Standardization of Propagation Models for Terrestrial Cellular Systems : A Historical Perspective

Harsh Tataria*, Katsuyuki Haneda, Andreas F. Molisch, Mansoor Shafi, Fredrik Tufvesson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


Propagation models constitute a fundamental building block of wireless communications research. Before we build and operate real systems, we must understand the science of radio propagation, and develop channel models that both reflect the important propagation processes and allow a fair comparison of different systems. In the past five decades, wireless systems have gone through five generations, from supporting voice applications to enhanced mobile broadband. To meet the ever increasing data rate demands of wireless systems, frequency bands covering a wide range from 800 MHz to 100 GHz have been allocated for use. The standardization of these systems started in the early/mid 1980s in Europe by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute with the advent of Global System for Mobile Communications. This motivated the development of the first standardized propagation model by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) 207 working group. These standardization activities were continued and expanded for the third, fourth, and fifth generations of COST, as well as by the Third Generation Partnership Project, and the International Telecommnunication Union. This paper presents a historical overview of the standardized propagation models covering first to fifth-generation systems. In particular, we discuss the evolution and standardization of pathloss models, as well as large and small-scale fading parameters for single antenna and multiple antenna systems. Furthermore, we present insights into the progress of deterministic modelling across the five generations of systems, as well as discuss more advanced modelling components needed for the detailed simulations of millimeter-wave channels. A comprehensive bibliography at the end of the paper will aid the interested reader to dig deeper.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Wireless Information Networks
Early online date22 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • Angular dispersion
  • Antenna arrays
  • Delay dispersion
  • Impulse response
  • MPCs
  • Pathloss
  • Standardization


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