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Performance comparison of clipping strategies applied to a WCDMA mobile terminal

O Gremigni, EngD Student at Philips Research Laboratories, Redhill, UK Abstract: 3GPP standard for WCDMA allows the use of multiple data channels to achieve higher bit rates. The sum of multiple channels increases the amplitude range, or Peak-toAverage-Power Ratio (PAPR), of the modulated signal. Due to the nonlinear behaviour of Power Amplifiers (PA), high PAPR causes significant out-of-band interference and degrades the quality of the signal. The amounts of signal distortion and spectral splatter allowed must stay within the costraints given by the standard. In this work we examined three PAPR reduction techniques and compared their performance in terms of the limits imposed. The aim of the work is finding out an easy-implementable and effective technique to tame the detrimental effects of high PAPR.

WCDMA standard [1] allows the use of multiple data channels in order to achieve higher data rates. The sum of parallel channels increases the so-called Peak-to-Average Power Ratio (PAPR), i.e. the modulated signal can have high peaks well above its average amplitude. In mobile terminals the final amplifier is the most power consuming device so it must work as close as possible to its saturation point, otherwise it would have a low efficiency resulting in a frequent battery recharging [2]. As a consequence, signals with high PAPR saturate the power amplifier (PA) causing out-of-band (OOB) emissions and in-band distortion. In an attempt to avoid such effects, the signal at the input of the PA is attenuated applying a back-off (BO) factor. The BO constrains the signal’s amplitude range, thus the PA can work in its linear region. Unfortunately this yields a drawback: the amplifier efficiency is reduced. As a result, a compromise must be reached between PA efficiency and allowed amount of spectral splatter/signal distortion. WCDMA standard imposes tights limits on both OOB emissions and signal quality; therefore solutions have to be found to improve amplifier efficiency within the limits of the regulation. This is the reason why many efforts have been done in studying PAPR reduction techniques [3], which should guarantee PA linearity without resorting to large BO values. In this paper, we focus our attention on a particular category of PAPR reduction strategies: signal distortion techniques, which reduce the peak amplitudes by distorting the signal at or around peaks. Amongst the available options for such category, we applied three different techniques to a WCDMA transmitter and checked their effectiveness in terms of the parameters imposed by the standard. Simulation results obtained in each case have been compared in order to find out which strategy is more suitable for implementation.

2 System Overview
In the following section we will provide a brief description of the WCDMA uplink (or reverse link) modulation scheme along with the PAPR distribution of the signal, definitions of the radio specifics and a comprehensive explanation of the PA model employed.

2.1 WCDMA uplink Spreading and Modulation
The WCDMA uplink modulation scheme allows up to six Dedicated Physical Data Channels (DPDCHs) and one Dedicated Physical Control Channel (DPCCH). The channel configuration is shown in Figure 1. WCDMA uses a two level code system: orthogonal spreading codes (cd,n) and pseudo random scrambling codes (Sdpch,n). In order to support variable data rates, the air interface allow to pick up spreading codes with different Spreading Factor (SF) and this family of codes is called Orthogonal Variable Spreading Factor (OVSF). In the uplink OVSF are used to separate data and control channels from a specific user. Scrambling codes identify a specific mobile terminal and it is applied on top of spreading. A detail description of the uplink physical layer is beyond the scope of this paper, further details can be found in [1][2][4]. When employing multiple data channels the SF is set to 4 for each DPDCH, which corresponds to highest available bit rate (around 2 Mbps), whilst the SF for the control channel remains unchanged at 256. The

combined data and control channels are multiplied by a complex scrambling code (Sdpch,n)1, the resulting signal is passed through a Root Raised Cosine (RRC) filter with roll-off factor of 0.22. This set of values has been used throughout the whole simulation work. Figure 1: DPDCH and DPCCH uplink configuration [1].

2.2 PAPR distribution
As we already mentioned in Section 1, the superimposition of multiple data channels leads to an increase of the PAPR. According to [3], the PAPR can be defined as:

 x( t ) ∞   PAPR = 20 log10  (1)  x( t )  dB 2   where x( t ) ∞ is simply the peak of the signal and x ( t ) 2 is its root mean square value.
In Figure 2 the PAPR of single data channel and 6 data channels WCDMA signals are shown. It is easy to notice that PAPR rises up to a maximum value of 8 dB when multiple channels are employed, whereas the value for a single data channel is within 3.5 dB. The increase in PAPR sets strict requirements for the linearity of the PA in order to limit the adjacent channel leakage. Unfortunately an amplifier with a wider linear range is less efficient, therefore the PAPR must be reduced i.e. the signal’s amplitude range has to be constrained [8].

2.3 Radio specifics for WCDMA transmitter
3GPP standard for WCDMA specifies the following signal-quality requirements for the waveform at the output of a 3G transmitter [5].




Adjacent Channel Leakage Ratio (ACLR), which determines how much of the transmitted power can leak into the first (ACLR1) or second (ACLR2) neighbouring carrier. ACLR is defined as the ratio of the RRC filtered mean power centred on the assigned channel frequency to the RRC filtered mean power centred on the adjacent channel frequency. ACLR1 should be larger than 33 dB and ACLR2 than 43 dB. Error Vector Magnitude (EVM), which is a measure of the difference between the reference waveform and the measured waveform. This difference is called the error vector. The EVM result is defined as the root of the ratio of the mean vector power to the mean reference power expressed in %. EVM value should be below 17.5 %. Peak Code Domain Error (PCDE), which is computed by projecting the power of the error vector (as defined for EVM) onto the code domain at a specific spreading factor. The Code Domain Error for every code in the domain is defined as the ratio of the mean power of the projection onto that code, to the mean power of the composite reference waveform. This ratio is expressed in dB. The Peak Code Domain Error is defined as the maximum value for the Code Domain Error for all codes. PCDE value shall not exceed 15 dB for spreading factor 4.


The scrambling code is designed to minimise the PAPR [6].

2.4 Rapp’s model for solid state amplifiers
The signal at the output of the RRC filter is up converted and fed into a nonlinear power amplifier. The model we used to simulate the effects of a real solid state PA is the well-known Rapp’s AM/AM characteristic [7], which is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 2: CDF of PAPR for a WCDMA signal Figure 3: Rapp’s model AM/AM characteristic with a single data channel (blue line) and 6 data channels (red line)

3 PAPR reduction techniques
The following techniques have been applied to the modulated signal to lower the PAPR:




Clipping and Filtering: the simplest way to reduce the PAPR is clipping the signal, such that peak amplitude becomes limited to a desired level. The main drawback related to this approach is the introduction of inband and OOB interference. Self interference (or in-band distortion) degrades the signal quality; on the other hand, OOB emissions must be kept within the limits imposed by the ACLR. Filtering after the clipping stage reduces the spectral splatter. The filter employed in this work is a simple equiripple FIR filter with stopband attenuation around 40 dB. Peak Cancellation: as the main disadvantage of clipping is represented by OOB radiations, this unwanted effect can be avoided by doing a linear peak cancellation: a time-shifted and scaled reference function is subtracted from the original signal in order to reduce the peak amplitude. This approach could not cause any spectral splatter if a proper function is selected. In particular, we used a truncated sinc function. Its spectral properties assure low OOB emissions as its attenuation is around 70 dB. Peak Windowing: as clipping causes sharp corners in the clipped signal waveform, this leads to an increased spectral splatter and to higher ACLR. Peak windowing is meant to reduce the level of unwanted emissions by smoothing the sharp corners related to the hard clipping process. The goal is achieved by multiplying the signal with a window function. The spectral properties of this function determine the amount of OOB emissions. The window employed in our simulation is a Hann with 49 samples.

4 Simulation results
The performances of the clipping techniques described in the previous section have been evaluated through a Simulink© model of a standard-compliant WCDMA mobile transmitter. The signal at the output of the PA must fulfil the requirements imposed by the standard in terms of signal quality (EVM, PCDE) and OOB emissions (ACLR). In order to establish which strategy is more effective we also taken into account the BER at a fixed noise power of 30 dBm. Simulation have been carried out for two different values of clipping ratio (CR), which is defined as:

 A CR = 20 log10   dB σ 


where A is the desired clipping level and σ is the root mean square of the signal. It is worth to point out that the back-off of the PA has been set to the minimum value that gives an ACLR1 with a margin of at least 1 dB over the limit (33 dB). ACLR2 has not been included in the analysis because the allowed level of emissions is any case below the threshold. Tables 1, 2 summarise the results obtained. The columns indicated as ‘Back-off’ contain the performance of the unclipped case, where the only back-off has been used to comply with the restrictions.

CR=3 ACLR 1 (dB) BER @ 30 dBm Noise Power EVM (%) PCDE (dB)

Back-Off Clip & Filter Peak Cancellation
34.9 6.0 10-2 5 -24.9 34.5 4.44 10-2 8.5 -20 34.3 3.86 10-2 12.7 -17

Peak Windowing
34.2 4.33 10-2 12.5 -17

Table 1: Simulated values of ACLR1, BER, EVM and PCDE of the clipping strategies tested. CR=3.

CR=1 ACLR 1 (dB) BER @ 30 dBm Noise Power EVM (%) PCDE (dB)

Back-Off Clip & Filter Peak Cancellation
34.9 6.0 10-2 5 -24.9 34.4 3.73 10-2 14.3 -16 34.5 3.35 10-2 20.5 -13.5

Peak Windowing
34.2 4.61 10-2 20.5 -12.8

Table 2: Simulated values of ACLR1, BER, EVM and PCDE of the clipping strategies tested. CR=1. The available data show that all of the signal distortion techniques are effective in reducing the PAPR according to the limits imposed both by the standard and the PA nonlinearities. In particular, we can notice that employing PAPR reduction strategies we achieve a better BER (i.e. SNR) with respect to the case of the unprocessed signal. This is due to more efficient use of the PA. On the other hand, the signal quality (EVM and PCDE) is decreased and the CR cannot be too low otherwise the quality requirements are not met, e.g. Peak Cancellation and Peak Windowing with CR=1 (Table 2).

5 Conclusions
In conclusion we can say that clipping the WCDMA multiple data channels signal is useful to reduce its PAPR and restore part of the PA efficiency, which would be otherwise lost in large back-off values needed to reach the limits in signal quality and power leakage. Among the techniques analysed Clipping and Filtering shows the best overall performance, even when a low CR is applied. Such strategy is particularly appealing as it is very easy to implement.

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[6] Agilent. Agilent AN 1335; HPSK Spreading for 3G. Application note. [7] E. Costa, M. Midrio, and S. Pupolin. Impact of Amplifier Nonlinearities on OFDM Transmission System Performance. IEEE Communications Letters, 3(2), February 1999. [8] O. VÄaÄanÄanen, J. Vankka, and K. Halonen. Simple algorithm for peak windowing and its application in GSM, EDBGE and WCDMA systems. IEE Proceedings Communications, 152(3):357-362, June 2005.