Phase-Quantized Block Noncoherent Communication

Jaspreet Singh, Upamanyu Madhow

Analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) is a key bottleneck in scaling DSP-centric receiver architectures to multiGigabit/s speeds. Recent information-theoretic results, obtained under ideal channel conditions (perfect synchronization, no dispersion), indicate that low-precision ADC (1-4 bits) could be a suitable choice for designing such high speed systems. In this work, we study the impact of employing low-precision ADC in a {\it carrier asynchronous} system. Specifically, we consider transmission over the block noncoherent Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN) channel, and investigate the achievable performance under low-precision output quantization. We focus attention on an architecture in which the receiver quantizes {\it only the phase} of the received signal: this has the advantage of being implementable without automatic gain control, using multiple 1-bit ADCs preceded by analog multipliers. For standard uniform Phase Shift Keying (PSK) modulation, we study the structure of the transition density of the resulting phase-quantized block noncoherent channel. Several results, based on the symmetry inherent in the channel model, are provided to characterize this transition density. Low-complexity procedures for computing the channel capacity, and for block demodulation, are obtained using these results. Numerical computations are performed to compare the performance of quantized and unquantized systems, for different quantization precisions, and different block lengths. It is observed, for example, that with QPSK modulation, 8-bin phase quantization of the received signal recovers about 80-85% of the capacity attained with unquantized observations, while 12-bin phase quantization recovers more than 90% of the unquantized capacity. Dithering the constellation is shown to improve the performance in the face of drastic quantization.

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