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Adaptive digital beamforming for a CDMA mobile communications payloadIn recent years, Spread-Spectrum Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) has become a very popular access scheme for mobile communications due to a variety of reasons: excellent performance in multipath environments, high scope for frequency reuse, graceful degradation near saturation, etc. In this way, a CDMA system can support simultaneous digital communication among a large community of relatively uncoordinated users sharing a given frequency band. Nevertheless, there are also important problems associated with the use of CDMA. First, in a conventional CDMA scheme, the signature sequences of asynchronous users are not orthogonal and, as the number of active users increases, the self-noise generated by the mutual interference between users considerably degrades the performance, particularly in the return link. Furthermore, when there is a large disparity in received powers - due to differences in slant range or atmospheric attenuation - the non-zero cross-correlation between the signals gives rise to the so-called near-far problem. This leads to an inefficient utilization of the satellite resources and, consequently, to a drastic reduction in capacity. Several techniques were proposed to overcome this problem, such as Synchronized CDMA - in which the signature sequences of the different users are quasi-orthogonal - and power control. At the expense of increased network complexity and user coordination, these techniques enable the system capacity to be restored by equitably sharing the satellite resources among the users. An alternative solution is presented based upon the use of time-reference adaptive digital beamforming on board the satellite. This technique enables a high number of independently steered beams to be generated from a single phased array antenna, which automatically track the desired user signal and null the unwanted interference source. In order to use a time-reference adaptive antenna in a communications system, the main challenge is to obtain a reference signal highly correlated with the desired user signal and uncorrelated with the interferences. CDMA lends itself very easily to the generation of such a reference signal, thanks to the a priori knowledge of the user's signature sequence. First, the integration of an adaptive antenna in an asynchronous CDMA system is analyzed. The adaptive antenna system can provide increased interference rejection - much higher than that afforded by the code alone - and, since CDMA is mainly interference limited, any reduction in interference converts directly and linearly into an increase in capacity. Analyses and computer simulations are presented that show how an asynchronous CDMA system incorporating adaptive beamforming can provide at least as much capacity as a synchronous system. More importantly, the proposed concept allows the near-far effect to be mitigated without requiring a tight coordination of the users in terms of transmitted power control or network synchronization. The system is extremely robust to the near-far effect because the signals reaching the satellite from directions other than that of the desired user - which are likely to have different power levels - are adaptively canceled by the antenna. Finally, a payload architecture is presented that illustrates the practical implementation of this concept. This digital payload architecture demonstrates that with the advent of high performance CMOS digital processing, the on-board implementation of complex DSP techniques - in particular Digital Beamforming - has become possible, being most attractive for Mobile Satellite Communications.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Munoz-Garcia, Samuel G. (European Space Agency. European Space Research and Technology Center ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands)
Ruiz, Javier Benedicto (European Space Agency. European Space Research and Technology Center ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: JPL, Proceedings of the Third International Mobile Satellite Conference (IMSC 1993)
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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