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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been

fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/LCOMM.2017.2710339, IEEE
Communications Letters

Predistortion for wideband nonlinear satellite

Kelvin J. Layton, Member, IEEE, Azam Mehboob, Assad Akhlaq, Member, IEEE, Flaviano Bagaglini
William G. Cowley, Member, IEEE, and Gottfried Lechner, Member, IEEE

AbstractIn this letter, an efficient predistortion scheme is ?9 %43; 1.2,(23+4- '()(*+,-

@.634 ".6=,+*.4 %& !"#$
proposed to compensate imperfections in a satellite channel 0(,*34 3<=+,(>34 5436(7*.4*(.2 *.-/0
due to the nonlinear power amplifier and output channel filter.
The predistorter is a Wiener system consisting of a linear
%+4+83*34- /0-*.-
and nonlinear component, which are trained independently. The 39*4+:*(.2 '()(*+,
predistorter is well suited to systems where the data bits are
generated onboard the satellite. The proposed setup effectively
compensates the distortions and has lower complexity compared Fig. 1. Block diagram of the satellite transmitter including the proposed
to other strategies. predistortion stages.

Index TermsNonlinear satellite channels, digital predistor-

tion, Volterra series, equalization, OMUX filter.
rithms perform multiple evaluations of the behavioral model
and additional computations to update the signal [5].
I. I NTRODUCTION In this letter, we consider a two-stage Wiener predistorter to
compensate for distortions introduced by the amplifier nonlin-

P OWER efficiency is becoming increasing important in

modern communication systems and thus it is desirable
to operate power amplifiers close to saturation. At these
earity and the output channel filter. Although Wiener models
have been well studied for amplifiers with memory effects
[1], here we demonstrate their utility in compensating for the
operating points, nonlinear distortions become significant and channel filter in satellite transmitters. For this application, a
system performance will degrade. In satellite transmitters, the simple training scheme is proposed to learn each component
distortions are exacerbated by the inclusion of a channel filter of the predistorter. The scheme achieves minimal degradation
at the amplifier output. Consequently, several predistortion at a reduced complexity compared to state-of-the-art methods.
techniques have been proposed in recent years to compensate The proposed predistorter is evaluated through simulation of
for these effects at the transmitter [1]. a wideband transmission scenario with high data rates.
This work focuses on signal predistortion, which operates
at the sample level after the transmit pulse-shaping filter.
Signal predistortion is flexible and has the ability to easily
compensate for memory effects, e.g., from the channel filter This work considers downlinks for earth observation satel-
[2]. Models for the predistorter typically involve variations lites, where the data bits are generated by the imaging equip-
of the Volterra series, such as the memory polynomial (MP) ment onboard the satellite. This application is different from
[3]. Multiple models can also be combined to form two- bent pipe satellites e.g. in digital video broadcasting (DVB)
box or three-box models [4]. One example is the Wiener [2], as there is no IMUX filter and we can assume access
system, which involves a linear filter cascaded with a static to the signal at all stages along the transmit chain. Figure 1
nonlinearity [1]. More recently, iterative algorithms have been illustrates the main components of the satellite transmitter.
proposed to minimize the error between the transmitted signal The information bits are encoded onboard the satellite and
after the distortions and the target signal [5]. converted to symbols by the modulator. Coding and modu-
The state-of-the-art models achieve improved performance lation is implemented according to the standard proposed by
at the expense of increased complexity and computation. Two- the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS)
box models, for example, either estimate the parameters of [7]. A signal predistortion scheme consisting of a linear pre-
both components jointly or separate the static nonlinearity equalizer followed by a nonlinear predistorter is employed
component in an additional step [6]. Likewise, iterative algo- to compensate for the distortions introduced by the power
amplifier (PA) and output multiplexing filter (OMUX).
Manuscript received November 19, 2016; revised December 26, 2016. This In this letter, we focus on distortions from a traveling-wave
research was supported under Australian Research Councils Linkage Projects tube amplifier (TWTA) although our results are applicable to
funding scheme (project number LP140101010) with industry partners Thales
Alenia Space and Thales Australia. other nonlinear amplifiers such as solid-state power amplifiers.
K. J. Layton, A. Mehboob, A. Akhlaq, W. G. Cowley and G. Lech- We simulate the TWTA using the memoryless model proposed
ner are with the Institute for Telecommunications Research, Univer- by Ghorbani and Sheikhan [8], where we assume that any
sity of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia. e-mail: memory effects from the amplifier are small compared to the
F. Bagaglini is with Thales Alenia Space, Rome, Italy. OMUX. The parameters of the model were fit to AM/AM

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/LCOMM.2017.2710339, IEEE
Communications Letters

0 0
multiple time points to form a vector d = [d(1), . . . , d(N )]T
-2 -10 such that,
d = (v)c

Output phase (deg)

Output level (dB)
-4 -20

-6 -30 where the matrix (v) is defined as

(0,1) (M,K)
-8 -40 . . . 1
Measured magnitude
1. .. ..
-10 Model magnitude -50 = .. . .
Measured phase
Model phase (0,1) (M,K)
-20 -15 -10 -5 0 5
-60 N ... N
Input level (dB)
This formulation includes memoryless (polynomial) models
when M = 0 and models with memory when M > 0.
20 180 The linear pre-equalizer is implemented as an FIR filter,
0 120
which follows the same form in (1)(4), with K = 1. This
reduces to a simple convolution,
-20 60
Magnitude [dB]

Phase [deg]
-40 0 d(n) = wk v(n k). (5)
-60 -60
where we denote the weight vector w to distinguish from
-120 the memory polynomial coefficients. Equivalently, as in (3),
d = (v)w holds with defined by a convolution matrix.
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Frequency [MHz] This type of linear equalizer is commonly implemented at the
(b) receiver; however, the proposed pre-equalizer has the advan-
Fig. 2. System model illustrating (a) AM/AM and AM/PM curves for
tage that the OMUX characteristics can be easily learnt by
the TWTA measurements and simulation model; and (b) the channel filter measuring the input/output onboard the satellite. Importantly,
(OMUX) magnitude and phase response. both components of the predistorter are linear with respect
to the unknown coefficients/weights so standard inversion
techniques can be used.
and AM/PM data acquired from a TWTA (Thales Alenia
Space, Rome, Italy) using a nonlinear least squares algorithm A. Parameter extraction
(Fig. 2a). The model in [8] was chosen as it provides a superior
An important aspect of our application is that the parameters
fit to our measured TWTA data compared to other models in
for the linear and nonlinear components (w and c) can be
the literature. The analog OMUX was simulated with an IIR
estimated separately since the appropriate signals are directly
digital filter (Fig. 2b).
available. This is not possible when the predistortion is ap-
plied at the ground station, e.g., as in [2]. This avoids the
III. P ROPOSED COMPENSATION cumbersome and error-prone methods of jointly identifying
the compensation blocks. In the first step, the parameters of
Since the TWTA is commonly modeled by a memoryless the nonlinear predistorter are learnt using an indirect learning
nonlinearity [2] and the OMUX filter is a simple linear filter, architecture [9]. The second step computes the inverse of the
the combination of TWTA followed by the OMUX filter cre- OMUX filter in a similar way, using the signal before and
ates a well-known Hammerstein model [1]. The inverse system after the filter. We assume the signal on the satellite can be
in this case is a Wiener system a linear pre-equalizer to measured with negligible loss in output power or SNR using a
compensate for the OMUX followed by a nonlinear model to high-quality directional coupler. Once both models have been
compensate for the TWTA. Nonlinear predistortion is typically learnt the parameters are copied to the predistortion blocks in
implemented using a memory polynomial (MP) model [3], the transmitter. Like other predistortion schemes, the training
where the input v(n) is related to the desired output d(n) by, procedure needs to be repeated whenever there are changes to
the modulation or amplifier characteristics.
X Instead of inverting the linear systems directly, we use L2 -
d(n) = cm,k (m,k)
n . (1)
regularization (also called Tikhonov regularization [10]) to
k=1 m=0
improve the stability of the parameter extraction. For example,
where the basis functions n
, are indexed by order k and the polynomial coefficients are found by solving the following
delay m, optimization,
min kd (v)ck2 + kck2 (6)
n = v(n m)|v(n m)|k1 . (2) c
where the parameter controls the strength of the regulariza-
The double sum can be written as a scalar product d(n) = tion. This optimization preferences solutions with small norm,
(0,1) (M,K) T
Tn c, by defining the basis vector n = [n , . . . , n ] , so large coefficients are avoided and the performance of the
and a vector of coefficients c = [c0,1 , . . . , cM,K ] . We collate predistorter is improved.

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/LCOMM.2017.2710339, IEEE
Communications Letters

B. Power constraints 8

Once the parameters are learnt, the nonlinear predistortion

model can be implemented using (1). However, the output
from the model may contain large signal values due to the
high polynomial order, which are impractical to implement. To 6

avoid this situation and to constrain the peak-to-average power

TD (dB)
ratio (PAPR), the large values are clipped to the maximum 5
before predistortion. Furthermore, the signal power is normal- None
ized to maintain a constant power after the predistortion. These 4 Iterative
steps are necessary to ensure the predistortion does not change Proposed Wiener

the operating point of the amplifier. 3

All simulations were performed in MATLAB (The Math- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
works, Natick, MA). The information bits were generated by a OBO (dB)
pseudorandom number generator, followed by modulation us-
Fig. 3. Total degradation (TD) of different predistortion solutions for a 64-
ing a 64-APSK scheme specified by the CCSDS standard [7]. APSK modulation scheme. The proposed predistortion algorithm approaches
A total of 50 CCSDS-compliant frames were simulated for a the iterative method but requires fewer computations.
total of 107 information bits each run. The standard includes
serial concatenated convolution codes with puncturing for a
code rate of 0.74. A symbol rate of 500 MHz was assumed and the various schemes. The proposed Wiener model and the
the signal was synthesized with a root-raised-cosine (RRC) iterative algorithm substantially improve on the MP model.
filter with a rolloff factor of 0.35 and 8 samples per symbol. The minimum TD of the proposed algorithm is within 0.3dB
The signal was pre-compensated and then distortions from the of the state-of-the-art iterative algorithm. Similar results (not
TWTA and channel filter were simulated. The OMUX filter shown) were obtained for 32-APSK and 128-APSK modula-
was implemented using a fifth-order elliptical IIR filter with a tion with code rates of 0.88 and 0.77, respectively, highlighting
passband frequency of 300 MHz, passband ripple of 0.35 dB the generality of the approach.
and stopband attenuation of 80 dB (Fig. 2b). Gaussian noise Figures 4a and 4b demonstrate the AM/AM and AM/PM
was added to achieve a given Es /N0 before being processed characteristics with and without the proposed compensation
by the receiver. The receiver software includes symbol timing algorithm for an OBO of 3 dB. The Wiener predistorter is
estimation, frequency estimation, gain and phase correction, reasonably effective at linearizing the amplifier though slightly
demodulation and decoding using standard algorithms. increased amplitude variation is visible for high input ampli-
Four pre-compensation strategies were compared: tudes close to saturation. A scatter plot of the received symbols
(Fig. 4c) also demonstrates the amplitude and phase distortion
1) No predistortion.
through warping of the symbol centroids, while ISI is depicted
2) A predistorter using a complexity-reduced memory poly-
as a clustering around each centroid. The predistortion algo-
nomial model (MP) [11] with K = 9 and M = 6.
rithm corrects the centroid locations and reduces the clustering
3) Iterative signal-based predistortion [5]. The system
(Fig. 4d). This is quantified by estimating the Es /N0 using
model includes the amplifier and OMUX filter, which
the received symbols and the known transmit symbols. The
were modeled using a polynomial model with K = 9
obtained Es /N0 was 26 dB when predistortion was used,
and FIR filter (length of 10 symbols), respectively.
compared to 21 dB without predistortion, representing a 5 dB
4) The proposed two-stage Wiener system consisting of a
improvement. Likewise, the uncoded BER was reduced from
linear pre-equalizer with a filter length of 10 symbols
1.3 102 to 5.8 104 with predistortion.
and a memoryless polynomial with order K = 9.
The predistortion parameters were extracted using the signal
B. Complexity
from the first 2000 symbols, branched from different points
in the transmit chain. The iterative algorithm performed up to The number of complex multiplications for a block of
10 iterations to minimize the difference between the desired D samples is compared. The iterative algorithm requires
signal and the predicted signal after the nonlinearity [5]. two steps: an initial behavioral modeling step, where the
amplifier and OMUX characteristics are learnt (requires Nfit
multiplications); followed by an iterative algorithm, which
A. Performance applies the system model (Nfwd multiplications per sample)
The performance of the different strategies was examined and weights the error between the predicted and target signals
using the total degradation (TD), which is the sum of the (1 multiplication). Thus the total number of multiplications
performance loss compared to a linear channel (to achieve for L iterations is Nfit + LD(Nfwd + 1). On the other hand,
a target BER of 106 ) and the output backoff (OBO) [12]. the proposed Wiener model requires inverse modeling of the
This metric gives an indication of performance across a range amplifier and OMUX (Nfit ) and implementation (Nfwd per
of amplifier operating points. Figure 3 displays the TD for sample) for a total of Nfit +DNfwd multiplications. Assuming

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/LCOMM.2017.2710339, IEEE
Communications Letters

TD (dB)

4 No predistortion
= 50
(a) (b) = 10
= 0.5
= 0.005

2 3 4 5 6 7 8
OBO (dB)

Fig. 5. Total degradation (TD) for different values of the regularization

parameter, , using the proposed Wiener predistorter.

efficient and suitable for wideband communications with high

order modulation schemes. The simple predistorter reduces
(c) (d) the total degradation by 3 dB compared to a system with
Fig. 4. Compensation of nonlinear power amplifier with 64-APSK modulation no predistortion and approaches the performance of a more
using a Wiener predistorter: (a) AM/AM curves; (b) AM/PM curves; and complex iterative algorithm.
scatter plots (c) without and (d) with compensation. Black circles are ideal
symbols, blue dots are received symbols and red crosses are symbol centroids.
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