Non-Uniform Constellations for Next-Generation Digital Terrestrial Broadcast Systems




  Manuel Fuentes Muela


  David Gomez-Barquero
  Narcis Cardona Marcet


Nowadays, the digital terrestrial television (DTT) market is characterized by the high capacity needed for high definition TV services. There is a need for an efficient use of the broadcast spectrum, which requires new technologies to guarantee increased capacities. Non-Uniform Constellations (NUC) arise as one of the most innovative techniques to approach those requirements. NUCs reduce the gap between uniform Gray-labelled Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) constellations and the theoretical unconstrained Shannon limit. With these constellations, symbols are optimized in both in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) components by means of signal geometrical shaping, considering a certain signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and channel model. There are two types of NUC, one-dimensional and two-dimensional NUCs (1D-NUC and 2DNUC, respectively). 1D-NUCs maintain the squared shape from QAM, but relaxing the distribution between constellation symbols in a single component, with non-uniform distance between them. These constellations provide better SNR performance than QAM, without any demapping complexity increase. 2D-NUCs also relax the square shape constraint, allowing to optimize the symbol positions in both dimensions, thus achieving higher capacity gains and lower SNR requirements. However, the use of 2D-NUCs implies a higher demapping complexity, since a 2Ddemapper is needed, i.e. I and Q components cannot be separated. In this dissertation, NUCs are analyzed from both transmit and receive point of views, using either single-input single-output (SISO) or multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna configurations. In SISO transmissions, 1D-NUCs and 2D-NUCs are optimized for a wide range of SNRs and different constellation orders. The optimization of rotated 2D-NUCs is also investigated. Even though the demapping complexity is not increased, the SNR gain of these constellations is not significant. The highest rotation gain is obtained for low-order constellations and high SNRs. However, with multi-RF techniques, the SNR gain is drastically increased, since I and Q components are transmitted in different RF channels. In this thesis, multi-RF gains of NUCs with and without rotation are provided for some representative scenarios. At the receiver, two different implementation bottlenecks are explored. First, the demapping complexity of all considered constellations is analyzed. Afterwards, two complexity reduction algorithms for 2DNUCs are proposed. Both algorithms drastically reduce the number of distances to compute. Moreover, both are finally combined in a single demapper. Quantization of NUCs is also explored in this dissertation, since LLR values and I/Q components are modified when using these constellations, compared to traditional QAM constellations. A new algorithm that is based on the optimization of the quantizer levels for a particular constellation is proposed. The use of NUCs in multi-antenna communications is also investigated. It includes the optimization in one or two antennas, the use of power imbalance, the cross-polar discrimination (XPD) between receive antennas, or the use of different demappers. Assuming different values for the parameters evaluated, new Multi-Antenna Non-Uniform Constellations (MA-NUC) are obtained by means of a particularized re-optimization process, specific for MIMO. At the receiver, an extended demapping complexity analysis is performed, where it is shown that the use of 2D-NUCs in MIMO extremely increases the demapping complexity. As an alternative, an efficient solution for 2D-NUCs and MIMO systems based on Soft-Fixed Sphere Decoding (SFSD) is proposed. The main drawback is that SFSD demappers do not work with 2D-NUCs, since they perform a Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC) step that needs to be performed in separated I and Q components. The proposed method quantifies the closest symbol using Voronoi regions and allows SFSD demappers to work.