A High Throughput Configurable SDR Detector for Multi-user MIMO Wireless Systems
Cavallaro, Joseph R.
Rao, Raghu Mysore
Spatial division multiplexing (SDM) in MIMO technology significantly increases the spectral efficiency, and hence capacity, of a wireless communication system: it is a core component of the next generation wireless systems, e.g. WiMAX, 3GPP LTE and other OFDM-based communication schemes. Moreover, spatial division multiple access (SDMA) is one of the widely used techniques for sharing the wireless medium between different mobile devices. Sphere detection is a prominent method of simplifying the detection complexity in both SDM and SDMA systems while maintaining BER performance comparable with the optimum maximum-likelihood (ML) detection. On the other hand, with different standards supporting different system parameters, it is crucial for both base station and handset devices to be configurable and seamlessly switch between different modes without the need for separate dedicated hardware units. This challenge emphasizes the need for SDR designs that target the handset devices. In this paper, we propose the architecture and FPGA realization of a configurable sort-free sphere detector, Flex-Sphere, that supports 4, 16, 64-QAM modulations as well as a combination of 2, 3 and 4 antenna/user configuration for handsets. The detector provides a data rate of up to 857.1 Mbps that fits well within the requirements of any of the next generation wireless standards. The algorithmic optimizations employed to produce an FPGA friendly realization are discussed.