An Analog/Mixed Signal FFT Processor for Ultra-Wideband OFDM Wireless Transceivers
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As Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) becomes more prevalent in new leading-edge data rate systems processing spectral bandwidths beyond 1 GHz, the required operating speed of the baseband signal processing, specifically the Analog- to-Digital Converter (ADC) and Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) processor, presents significant circuit design challenges and consumes considerable power. Additionally, since Ultra-WideBand (UWB) systems operate in an increasingly crowded wireless environment at low power levels, the ability to tolerate large blocking signals is critical. The goals of this work are to reduce the disproportionately high power consumption found in UWB OFDM receivers while increasing the receiver linearity to better handle blockers. To achieve these goals, an alternate receiver architecture utilizing a new FFT processor is proposed. The new architecture reduces the volume of information passed through the ADC by moving the FFT processor from the digital signal processing (DSP) domain to the discrete time signal processing domain. Doing so offers a reduction in the required ADC bit resolution and increases the overall dynamic range of the UWB OFDM receiver. To explore design trade-offs for the new discrete time (DT) FFT processor, system simulations based on behavioral models of the key functions required for the processor are presented. A new behavioral model of the linear transconductor is introduced to better capture non-idealities and mismatches. The non-idealities of the linear transconductor, the largest contributor of distortion in the processor, are individually varied to determine their sensitivity upon the overall dynamic range of the DT FFT processor. Using these behavioral models, the proposed architecture is validated and guidelines for the circuit design of individual signal processing functions are presented. These results indicate that the DT FFT does not require a high degree of linearity from the linear transconductors or other signal processing functions used in its design. Based on the results of the system simulations, a prototype 8-point DT FFT processor is designed in 130 nm CMOS. The circuit design and layout of each of the circuit functions; serial-to-parallel converter, FFT signal flow graph, and clock generation circuitry is presented. Subsequently, measured results from the first proof-of-concept IC are presented. The measured results show that the architecture performs the FFT required for OFDM demodulation with increased linearity, dynamic range and blocker handling capability while simultaneously reducing overall receiver power consumption. The results demonstrate a dynamic range of 49 dB versus 36 dB for the equivalent all-digital signal processing approach. This improvement in dynamic range increases receiver performance by allowing detection of weak sub-channels attenuated by multipath. The measurements also demonstrate that the processor rejects large narrow-band blockers, while maintaining greater than 40 dB of dynamic range. The processor enables a 10x reduction in power consumption compared to the equivalent all digital processor, as it consumes only 25 mWatts and reduces the required ADC bit depth by four bits, enabling application in hand-held devices. Following the success of the first proof-of-concept IC, a second prototype is designed to incorporate additional functionality and further demonstrate the concept. The second proof-of-concept contains an improved version of the serial-to-parallel converter and clock generation circuitry with the additional function of an equalizer and parallel- to-serial converter. Based on the success of system level behavioral simulations, and improved power consumption and dynamic range measurements from the proof-of-concept IC, this work represents a contribution in the architectural development and circuit design of UWB OFDM receivers. Furthermore, because this work demonstrates the feasibility of discrete time signal processing techniques at 1 GSps, it serves as a foundation that can be used for reducing power consumption and improving performance in a variety of future RF/mixed-signal systems.
- Doctoral Dissertations