Reconfigurable architectures for the next generation of mobile device telecommunications systems
El-Rayis, Ahmed Osman
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Mobile devices have become a dominant tool in our daily lives. Business and personal usage has escalated tremendously since the emergence of smartphones and tablets. The combination of powerful processing in mobile devices, such as smartphones and the Internet, have established a new era for communications systems. This has put further pressure on the performance and efficiency of telecommunications systems in delivering the aspirations of users. Mobile device users no longer want devices that merely perform phone calls and messaging. Rather, they look for further interactive applications such as video streaming, navigation and real time social interaction. Such applications require a new set of hardware and standards. The WiFi (IEEE 802.11) standard has been at the forefront of reliable and high-speed internet access telecommunications. This is due to its high signal quality (quality of service) and speed (throughput). However, its limited availability and short range highlights the need for further protocols, in particular when far away from access points or base stations. This led to the emergence of 3G followed by 4G and the upcoming 5G standard that, if fully realised, will provide another dimension in “anywhere, anytime internet connectivity.” On the other hand, the WiMAX (IEEE 802.16) standard promises to exceed the WiFi signal coverage range. The coverage range could be extended to kilometres at least with a better or similar WiFi signal level. This thesis considers a dynamically reconfigurable architecture that is capable of processing various modules within telecommunications systems. Forward error correction, coder and navigation modules are deployed in a unified low power communication platform. These modules have been selected since they are among those with the highest demand in terms of processing power, strict processing time or throughput. The modules are mainly realised within WiFi and WiMAX systems in addition to global positioning systems (GPS). The idea behind the selection of these modules is to investigate the possibility of designing an architecture capable of processing various systems and dynamically reconfiguring between them. The GPS system is a power-hungry application and, at the same time, it is not needed all of the time. Hence, one key idea presented in this thesis is to effectively exploit the dynamic reconfiguration capability so as to reconfigure the architecture (GPS) when it is not needed in order to process another needed application or function such as WiFi or WiMAX. This will allow lower energy consumption and the optimum usage of the hardware available on the device. This work investigates the major current coarse-grain reconfigurable architectures. A novel multi-rate convolution encoder is then designed and realised as a reconfigurable fabric. This demonstrates the ability to adapt the algorithms involved to meet various requirements. A throughput of between 200 and 800 Mbps has been achieved for the rates 1/2 to 7/8, which is a great achievement for the proposed novel architecture. A reconfigurable interleaver is designed as a standalone fabric and on a dynamically reconfigurable processor. High throughputs exceeding 90 Mbps are achieved for the various supported block sizes. The Reed Solomon coder is the next challenging system to be designed into a dynamically reconfigurable processor. A novel Galois Field multiplier is designed and integrated into the developed Reed Solomon reconfigurable processor. As a result of this work, throughputs of 200Mbps and 93Mbps respectively for RS encoding and decoding are achieved. A GPS correlation module is also investigated in this work. This is the main part of the GPS receiver responsible for continuously tracking GPS satellites and extracting messages from them. The challenging aspect of this part is its real-time nature and the associated critical time constraints. This work resulted in a novel dynamically reconfigurable multi-channel GPS correlator with up to 72 simultaneous channels. This work is a contribution towards a global unified processing platform that is capable of processing communication-related operations efficiently and dynamically with minimum energy consumption.