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In this paper we propose a family of index modulation systems which can operate with low-power consumption and low operational complexity for multi-user communication. This is particularly suitable for non-time sensitive Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as telemetry, smart metering, and soon. The proposed architecture reduces the peak-to-average-power ratio (PAPR) of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM)-based schemes without relegating the data rate. In the proposed scheme, we implement joint code-frequency-index modulation (CFIM) by considering code and frequency domains for index-modulation (IM). After introducing and analysing the structure of the CFIM, we derive closed-form expressions of the bit error rate (BER) performance over Rayleigh fading channels and we provide extensive simulation results to validate our outcomes. To better exhibit the particularities of the proposed scheme, the PAPR and complexity are thoroughly examined. The obtained results show that the PAPR is reduced compared to conventional OFDM-like IM-based schemes. Therefore, the proposed system is more likely to operate in the linear regime, which can in turn be implemented into low-cost devices with cost effective amplifiers. In addition, the concept is extended to synchronous multi-user communication networks, where full functionality is obtained by using orthogonal spreading codes. With the characteristics demonstrated in this work, the proposed system would constitute an exceptional nominee for IoT applications where low-complexity, low-power consumption and high data rate are paramount.
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