Since the frantic race towards the Shannon bound  commenced in the early 1950’s, linear block codes have become integral components of most digital communication systems. Both binary and non-binary linear block codes have proven themselves as formidable adversaries against the impediments presented by wireless communication channels. However, prior to the landmark 1974 paper  by Bahl et al. on the optimal Maximum a-Posteriori Probability (MAP) trellis decoding of linear block codes, practical linear block code decoding schemes were not only based on suboptimal hard decision algorithms, but also code-specific in most instances. In 1978 Wolf expedited the work of Bahl et al. by demonstrating the applicability of a block-wise Viterbi Algorithm (VA) to Bahl-Cocke-Jelinek-Raviv (BCJR) trellis structures as a generic optimal soft decision Maximum-Likelihood (ML) trellis decoding solution for linear block codes . This study, largely motivated by code implementers’ ongoing search for generic linear block code decoding algorithms, builds on the foundations established by Bahl, Wolf and other contributing researchers by thoroughly evaluating the VA decoding of popular binary and non-binary linear block codes on realistic narrowband and wideband digital communication platforms in lifelike mobile environments. Ideally, generic linear block code decoding algorithms must not only be modest in terms of computational complexity, but they must also be channel aware. Such universal algorithms will undoubtedly be integrated into most channel coding subsystems that adapt to changing mobile channel conditions, such as the adaptive channel coding schemes of current Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), 3rd Generation (3G) and Beyond 3G (B3G) systems, as well as future 4th Generation (4G) systems. In this study classic BCJR linear block code trellis construction is annotated and applied to contemporary binary and non-binary linear block codes. Since BCJR trellis structures are inherently sizable and intricate, rudimentary trellis complexity calculation and reduction algorithms are also presented and demonstrated. The block-wise VA for BCJR trellis structures, initially introduced by Wolf in , is revisited and improved to incorporate Channel State Information (CSI) during its ML decoding efforts. In order to accurately appraise the Bit-Error-Rate (BER) performances of VA decoded linear block codes in authentic wireless communication environments, Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN), flat fading and multi-user multipath fading simulation platforms were constructed. Included in this task was the development of baseband complex flat and multipath fading channel simulator models, capable of reproducing the physical attributes of realistic mobile fading channels. Furthermore, a complex Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) system were employed as the narrowband communication link of choice for the AWGN and flat fading channel performance evaluation platforms. The versatile B3G multi-user multipath fading simulation platform, however, was constructed using a wideband RAKE receiver-based complex Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Multiple Access (DS/SSMA) communication system that supports unfiltered and filtered Complex Spreading Sequences (CSS). This wideband platform is not only capable of analysing the influence of frequency selective fading on the BER performances of VA decoded linear block codes, but also the influence of the Multi-User Interference (MUI) created by other users active in the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) system. CSS families considered during this study include Zadoff-Chu (ZC) [4, 5], Quadriphase (QPH) , Double Sideband (DSB) Constant Envelope Linearly Interpolated Root-of- Unity (CE-LI-RU) filtered Generalised Chirp-like (GCL) [4, 7-9] and Analytical Bandlimited Complex (ABC) [7, 10] sequences. Numerous simulated BER performance curves, obtained using the AWGN, flat fading and multi-user multipath fading channel performance evaluation platforms, are presented in this study for various important binary and non-binary linear block code classes, all decoded using the VA. Binary linear block codes examined include Hamming and Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem (BCH) codes, whereas popular burst error correcting non-binary Reed-Solomon (RS) codes receive special attention. Furthermore, a simple cyclic binary linear block code is used to validate the viability of employing the reduced trellis structures produced by the proposed trellis complexity reduction algorithm. The simulated BER performance results shed light on the error correction capabilities of these VA decoded linear block codes when influenced by detrimental channel effects, including AWGN, Doppler spreading, diminished Line-of-Sight (LOS) signal strength, multipath propagation and MUI. It also investigates the impact of other pertinent communication system configuration alternatives, including channel interleaving, code puncturing, the quality of the CSI available during VA decoding, RAKE diversity combining approaches and CSS correlation characteristics. From these simulated results it can not only be gathered that the VA is an effective generic optimal soft input ML decoder for both binary and non-binary linear block codes, but also that the inclusion of CSI during VA metric calculations can fortify the BER performances of such codes beyond that attainable by classic ML decoding algorithms.
Dissertation (MEng(Electronic))--University of Pretoria, 2006.
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