A Phase-Time Modulation Scheme for Peak-to-Average Power Mitigation in Multi-Carrier Wireless Transmission
Thesis DisciplineElectrical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
An explosive growth in demand for broadband mobile wireless services is currently being fuelled by cellular telephone users who, encouraged by service providers, are no longer content with voice transmission only but are demanding real-time video services, including multi-user, interactive games and 'movie' programmes. As these applications develop, expectations mount in other mobile user markets, especially the public safety arena, for comparable user features but with greater emphasis on reliability and robustness of the equipment and supporting network in adverse propagation conditions, remote locations and emergencies. These applications all have in common the requirements for efficient use of wireless bandwidth and of battery power, as well as seamless operation when moving, sometimes at high vehicle speeds, from one type of environment to another in a multi-user scenario. Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexed (OFDM) signals have been found to compare favourably with other modulation systems in these applications, the multi-carrier format being more tolerant of delay spread. It has been used in both code-division (MC-CDMA) and frequency-division (OFDMA) multi-user schemes, the latter having the advantage of maintaining orthogonality among users in fading-signal environments, with consequent simplification of signal processing. The major drawback of OFDM has been the high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) that is characteristic of signals with multiple sub-carriers. A result of this is that the transmitter requires a linear power amplifier (PA) that generally has to be 'backed off' to accommodate the high PAPR. Additional back-off is required to achieve linearity, as well as sometimes-complex linearisation circuitry. The power usage and cost of such a transmitter is more acceptable in a base station, tending to limit the application of OFDM to downlinks. The potential application to hand-portable terminals has severe constraints of size, cost and battery life, exacerbated by the use of video-capable LCD displays, increasing motivation for the use of MIMO (multi-antenna) technology and the development of mobile ad-hoc networks, the latter being particularly applicable in the public safety arena. Previous efforts to ameliorate the PAPR problem have been principally directed at two areas, the reduction of signal PAPR, by block coding, clipping or other techniques, and methods of achieving PA linearisation with improved power efficiency. The first object of the present research was to establish, as far as practicable, the current state of the art in these areas, to set a performance baseline. The next step was to develop an improved transmitter modulation scheme that would not only be able to take advantage of any existing peak reduction methods but would transmit a signal that would be compatible with existing OFDM receivers. A novel modulation technique is now presented, termed Quadrature Phase-Time Modulation (QPTM), that has been found to meet the requirements for linearity, simplicity and low cost, whilst being able to take advantage of constant-envelope PA technology, with its attendant power efficiency. After final amplification, the signal is restored by a passive narrow-band filter to standard OFDM form, having both phase and amplitude modulation. The QPTM system of modulation relies on a dual baseband pulse-width modulation process, performed at a substantially-higher rate than the upper baseband frequency, followed by direct quadrature modulation of a carrier signal. The work undertaken has been in the nature of a feasibility study, commencing with the theoretical basis of the technique, from which a behavioural system model was designed and simulated. After the system was simulated successfully, in several forms, a model was designed for realisation with available high-frequency integrated circuits. From this design, prototypes were constructed and tested. The prototype circuit boards also included an experimental UHF Class-D PA circuit, excluding the output filter, to facilitate ongoing development of the PA and filter subsystem as a separate project. This type of PA was seen as a potential complement to the QPTM modulator, although the technology was at an early stage of development. The prototype PA has a novel push-pull arrangement of GaAs FETs that employs a broadside-coupled tapered-stripline balun instead of the usual transformer. Preliminary measurements were made on the PA using both a spectrum analyser and a newly-available 8GHz-bandwidth digital oscilloscope to confirm basic operating characteristics. The performance of the QPTM technique at frequencies needed for broadband operation is dependent on its practical implementation, which has therefore been a major focus. The inherent difficulties in realising a highly-linear 40MHz triangle-wave reference generator, with a precise ultra-high-speed comparator and modulator system, have been overcome with the chosen design techniques and attention to several critical aspects. The result has been the successful demonstration of QPTM as an efficient PA modulation technique that is equally applicable to either narrow-band, high-capacity UHF or broadband OFDM microwave systems.