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The 5G wireless access technology will supersede its predecessor, 4G, in the current decade, at first coexisting with it and later as a standalone technology. This work examines and compares the performance of the following orthogonal multicarrier schemes: Cyclic Prefix Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (CP-OFDM), Windowed Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (W-OFDM), Filtered Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (F-OFDM), Universal Filtered Multi-Carrier (UFMC), and Filter Bank Multi-Carrier (FBMC). The system architecture of each scheme is investigated while considering the performance in fading channel models. The simulation was performed using a standard set of parameters, and the performance was appraised based on Power Spectral Density (PSD), Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR), Complementary Cumulative Distribution Function (CCDF) of PAPR, Bit Error Rate (BER), and Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). In addition, a comprehensive analysis is presented concerning filter or window implementation, filtering method, orthogonality, roll-off rate, spectral leakage, spectral efficiency, computational complexity, and runtime complexity. Based on the results, each scheme has its advantages and disadvantages compared with the other methods. FBMC, F-OFDM, and W-OFDM are preferred for better spectrum utilization, transmission accuracy, and power efficiency, respectively. UFMC offers a fine balance between these multicarrier schemes. Therefore, the modulation scheme for the future physical layer will strongly depend on the requirements.
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