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sampling interval which in every case is almost identical with Exact Dynamics of Automatic Gain Control
the results of the simulation. This holds true even for the low
SNR. Thusincriticalapplications,thesecurves,whenmodi- JOHN E. OHLSON, MEMBER, I E E ~
fied t o reflect the correct message bandwidth, could be used to Abstract-The exact input-output ielationship is derived for a fust-
determinetheminimumsamplingrate. In reality, of course,
order automatic gain control loop wherein the variable gain is an ex-
theactualvalue o f theerrorvarianceatthreshold is in the
ponential function of the gain control voltage. T h e exact solution is
vicinityof 0.25. However,thecomputationaldifficultyin
compared to the linearized solution, and the condition for valid
applying more
a accurateapproximation of thevariance
linearization is given.
equation is notjustifiablesince all thatwouldbegained es-
sentially is anincreaseintheverticalslopeofthecurvesin
Figs. 3-5. Theconsistencyoftheaforementionedresults I. INTRODUCTION
precludes the need for this added difficulty. Automatic gain control (AGC) loops are used in virtually all
modern communication systems. The work of Oliver [ 11 and
CONCLUSIONS Victor and Brockman [ 2 ] provided a useful theory both for
static and small signal analyses. In some applicatiqns, howeverj
Theconditions have
the a more general theory is required which can predict what will
validity of the,white uniform sequence model for quantization happen when large variations in signal level occur. Examples of
error in the! DPLL. An effective SNR is defined which allows large variations in signal level include severe fading in urban
quantized systemperformanceto
fromun- mobile links and links to/from tumbling satellites. When large
quantizedresults.Samplingrequirementshavebeenexperi- signal level variations occur,.the linear AGC, theory is n o longer
mentally determined through simulation. A method has been useful, and we must attempt to solve the nonlinear problem.
described to predict these minimum sampling rates using the Fig. 1 illustrates the AGC problem where the output y ( t ) is
high SNR variancerelations.Samplingrequirementsforthe given by
quantized system may then be determined using the effective
L ( t )= g ( u ) x ( t ) (1)
where x([) is the input, ~ ( tis)the gain control voltage, g ( u ) is
REFERENCES the gain control characteristic which is a memoryless function
S. C. Gupta,“Onoptimumdigitalphase-lockedloops,” IEEE
of u ( t ) , and b 0 is the AGC reference bias.
Trans. Commun. Technol. (ConcisePapers),vol.COM-16,pp. Seseralworkers [ 3 ] - [ 6 ] assumedthegaincontrolcharac-
340-344, Apr. 1968. teristic to be a linear function of w , and have obtained some
G . PasternackandR. L. Whalin,“Analysisandsynthesisofa
digital phase-locked loop for FM demodulation,” Bell Sysf. Tech. interesting exact results. Plotkin [ 7 ] assumed g ( u ) t o be of the
J . , vol. 47, pp. 2207-2237, Dec. 1968. form Y O 1 , where a is a constant, and obtained a perturbation
S. C. Gupta, “Status of digital phase-locked loops,” in Proc. 3rd solution. However, neither a linear nor a u-“ characteristic is
Hawaii Int. Conf., pp. 255-259, 1970.
J. Garodnick, J . Greco, and D. L. Schilling, “An all digital phase- representative of typicalgain-controlledamplifiers.Usually
lockedloopfor FM demodulation,” in Proc. Int. Communica- these amplifiers must have a gain dynamic range of 50-100 dB.
tionsConf., June 1971.
J . K. Holmes, “Performance of a first-order transition sampling For practical implementation, it has been found that a gain
digital phase-locked loopusing
random-walk models,” IEEE whichvariesexponentiallywith u gives the desired dynamic
Trans. Commun., vol. COM-20, pp. 119-131,Apr. 1972.
J . R . Cessna and D. M. Levy, “Phase noise and transient times for
range with a moderate range of u, and is also easy to character-
abinaryquantizeddigitalphase-lockedloopinwhiteGaussian ize $rice an exponential g ( u ) gives gain in decibels as a linear
noise,” IEEE Trans. Commun., vol.COM-20,pp.‘94-104,Apr. function of gain control voltage u. Victor and Brockman [ 2 ]
G. S. Gill and S. C. Gupta,“First-orderdiscretephase-locked assumedthisformfor g ( u ) , andsubsequentlyalmostall
loop with applications to demodulation of’angle-modulated car- modern receiver designs have approximated this characteristic.
rier,” IEEE Trans. Commun. (Concise Papers), vol. COM-20, pp.
454-462, June 1972. The analysis to follow thus applies to alarge number of current
C. N. Kelly and S. C. Gupta, “The digital phase-locked loop as a systems.
near-optimum FM demodulator,” IEEE Trans. Commun. (Concise
Papers), vol. COM-20, pp. 406-411, June 1972. 11. ANALYSIS
- “Discrete-time demodulation of continuous-timesignals,”
IEkE Trans. Inform. Theory, vol. IT-18, pp. 488-493, July 1972. We shall assume on the basis of the above that g ( u ) varies as
G. S. Gill and S. C. Gupta, “On higher order discrete phase-locked
loops,” IEEE Trans. Aerosp.Electron. Syst., vol. AES-8,pp.
615-623, Sept. 1972.
C. P. Reddy and S. C. Gupta, “Demodulation of FM signals by a
discretephase-lockedloop,” in Proc. Int. Telecommunications > >
where G 0 and a 0 are constants. Since g(u) is a voltage
Con$, Los Angeles, Calif.,Oct. 1972. gain, the gain in decibels is a linear function of u as discussed
-, “A class of a l l digitalphaselockedloops:Modelingand
analysis,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron. Confr.
Instrum., vol. above :
IECI-20, pp. 239-25 1 , Nov. 1973.
D. R.Polkand S. C. Guta,“Quasi-optimumdigitalphase- g ( u ) in decibels = 20 loglo g ( u )
locked loops,” IEEE Trans. Commun., vol.COM-21,pp. 75-
82, J y . 1973. = G (in
decibels) - ( 8 . 6 8 6 ~ ~ ) ~ . (3)
-, Anapproachto.theanalysisofperformanceofquasi-
optimum digitalphase-lockedloops,” IEEE Trans. Commun.,
vol. COM-21, pp. 733-738, June 1973. We mustnowspecifytheAGCloopfilter.Inmostactual
G.T.Hurstand S. C. Gupta, “On theperformanceof digital systems, the loop filter is asimplelow-pass R C filter.How-
phase-locked loops in the threshold region,” to be published.
D. G.Snyder, The Stare’ Variable Approach t o Continuous ever, the R C time constant is usually so much longer than the
Estimation, Res. Mono. 5 1. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1969. closed-loop response time that the loop filter can be approxi-
B. Widrow, “A study of rough amplitude quantization by means mated excellently by a simple integrator. This we do, and the
ofNyquistsamplingtheory,” IRETrans.CircuitTheory, vol.
CT-3, pp. 266-276, Dec. 1956.. systemweshallanalyzeisshowninFig. 2. We includethe
W. R. Bennett, “SPECTRA of quantized signals,” Bell Sysr. Tech.
J . , VOI. 27, pp. 446-471, July 1948.
A. Papoulis, Probability, Random Variables and Stochastic Pro- Paper approved by the Associate Editor for Communication Theory of
cesses. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964, p. 133. theIEEECommunicationsSociety for publicationwithoutoralpre-
G. T. Hurst, “Sampling, quantizing, and low signal to noise ratio sentation. Manuscript received January 2 8 , 1973.
considerations in digital phase-locked loops,” Ph.D. dissertation, The author is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Naval
Southern Methodist Univ., Dallas, Tex., Apr. 1973. Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. 93940.

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x(t 1 QAlN
0 (VI
g(v) x ( t i -
Y(t) I(l) v
-aV ,Y(l)
A V(l)

dl 4---- K
v(t) A GC A 0 ;(I)

Fig. 1. AGC block diagram. Fig. 2. First-order AGC loop.

quantity uo as the initial value of u ( t ) at t = 0, i.e., ~ ( 0=) U O . conditiondisappears. We may thus drop the transient expo-
Note also that we incorporate an open-loop gain factor K > 0. nential terms in ( 10) and ( 1 1) and consider the "stationary"
We nowwish to find y ( t ) and u ( t ) in terms of x ( t ) . From case where the gain control voltageis
Fig. 2 it is clear that
d = K [ y - b ] = K (xCe-"' - b)
(4) u(t)=C+-log, [h*x(t)l (12)
where we drop explicit use of t in our notation, and a dot
denotes time derivative. From (2) we can see that where the constant C i s

g = -&gd, (5) 1
C = - log, ( G / b ) (13)
andbysubstitutingfor d in(4)andbyuse of (2),wecan
obtain and the output is
g + Kaxg' - K a ! b g = 0. (6)
b x(t)
This is intheform of Bernoulli'sequationforwhichthe Y ( t ) = ___ (14)
h * x(t) '
solution is known to be [ 81
The results in (12) and (14) are the principal contribution of
this work. It must be noted that h * x ( t ) must remain positive
or (12) and (14) make little sense. Certainly if x ( t ) 0 , then >
h * x ( t ) 0 and there is no difficulty.However; if x ( t ) is
where r = l/Ka!b. Since attenuation is the inverse of gain, we negative often enough so that h * x ( t ) + 0 , then the system
see that the voltage-controlled attenuation is a Iinear function will achieve the state u = --M from which it cannot recover. It
of the input plus a decaying initial condition. The integral in is easy to appreciate this difficultyif the loop is assumed to be
(7) is recognized as a convolution 12 * x ( t )where in steady state due to x ( t ) = Ixl 1, say, and then let x ( t ) switch
abruptly to x ( t ) = - Ix2 1. It can then be shown that ~ ( t-+ )
--oo in a finite time, and once there, recovery is not possible. In
noncoherent receivers, x ( t ) is an envelope function, and hence
alwayshasthesamesign, so thereis no problemthere. In
t<O coherentreceivers, x ( t ) couldsometimesbenegative,but
which is a simple one-pole low-pass filter whose gain at dc is rarelywould h * x ( t ) benegative,andeven if it were, the
unity. It is important to realize that h ( t ) is not an actual filter finite
dynamic range of an integrator would hold
which is part of the system, but that itis a fictitious or equiva- finite maximum from which it could recover.
lent filter which represents a portion of the processing done An equivalentmodelforFig. 2 forthestationarycaseof
upon the inputx ( t ) . (12) and (149 is given in Fig. 3 when h * x ( t ) 0 . Note that if >
Using (2) and (8) we may rewrite (7) as this condition is violated, as far as the outputy ( t )is coficerned,
Fig. 3 canrecoveronce h * x ( t ) again becomespositive, al-
though the actual loop in Fig. 2 cannot recover from such a
condition. Clearly, u ( t ) will be imaginary when h * x ( t ) < 0 ,
anonphysicalpossibility. We concludethenthatwhenever
By inverting (2) we find that the gain control voltage is Fig. 2 is properly behaving ( h * x ( t ) > 0), Fig. 3 is an equiva-
lent model of the AGC loop.
(10) It is interesting that the highly nonlinear AGC loop of Fig. 2
hasthesimpleequivalentmodel of Fig. 3. It is indeedre-
, Also, since y = x g , we use (9) and have markablethatalinearfiltering of the input x ( t ) by h ( t ) is
centraltotheloopoperation.Italso is intuitivelypleasing
that y ( t ) is proportional to x ( t ) normalizedby an averaged
Since we have the exact dynamics of the loop, we shall now
111. THE STATIONARY CASE consider how good a linearized analysis can be. Consider the
The case of greatest practical interest is when the system has static case with x ( t ) = x o> 0. We clearly obtain h * x ( t ) =
operatedforalongtimeanddependenceupontheinitial x0 > so

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. would require only the weak condition Ap<< 1 rather than
A << 1. It is also easyt o see the effects of “fast” AGC (UT <<
1)‘and“slow”AGC(UT>> 1 ) whereweget y ( t ) b and
y ( t ) 2 b ( 1 + A sin ut), respectively.
Another interesting property of the loop is seen in (23). We
see there that although u ( t ) may be a sdverely distorted version
of x ( t ) , its times of maxima and minima do n.ot depend upon
the amplitude A A of the sinusoidal component of x ( t ) . That
the “phase shift” is not dependent ‘upon signal amplitude is a
somewhat surprising property considering the nonlinearity of
f loac (G/b) theloop.Forsmallvariations,thepropertyisexpected, of
Fig. 3. Equivalent AGC loop model. course, but for large variations, it would not seem obvious and
is an interesting property not previously known. It is easy to
see that this
1 periodic variation forx ( t ) .
u(t) = c +-
log, x0
and y ( t )= b. Thus the static casegives the gain control voltage Althoughwe have the exact solution for y ( t ) and u ( t ) in
as alogarithmicfunction of thesignal,andtheoutputis terms of x ( t ) , i t is difficult to obtain exact results for excitation
stabilized exactly to the value of the AGC reference bias b . If of the loop by random processes. The difficuity, of course, is
the signal now varies aboutx, i.e., >
the requirement that h * x ( t ) 0. An approximate solution
~ ( t= x) 0 +A(t), can be obtained if the input is modeled as apositivesignal
plus a weak noise component. Then the output noise contribu-
the exact u ( t ) and y ( t ) are tion clearly can, be obtained by a linear perturbation of the
solution due to signal alone.
In one case we can obtain thkp$$ first-order probability
1- . x. J \ -

density of y ( t ) when x ( t ) is an arl$t&ry Gaussian random pro-
cess. First note that h * x . ( t ) has d-finite probability of being
1 +- negative,regardless of how large apositivemean x ( t ) has.
Thus, in theory, our loop can get stuck at u = --oo.However,’in
(18) practice,finitedynamicrangeswill’.preventthis, so we may
consider that we are evaluating y ( t ) from the model in Fig. 3,
X0 which cannot get stuck. We ignore the apparent mathematical
If h * A ( t ) << x o , then obvious approximations give difficulty of u ( t ) beinginfinite‘orimaginary,using-the
dynamic range argument above. If x ( t ) is Gaussian, then so is
u(t) = c + e
log xo + h * A(t) h * x ( t ) , andthus y ( t ) isaratiooftwoGaussianrandom
(19) variableswhosemeans,variances,andcovarianceareeasily
ct! X0
calculated.Theprobabilitydensityfunction is verycompli-
cated and will not be given here. The interested reader may
consult Omura and Kailath’s widely distributed compendium
[9] for the form of the density function.
Theseexpressionsfor u ( t ) and y ( t ) are exactly what is ob-
There is a great interest in being able to statistically charac-
tained when the gain function e-au(t) is linearized around the
terize y ( t ) and u ( t ) when x ( t ) is Rayleigh,Rician,or log-
static value of u in (1 5). What we have shown is that we do not
normally distributed, corresponding to noncoherent receivers.
require A c t ) <<xo for linearization to be valid, but only the
much weaker conditionh * A ( t ) << x o . The difficulty is that to statistically analyze the loop, we need
morethanjustfirst-orderstatistics o f x ( t ) , which isall the
For an example, consider the extreme case where x ( t ) has a
above distributions provide.
very large sinusoidalvariablecomponentcomparedtoits
“nominal” value, e.g.,
x(t) = 1 + 100 sin ut. (21) We have modeled a very common AGC loop as a first-order
Without knowing the exact solution of (17) and (18), lineariza- nonlinear system, and have found the exact response for es-
tion would appear out of the question under any conditionbe- sentially arbitrary input signal. The solution has the interesting
cause we certainly d o n o t have a small-signal variation. How- property that the primary operation upon the signal is a linear
ever, if w is larger enough than l / so ~ h * ( 1 0 0 sin ut) l, << filteringoperation.This is thenfollowedbyamemoryless
we have the remarkable result that the linearized results still nonlinearity. A further property of interest is that lineariza-
apply. tion of the loop operation isvalid under a much less restrictive
condition t,han previously assumed.
Let the input be x ( t ) = A ( 1 + A sin at) where A and A are
constants. It is easy to show that B. M . Oliver, “Automatic volume control as a feedback problem,”
Proc. IRE, vol. 3 6 , pp. 466-473, Apr. 1948.
1 + A sin ut W. K. Victorand M. H. Brockman,“Theapplication o f linear
v ( t )= b 1 + A[ sin (ut+ 0 ) servotheory to the’design of AGC loops,” Proc.IRE, vol. 48,
pp. 234-238, Feb. 1960.
E. D. Banta, “Analysis o f an automatic gain control (AGC),” IEEE
1 1 Trans. Automat. Conrr.,vol. AC-9, pp. 181-182,Apr. 1964.
,U(t) = C A + - l o & [ 1 + A D sin (ut+ e ) ] (23)
+ - log, H. SchachterandL.Bergstein,“Noiseanalysis
of anautomatic
IEEE Trans. Automat.Contr., vol.AC-9,
ct! a pp. 249-255, July 1964.
where 0 = [ 1 + ( ~ 7] ) ~ and 0 = - tan-’(uT).Inthisex- W. J . Gill and W. K. S. Leong, “Response of’an AGC amplifier to
two narrow-band input signals,” IEEE Trans. Commun. Technol;,
ample we observe a specific case of how a valid linearization vol. COM-14, pp. 4 0 7 - 4 1 7 , Aug. 1966.

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[ 6 ] R. S. Simpson and W. H. Tranter, “Baseband AGC inan AM-FM 0
telemetry system,” IEEE Trans. Commun. Tecknol., vol. COM-18, T
pp. 59-63, Feb. 1970. 5
171 S. Plotkin, “On nonlinearAGC,” Proc. IEEE (Corresp.),vol. 5 1 ,
p. 380, Feb. 1963.
181 K. Rektorys, Survey of Applicable Mafhentatics. Cambridge,
Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1969, pp. 746, 834.
191 J . Omura and T. Kailath, “Some useful probability distributions,” overload
StanfordElectron.Lab.,Stanford,Calif.,Tech.Rep.7050-6, 0,
SU-SEL-65-079, Sept. 1965, pp. 47-49. Y


-2ov \ I
0 20 LO 60 80
Relative inputindB.
Digital Companding Techniques Fig. 1 . Comparison between the performance of companded and un-
companded code modulators.
Abstuact-This paper deals with the requirements for t h e design of Syllabiccompandingcanbedividedintotwotypes [91:
digital companding techniques in either delta or pulse-code modulation. 1)compandingwithincompletecontroland 2) companding
Both delta and pulse-code modulation convert analogue signals into with complete control. Companding with incomplete control
binary signals and in both these systems the dynamic range is normally stretches a region of the SNR curve in Fig. ](a) horizontally
small. By t h e use of companding, the dynamic range can be extended. while companding with complete control stretches one point
Since both’ delta and pulse-code modulation are digital methods, they ontheSNR curvehorizontally t o give Fig.I(b).Itcanbe
are well suited to theuse of digital companding techniques. seen that companding with complete control gives a flat SNR
Thebinarytransmittedsignalnormallycontainsameasure of t h e overtheentirecompandingrangeandconsequently gives a
systemperformance.Byobservingcertainpatternsinthisbinary better performance than companding with incomplete control.
signal and using the occurrence or nonoccurrence of these patterns to It is possible to apply syllabic companding to a code modula-
change thegainof the modulator and demodulator, syllabic companding tion system which has instantaneous companding as well, SO
can be obtained. The selection of the binary pattern and the rate of that double companding can be obtained.
change of gain of the modulator and demodulator, determines both the Therehavebeenmanysyllabiccompandingschemesfor
point at which the companding operates and the attack and decay times. delta modulation, using analogue techniques [IO]-[ 141. Due
The ratio of the largest t o t h e smallest value of the gain determines tohardwarelimitationsonlycompandingwithincomplete
thedynamicrange. By t h e use of digitalcircuitry,thegaincanbe control has been obtained.
controlled with sufficient accuracy over a large dynamic range. In order to obtain companding with complete control, either
The paper deals with the principles involved in selecting t h e binary a separatesignalcontainingtheinformationrelatedtothe
patterns to control the gain of the modulator and as examples a delta inputpowermustbesent [ 1 5 1 , [ 161 ordigitaltechniques
modulation system and a pulse-code modulation system with compand- must be used [ 171-[20]. The last two papers use a one bit
ing ratios of 60 dB are discussed. memory, corresponding to a control wordof 2 b.
companding strategy which enables one t o select control words,
or memory, of any length, thereby allowing one t o select the
Code modulation is a group of modulation methods where ratio of the attack and decay time constants of the compand-
theanalogueinput is sampledandwhereateachsampling ing.
instant a code word representing the input is generated. PCM, (DSCDM) hardware discussed in this paper has a companding
APCM, AM and their variants are examples of code modulation ratiowhich is about 20 dBmorethanhaspreviouslybeen
systems. possible.
modulationapproximates theinput
signal, The input power to a code modulator can be normalized by
distortion is introduced. A dividingit bythesquareofthestepsize.Theresulting
typical plot of the resulting signal-to-quantization-noise ratio normalizedinputpower is averyusefulparameterforthe
(SNR) versus input signal is shown in Fig. l(a). It can be seen design of the companding since it is ameasure of overload.
that a high SNR is only obtained for a narrow range of input The corresponding term in amplitude modulation is modula-
signals. Companding is used t o increasethedynamicrange tiondepth.Foracodemodulatorwithoutcompandingthe
over which a high SNR occurs. There are two basic types of step sizeis fixedandthenormalizedinputpower is thus
companding:1)instantaneouscompandingand 2 ) syllabic directly proportional to the input power.
Instantaneous companding has
workers t o b o t h PCM [ 1 ] -[ 3 I and delta modulation [41-[ 8 I . Fig. 2 showsablockdiagram of a codemodulatorwith
Instantaneous companding alters the shape of the SNR curve companding.Thecodegeneratorgeneratesdifferentcontrol
andthepeakSNRmayevenbehigherthanfortheun- words until the correct one is obtained, which is then trans-
companded system. mitted. A measure of the normalized input power is detected
Syllabic companding is similar to the action of an automatic and this is used to control the step size store which in turn
volumecontrolinthatthestep sizeis changedslowlyand controls the multiplier. Provided no transmission errors have
shouldideallybeproportionedtotheaveragepower of the occurred, the step size at the transmitter and receiver will be
inputsignal.Syllabiccompandinghasonlybeenappliedto the same.
deltamodulationbut, as isshowninthispaper,itcanbe In order to derive a measure of the normalized input power,
applied t o PCM as well. one must select one or more binary patterns or control words,
therelativeoccurrenceofwhich varies with the normalized
input power. The best control can be achieved if the function
Paper approved by the Associate Editor for Communication Theory
of the IEEE Communications Society for publication after presentation of relative occurrence of the control word versus normalized
at the 1972 Electronic Instrumentation Conference, Hobart, Australia. input power is a monotonic increasing or decreasing function.
Manuscript received July 21, 1972; revised January 25, 1973.
’ The author is with the James Cook University of North Queensland, Fig. 3 shows a typical graph of the relative occurrence of a
Townsville, Australia. suitablecontrolwordversusnormalizedinputpower.The

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