Necessitated by the demand for ever higher data rates, modern communications waveforms have increasingly wider bandwidths and higher signal dynamics. Furthermore, radio devices are expected to transmit and receive a growing number of different waveforms from cellular networks, wireless local area networks, wireless personal area networks, positioning and navigation systems, as well as broadcast systems. On the other hand, commercial wireless devices are expected to be cheap, be relatively small in size, and have a long battery life.
The demands for flexibility and higher data rates on one hand, and the constraints on production cost, device size, and energy efficiency on the other, pose difficult challenges on the design and implementation of future radio transceivers. Under these diametric constraints, in order to keep the overall implementation cost and size feasible, the use of simplified radio architectures and relatively low-cost radio electronics are necessary. This notion is even more relevant for multiple antenna systems, where each antenna has a dedicated radio front-end. The combination of simplified radio front-ends and low-cost electronics implies that various nonidealities in the remaining analog radio frequency (RF) modules, stemming from unavoidable physical limitations and material variations of the used electronics, are expected to play a critical role in these devices. Instead of tightening the specifications and tolerances of the analog circuits themselves, a more cost-effective solution in many cases is to compensate for these nonidealities in the digital domain. This line of research has been gaining increasing interest in the last 10-15 years, and is also the main topic area of this work.
The direct-conversion radio principle is the current and future choice for building low-cost but flexible, multi-standard radio transmitters and receivers. The direct-conversion radio, while simple in structure and integrable on a single chip, suffers from several performance degrading circuit impairments, which have historically prevented its use in wideband, high-rate, and multi-user systems. In the last 15 years, with advances in integrated circuit technologies and digital signal processing, the direct-conversion principle has started gaining popularity. Still, however, much work is needed to fully realize the potential of the direct-conversion principle.
This thesis deals with the analysis and digital mitigation of the implementation nonidealities of direct-conversion transmitters and receivers. The contributions can be divided into three parts. First, techniques are proposed for the joint estimation and predistortion of in-phase/quadrature-phase (I/Q) imbalance, power amplifier (PA) nonlinearity, and local oscillator (LO) leakage in wideband direct-conversion transmitters. Second, methods are developed for estimation and compensation of I/Q imbalance in wideband direct-conversion receivers, based on second-order statistics of the received communication waveforms. Third, these second-order statistics are analyzed for second-order stationary and cyclostationary signals under several other system impairments related to circuit implementation and the radio channel. This analysis brings new insights on I/Q imbalances and their compensation using the proposed algorithms. The proposed algorithms utilize complex-valued signal processing throughout, and naturally assume a widely-linear form, where both the signal and its complex-conjugate are filtered and then summed. The compensation processing is situated in the digital front-end of the transceiver, as the last step before digital-to-analog conversion in transmitters, or in receivers, as the first step after analog-to-digital conversion.
The compensation techniques proposed herein have several common, unique, attributes: they are designed for the compensation of frequency-dependent impairments, which is seen critical for future wideband systems; they require no dedicated training data for learning; the estimators are computationally efficient, relying on simple signal models, gradient-like learning rules, and solving sets of linear equations; they can be applied in any transceiver type that utilizes the direct-conversion principle, whether single-user or multi-user, or single-carrier or multi-carrier; they are modulation, waveform, and standard independent; they can also be applied in multi-antenna transceivers to each antenna subsystem separately. Therefore, the proposed techniques provide practical and effective solutions to real-life circuit implementation problems of modern communications transceivers. Altogether, considering the algorithm developments with the extensive experimental results performed to verify their functionality, this thesis builds strong confidence that low-complexity digital compensation of analog circuit impairments is indeed applicable and efficient.