3.3.2 OFDM SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION
The principle of OFDM was already around in the 50’s and 60’s as an efficient MCM technique. But, the system implementation was delayed due to technological difficulties like digital implementation of FFT/IFFT, which were not possible to solve on that time. In 1965, Cooley and Tukey presented the algorithm for FFT calculation  and later its efficient implementation on chip makes the OFDM into application.
The digital implementation of OFDM system is achieved through the mathematical operations called Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) and its counterpart Inverse Discrete Fourier Transform (IDFT). These two operations are extensively used for transforming data between the timedomain and frequencydomain. In case of OFDM, these transforms can be seen as mapping data onto orthogonal subcarriers. In order to perform frequencydomain data into time domaindata, IDFT correlates the frequency domain input data with its orthogonal basis functions, which are sinusoids at certain frequencies. In other ways, this correlation is equivalent to mapping the input data onto the sinusoidal basis functions. In practice, OFDM systems employ combination of fast fourier transform (FFT) and Inverse fast fourier transform (IFFT) blocks which are mathematical equivalent version of the DFT and IDFT.
At the transmitter side, an OFDM system treats the source symbols as though they are in the frequencydomain. These symbols are feed to an IFFT block which brings the signal into the timedomain. If the N numbers of subcarriers are chosen for the system, the basis functions for the IFFT are N orthogonal sinusoids of distinct frequency and IFFT receive N symbols at a time. Each of N complex valued input symbols determines both the amplitude and phase of the sinusoid for that subcarrier. The output of the IFFT is the summation of all N sinusoids and makes up a single OFDM sysmbol. The length of the OFDM symbol is NT where T is the IFFT input symbol period. In this way, IFFT block provides a simple way to modulate data onto N orthogonal subcarriers.