Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum

What Does Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Mean?

Direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) is a transmission technology used in local area wireless network transmissions. In this technology, a data signal at the sending station is combined with a high data rate bit sequence, which divides user data based on a spreading ratio.


The benefits of using DSSS are resistance to jamming, sharing single channels among multiple users, less background noise and relative timing between transmitter and receivers.

This term is also known as direct sequence code division multiple access.

Techopedia Explains Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum

DSSS is a spread spectrum modulation technique used for digital signal transmission over airwaves. It was originally developed for military use, and employed difficult-to-detect wideband signals to resist jamming attempts. It is also being developed for commercial purposes in local and wireless networks.

The stream of information in DSSS is divided into small pieces, each associated with a frequency channel across spectrums. Data signals at transmission points are combined with a higher data rate bit sequence, which divides data based on a spreading ratio. The chipping code in a DSSS is a redundant bit pattern associated with each bit transmitted. This helps to increase the signal’s resistance to interference. If any bits are damaged during transmission, the original data can be recovered due to the redundancy of transmission.

The entire process is performed by multiplying a radio frequency carrier and a pseudo-noise (PN) digital signal. The PN code is modulated onto an information signal using several modulation techniques such as quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK), binary phase-shift keying (BPSK), etc. A doubly-balanced mixer then multiplies the PN modulated information signal and the RF carrier. Thus, the TF signal is replaced with a bandwidth signal that has a spectral equivalent of the noise signal. The demodulation process mixes or multiplies the PN modulated carrier wave with the incoming RF signal. The result produced is a signal with a maximum value when two signals are correlated. Such a signal is then sent to a BPSK demodulator. Although these signals appear to be noisy in the frequency domain, bandwidth provided by the PN code permits the signal power to drop below the noise threshold without any loss of information.


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Margaret Rouse
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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.