|dc.description.abstract||The limiting fact that is impeding the increase in data rate in the current generation of wireless communication is the limited available spectrum in the sub-6 GHz bands. This has motivated the shift to higher frequencies such as millimeter waves (mm-wave) and terahertz frequencies where modulation bandwidth of several hundreds of MHz can be utilized to increase the communication link capacity. The deployment of high data rate mm-wave base stations will highly depend on the maximum achievable equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) and on the ability to generate reliable and error free wideband signals. High EIRP and high efficiency operation can be achieved by using active phased arrays operated deep into the power amplifiers (PAs) nonlinear region. In this work, a low power and low complexity compensation schemes to mitigate the impairments exhibited by phase arrays driven with wideband signals and high efficient nonlinear PAs at mm-wave frequencies are proposed.
Digital pre-distortion (DPD) techniques can provide an attractive solution to linearize high efficiency and high EIRP nonlinear phased arrays at mm-wave frequencies. However, the viable deployment of DPD solutions call for the reduction in the power consumption of the transmitter observation receiver (TOR) feedback path required to train the DPD function. To that end, a low power DPD scheme for linearizing mm-wave hybrid beamforming antenna systems is presented. The proposed DPD scheme exploits the modularity of hybrid beamforming systems. During the training phase, the constituent sub-arrays, are categorized, into (i) the main sub-array that exhibits non-linear distortion and is to be linearized, and (ii) the auxiliary sub-arrays that operate in the backoff region to avoid nonlinearity. To produce the error signal necessary to train the DPD function (and compensate for the distortions exhibited by the main sub-array), the signals transmitted by the main and auxiliary sub-arrays are combined. This error signal is captured using a TOR with low dynamic range and is digitized using a low-bit resolution analog-to-digital converter (ADC). Proof-of-concept validation experiments are conducted by applying the proposed DPD system to linearize an off-the-shelf hybrid-beamforming array comprised of four 64-element sub-arrays, operating at 28 GHz and driven with up to 800 MHz orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) modulated signals. Using the proposed DPD scheme, a TOR with a 4-bit ADC was sufficient to improve the adjacent channel power ratio (ACPR) by 10 dB and the error vector magnitude (EVM) improved from 5.8% to 1.6%. These results are similar to those obtained using a TOR with 16-bit ADCs.
Reducing the complexity of the DPD scheme for phased arrays is also of primordial importance to the successful deployment of DPD solutions. For instance, the DPD function needs to be desensitize to the load modulation effects exhibited by large antenna systems and be able to linearize phased arrays at different steering angles. To address the challenges associated with the load modulation for phased arrays, we propose a generalized SISO DPD scheme as solution to minimize the EVM variation at different steering angles. The measurement results of the proposed scheme, using a 400 MHz OFDM signal with subcarriers modulated using 256 QAM and on a commercial 64-elements beamforming array, was able to maintain the EVM below 2% across the full steering range. This solution, however, failed to maintain the ACPR below -45 dBc. The effect of tapering on the load modulation and the array nonlinearity is also analysed. The measurement results using different tapers are used to validate the theory and the simulation results. Using tapering, the ACPR and EVM variation before and after DPD were minimized versus steering angles. For instance, using taper setting 2, the ACPR and EVM are maintained below -46 dBc and 1% from -38° to 45° and below -42.3 dBc and 1.8% from -45° to 45° respectively. Better results are measured when tapering is used in conjunction with the proposed generalized DPD scheme. In that case, the ACPR is improved from -35.5 to at worst -46.4 dBc and at best -50 dBc and the EVM is improved from at worst 4.5% to at worst 1.2% and at best 0.85%. The EVM is also maintained below 0.95% from -39° to 45°.||en