Physical Principles of Wireless Communications: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Physical Principles of Wireless Communications

2nd Edition

By Victor L. Granatstein

CRC Press

312 pages | 116 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-03-26
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Updated and expanded, Physical Principles of Wireless Communications, Second Edition illustrates the relationship between scientific discoveries and their application to the invention and engineering of wireless communication systems. The second edition of this popular textbook starts with a review of the relevant physical laws, including Planck’s Law of Blackbody Radiation, Maxwell’s equations, and the laws of Special and General Relativity. It describes sources of electromagnetic noise, operation of antennas and antenna arrays, propagation losses, and satellite operation in sufficient detail to allow students to perform their own system designs and engineering calculations.

Illustrating the operation of the physical layer of wireless communication systems—including cell phones, communication satellites, and wireless local area networks—the text covers the basic equations of electromagnetism, the principles of probability theory, and the operation of antennas. It explores the propagation of electromagnetic waves and describes the losses and interference effects that waves encounter as they propagate through cities, inside buildings, and to and from satellites orbiting the earth. Important natural phenomena are also described, including Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, ionospheric reflection, and tropospheric refraction.

New in the Second Edition:

  • Descriptions of 3G and 4G cell phone systems
  • Discussions on the relation between the basic laws of quantum and relativistic physics and the engineering of modern wireless communication systems
  • A new section on Planck’s Law of Blackbody Radiation
  • Expanded discussions on general relativity and special relativity and their relevance to GPS system design
  • An expanded chapter on antennas that includes wire loop antennas
  • Expanded discussion of shadowing correlations and their effect on cell phone system design

The text covers the physics of Geostationary Earth Orbiting satellites, Medium Earth Orbiting satellites, and Low Earth Orbiting satellites enabling students to evaluate and make first order designs of SATCOM systems. It also reviews the principles of probability theory to help them accurately determine the margins that must be allowed to account for statistical variation in path loss. The included problem sets and sample solutions provide students with the understanding of contemporary wireless systems needed to participate in the development of future systems.

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Modern Wireless Communications

A Brief History of Wireless Communications

Faraday, Maxwell, and Hertz: The Discovery of Electromagnetic Waves

Guglielmo Marconi, Inventor of Wireless Communications

Developments in the Vacuum Electronics Era (1906 to 1947)

The Modern Era in Wireless Communications (1947 to the Present)

Basic Concepts

Information Capacity of a Communication Channel

Antenna Fundamentals

The Basic Layout of a Wireless Communications System

Decibels and Link Budgets

Characteristics of Some Modern Communication Systems

Mobile Communications (Frequency Division Multiple Access, FDMA, and Trunking)

Analog Cell Phone Systems

Digital Cell Phone Systems (Time Division Multiple Access, TDMA, and Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA)

Overview of Past, Present, and Future Cell Phone Systems

Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) of Computers

SATCOM Systems

The Plan of This Book



Noise in Wireless Communications

Fundamental Noise Concepts

Radiation Resistance and Antenna Efficiency

Nyquist Noise Theorem, Antenna Temperature, and Receiver Noise

Equivalent Circuit of Antenna and Receiver for Calculating Noise

Contributions to Antenna Temperature

Thermal Sources of Noise and Blackbody Radiation

Cosmic Noise

Atmospheric Noise

Big Bang Noise (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation)

Noise Attenuation

Noise in Specific Systems

Noise in Pagers

Noise in Cell Phones

Noise in Millimeter-Wave SATCOM




Brief Review of Electromagnetism

Maxwell’s Equations and Boundary Conditions

Vector Potential, and the Inhomogeneous Helmholtz Equation

Radiation from a Hertzian Dipole

Solution of the Inhomogeneous Helmholtz Equation in the Vector Potential A

Near Fields and Far Fields of a Hertzian Dipole

Basic Antenna Parameters

Directive Gain, D(f,q); Directivity, D; and Gain, G

Radiation Resistance of a Hertzian Dipole Antenna

Electrically Short Dipole Antenna (Length << λ)

Small Loop Antennas

Receiving Antennas, Polarization, and Aperture Antennas

Universal Relationship between Gain and Effective Area

Friis Transmission Formula

Polarization Mismatch

A Brief Treatment of Aperture Antennas

Thin-Wire Dipole Antennas

General Analysis of Thin-Wire Dipole Antennas

The Half-Wave Dipole



Antenna Arrays

Omnidirectional Radiation Pattern in the Horizontal Plane with Vertical Focusing

Arrays of Half-Wave Dipoles

Colinear Arrays

Colinear arrays with Equal Incremental Phase Advance

Elevation Control with a Phased Colinear Antenna Array

Antennas Displaced in the Horizontal Plane

Radiation Pattern of Two Horizontally Displaced Dipoles

Broadside Arrays

Endfire Arrays

Smart Antenna Arrays

Image Antennas

The Principle of Images

Quarter-Wave Monopole above a Conducting Plane

Antennas for Handheld Cell Phones

Half-Wave Dipoles and Reflectors

Rectangular Microstrip Patch Antennas

The TM10 Microstrip Patch Cavity

Duality in Maxwell’s Equations and Radiation from a Slot

Radiation from the Edges of a Microstrip Cavity

Array of Microstrip Patch Antennas



Radio Frequency (RF) Wave Propagation

Some Simple Models of Path Loss in Radio Frequency (RF) Wave Propagation

Free Space Propagation

Laws of Reflection and Refraction at a Planar Boundary

Effect of Surface Roughness

Plane Earth Propagation Model

Diffraction over Single and Multiple Obstructions

Diffraction by a Single Knife Edge

Deygout Method of Approximately Treating Multiple Diffracting Edges

The Causebrook Correction to the Deygout Method

Wave Propagation in an Urban Environment

The Delisle/Egli Empirical Expression for Path Loss

The Flat-Edge Model for Path Loss from the Base Station to the Final Street

Ikegami Model of Excess Path Loss in the Final Street

The Walfisch-Bertoni Analysis of the Parametric Dependence of Path Loss



Statistical Considerations In Designing Cell Phone Systems and Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)

A Brief Review of Statistical Analysis

Random Variables

Random Processes


The Log-Normal Probability Distribution Function

The Complementary Cumulative Normal Distribution Function (Q Function)

Calculating Margin and Probability of Call Completion

Probability of Call Completion Averaged over a Cell

Additional Signal Loss from Propagating into Buildings

Shadowing Autocorrelation (Serial Correlation)

Shadowing Cross-Correlation

Slow and Fast Fading

Slow Fading

Rayleigh Fading

Margin to Allow for Both Shadowing and Rayleigh Fading

Bit Error Rates in Digital Communications

Ricean Fading

Doppler Broadening

Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)

Propagation Losses Inside Buildings

Standards for WLANs

Sharing WLAN Resources



Tropospheric and Ionospheric Effects in Long-Range Communications

Extending the Range Using Tropospheric Refraction

Limit on Line-of-Sight Communications

Bouger’s Law for Refraction by Tropospheric Layers

Increase in Range Due to Tropospheric Refraction

Long-Range Communications by Ionospheric Reflection

The Ionospheric Plasma

Radio Frequency (RF) Wave Interaction with Plasma

Sample Calculations of Maximum Usable Frequency and Maximum Range in a Communications System Based on Ionospheric Reflection

Propagation through the Ionosphere

Time Delay of a Wave Passing through the Ionosphere

Dispersion of a Wave Passing through the Ionosphere

Faraday Rotation of the Direction of Polarization in the Ionosphere



Satellite Communications (SATCOM)

Satellite Fundamentals

Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO)

Example of a GEO SATCOM System

SATCOM Signal Attenuation

Attenuation Due to Atmospheric Gases

Attenuation Due to Rain

The Rain Rate Used in SATCOM System Design

Design of GEO SATCOM Systems

Noise Calculations for SATCOM

Design of GEO SATCOM System for Wideband Transmission

Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) Satellites

Global Positioning System (GPS)

General Relativity, Special Relativity, and the Synchronization of Clocks

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Communication Satellites

The Iridium LEO SATCOM System

Path Loss in LEO SATCOM

Doppler Shift in LEO SATCOM



Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C


English Alphabet

Greek Alphabet


About the Author

Victor L. Granatstein was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University, New York, in 1963. After a year of postdoctoral work at Columbia, he became a research scientist at Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1964 to 1972 where he studied microwave scattering from turbulent plasma. In 1972, he joined the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as a research physicist, and from 1978 to 1983, he served as head of NRL’s High Power Electromagnetic Radiation Branch.

In August 1983, he became a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Maryland, College Park. From 1988 to 1998, he was director of the Institute for Plasma Research at the University of Maryland. Since 2008, he has been Director of Research of the Center for Applied Electromagnetics at the University of Maryland. His research has involved invention and development of high-power microwave sources for heating plasmas in controlled thermonuclear fusion experiments, for driving electron accelerators used in high-energy physics research, and for radar systems with advanced capabilities. He also has led studies on the effects of high-power microwaves on integrated electronics. His most recent study is of air breakdown in the presence of both terahertz radiation and gamma rays with possible application to detecting concealed radioactive material. He has coauthored more than 250 research papers in scientific journals and has co-edited three books. He holds a number of patents on active and passive microwave devices.

Granatstein is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He has received a number of major research awards including the E.O. Hulbert Annual Science Award (1979), the Superior Civilian Service Award (1980), the Captain Robert Dexter Conrad Award for scientific achievement (awarded by the Secretary of the Navy, 1981), the IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Award (1991), and the Robert L. Woods Award for Excellence in Electronics Technology (1998). He has spent part of his sabbaticals in 1994, 2003, and 2010 at Tel Aviv University where he holds the position of Sackler Professor by Special Appointment.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Telecommunications
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Mobile & Wireless Communications