Complete Guide About Pulse-Position Modulation PPM

Pulse-Position Modulation PPM

In today’s world, which is dominated by science and technology, electrical signals play a serious role in electronic appliances, telecommunication, and conjoint analysis. And thus, we tend to return to the subject of PPM, that is, pulse-position modulation. In common person terms, it’s nothing however the temporal order of electrical signals that also are known as. Although it’d look like a replacement method brought on by the advancement of technology, it’s AN ancient methodology that has been in use for over 2 thousand years, albeit by completely different means.

In the gift era, pulse-position modulation or PPM is employed chiefly in transmission and its application stretches to fields like fiber-optic communication, part communication, and is additionally strictly employed in radio management or R/C systems.

What Does Mean By PPM or Pulse-Position Modulation?

In technology, pulse-position modulation is that the method of the modulation of a proof wave during which M message bits are encoded by transmittal one pulse in one in all 2M doable needed time shifts. This method is perennial for each T second such the transmitted bit rate is M/T bits per second. It’s primarily helpful for fields like optical communications systems, which tend to own very little or no multipath interference.

One of the foremost normally found difficulties of victimization this system is that the receiver should be properly inset to align the native clock with the start of every image. Therefore, it’s usually applied differentially as differential pulse-position modulation, during which every pulse position is encoded relative to the previous, in an exceedingly approach such the receiver should solely live the distinction within the point in time or reception of ordered pulses. It’s doable to limit the propagation of errors to adjacent symbols so that a slip-up within the mensuration of the differential delay of 1 pulse can affect solely 2 symbols, rather than touching all ordered measurements. This method is understood as synchronization.

A Brief History of Pulse-Position Modulation PPM

The invention of the method of pulse-position modulation is attributable to the ancient Balkan state. The earliest instance of this method is in use was within the Greek hydraulic semaphore system unreal by Aeneas Stymphalus around 350 B.C. that used the clepsydra principle to time signals. During this system, the exhausting of water acts because the temporal order device, and torches are accustomed to signal the pulses.

The system used similar containers full of water whose drain may be turned on and off, and floating with a rod marked with numerous preset codes that painted military messages. The operators would place the containers on hills so that they may be visible from one another at a distance. If a message was to be sent, the operators would use torches to signal the start and also the ending of the exhausting of the water, and also the marking on the rod connected to the float would indicate the message.

In relatively newer times, the origins of pulse-position modulation are derived back to the tactic of telegraph time-division multiplexing, which might be derived back to 1853, and evolved aboard the ways of pulse-code modulation and pulse-width modulation. Later, within the early Sixties, Americans Don Mathers and Doug Spreng of National Aeronautics and Space Administration unreal the fashionable method of pulse-position modulation that is currently employed in radio-control (R/C) systems. PPM is presently being employed in fiber-optic communications, deep-space communications, and continues to be extensively employed in R/C (radio control) systems.


PPM and M-FSK systems that have identical information measure, average power, And transmission rate of M/T bits per second have similar performance in an additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel. However, their performance varies mostly once examination to frequency-selective and frequency-flat attenuation channels. On the contrary, frequency-selective attenuation produces echoes that extremely disrupt any of the M time-shifts that are accustomed to encipher PPM information.

It by selection disrupts just some of the M doable frequency shifts accustomed to encipher information for M-FSK. On the opposite hand, frequency-flat attenuation is significantly additional troubled for M-FSK than PPM, like all M of the doable frequency shifts are impaired by attenuation, whereas the short period of the PPM pulse means solely several of the M time-shifts are heavily impaired by attenuation.

Optical communications systems tend to own weak multipath distortions, and PPM may be a viable modulation theme in several such applications.

Non-coherent detection

One of the most important benefits of PPM is that it’s AN M-ary modulation technique that may be used non-coherently, such the receiver doesn’t have to be compelled to use a part-locked loop (PLL) to trace the phase of the carrier. This makes it acceptable for optical communications systems, wherever coherent PM and detection are tough and intensely pricey. The sole different common M-ary non-coherent modulation technique is M-ary frequency-shift keying (M-FSK), that is that the frequency-domain twin to PPM.

Multipath Interference

Since the data is encoded within the time of arrival (either differentially, or relative to a typical clock), the presence of 1 or additional echoes will create it extraordinarily tough, if not impossible, to accurately verify the right pulse position like the transmitted pulse. Multipath in Pulse Position Modulation systems is often simply slaked by victimization similar techniques that square measure employed in measuring device systems that swear all on synchronization and time of arrival of the received pulse to get their vary position within the presence of echoes.

Application in RF Communications

Narrowband RF (radio frequency) channels with low power and long wavelengths (i.e., low frequency) square measure affected primarily by flat weakening, and PPM is healthier suited than M-FSK to be employed in these eventualities. One common application with these channel characteristics, 1st employed in the first Sixties with top-end HF (as low as twenty-seven Mc) frequencies into the low-end VHF band frequencies (30 Mc to seventy-five MHz for RC use counting on location), is that the radio management or R/C of model craft, boats, and cars, originally referred to as “digital proportional” radio management.

PPM is used in these systems, with the position of every pulse representing the spatial relation of associate analog management on the transmitter, or attainable states of a binary switch. The amount of pulses per frame offers the number of manageable channels obtainable. The advantage of victimization PPM for this kind of application is that the physics needed to rewrite the signal square measure very simple, that ends up in little, light-weight receiver/decoder units (model craft need elements that square measure as light-weight as possible). Servos created for model radio management embrace a number of the physics needed to convert the heartbeat to the motor position – the receiver is needed to 1st extract the data from the received radio wave through its intermediate frequency section, then demultiplex the separate channels from the serial stream, and feed the management pulses to every servo.

More refined radio management systems square measure currently usually supported pulse-code modulation, which is additionally complicated however offers bigger flexibility and dependableness. The arrival of two.4 gigahertz band FHSS radio-control systems within the early twenty-first century modified this more.

Advantages and downsides of Pulse-Position Modulation PPM

Like any different technological method employed in communication and signaling systems, pulse-position modulation has benefits moreover as drawbacks. However, the drawbacks square measure slightly outweighed by the benefits, and thus, the method of pulse-position modulation remains wide in use within the field of communication.

The advantages of pulse-position modulation square measure as follows:

Advantages of PPM

  • Thanks to the constant amplitude of pulse-position modulation pulses, the data isn’t contained within the amplitude. Hence, the noise added to the PPM signal doesn’t distort the data. Thus, it’s smart noise immunity, because the signal remains clean and therefore intact.
  • It is feasible to reconstruct clear pulse-position modulation or PPM signal from the noise-contaminated pulse-position modulation signal. This is often conjointly attainable in PWM, that is, pulse-width modulation however impractical in PAM, that is, pulse-amplitude modulation.
  • Owing to the constant amplitude of pulses, the transmitted power forever remains constant. It doesn’t amend because it won’t to, in pulse-width modulation.

Disadvantages of PPM

The disadvantages of PPM is also listed as under:

  • As the position of the PPM pulses is varied concerning a reference pulse, a transmitter has got to send synchronizing pulses to control the temporal arrangement circuits within the receiver. While not them, the reception wouldn’t be attainable to realize.
  • A significantly giant information measure is needed to make sure transmission of artless pulses.

Use of Pulse-position modulation

As mentioned before, pulse-position modulation is employed in optical fiber communication, part communication, and also the technique is additionally employed in military applications.


Thus, the method of pulse-position modulation is extremely necessary within the field of technology communication, and also the field of communication is expedited greatly by this process.

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