An investigation into OFDM as a suitable modulation tecnique for an acoustic underwater modem

Du Preez, Johannes (2012-12)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) as a viable modulation technique for an ultrasonic acoustic underwater modem. The underwater environment provides a challenging setting for acoustic communications. Long delay spreads due to multipath propagation, severe Doppler frequency shifts, frequency dependent absorption and very limited bandwidth are but some of the challenges to overcome. OFDM essentially provides the parallel transmission of symbols in the frequency domain by simultaneously modulating many closely spaced orthogonal subcarriers. The resulting long parallel symbol rate together with the cyclic extension of symbols render the signal robust against intersymbol interference (ISI) caused by multipath propagation. Intercarrier interference (ICI) between the overlapping frequency responses of subcarriers is mitigated by their property of orthogonality. Doppler spread contributes to the loss of orthogonality and can result in severe ICI. A method of measuring the Doppler shift by means of including a preamble and postamble symbol with each data frame is proposed. The detected frequency offset is corrected by resampling the frame at the desired sample rate. Not only do the ambles serve as a mechanism for timing and frequency synchronisation, but they are also applied in the channel estimation process. The equalisation of channel response is required for the coherent demodulation of the received symbols. An investigation into different phase shift keying (PSK) and quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) constellations reveal optimal arrangements for minimal symbol errors. The optimised QAM constellations do not lend themselves to Gray-coding, so that an efficient interleaving scheme is needed to mitigate the non-uniform distribution of bit errors among symbol errors. Forward error correction is provided via a Bose Chaudhuri Hocquenghem (BCH) block code. Variable code rates, together with the ability to switch between different constellations, enable the modem to perform so-called variable modulation in an attempt to maximise the throughput under specific channel conditions. The modulation/demodulation scheme is wholly defined in software as to provide flexibility and facilitate experimentation with different signal processing methods. The accompanying hardware platform allows for the transmission of a pre-generated signal and the recording of a received signal for off-line processing. The prototype design serves as a proof of concept and thus provides only simplex communication. Field tests over limited distances demonstrate the successful operation of the prototype modem. We conclude that OFDM is indeed a suitable modulation technique for acoustic underwater communication.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die toepassing van ortogonale frekwensiedeling multipleksering (OFDM) as modulasie tegniek op ʼn onderwater kommunikasie modem. Die onderwater omgewing bied vele uitdagings vir akoestiese kommunikasie. Lang vertraging-verstrooiings as gevolg van multipad voortplanting, Doppler frekwensieskuif, frekwensieafhanklike absorpsie, en beperkte bandwydte is van die uitdagings wat oorkom moet word. In essensie bied OFDM die parallelle versending van ʼn aantal simbole deur die gelyktydige modulasie van verskeie nou-gespasieerde subdraers in die frekwensiegebied. Die gevolglike lang parallelle simboolperiodes, tesame met die sikliese uitbreiding van simbole, verleen immuniteit teen intersimbool steurnisse (ISI) wat ontstaan as gevolg van multipad voortplanting. Die ortogonaliteit van naburige draers in die frekwensiegebied beperk interdraer steuring (ICI) tussen hul oorvleuelende frekwensie weergawes. Doppler frekwensieskuif kan egter lei tot die verlies aan ortogonaliteit en bydra tot ernstige interdraer steurings. ʼn Metode wat gebruik maak van aanhef en slot simbole, ingesluit by elke raam, word voorgestel om die Dopplerskuif te meet. Die bepaalde frekwensieafset word gekorrigeer deur die monstertempo van die raam aan te pas na die verlangde tempo. Buiten die tyd- en frekwensie-sinkronisasie funksies van die aanhef en slot simbole, speel dit ook ʼn belangrike rol in die ontrekking van die frekwensie weergawe van die kanaal. Die effening van die kanaal se frekwensieweergawe is noodsaaklik vir die koherente demodulasie van die ontvangde simbole. ʼn Ondersoek na verskillende fase verskuif sleuteling (PSK) en kwadratuur amplitude modulasie (QAM) konstellasies het optimale rangskikkings opgelewer vir minimale simboolfoute. Hierdie optimale QAM konstellasies verleen hulself egter nie na Gray-kodering nie. ʼn Effektiewe invlegtegniek is nodig om die nie-uniforme verspreiding van bisfoute tussen simboolfoute te beperk. Fout korrigering funksionaliteit word gebied deur ʼn Bose Chaudhuri Hocquenghem (BCH) blokkode. Verstelbare koderingstempo’s en die vermoë om tussen verskillende konstellasies te skakel, stel die modem in staat om sogenaamde verstelbare modulasie te gebruik in ʼn poging om die data deurset te optimeer onder spesifieke kanaal kondisies. Die modulasie en demodulasie skema is volledig in sagteware gedefinieer. Dit verleen buigbaarheid en vergemaklik eksperimentering met verskeie seinverwerkingstegnieke. Die meegaande hardeware platvorm stel die modem in staat om vooraf opgewekte seine uit te saai en rou ontvangde siene op te neem vir na-tydse verwerking. Die prototipe ontwerp dien as ʼn konseptuele bewys en bied dus slegs simplekse kommunikasie. Die suksesvolle werking van die modem is gedemonstreer deur toetsing oor beperkte afstande. Hieruit word afgelei dat OFDM inderdaad geskik is vir akoestiese onderwater kommunikasie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71806
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