A Low Power Programmable Turbo Decoder Macro Using the SOVA Algorithm

Hirohisa GAMBE
Kazuhisa OHBUCHI
Takaaki ZAKOJI
Kiyomichi ARAKI

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E87-C    No.4    pp.510-519
Publication Date: 2004/04/01
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Low-Power System LSI, IP and Related Technologies)
turbo coding,  SOVA,  Viterbi algorithm,  trace back,  MAX-LOG-MAP,  sliding window,  

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Turbo codes are of particular use in applications of wireless communication systems, where various types of communication are required and the data rate must be changed, depending on the situation. In such applications, adaptation of turbo coding specifications is required in terms of coding block size, data speed, parity bit arrangement or configuration of a convolutional coder, as well as the need for real time processing. We present new ideas to provide these capabilities for a low power decoder circuit by focusing on the configuration of a convolutional decoding algorithm, which occupies a significant proportion of the hardware circuit. We utilize the Soft Output Viterbi Algorithm (SOVA) for the base algorithm, produced by adding the concept of a soft output to the Viterbi Algorithm (VA). The Maximum A Posteriori (MAP) algorithm and its simplified version of MAX-LOG-MAP are also widely known. MAP is recognized as a means of achieving very good bit error rate (BER) characteristics. On the other hand SOVA has been regarded as a method which can be simply implemented with less computational resources, but at a cost of higher degradation. However, in many of recent systems we combine turbo coding with some other method such as Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) to maintain a good error correction performance and we only have to pay attention to the performance in the range of low carrier-to-noise ratio (CNR), where SOVA has fairly satisfactory BER characteristics. This makes the SOVA approach attractive for a low power programmable IP macro solution, when the fundamental advantage of SOVA is fully utilized in the implementation of an LSI circuit. We discuss the processing algorithm and circuit configuration and show that about 40% reduction in power consumption can be achieved. It is also shown that the IP macro can handle 1.5 Mbps information decoding at 100 MHz clock rate.