CDMA Base Station Receive Co-Processor Architecture
Santhosam, Charles L
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Third generation mobile communication systems promise a greater data rate and new services to the mobile subscribers. 3G systems support up to 2 Mbps of data rate to a fixed subscriber and 144 Kbps of data rate to a fully mobile subscriber. Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is the air interface access scheme widely used in all the 3G communication systems. This access scheme has many inherent advantages m terms of noise immunity, security, coherent combining of multi path signals etc. But all these advantages come at the expense of higher complexity of the receivers. The receivers form the major portion of the processing involved in a base station. The heart of any CDMA receiver is the RAKE. The RAKE receiver separates the different multi-paths received by the antenna by using the properties of the Pseudo Random sequences. The phase and strength of each of these path signals is measured and are used by the coherent combiner, which de-rotates all the signals to a single reference and coherently combines them In general the Base station receivers make use of the top three multi-path signals ranked in terms of their signal energy Hence four RAKE fingers, each catering to single multi-path are needed for receiving a single code channel (3 for coherent combining and one for scanning). One such channel receiver requires a processing power of 860 MIPS (Mega Instructions Per Second). Some of the CDMA standards support up to 90 code channels at the same time. This means that the total processing power required at the base station is about 80 GIPS. This much of processing power will require large number of high end DSPs, which will be a very costly solution. In the current base station architectures these blocks are implemented using ASICs, which are specific to a particular standard and also the algorithms used for the different operations are fixed at the design time itself. This solution is not flexible and is not amenable for SDR (Software defined Radio) architectures for the Base stations. This thesis proposes a Co-Processor solution, which can be attached to a generic DSP or any other processor. The processor can control the Co-Processor by programming its parameter registers using memory mapped register accesses. This co-processor implements only those blocks, which are compute intensive. This co-processor performs all chip-rate processing functions involved m a RAKE receiver. All the symbol-rate functions are implemented through software in the processor. This provides more choices m selecting the algorithms for timing recovery and scanning. The algorithms can be changed through software even after the base station is installed in the field. All the inputs and outputs of the Co-Processor are passed through dual port RAMs with independent read and write clocks. This allows the Co-Processor and the processor to be running on two independent clocks. This memory scheme also increases the throughput as the reads and writes to these memories can happen simultaneously. This thesis introduces a concept of incorporating programmable PN/Gold code generators as part of the Co-Processor, which significantly reduces the amount of memory required to store the Scrambling and Spreading codes. The polynomial lengths as well as the polynomials of the code generator are programmable. The input signal memory has a bus width equal to 4 times the bus width of the IQ signal bus width (4 * 24 = 96 bits) towards the Co-Processor to meet the huge data bandwidth requirement. This memory is arranged as word interleaved memory banks. This can supply one word per memory bank on each clock cycle as long as the accessed words fall in different memory banks. The number of banks is chosen as more than twice that of the number of Correlators/ Rake fingers. This gives more flexibility in choosing the address offsets to different Correlator inputs. This flexibility allows one to use different timing recovery schemes since the number of allowable address offsets for different Correlators is more. The overall complexity of the solution is comparatively less with respect to the generic DSP based solution and much easier to modify for a different standard, when compared to the rigid ASIC based solution. The proposed solution is significantly different from the conventional way of designing the Base station with fixed ASICs and it clearly outweighs the solutions based on conventional approach in terms of flexibility, design complexity, design time and cost.