Interpolation in Digital
ModemsPart I: Fundamentals
Floyd M. Gardner, Fellow, IEEE
the data symbols. This paper describes the fundamental equation PROCESSOR
ANALOG PROCESSOR
DIGITAL
 PROCESSOR
ANALOG
DIGITAL
PROCESSOR
.
DATA OUT
I. INTRODUCTION
@I
T IMING in a data receiver must be synchronized to
the symbols of the incoming data signal. In analog
b. HYBRID RECOVERY SAMPLING
CLOCK
TIMING CONTROL
w
implemented modems, synchronization typically is performed
by a feedback loop that adjusts the phase of a local clock, or
SAMPLER
by a feedforward arrangement that regenerates a timing wave
SIGNAL IN DATA OUT
from the incoming signal. The local clock or the timing wave PROCESSOR
ANALOG PROCESSOR
DIGITAL
is used to sample (or strobe) the filtered output of the modem,
once per symbol interval. Message data are recovered from
the strobes. Timing of the strobes is adjusted for optimum C. DIGITAL RECOVERY
SAMPLING N
Fig. 1. Timing
CLOCK recovery methods.
TIMING CONTROL
detection of the symbols.
Implementation of the modem by digital techniques (a topic
of intense present activity) introduces sampling of the signal.
In some circumstances, the sampling can be synchronized
to the symbol rate of the incoming signal; see Fig. l(a) outputthe same strobe values that would occur if the original
and (b). Timing in a synchronously sampled modem can be sampling had been synchronized to the symbols.
recovered in much the same ways that are familiar from analog Interpolation is a timingadjustment operation on the signal,
practice. not on a local clock or timing wave. In this respect, it
In other circumstances, the sampling cannot be synchronized is radically different from timing adjustment in the better
to the incoming signal. Examples include 1) digital processing known analog modems. Of all the operations in a digitally
of unsynchronized frequencymultiplexed signals, or 2) non implemented modem, interpolation is perhaps the one with
synchronized digital capture and subsequent postprocessing of the least resemblance to established analog methods.
a signal. For one reason or another, the sampling clock must Several issues arise as follows.
remain independent of the symbol timing. See Fig. l(c) for a What mathematical model of interpolation can be de
nonsynchronizedsampling configuration. vised?
How is receiver timing to be adjusted, by digital methods, How is interpolation to be controlled?
when it is not possible to alter the sampling clock? One answer What characteristics are desirable in an interpolator for
is to interpolate among the nonsynchronized samples in such modems?
manner as to produce the correct strobe values at the modem How is the interpolator to be implemented?
What performance can be obtained? How large is the
Paper approved by the Editor for Synchronization and Optical Detection computing burden?
of the IEEE Communication Society. Manuscript received December 6, What conceptual model is appropriate for interpolation?
1990; revised May 23, 1991. This work was supported under Contract
8022/88/NL/DG by the European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
These are the matters treated in this paper and its ‘Ompanion
This paper was presented at the Second International Workshop on Digital [l].The first three issues are addressed here in Part I, and the
Signal Processing Techniques Applied to Space Communications (DSP’90), last three in Part 11 [I]. Attention is concentrated On high
Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy, September 2425, 1990.
m e author is with Gardner Research Company, Palo Alto, CA 94301,
‘peed methods, defined by a hardwareimposed constraint that
IEEE Log Number 9208042. no clock frequency can greatly exceed the signal sample rate.
027&0062/93$03.00 0 1993 IEEE
502 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONS, VOL. 41, NO. 3, MARCH 1993
1
GARDNER: INTERPOLATION IN DIGITAL MODEMSPART I 503
c DAC c
xhTs) Y(kTi )
(kl)T;
/ '"
brepoint
OUTPUT SAMPLE IlYES
(k+l)T;
Index
Rerample
at t = kTi
Fig. 4. Sample time relations.
, .................

I
...................................................
CONROUtR
.................... rl(mkil)r
at nearoptimal timing. Under loop equilibrium conditions, pressed to finite precision, can often be an excellent approxi
~ ( will ~be nearly 1 constant. Contents of the NCO register mation to the true value. Therefore, the fractional interval can
be approximated by
(also a positive fraction) will be decremented by an amount
W ( m )each Ts seconds and the register will underflow each Pk E EOQ(mk). (10)
l / W ( m ) clock ticks, on average. Thus, the NCO period is
T, = T s / W ( m )and so
Represent the deviation in Eo from the true ratio of periods
TS as A[. This deviation causes a uniformly distributed error with
W(m,)E . (8)
T, standard deviation A [ / ( [ o O ) in the calculated value of p k .
GARDNER: INTERPOLATION IN DIGITAL MODEMCPART I 505
If the deviation of [ O is too large, then a first order correction If the filter has finite impulse response (FIR), then I filter
coefficients and I signal samples must be delivered to the filter
structure for each interpolation.
If an infinite impulse response (IIR) filter were employed,
reduces the standard deviation in pk to at2/([;fi), again a recursive structure would be required so that the computing
without requiring a division. effort could be finite. Let the filter have p poles and z zeros.
Timing errors arising from multiplying by the nominal <O Then for each interpolation it would be necessary to load the
using (10) instead of dividing by the exact W ( m )using (9) following information to be able to compute the interpolant:
cannot accumulate; the feedback loop removes any constant p + +z 1 filter coefficients, as specified by p k .
error or trend. z + 1 signal samples.
p past outputs of the filter, calculated with the present
value of p k .
B. Interpolation Jitter
But those past outputs cannot be known for the present
Although the kth interpolation is computed for a time kTi = ,uk unless they were computed for all possible values of p k
(mk + pk)Ts, the interpolant is actually delivered coincident at every interpolation instant. That would ordinarily be an
+
with a clock tick no earlier than (mk l)Ts.Therefore, the unacceptable computing burden and so FIR filters are usually
output exhibits a timing jitter with peaktopeak fluctuations preferred.
of T,,even if the sampling clock and received symbol rate Other reasons for selecting FIR filters have been given in
are entirely jitter free.
[31.
Timing jitter may be inconsequential if the received data
are consumed at the receiver location. A timing clock is B. Ideal Interpolation
provided by underflows of the NCO. Underflow marks give an
indication of correct data clocking to any downstream devices It is well known [ 3 ] that the bandlimited input signal x ( t )
because they have the same jitter as the data. (or its samples {x(kTi)}at times t = kTi) could be recovered
But often the data must be retransmitted over a synchronous from the samples {z(mT,)}by using the ideal filter with
link to a remote consumer. The underflow marks usually impulse response
cannot be retransmitted along with the data. Unless jitter is sinrt/T8
removed before retransmission, the jitter will be transmitted h i ( t )= ~
NTs
on the data stream.
Auer [ l o ] has pointed out that a near jitterfree clock can and transfer function
be retrieved from the NCO and used to reclock the data before
retransmission. His scheme employs the contents ~ ( mof)
the NCO register in a direct digital frequency synthesizer.
At each NCO clock tick, the register contents are used to The ideal filter is IIR and noncausal; it cannot be realized
address a table of sines to produce a sample sin 2 7 4 m ) . and so perfect recovery of x ( t ) is not possible with any
These sine samples are applied to a D/A convertor and then practical filter. Failure of a realizable filter to reconstruct x ( t )
filtered to yield an analog, lowjitter sinewave with frequency would be charged as distortion in conventional applications of
1/Ti = K / T , from which a symbolrate clock can be derived. interpolation.
But perfect recovery is not required from an interpolator
C. Alternative Control Methods in a modem. It is only necessary that the filtered strobe
outputs of the modem have the correct valuesa much less
An NCO is not the only possible control structure. An stringent requirement than perfect reconstruction of x ( t ) . An
alternative, suggested by M. Moeneclaey, is described in interpolating filter in a modem need not be nearly so precise
Appendix A. as some of the optimized interpolators found in the DSP
literature, such as in [ 3 ] .
Practical demands on the interpolation filter can be explored
V. FILTERPROPERTIES
by considering its frequency response Hl(f).
What properties are desirable in the interpolating filter’s
impulse response h i ( t ) or equivalently, via Fourier transfor C. Stopband Response
mation, in its transfer function H i ( f ) ? Take heed that the
properties sought are those of the fictitious analog filter, despite The spectrum of the signal samples has periodic images,
the fact that all physical operations are performed digitally. spaced at a frequency interval l / T , . See Fig. 7. An inter
polation filter is required to suppress those images prior to
resampling. Any image energy that is not suppressed will be
A. Duration of Impulse Response aliased by resampling and, if the sampling and symbol rates
In general, new filter coefficients [samples of h i ( t ) ]must are incommensurate, will constitute random interference to the
be reloaded or recomputed for each interpolation. The frac output sequence { y( I C ) } .
tional interval pkwhich specifies the filtercoefficient sample An ideal interpolation filter completely suppresses all input
valuesnever repeats if Ti and T, are incommensurate. frequency components above 1/2T, and the same stopband
506 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONS, VOL. 41, NO. 3, MARCH 1993
VI. CONCLUSION
If sampling in a digital modem is not synchronized with
b) Spectrum of x(mT,)
the data symbols, timing must be adjusted by interpolating
new samples among the original ones. “Interpolation” is
really a moreinvolved process that combines interpolation and
subsequent decimation by resampling.
A useful conceptual model includes a digitaltoanalog
convertor, an analog, timecontinuous interpolating filter, and
c) Spectrum of y(t)
a resampler, all fictitious, to produce the desired interpolants.
Exactly the same interpolants can be computed entirely dig
itally from the input samples and knowledge of the sampled
impulse response of the fictitious analog filter. Equation (6)
underlies interpolation operations in digital modems.
An individual interpolant is specified by the signal samples
d) Folded Spectrum of y(kTi) (the basepoint set) that contribute to its value, and the filter
Fig. 7. Signal spectra. samples used for the computation. The basepoint set is identi
fied by a basepoint index, and the filter samples are identified
behavior is desirable in a practical interpolation filter. Of by the fractional interval. These two pieces of information
course, no realizable filter can provide infinite attenuation over must be delivered to the digital interpolating structure by a
an entire stopband. Therefore, any practical filter will introduce controller. A numbercontrolled oscillator (NCO) can provide
some penalty because of incomplete suppression of images. these parameters via control algorithms presented in the text.
Fig. 7 illustrates spectra of various signals in the modem. Because the NCO is clocked synchronously with the signal
The top line of the figure shows the bandlimited spectrum samples, the modem output will exhibit timing jitter. This
of the input signal ~ ( t )Sampling
. generates periodic spectral jitter is inconsequential if the data are consumed locally to
images, as in the second line. Absence of aliasing is indicated the modem, because the NCO can provide a symbol clock
by the nonoverlap of the images. with the same jitter as the data.
The timecontinuous interpolating filter attenuates the im If the data must be retransmitted synchronously, the jitter
ages in varying degree, so that the spectrum of y(t)the may be intolerable. A jitterfree analog clock can be recovered
third lineconsists of a main lobe around zero frequency, plus from the NCO and used to reclock the jittered data prior to
partially suppressed images at all integer multiples of l / T s . retransmission.
Upon resampling at rate l/Ti, all residual images fold in The fictitious analog interpolating filter should be FIR and
onto the desired signal. Fig. 7(d) sketches that part of the should provide good stopband suppression of the periodic
spectrum (not to scale) lying in the vicinity of zero frequency. images of the sampled input signal. Passband response of
The actual spectrum repeats with a period of l/Ti. If T,/T, is this filter is part of the overall filtering of the modem. In
irrational, the folded images are uncorrelated with the desired consequence, nonflat response in the passband is not charged
signal and will impair recovery of the data. Relative power as distortion, as it would be in a classical interpolator. A
in the folded images, or equivalently, image attenuation by designer has wide latitude in distributing overall filter response
H r ( f ) ,is a measure of the adequacy of the stopband response between the interpolating filter and other filters in the modem.
of the filter.
VII. APPENDIX
A: ALTERNATIVE
CONTROLMETHOD
D. Passband Resvonse M. Moeneclaey has pointed out an alternative control
scheme that does not use an NCO. Two successive
A n ideal interpolator would pass all frequencies from 0
interpolations are performed for time instants
to 1/2T, with flat attenuation and with linear phase. In a
modem where signal filtering is to be performed anihow, there
is no need for flat transmission in the filter’s passband. The
kT, = VI,^: + pk)T,
interpolator merely contributes a portion of the filtering that
is required for the receiver. Any reasonable passband char
acteristic is permissible, provided that it can be compensated (k + l ) T z= +
( ~ + + ipk+i)Ts.
GARDNER: INTERPOLATION IN DIGITAL MODEMSPART I 507