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The Third International Conference on Digital Telecommunications

A frequency domain FIR filter implementation method for 3G communication


Maroun Ojail Stephane Chevobbe

Embedded Computing Laboratory Embedded Computing Laboratory
P.O. Box 94, Gif-sur-Yvette, F-91191 France P.O. Box 94, Gif-sur-Yvette, F-91191 France
Raphael David Didier Demigny
Embedded Computing Laboratory Team R2D2
P.O. Box 94 , Gif-sur-Yvette, F-91191 France 6 rue de Kerampont, 22300 Lannion France

Abstract to implement in hardware all the functions needed by these

different technologies.
Wireless communications have been evolving in the past Main functions in wireless communications are Finite
years in a fast way that led to the apparition of numer- Impulse Response (FIR) Filters and Fast Fourier Trans-
ous standards like UMTS (3G), IEEE 802.11 (WLAN) and forms (FFT). FIR filters are very important blocks in the
DVB-H. New mobile equipments should support multiple Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) tech-
standards in order to offer the most complete set of applica- nique on which the UMTS standard is based [6]. Direct
tions to the user like telephony, mobile internet and mobile and inverse FFT are, on the other hand, essential modules
television. This paper presents a new method of implement- in standards based on the Orthogonal Frequency Division
ing a high performance Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filter Multiplexing (OFDM) technique, like WLAN and DVB-
in the frequency domain that is suitable for third generation H [9]. Thus, in this paper we present a new method of
communication systems. The method discussed is also an implementing the FIR filter in the frequency domain. This
enabler for the implementation of low cost modules capable method enables the realization of a minimal size module ca-
of performing filtering and fast Fourier transforms for use pable of executing both the FIR and the FFT functions and
with the wide variety of the wireless communication stan- increases the similarities between WCDMA and OFDM
dards available nowadays. based communication systems.
A 64-tap filter (or sometimes less) is usually sufficient to
meet the minimum requirements of WCDMA based com-
1. Introduction munication standards [2]. Classic frequency domain imple-
mentation is normally more computationally complex than
In the past years, the evolutions of the telecommunica- a time domain implementation for small filter lengths. Con-
tion sector were concentrated on the improvement of wire- sequently, employing a FIR filter in the frequency domain
less communications and their quality of service to enable for wireless communication standards was not possible until
them to support a multi-standard function with both high now. In this study we show that we can overcome this draw-
performance and reduced cost. These evolutions led to the back by combining the inphase (I) and the quadrature phase
definition of multiple access schemes and consequently to (Q) paths in WCDMA transmission and reception chains
the apparition of numerous telecommunication standards before passing them through the FIR filter. We then show
like GPRS, UMTS, IEEE 802.11 and DVB-H. Extracting that by choosing frequency domain filter coefficients as the
similarities between multiple standards is a must in order samples of the ideal frequency transfer function, we can
for a system to take advantage of the multiplicity of radio boost the performances of such a filter mainly in terms of
technologies available nowadays, and that without having immunity against intersymbol interference.

978-0-7695-3188-5/08 $25.00 © 2008 IEEE 1

DOI 10.1109/ICDT.2008.9
The structure of this paper is as follows: we begin in decades [3, 1, 10]. But, to our knowledge, no previous work
section 2 by presenting background information on the im- proposed a frequency-domain FIR filter for the UMTS stan-
portance of FIR filters in WCDMA based communication dard, mainly because of computational complexity prob-
systems. In section 3 we discuss the choices we made that lems as discussed in the introduction.
enabled the feasibility of a frequency domain FIR filter for
the UMTS standard in terms of computational complexity 3 Proposed frequency domain FIR filter
and performances of the filtering. Section 4 exposes the
methodology we used to evaluate the performances of the
In this section we show that implementing the FIR filter
proposed frequency domain filter. In section 5 we compare
in the frequency domain for the UMTS standard is actually
these performances against a classical time domain imple-
feasible and even requires less computational complexity
mentation in terms of intersymbol interference measured by
than a time domain realization. We also expose a new and
error vector magnitude and peak distortion. A comparison
effective method to choose the best filter coefficients for the
between the two filters on their immunity against additive
UMTS standard in order to increase performance of FIR
white Gaussian noise is also conducted. We finally con-
filtering, namely its immunity against intersymbol interfer-
clude by summarizing the main innovations of our contri-
bution and presenting our future work.
3.1 Analysis of computational complexi-
2 Background ties
Third Generation 3G communication systems use To process one sample in the time domain, a symmet-
WCDMA technique to transmit and receive data. The spec- ric FIR filter needs N2 multiplications and N − 1 additions.
trum of a signal of the type used in WCDMA has adjacent This means that a FIR filter executes 0.5(3N −2) operations
channel sidelobes. These sidelobes introduce interference per sample. This processing should be executed for both I
into users of the adjacent frequencies who could be the same and Q paths, which means that the actual number of opera-
operator or could be other operators. That’s why filtering tions per sample (a couple of an I-sample and a Q-sample)
in the transmitter should be used to overcome the effect of doubles and becomes 3N − 2. Consequently, the compu-
the adjacent channel sidelobes. Numerous considerations tational complexity (the number of operations per second
discussed in [8] and throughout this paper led to the use without distinguishing between addition and multiplication)
of a FIR filter in the WCDMA transmitter, together with a of a FIR filter operating at frequency F is:
matched filter in the receiver in a way to get a Nyquist filter
as the combined filter response. CCF IRtime = (3N − 2) F (2)
In the time domain, the FIR operation is achieved by
convolution. Converting to the frequency domain, a con- For our proposed frequency domain implementation, we
volution is equivalent to a simple multiplication. Hence we use the overlap-add method [5] which consists of decom-
can state that F IR [x(t)] = x(t) ⊗ h(t) = F −1 [H.F(x)] posing the signal into simple components, processing each
where H is the Fourier transform of filter coefficients h(t), of the components, and recombining the processed compo-
(⊗) is the convolution product, (.) is the dot product and nents into the final signal. If the input signal is segmented
F(x) is the Fast Fourier transform of discrete input x(t). into sections of length L and a FIR filter of length N is to
FIR filters in the transmission and reception chains are be implemented, a FFT of length L + N − 1 or more should
used to implement root raised cosine (RRC) filters of which be performed to avoid time aliasing. In our study, we seg-
the combined transfer function results in a raised cosine fil- ment the input signal into sections of length N and thus we
ter (a type of Nyquist filter). The time domain representa- use a FFT of length P where P is the minimal power of 2
tion for the RRC filter is [4] greater than or equal to 2N . Each FFT of length P requires
      5P log2 (P ) operations and processes N samples at a fre-
sin (1 − α)π Tt + 4α Tt cos (1 + α)π Tt
h(t) =  t   2  (1) quency F to which we have to add 6 operations per sample
π T 1 − 4α Tt to perform the complex multiplication by the filter coeffi-
cients H. Hence, we get the computational complexity of
where the frequency domain FIR filter of length N as:
1 1  
T = = ≈ 0.260µs for WCDMA. P
chip rate 3.84 × 106 CCF IRf req. = 2 5 log2 (P ) + 3 F (3)
Note that implementing FIR filters by FFT is not by it-
self an innovative idea. In fact, many researches have pro- The frequency domain filter proposed here directly pro-
posed FIR filters in the frequency domain in the past two cesses the I and Q paths. This is done by combining the

Computational Complexity (MOPS)
6000 where
5000 Time domain FIR
Frequency domain FIR 1−α 1+α
4000 m= and M =
2T 2T

1000 4 Methodology
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
FIR filter length In order to evaluate the performance of our proposed FIR
implementation method in the frequency domain, especially
Figure 1. Computational complexities of dif- in terms of immunity against intersymbol interference and
ferent FIR implementations noise rejection, two FIR filter implementations are consid-

paths before entering the filter into complex samples that • a time domain filter of which the coefficients were ob-
will be treated by the direct and inverse FFT then breaking tained by sampling the RRC impulse response with an
the output again into two paths. In fact, from the linearity oversampling factor of 4 and which processes the I and
property of the Fourier transform, we can state that: Q paths successively;

F IRf (XI + jXQ ) = F −1 [F (XI + jXQ ) H] • the frequency domain filter with coefficients extracted
= F −1 [F (XI ) H + jF (XQ ) H] as discussed in section 3.2 and which combines the I
= F IRf (XI ) + jF IRf (XQ ) (4) an Q paths into one complex signal and processes the
two paths simultaneously.
where F IRf denotes the FIR filtering in frequency domain
and XI and XQ are the inputs on the I and Q paths respec- Note that in designing the filter, the sampling rate also
tively. needs to be considered. The higher the sampling rate the
Comparing the computational complexities of the 2 dif- easier it is after a digital to analogue converter to remove
ferent implementations of the FIR filter for different filter high frequency components generated in the sampling pro-
lengths leads to Fig. 1. From this figure, we can find that cess. The higher the sampling rate, the faster the converter
it is more advantageous to implement FIR filters in the fre- must operate, which in general will lead to greater cost and
quency domain for lengths 44 and more which is generally greater power consumption. To keep our approach realistic,
the case of the UMTS standard. (Note that the computa- we chose an oversampling factor of 4 (thus a sampling rate
tional complexity of the frequency domain FIR could be fs = 4 × chip rate = 15.36M Hz) as a compromise be-
further reduced if we take into account trivial multiplica- tween high performance on a hand and cost and complexity
tions in the FFT, which makes this type of filtering feasible on the other hand.
for even shorter filters) We then created two real random input signals of length
5000 points with values between −1 and 1 to simulate in-
3.2 Filter coefficients puts on the I and Q paths, and we included 3 null samples
between each adjacent values to simulate an oversampled
Instead of performing the FFT of the filter’s coefficients signal by a factor of 4. These signals where passed through
extracted by sampling the RRC time representation (1) like a classical time domain filter to get the transmitted signal.
shown in section 2, we take the ideal square root of the The two filter implementations (the time domain and our
raised cosine filter transfer function shown in (5) and sam- proposed frequency domain) are then applied to the trans-
ple it to get the coefficients that should be used in the fre- mitted signal. Note that results shown in the next section
quency domain FIR filter. This operation leads to the mod- where obtained by repeating the same operations on 100
ule of the coefficients which we have to multiply by a linear different random input signals.
phase ϕH (f ) = exp(− 2T ). The resultant coefficients are
then used in the frequency domain implementation of the
FIR filter. 5 Performance evaluation

 πT  0 ≤ |f | ≤ m
H(f ) = 1 + cos (|f | − m) m ≤ |f | ≤ M Following in this section, is the comparison between the
 2 α
0 |f | > M two filter implementation methods in terms of intersymbol
(5) interference and additive white Gaussian noise rejection.

90 40
Gain in immunity against ISI(%)
80 Time domain FIR
Frequency domain FIR

Minimum and maximum gains
Average gain 10

40 0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 0 50 100 150 200 250 300
FIR filter length FIR filter length

Figure 2. ISI immunity gain of frequency do- Figure 3. EVM of the two different filter imple-
main FIR implementation mentations

5.1 Intersymbol interference rejection mum requirement for the EVM: the EVM shall not exceed
17.5% in the user equipment radio trasmission and recep-
tion in the FDD mode [4]. This requirement is in fact one of
The main property of Nyquist filters is that they result
the key guidelines for choosing the appropriate length of the
in zero intersymbol interference (ISI) at the optimum sam-
FIR filter to use. The formula used to calculate the EVM is
pling point for filtered data [8]. This is why we present
presented in (6) where Perror is the root mean square power
here a comparison between a classical time domain FIR im-
of the error vector and Preference is the root mean square
plementation, and our frequency domain implementation.
power of the ideal transmitted signal.
The ISI is measured as the variance of the error between the
samples of the input signal and those of the received sig-
nals at the optimum sampling points. Fig. 2 shows the gain EV M (%) = × 100 (6)
in percentage of the frequency domain implementation over Preference
the time domain implementation for different filter lengths.
From this figure, we can see that no pertinent conclusion Simulations with different filter lengths and for the two
could be made about FIR filters of lengths 16 or less be- different FIR implementations discussed in this paper show
cause the gain in ISI rejection clearly varies with the input that the frequency domain implementation using the sam-
signal, the main reason is that such short filters do not re- pled ideal filter transfer function is always better than the
construct the input signal in a reliable way. For the other time domain implementation. From Fig. 3, we can see that
FIR filters (the kind of filters suitable for UMTS), the gain the frequency domain implementation ensures that the min-
is about 72%. This gain is augmented to 99% if we use imum requirement of EVM is met even with a FIR filter of
a frequency domain implemented filter in the transmission length 8. Of course, the EVM is not the only criterion to
chain as well. select the proper filter length, other decisive factors should
To have a better comparison of the immunity against ISI be considered like the filter immunity against noise and in-
of the two different filters, we compare two other parame- terference.
ters: the Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) and the peak dis-
tortion. 5.1.2 Peak distortion comparison
Another parameter commonly used to measure the ISI of
5.1.1 Error vector magnitude comparison a transmit-receive filter combination is the peak distortion
In literature discussing UMTS radio receivers, a parameter defined as follows [7]:
called EVM is commonly used to indicate the amount of ∞    
ISI [7]. 3GPP technical specifications for the UMTS stan- 2 k=1 h N2 + kM 
Dp(dB) = 20 log10   N  (7)
dard provide the following definition of EVM: “The Error h 
Vector Magnitude is a measure of the difference between
the reference waveform and the measured waveform. This In (7), h is the impulse response of the transmit-receive
difference is called the error vector. ... The EVM result is filter combination, N is the length of this response and M
defined as the square root of the ratio of the mean error vec- is the oversample factor. Furthermore it has been assumed
tor power to the mean reference power expressed as a per- that h is symmetric. In order to extract h, we passed a pulse
centage”. These technical specifications define also a mini- signal into two sets of transmit-receive filters. At first a

0 References
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ceiver [8]. Furthermore, to eliminate the Additive White
Gaussian Noise (AWGN) caused by the channel, the trans-
mit and receive filters transfer functions should be identical.
Now let us examine if our filter implementation in the fre-
quency domain with sampled ideal RRC transfer function,
linear phase and combined I and Q paths results in less or
more AWGN rejection than the classical time domain im-
First we fix the transmit filter to a time domain imple-
mented FIR. A white Gaussian noise is then added to the
transmitted signal with a Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of
16dB. The noisy signal is passed through the two receive
filters and the SNR is measured again. In both cases the
SNR is found to be augmented to 22dB. This means that
employing our frequency domain implemented filter will
not degrade the system’s performance concerning the rejec-
tion of the AWGN.