s/Hz/sector).
The spectral efficiency can be improved by radio resource management techniques such as efficient fixed or dynamic channel allocation, power control, link adaptation and diversity schemes. A combined fairness measure and system spectral efficiency measure is the fairly shared spectral efficiency