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Title:
MULTI-STAGE SYMBOL SYNCHRONIZATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1999/053611
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A digital communication receiver (10) takes one complex sample (20) of a baseband analog signal (12) per symbol. A rectangular to polar converter (44) separates phase attributes of the complex samples for magnitude attributes during coarse symbol synchronization (28). A phase processor (48) identifies clock adjustment opportunities which occur when relatively large phase changes take place between consecutive symbols. A magnitude processor (46) influences symbol timing only during clock adjustment opportunities. The magnitude processor (46) advances symbol timing in a phase locked loop when decreasing magnitude changes are detected during clock adjustment opportunities and retards symbol timing when increasing magnitude changes are detected during clock adjustment opportunities during coarse symbol synchronization (28). A fine symbol synchronizer (42) is used to refine coarse estimates of symbol synchronization in a data-directed manner (82) by estimating incoming signal at sub-symbol intervals before said sampling instants to control oscillator (22) in response to incoming signal estimates.

Inventors:
COCHRAN BRUCE A (US)
MCCALLISTER RONALD D (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US1998/007144
Publication Date:
October 21, 1999
Filing Date:
April 08, 1998
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SICOM INC (US)
COCHRAN BRUCE A (US)
MCCALLISTER RONALD D (US)
International Classes:
H04L7/00; H04L7/02; H04L7/10; (IPC1-7): H03D3/00; H04L27/00; H04L27/22
Foreign References:
US5440265A1995-08-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gresham, Lowell W. (P.L.C. Suite 409, 5727 North Seventh Stree, Phoenix AZ, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS What is claimed is:
1. A digital demodulator for recovering data conveyed by an incoming analog signal (12), wherein a unit of said data is conveyed during each of successive symbols, said demodulator comprising: means for converting said incoming analog signal (12) into less than two complex samples per symbol; a coarse symbol synchronizer (32) coupled to said converting means to receive said complex samples, said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) generating an initial estimate of symbol synchronization and defining initial sampling instants (62); and a fine symbol synchronizer (42) coupled to said converting means to receive said samples, said fine symbol synchronizer (42) being configured to refine said initial estimate of symbol synchronization in a datadirected manner and to estimate said incoming signal (12) at subsymbol intervals before and after said sampling instants (62).
2. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) is configured to generate said initial estimate of symbol synchronization in a nondatadirected manner.
3. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 1 wherein: said digital demodulator additionally comprises a controllable oscillator (22), said oscillator (22) generating a clock signal which defines symbol timing; said converting means comprises an analogtodigital converter (20) coupled to said oscillator (22); said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) comprises a phase processor (48), coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20), for identifying clock adjustment opportunities in response to phase relationships exhibited by said complex samples; and said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) additionally comprises a magnitude processor (46), coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20), said phase processor (48), and said oscillator (22), for adjusting said symbol timing defined by said clock signal in response to magnitude relationships exhibited by said complex samples at approximately said identified clock adjustment opportunities.
4. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said demodulator additionally comprises a controllable oscillator (22) coupled to said converting means to define said sampling instants (62), and said fine symbol synchronizer (42) comprises: a first interpolator (86) configured to receive said samples and to generate pre sample estimates of said incoming signal (12) at said subsymbol intervals before said sampling instants (62); a second interpolator (88) configured to receive said samples and to generate post sample estimates of said incoming signal (12) at said subsymbol intervals after said sampling instants (62); and a combining circuit (98) coupled to said oscillator (22) and being configured to advance and retard said sampling instants (62) in response to said presample estimates and said postsample estimates of said incoming signal (12).
5. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 4 wherein said combining circuit (98) comprises: a first error detector (100) configured to generate complex presample error values between said presample estimates and standard complex values (104); a second error detector (102) configured to generate complex postsample error values between said postsample estimates and said standard complex values (104); a first magnitude generator (112) coupled to said first error detector (100) for determining presample magnitude values from said presample error values; a second magnitude generator (114) coupled to said second error detector (102) for determining postsample magnitude values from said postsample error values; and a subtraction circuit (116) having an output coupled to said oscillator (22) and being configured to determined differences between said presample magnitude values and said postsample magnitude values.
6. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said subsymbol intervals occurring before said sampling instants (62) equals said subsymbol intervals occurring after said sampling instants (62).
7. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said subsymbol sampling intervals are less than one half of said symbols.
8. A digital demodulation method for recovering data conveyed by an incoming analog signal (12), wherein a unit of said data is conveyed during each of successive symbols, and said method comprises the steps of : a) converting said incoming analog signal (12) into less than two complex samples per symbol; b) generating a coarse estimate of symbol timing for said incoming signal (12), said generating step defining initial sampling instants (62); c) estimating said incoming signal (12) at subsymbol intervals before and after said sampling instants (62); and d) generating a fine estimate of symbol timing in response to said incoming signal (12) estimates of said step c), said generating step d) refining said coarse estimate of symbol timing in a datadirected manner.
9. A method as claimed in claim 8 additionally comprising the step of performing carrier phase synchronization after said step b) and before said step d).
10. A method as claimed in claim 8 wherein said generating step b) comprises the step of performing a nondatadirected symbol synchronization.
11. A method as claimed in claim 8 wherein said step b) comprises the steps of : generating a clock signal which defines said sampling instants (62), said step a) being responsive to said clock signal; identifying clock adjustment opportunities in response to phase relationships exhibited by said complex samples; and adjusting said symbol timing defined by said clock signal in response to magnitude relationships exhibited by said complex samples at approximately said identified clock adjustment opportunities.
12. A method as claimed in claim 8 wherein said subsymbol intervals occurring before said sampling instants (62) equal said subsymbol intervals occurring after said sampling instants (62).
13. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein said subsymbol sampling intervals are less than one half of said symbols.
14. A method as claimed in claim 8 additionally comprising the steps of : generating a clock signal which defines said sampling instants (62), said step a) being responsive to said clock signal; generating presample estimates of said incoming signal (12) at said subsymbol intervals before said sampling instants (62); generating postsample estimates of said incoming signal (12) at said subsymbol intervals after said sampling instants (62); and advancing and retarding said sampling instants (62) in response to said presample estimates and said postsample estimates of said incoming signal (12).
15. A method as claimed in claim 14 wherein said advancing and retarding step comprises the steps of : generating complex presample error values between said presample estimates and standard complex values (104); generating complex postsample error values between said postsample estimates and said standard complex values (104); determining presample magnitude values from said complex presample error values; determining postsample magnitude values from said complex postsample error values; and determining differences between said presample magnitude values and said post sample magnitude values, said sampling instants (62) being advanced and retarded in response to said differences.
16. A digital demodulator for recovering data conveyed by an incoming signal (12) that is sampled at a rate of less than two samples per symbol, said demodulator comprising: an RF section (16) having an input coupled to an antenna (14) and an output coupled to an input of an analog preconditioning circuit (18); an analogtodigital converter (20) for converting said incoming analog signal (12) into less than two complex samples per symbol; a controllable oscillator (22) coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20), said oscillator (22) defining sampling instants (62) at which said analogtodigital converter (20) converts said incoming signal (12); a coarse symbol synchronizer (32) coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20) and said oscillator (22), said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) being configured to receive said complex samples, said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) generating an initial estimate of symbol synchronization; and a fine symbol synchronizer (42) coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20) and said oscillator (22), said fine symbol synchronizer (42) being configured to receive said samples, said fine symbol synchronizer (42) being configured to refine said initial estimate of symbol synchronization in a datadirected manner, to estimate said incoming signal (12) at subsymbol intervals before and after said sampling instants (62), and to control said oscillator (22) in response to said incoming signal (12) estimates.
17. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 16 wherein said fine symbol synchronizer (42) comprises: a first interpolator (86) configured to receive said samples and to generate pre sample estimates of said incoming signal (12) at said subsymbol intervals before said sampling instants (62); a second interpolator (88) configured to receive said samples and to generate post sample estimates of said incoming signal (12) at said subsymbol intervals after said sampling instants (62); and a combining circuit (98) coupled to said first and second interpolators (86,88) and said oscillator (22), said combining circuit (98) being configured to advance and retard said sampling instants (62) in response to said presample estimates and said post sample estimates of said incoming signal (12).
18. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 17 wherein said combining circuit (98) comprises: a first error detector (100) configured to generate complex presample error values between said presample estimates and standard complex values (104); a second error detector (102) configured to generate complex postsample error values between said postsample estimates and said standard complex values (104); a first magnitude generator (112) coupled to said first error detector (100) for determining presample magnitude values from said presample error values; a second magnitude generator (114) coupled to said second error detector (102) for determining postsample magnitude values from said postsample error values; and a subtraction circuit (116) having an output coupled to said oscillator (22) and being configured to determine differences between said presample magnitude values and said postsample magnitude values.
19. A digital demodulator as claimed in claim 16 wherein said coarse symbol synchronizer (32) comprises: a phase processor (48), coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20), for identifying clock adjustment opportunities in response to phase relationships exhibited by said complex samples; and a magnitude processor (46), coupled to said analogtodigital converter (20), said phase processor (48), and said oscillator (22), for adjusting said symbol timing defined by said clock signal (12) in response to magnitude relationships exhibited by said complex samples at approximately said identified clock adjustment opportunities.
Description:
MULTI-STAGE SYMBOL SYNCHRONIZATION TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates generally to demodulators. More specifically, the present invention relates to digital demodulators that recover data conveyed by the phase and/or magnitude of an incoming signal through a stream of symbols.

BACKGROUND ART In digital communication receivers, component cost, reliability, and power consumption improvements may be realized by operating at lower clock rates or by requiring fewer components. However, the purpose of a digital communication receiver is to recover transmitted information, and greater amounts of information may be recovered when receivers detect data at higher data rates. Conventionally, operation at higher data rates requires operating integrated circuits at higher clock rates or increasing the number of components while simultaneously operating parallel channels.

One particularly troublesome feature of digital communication receivers has been symbol synchronization. A symbol is a discrete interval of time within which a received signal conveys a unit of data. The unit of data may include one or more bits, and the resulting data rate is proportional to the symbol rate. Conventional digital communication receivers compute symbol synchronization timing errors by detecting points where quadrature components of complex signals experience zero-crossings.

Unfortunately, these points are difficult to detect. Consequently, symbol synchronization in conventional digital communication receivers has required an incoming analog signal to be sampled at a rate of two or more complex samples per symbol.

U. S. Patent No. 5,440,265, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, teaches a differential/coherent digital demodulator that works well for its purposes and does not detect zero crossing points, but uses error signals derived from samples taken one-fourth of a symbol before and after an assumed optimum symbol sampling instant.

Unfortunately, this method requires four accurate samples per symbol.

Once symbol synchronization has been achieved, only one complex sample per symbol is actually used for data detection. Thus, the symbol synchronization feature has

conventionally required digital receivers to operate at a greater clock rate than is needed for data detection. It is desirable to sample at a rate no higher than one sample per symbol because this rate increases symbol rate to equal a maximum clock rate supported by an integrated circuit technology, such as CMOS, which may be used to implement a demodulator. Alternatively, this rate allows components to be clocked no faster than a symbol rate so that the components consume less power.

A few prior digital receivers have achieved symbol synchronization using only one complex sample per symbol. However, such digital receivers have been extremely sensitive to carrier synchronization and frequency offsets, such as may be caused by Doppler. In addition, such receivers can be undesirably jittery using modulation techniques where data is conveyed by signal amplitude, such as QAM. As such, these prior digital receivers are useful only in situations which require carrier synchronization along with rigid control of frequency offsets. These receivers are unsuitable for situations which require fast acquisition, operation in the presence of significant frequency offsets, or amplitude modulation.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION Accordingly, it is an advantage of the present invention that an improved symbol synchronization apparatus and method are provided.

Another advantage is that the present invention may digitally recover symbol timing based upon less than two complex samples per symbol.

Another advantage is that the present invention tolerates significant frequency offsets.

Another advantage is that the present invention quickly acquires coarse symbol timing.

Another advantage is that the present invention achieves steady symbol synchronization in spite of amplitude types of modulation.

Another advantage is that the present invention continually adjusts fine synchronization during data extraction by advancing or retarding sampling instants in response to pre-sample and post-sample estimates of an incoming signal.

The above and other advantages of the present invention are carried out in one form within a digital communication receiver by a method of recovering data conveyed by an incoming analog signal. The incoming analog signal is sampled at a rate of less than two complex samples per symbol. A coarse symbol synchronizer performs an initial estimate of symbol synchronization and defines initial sampling instants. A fine symbol synchronizer receives and refines initial estimates of symbol synchronization in a data-directed manner and estimates incoming signal magnitudes at sub-symbol intervals before and after sampling instants. Fine symbol synchronization is continually refined at the same time data extraction is being performed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the Figures, wherein like reference numbers refer to similar items throughout the Figures, and: FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a digital communication receiver configured in accordance with the present invention; FIG. 2 shows a flow chart of synchronization stages of a digital communication receiver configured in accordance with the present invention; FIG. 3 shows a phase constellation diagram; FIG. 4 shows a timing diagram of an exemplary magnitude signal; FIG. 5 shows a timing diagram of an exemplary magnitude signal and a delayed estimate of the magnitude signal; FIG. 6 shows a block diagram of a fine symbol synchronizer; and FIG. 7 shows a timing diagram of symbol sample timing.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a digital communication receiver 10. Receiver 10 recovers digital data from an incoming analog carrier signal 12. Carrier signal 12 is configured as a stream of discrete symbol intervals, called symbols below. The symbols are of equivalent duration, and each symbol conveys a unit of data. A unit of data

conveys one or more bits. Desirably, signal 12 is modulated using some form of non- constant-envelope modulation, such as M-ary PSK, QAM, and the like.

Signal 12 is received at an antenna 14. Antenna 14 couples to an RF section 16.

RF section 16 may include RF filtering, a fixed frequency oscillator, a variable frequency oscillator, down-conversion circuits, and other components conventionally included in RF sections of radio receivers. RF section 16 preferably generates an essentially baseband, analog form of signal 12. A control input of RF circuit 16 receives a carrier synchronization control signal from a controller or phase locked loop circuit (not shown). This control signal may be generated in a conventional manner in response to data detected by receiver 10. An output of RF section 16 couples to an input of an analog precondition circuit 18. Circuit 18 includes anti-aliasing filtering, automatic gain control (AGC), and other circuits commonly used to condition an analog signal for digitizing. An output of precondition circuit 18 couples to a signal input of an analog-to- digital (A/D) converter 20. A/D converter 20 digitizes the baseband form of signal 12 into samples which characterize the amplitude of the baseband form of signal 12 at various sampling instants.

An output of a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) 22 generates a clock signal that defines the timing at which A/D converter 20 samples signal 12. In the preferred embodiment, VCO 22 oscillates at less than two times the symbol rate for signal 12, and preferably at approximately one times the symbol rate. A/D converter 20 takes less than two and preferably just one complex sample for each symbol. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a complex sample may include two measurements taken 90 degrees out of phase with each other.

An output of A/D converter 20 couples to a quadrature data generator 24.

Quadrature data generator 24 converts the digital samples of signal 12 into digital rectangular coordinate characterizations of the signal's I and Q quadrature components.

The preferred embodiment uses a well-known Hilbert transformation technique to convert sampled carrier data pairs into I and Q data values, but other techniques known to those skilled in the art may be used as well. These I and Q data values express I and Q quadrature components in accordance with a rectangular coordinate system. In the

preferred embodiment, quadrature data generator 24 produces one complex sample which includes I and Q data values for each symbol.

FIG. 2 shows a flow chart of three stages of a synchronization process 26 performed by receiver 10. Referring to FIGs. 1 and 2, a first stage 28 of synchronization process 26 performs a coarse symbol synchronization estimate in a non-data-directed manner. The phrase"non-data-directed"will be understood by those skilled in the art to mean that the parameters of incoming signal 12 that are manipulated to convey data are not used to influence symbol synchronization. Referring to FIGs. 1 and 2, during coarse synchronization stage 28, a staging switch 30 allows an output of a coarse synchronizer 32 to connect to an input of a running average filter 34. A digital controller (not shown) generates a staging switch signal that controls staging switch 30 as receiver 10 progresses through process 26. An output of running average filter 34 is coupled to an input of a D/A converter 36. An output of D/A converter 36 is coupled to an input of a loop filter 38. An output of loop filter 38 is coupled to an input of VCO 22. The output of coarse synchronizer 32 is thus allowed to control the operation of controllable oscillator 22 during coarse synchronization stage 28. Coarse synchronization is achieved during stage 28 before receiver 10 proceeds to a second stage 40 of process 26.

Quadrature data generator 24 has an I output and a Q output, each of which couples to coarse synchronizer 32 and to a fine symbol synchronizer 42. Coarse symbol synchronizer 32 includes a rectangular-to-polar converter 44, a magnitude processor 46, and a phase processor 48. Phase processor 48 is configured to adjust symbol timing so that the complex sample taken for each symbol occurs at a desirable point within the symbol during first stage 28 of symbol synchronization. While coarse symbol synchronizer 32 works well by itself for many applications, fine symbol synchronizer 42 overcomes tendencies toward jitter experienced by those modulation formats, such as QAM, that use magnitude attributes of complex signals to convey data. An output of fine symbol synchronizer 42 is coupled to an input of staging switch 30.

Within coarse symbol synchronizer 32, rectangular-to-polar converter 44 generates phase angle (f) and magnitude (M) attribute values which correspond to phase relationships expressed between the I and Q quadrature values provided by quadrature data generator 24. In the preferred embodiment, a Cordic conversion process is used in

separating phase attributes of complex samples from magnitude attributes, but those skilled in the art can adapt other techniques, such as table look-ups and the like, in particular applications. Converter 44 preferably makes one conversion for each symbol.

A phase output of converter 44 couples to phase processor 48 and to a data detector 50. Phase processor 48 processes phase values apart from magnitude values to aid in recovering symbol timing. For PSK forms of modulation, data detector 50 uses the phase values obtained from the complex samples to recover the data conveyed by signal 12. For QAM forms of modulation, data detector 50 may additionally use magnitude values, or data detector 50 may alternatively use I and Q values (not shown).

An output from data detector 50 provides a stream of data corresponding to the data conveyed by signal 12. In addition, data detector 50 may provide soft decision data.

A magnitude output of converter 44 couples to a magnitude processor 46.

Magnitude processor 46 processes magnitude values to aid in recovering coarse symbol timing. In particular, magnitude processor 46 receives an enabling input from phase processor 48. This enabling input identifies when to allow magnitude attribute data to influence adjustments made to symbol timing. An output from magnitude processor 46 couples to staging switch 30 to allow coarse synchronizer 32 to control VCO 22 during coarse synchronization stage 28, as described above.

The operation of coarse symbol synchronizer 32 is described below in connection with FIGs. 1 and 3-5. FIG. 3 shows a phase constellation diagram for QPSK modulation. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that FIG. 3 illustrates QPSK modulation as a convenient example which aids teaching the present invention and that the present invention is not limited to this form of modulation. FIG. 3 depicts four complex points 52a, 52b, 52c, and 52d. Points 52a-52d illustrate theoretically ideal relationships between inphase (I) and quadrature (Q) components of signal 12 for the purpose of conveying two bits of data in a single symbol. Only one of the relationships depicted by complex points 52a-52d is conveyed during any single symbol. A/D converter 20, quadrature data generator 24, and rectangular-to-polar converter 44 (see FIG. 1) together generate a complex sample for each symbol which desirably resembles one of points 52a-52d. However, this complex sample invariably fails to precisely equal any of points 52a-52d due to the presence of noise and other factors. Data detector 50

(see FIG. 1) identifies the particular two bits of data being conveyed during a symbol by determining which one of the complex points 52a-52d the complex sample most closely resembles.

In addition to noise, symbol timing is one of the factors that determines how closely the complex samples resemble points 52a-52d. Transition tracks 54,56, and 58 depict exemplary changes which can occur in I-Q relationships as data conveyed by signal 12 (see FIG. 1) changes from one symbol to the next. If symbol timing is not approximately correct, the complex samples upon which receiver 10 (see FIG. 1) operate may correspond to any location on a transition track 54,56, or 58 rather than to points 52a-52d. Consequently, the farther a sampling instant is within a symbol from approximately correct symbol timing, the more likely that data detector 50 will generate bad data.

FIG. 3 illustrates that both phase and magnitude attributes of the complex relationship change as signal 12 transitions among points 52a-52d. The phase attribute may further change due to other normally encountered factors, such as frequency offsets caused by imperfect carrier synchronization, Doppler, and the like. The influence of frequency offsets on the phase attribute makes the use of phase information to determine proper symbol timing undesirable prior to carrier synchronization. A significant portion of phase information may characterize frequency offsets rather than legitimate transitions between points 52a-52d. On the other hand, the magnitude attribute changes as signal 12 transitions between points 52a-52d but remains relatively insensitive to frequency offsets.

FIG. 4 shows a timing diagram of an exemplary magnitude component 60 of signal 12 as it transitions from a symbol T-3, through symbols T-2, T-1, and T. FIG. 4 illustrates a particular set of data conveyed by signal 12 during symbols T-3 through T as an example for the purpose of teaching the present invention. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is not limited to any particular data combinations. The exemplary data combination depicted in FIG. 4 transitions zero radians in phase between symbols T-3 and T-2, p/2 radians in phase between symbols T- 2 and T-l, and p radians between symbols T-1 and T. Thus, magnitude component 60

depicts the magnitude attribute of transition tracks 54,56, and 58, respectively, shown in FIG. 3.

Desirably, sampling instants 62 are centrally located within the symbols and occur in receiver 10 when signal 12 most closely exhibits the I-Q relationships depicted by points 52a-52d (see FIG. 3). Generally, magnitude changes little when phase changes little, but magnitude generally decreases then increases between sampling instants 62 as phase changes are encountered. Moreover, the amount of decrease and increase becomes more pronounced as the amount of phase change increases.

During transition track 54, magnitude information does not suggest how to adjust the VCO clock signal which defines symbol timing. Moreover, as illustrated in FIG. 4, magnitude may even exhibit a slight increase followed by a slight decrease during track 54, which is opposite to the magnitude signal behavior exhibited during tracks 56 and 58 where greater amounts of phase change are encountered. Accordingly, during track 54, any adjustment to symbol timing based upon magnitude attributes is at least as likely to diverge away from optimum sampling instants as it is to converge toward optimum sampling instants 62. Accordingly, magnitude change situations like those demonstrated by track 54 are undesirable clock adjustment opportunities.

On the other hand, tracks 56 and 58 illustrate a consistent signal behavior. As sampling instants 62 generally approach the points in time where the magnitude attribute reaches a maximum and move away from the points in time where the magnitude attribute reaches a minimum, then sampling instants 62 are roughly converging upon the optimum points. However, as illustrated at a point 64, sampling instants 62 are desirably not timed precisely where the magnitude attribute is maximized. In PSK modulation formats, overshoot or ringing often causes the magnitude attribute to reach a maximum after passing an optimum sampling instant 62.

In QAM modulation formats, some data states are conveyed at a reduced magnitude compared to others. Accordingly, magnitude change situations like those demonstrated by tracks 56 and 58 are defined to be clock adjustment opportunities.

Referring back to FIG. 1, phase processor 48 evaluates phase attributes to distinguish clock adjustment opportunities from intervals which are not clock adjustment opportunities. However, phase processor 48 operates upon differential phase,

which is relatively insensitive to frequency offsets. In particular, phase values for each symbol are supplied to a one symbol delay element 66 and to a positive input of a subtractor 68. An output of delay element 66 couples to a negative input of subtractor 68. An output of subtractor 68 couples to an absolute value element 70, and an output of absolute value element 70 couples to a"B"input of a comparison element 72. A constant threshold value is applied at an"A"input of comparison element 72. An output of comparison element 72 activates when a phase change value at the"B"input is greater than the threshold value at the"A"input. This output couples to magnitude processor 46.

At a current instant, delay element 66 provides a phase value which was valid for a past instant. In particular, the past instant is one symbol delayed from the current instant. Thus, subtractor 68 determines changes in phase attributes between consecutive symbols. These changes are relatively insensitive to frequency offsets because any frequency offset occurring over an interval of only a single symbol typically causes only a minor phase error. Absolute value element 70 strips away positive or negative sign information so that raw phase change data are provided to comparison element 72.

Phase processor 48 identifies clock adjustment opportunities in response to phase changes. Larger amounts of phase change occurring in a given unit of time (i. e. one symbol delay) are defined to be clock adjustment opportunities while smaller amounts of phase change are defined not to be clock adjustment opportunities. The threshold value supplied to the"A"input of comparison element 72 sets the threshold which defines the difference between clock adjustment opportunities and"not"clock adjustment opportunities. The precise value for this threshold is not a critical parameter in the present invention. Acceptable results appear to be obtainable so long as the threshold is set greater than p/4 radians, with even better results when the threshold is set to greater than p/2 radians.

The better results are a consequence of greater phase changes. Referring back to FIG. 4, during symbol T, maximum magnitude point 64 occurs significantly after desired sampling instant 62. For amounts of phase change greater than p/2 radians, point 64 occurs at approximately 3/4 the duration of symbol T after the beginning of symbol T.

FIG. 5 shows a timing diagram of exemplary magnitude signal 60 during symbol T (see FIG. 3) while signal 60 follows transition track 58 (see FIGs. 3 and 4). In addition, FIG. 5 shows a delayed estimate 74 of magnitude signal 60. The intersection of delayed estimate signal 74 and magnitude signal 60 occurs approximately in the center of symbol T and is approximately coincident with desired sampling instant 62.

Referring back to FIG. 1, magnitude processor 46 includes a delay element 76 and a subtractor 78. A positive input of subtractor 78 and an input of delay element 76 each receive magnitude attributes of the I-Q relationship for each symbol. An output of delay element 76 couples to a negative input of subtractor 78. An output of subtractor 78 couples to a data input of a data switch 80. The enabling signal provided by comparison element 72 of phase processor 48 is routed to an enable input of data switch 80, and an output of data switch 80 couples to an input of staging switch 30. The output of data switch 80 serves as output for both magnitude processor 46 and coarse symbol synchronizer 32.

For each current instant, delay element 76 produces an estimate of the value exhibited by magnitude signal 60 (see FIG. 5) at a past instant. In the preferred embodiments, delay element 76 is an interpolator which has a fixed delay of one-half the symbol duration. Thus, for each symbol, delay element 76 provides an estimate of the value magnitude signal 60 would have exhibited had it been sampled one-half of a symbol earlier. In the preferred embodiment, a Farrow interpolation structure is used to estimate magnitude between samples, but those skilled in the art can adapt other interpolation and filtering techniques in particular applications. Consequently, delay element 76 generates delay estimate 74 (see FIG. 5) during symbol T.

Referring to FIGs. 1 and 5, those skilled in the art will appreciate that interpolator 76 need not precisely estimate a delayed version of magnitude signal 60 (see FIG. 5).

For example, precise magnitude values are less important than the shape of delayed estimate 74 in response to various sampling instants throughout symbol T. For example, this shape causes delayed estimate to reach a maximum value prior to desired sampling point 62 and to reach a minimum value after desired sampling point 62 for the large phase change situation depicted by symbol T.

Subtractor 78 detects changes occurring in magnitude attributes over at least portions of symbols. This magnitude change between the estimated delayed magnitude and the current magnitude is fed through data switch 80 when enabled by phase processor 48. As discussed above, phase processor 48 enables data switch 80 during clock adjustment opportunities. Magnitude processor 46 and running average filter 34 are configured so that magnitude changes occurring while not a clock adjustment opportunity have substantially no influence over symbol timing.

The magnitude change data occurring during clock adjustment opportunities are used in a phase locked loop to adjust symbol timing. In particular, polarities are arranged so that decreasing magnitude changes urge VCO 22 to delay the clock signal so that sampling instant 62 is moved later within a symbol. The decreasing magnitude situation is depicted in the region to the left of desired sampling point 62 in FIG. 5.

Likewise, increasing magnitude changes urge VCO 22 to advance the clock signal so that sampling instant 62 is moved earlier. The increasing magnitude situation is depicted in the region to the right of desired sampling point 62 in FIG. 5. Running average filter 34 and loop filter 38 together insure that the results from any single symbol have only a minor influence over symbol timing and general trends detected by magnitude processor 46 are used to control symbol timing during coarse synchronization stage 28 (see FIG.

2).

Referring back to FIG. 2, after performing coarse synchronization stage 28, a stage 40 is performed to achieve carrier synchronization in a conventional manner. Coarse symbol synchronization may be considered complete when sample timing changes from symbol to symbol are below an acceptable predetermined threshold. For example, during stage 40, a data-directed phase locked loop may be implemented to control a local oscillation signal generated in RF section 16 (see FIG. 1). Those skilled in the art will understand the phrase"data-directed"to mean that the convergence of a phase locked loop is controlled by the parameters that convey data. Once carrier synchronization has been achieved in stage 40, the symbol timing is sufficiently accurate to permit data extraction. However, due to symbol synchronization jitter caused by coarse synchronizer 32 when using some amplitude modulation formats, such as QAM for example, a phase locked loop may yield undesirably high bit error rates. The

undesirably high bit error rates can be improved (i. e., lowered) through the use of fine symbol synchronizer 42 in a manner discussed below.

During carrier synchronization stage 40, staging switch 30 allows the output of coarse synchronizer 32 at data switch 80 to remain connected to the input of running average filter 34. Coarse carrier synchronization is complete when data accuracy exceeds a predetermined threshold. The predetermined threshold, however, is not as high as can ultimately be achieved. Carrier synchronization is achieved before process 26 proceeds to a fine symbol synchronization stage 82.

After achieving carrier synchronization 40, and upon entering fine symbol synchronization stage 82, staging switch 30 switches control of VCO 22 from coarse synchronizer 32 to fine synchronizer 42 (see FIG. 1). During stage 82 fine symbol synchronizer 42 receives each complex sample provided by quadrature data generator 24 and refines, in a data-directed manner, the initial coarse estimate of symbol synchronization achieved during stages 28 and 40. In other words, during fine symbol synchronization 82 the system extracts valid data at the output of data detector 50 while continuing to refine symbol synchronization timing estimates to improve data recovery accuracy.

FIG. 6 shows a detailed block diagram of fine symbol synchronizer 42. Outputs I and Q from quadrature data generator 24 (see FIG. 1) are coupled to inputs of a one symbol delay element 84 and to an input of a sub-symbol delay element (i. e., interpolator) 86. The output of one symbol delay element 84 is coupled to the input of a sub-symbol delay element (i. e., interpolator) 88. Delay elements 86 and 88 may be implemented in the preferred embodiment using interpolators in a manner similar to that described above in connection with delay element 76 (see FIG. 1). Interpolator 86 is configured to receive I and Q samples from quadrature data generator 24 for each symbol and to generate post-sample estimates of an incoming signal at sub-symbol intervals after actual sampling instants. The"post"sample terminology refers to a symbol which is one symbol delayed from a current symbol. Interpolator 88 also receives I and Q samples from quadrature data generator 24, but delayed by one symbol.

Interpolator 88 generates pre-sample estimates of an incoming signal at sub-symbol

intervals before actual sampling instants relative to the symbol which is one symbol delayed from the current symbol.

FIG. 7 illustrates sub-symbol intervals 90 and 92 which occur within each symbol.

Symbol sampling instants 62 occur at approximately the mid-point of each symbol.

Symbol T-3 occurs prior to time T-2, just as time T-2 occurs prior to symbol T-l, and so on. Pre-sample interval 90 is set equal to post-sample interval 92, with each sub-symbol <BR> <BR> <BR> interval equal to 1/4 of one symbol in the preferred embodiment of this invention. Sub- symbol sampling intervals 90 and 92 are desirably set to less than one-half of one symbol, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention is not limited to the selection of these particular sampling intervals.

To create a post-sample estimate for a sampling which is delayed one symbol from the current sampling instant 62, the complex sampled I and Q values from the current and previous symbols'sample instants 62 are used. In other words, the post-sample estimate at instant 94 during symbol T-1 is derived from the complex I and Q values obtained at sampling time 62 during the current symbol T, factored together with all previous sampling instants. This means that the complex sample taken at instant 62 of symbol T is combined with all previous sampling instants and the result is delayed 1/4 of one symbol relative to instant 62 of symbol T-1 to generate the post-sample estimate for symbol T-1. Referring back to FIG. 6, interpolator 86 creates this 1/4 symbol interpolation delay from each given sample instant 62 for use as a post-sample estimate of the previous symbol. Thus, interpolator 86 generates post-sample estimates.

To create a pre-sample estimate instant 96 (see FIG. 7) for a particular sample time 62, the complex values I and Q from the previous symbol sample instant 62 are used by being delayed by 1 1/4symbol. The pre-sample estimate is generated by interpolator 88 (see FIG. 6) working together with one symbol delay element 84 to interpolate the delayed samples by an addition symbol.

Quadrature outputs from interpolators 86 and 88 are coupled to quadrature inputs of a combining circuit 98. In particular, outputs from interpolators 86 and 88 couple to quadrature inputs of error detectors 100 and 102, respectively. Error detectors 102 and 100 generate complex"pre"and"post"sample error values by comparing the pre/post sample estimates with standard complex values. Referring back to FIG. 3, a polar

representation of quadrature relationships for four complex points 52a, 52b, 52c, and 52d is shown. These points 52a-52d illustrate theoretically ideal relationships between inphase (I) and quadrature (Q) components of signal, as described above, for the purpose of conveying two bits of data in a single symbol. For example, if an actual sample at a point 104 (see FIG. 3) were taken, the difference between ideal standard complex value 52b and actual complex value 104 can be shown in the form of a vector 106. Vector 106 represents error from the closest standard complex value. The magnitude of this vector indicates the proximity of the actual complex value to the closest"standard"complex value. Combining circuit 98 (see FIG. 6) uses this magnitude component to advance or delay VCO 22 timing during fine symbol synchronization stage 86 (see FIG. 2).

Referring to FIG. 6, each error detector circuit 100 and 102 includes a proximity detector 108 having outputs coupled to a quadrature differencing unit (i. e., a subtractor) 110. Proximity detectors 108 determine differences between actual sampled complex values and"standard"complex values, as discussed above in connection with vector 106 (see FIG. 3). Proximity detectors need not contain all of the circuitry that a normal data detector contains. Proximity detectors 108 represent modified data detectors, such as data detector 50 (see FIG. 1). However, proximity detectors 108 output error vectors 106 (see FIG. 3) and do not require those circuits normally used to output"data." Quadrature outputs of pre/post error detectors 102 and 100 couple to inputs of magnitude generators 112 and 114 respectively. Magnitude generator 114 is configured to determine post-sample magnitude values and magnitude generator 112 is configured to determine pre-sample magnitude values. Magnitude generators 114, and 112 receive vector quadrature signal outputs from quadrature differencing units 110 and provide absolute scalar magnitude values to a subtraction circuit 116. An output of magnitude generator 114 is coupled to a positive (+) input of subtraction circuit 116 and an output of magnitude generator 112 is coupled to a negative (-) input of subtraction circuit 116.

Subtraction circuit 116 determines differences between pre-sample and post-sample scalar magnitude values and uses these differences to advance and retard VCO 22 timing. Desirable sampling instants 62 are obtained when the pre-sample estimate errors equal the post-sample estimate errors. In particular, polarities are arranged so that

decreasing magnitude changes from pre-sampling intervals 90 to post-sampling intervals 92 urge VCO 22 to delay the clock signal so that sampling instants 62 are moved later within a symbol. Likewise, increasing magnitude changes urge VCO 22 to advance the clock signal so that sampling instant 62 is moved earlier during fine synchronization stage 82.

An output of subtraction circuit 116 couples to an input of staging switch 30, which couples the output of fine synchronizer 42 to VCO 22 (see FIG. 1) during fine synchronization stage 82 (see FIG. 2). Extraction of data conveyed by incoming signal 12 (see FIG. 1) continues concurrently with fine symbol synchronization 82.

Accordingly, fine symbol synchronizer 42 operates in a data-directed mode to refine the coarse data estimates made during stage 28. Running average filter 34 and loop filter 38 together insure that the results from any single symbol have only a minor influence over symbol timing during fine synchronization stage 82 (see FIG. 2).

In summary, the present invention provides an improved symbol synchronization apparatus and method. The present invention may digitally recover symbol timing based on less than two complex samples per symbol. Significant frequency offsets are tolerated during a coarse synchronization stage because symbol timing adjustments are based primarily upon magnitude attributes which have been separated from phase attributes of complex samples. The present invention also achieves steady symbol synchronization in spite of amplitude types of modulation. The present invention continually adjusts fine synchronization during data extraction by advancing or retarding sampling instants in response to pre-sample and post-sample estimates of an incoming signal.

The present invention has been described above with reference to preferred embodiment. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that changes and modifications may be made in these preferred embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the digital portions of the present invention may be implemented either using discrete components or within a digital signal processor. These and other changes and modifications which are obvious to those skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention.