The Ricean K factor: Estimation and performance analysis

Cihan Tepedelenlioǧlu, Ali Abdi, Georgios B. Giannakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


In wireless communications, the relative strength of the direct and scattered components of the received signal, as expressed by the Ricean K factor, provides an indication of link quality. Accordingly, efficient and accurate methods for estimating K are of considerable interest. In this paper, we propose a general class of moment-based estimators which use the signal envelope. This class of estimators unifies many of the previous estimators, and introduces new ones. We derive, for the first time, the asymptotic variance (AsV) of these estimators and compare them with the Cramér-Rao bound (CRB). We then tackle the problem of estimating K from the in-phase and quadrature-phase (I/Q) components of the received signal and illustrate the improvement in performance as compared with the envelope-based estimators. We derive the CRBs for the I/Q data model, which, unlike the envelope CRB, is tractable for correlated samples. Furthermore, we introduce a novel estimator that relies on the I/Q components, and derive its AsV even when the channel samples are correlated. We corroborate our analytical findings by simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-810
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Detection and estimation
  • Propagation and channel characterization


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