# DVB-T. The echo performance of. receivers. Theory of echo tolerance. Ranulph Poole BBC Research and Development

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4 The diagram gives a strong clue as to how an echo noise contribution can be measured. Firstly, the size of the bucket Q and the system noise S must be eliminated. Suppose that the amount of Gaussian noise needed to top up the bucket is: A 0 when S is the only impairment present, and A 1 Then S + A 0 = Q, when both S and the echo contributions M + R are present. and S + A 1 + M + R = Q. Eliminating Q and S gives: R + M = A 0 A 1. Hence the total of the echo contributions is simply the difference between two noise levels. 1.0 Power (linear) ( 18.9 dbc) 0 "Ideal" System Echo signal (E) Direct COFDM signal (D) Gaussian noise (Q) System with a single echo and residual noise Figure 2 Illustration of the noise bucket concept. Gaussian noise (A) Intersymbol interference (M) Channel difficulty (R) System noise (S) Secondly, contributions R and M must be separated. The trick here is to note that echoes within the guard interval only introduce R, whereas long-duration echoes predominantly introduce M. Thus, for a short-duration echo, R = A 0 A 1. This value of R can be substituted into R + M = A 0 A 1, when making measurements on longer duration echoes, so giving a value for M. Because M is generally by far the greater contribution, for echoes outside the guard interval, a small error in R makes little difference. These ideas are easy to extend to situations where two (or more) echo signals are present. In the comparison between theoretical and practical results that follows, the procedure will be to calculate the ENFs resulting from single echoes and combinations of echoes. The experimental work naturally yields ENDs, and so these must be converted into ENFs by using the formula quoted earlier. Once the practical values of R and M have been obtained, as above, they may be compared with the calculated values. Experimental arrangements The experimental arrangements for measuring R and M are straightforward, and the essential elements are shown in Fig. 3. The DVB-T signal is generated by a broadcastquality modulator, then upconverted to UHF. It passes through an echo simulator, which allows up to five echo paths to be added. A coupler then combines the DVB-T signal with the output of a noise source. An adjustable attenuator provides adjustment of the noise level. The combined signal DVB-T passes to a high-quality monitoring receiver, which provides a direct read-out of BER. EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW September / 9

5 DVB-T modulator & upconverter Echo simulator Receiver under test Picture monitor Noise source Attenuator Coupler Bandpass filter Power monitoring Figure 3 Experimental arrangement for measuring END. Most of the measurements involve the difference between two noise attenuator settings. Firstly, the noise attenuator is set for BER REF in the absence of any echo. The echo or echoes are then introduced, and the attenuator setting increased until once again BER REF is achieved. The difference corresponds to the END (in db). Finally, the formula ENF = (1 1/END)/(C/N REF ) is used to convert END into ENF. C/N REF is found by using the bandpass filter and power meter shown in Fig. 3. The filter has a passband of about 4 MHz at the centre of the channel, hence allowing through equal portions of the noise and DVB-T signals to be compared. Five different echoes were defined for practical tests, as detailed in Table 1. 5 The plan was to measure the noise contributed by each echo, and then to combine pairs of echoes and then measure the total noise. The expectation was that the total noise would equal the sum of the contributions. Not all the experimental results are presented here; the article would be excessively unwieldy if they were. However, members of the UK Digital Television Group may gain access to the full details of the tests through their website [1][2]. Table 1 The echo tests performed. Echo details Echo µs Echo µs Echo µs Echo µs Echo µs Experimental results Short-duration echoes Firstly, the relationship between echo power and echo noise was explored for echoes falling within the guard interval. With the echo disabled, the noise attenuator was set so that the noise corresponded to BER REF. The attenuation was then increased in steps of 0.1 db and, for each step, a note was made of the echo level corresponding to 5. The delay values were chosen so that the corresponding channel response exhibited an integral number of ripples over the width of the COFDM ensemble. Doing this ensured that the total signal power equalled the direct signal plus echo signal powers. EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW September / 9

6 BER REF. The equivalent virtual noise of the echo was calculated as already described. Fig. 5 shows the results for the 0.5 µs echo. The plot shows that the equivalent noise power R is indeed closely proportional to echo power. Also, the results agree with the earlier prediction that R amounts to of the echo power. At high echo levels, the equivalent noise is slightly less than predicted, possibly thanks to the power of the Viterbi decoder. Equivalent noise (linear) Noise power relative to direct path signal power Polynomial fit for above The results for the second shortduration echo are not shown, as they were almost identical. There are many ways in which measurements involving both echoes could be performed. The method adopted was to adjust the noise attenuator setting for BER REF in the absence of echoes. The noise attenuation was then backed off by a fixed amount say 1 db and the echo levels adjusted so as to achieve BER REF once again. A measurement run would involve Echo 2 being increased from zero in convenient steps. At each step, Echo 1 would be adjusted for BER REF and its value noted. The run would continue until Echo 1 reached zero. Fig. 6 shows the results for 1 db noise back-off. The magenta-coloured line (righthand y-axis) shows the equivalent noise of the two echoes together. Of course, the value remains constant since the test is defined by the fixed 1 db END. The blue points (left-hand y-axis) show the combinations of echo powers corresponding to BER REF. Because the two noise contributions behave as if they were generated independently, it is possible to draw a good straight line through the points. The implication is that the total echo power corresponding to 1 db END remains constant at about Echo 2 power (linear) y = 0.004x x x Echo power (linear) Figure 5 Equivalent noise introduced by the 0.5 µs echo. Echo 2 power Calculated echo noise Actual echo noise Echo 1 power (linear) If the total echo noise is now calculated by using the formula derived for R, the result is the yellow line (right-hand y-axis). This corresponds closely to the magenta line. When the above exercise is repeated for increasing ENDs, the linearity of the noise-generation mechanism remains good until the point where the peak echo power exceeds the direct signal power. Nulls then appear in the channel response, and the effect of the Viterbi metrics becomes marked. Generally, the receiver is more tolerant under these conditions than was predicted by the simple model Figure 6 Short-duration echo powers corresponding to 1 db END. Predicted noise power (linear) EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW September / 9

7 Longer-duration echoes Secondly, the relationship between echo power and equivalent noise was determined for echoes falling outside the guard interval. The practical measurements were made in just the same way as before, whilst the calculated noise was taken as the sum of M and R; that is, P echo {(224 + τ g τ d )/224} P echo. Fig. 7 shows the results 6. The data points represent the measured results whilst the straight lines show the calculated noise. In general, there is good agreement between practice and theory. Agreement improves as the echo duration increases, since the proportion of virtual noise which is not known so accurately decreases. The relative importance of the longer duration echoes is evident. It remains to check that the contributions from pairs of echoes add linearly. Fig. 8 was derived in the same way as Fig. 6, except that the two echoes selected were those of 9.87 µs and µs duration. Once again, the experimental procedure was to vary the relative echo powers in such a way as to maintain a constant total noise power in this case corresponding to 3 db END. Despite the large amount of noise being introduced by the echoes, the system remains closely linear: the sum of the theoretical noise contributions agrees well with the actual total. Agreement between the theory and measurements remains good when other echo pairs are selected [1]. Equivalent noise (linear) µs echo delay µs echo delay 9.87 µs echo delay Echo 2 power Calculated echo noise Actual echo noise Echo power (linear) Figure 7 Equivalent noise introduced by longer-duration echos. Echo 2 power (linear) Echo 1 power (linear) Figure 8 Medium-duration echos corresponding to 3 db END Noise power (linear) 6. The guard interval was taken as 6.5 µs, to allow for a slight synchronization offset in the demodulator. EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW September / 9

9 Table 3 Glossary of abbreviations. Abbreviation and Term Notes BER Bit error ratio BER REF is post Viterbi; approximately equivalent to raw or pre-viterbi. C/N Ratio of total carrier power to total noise power in bandwidth of COFDM ensemble C/N REF corresponds to BER REF COFDM Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex The modulation scheme used for DVB-T db Decibel A measure of relative power level dbc Power in db relative to carrier power DVB-T Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial The European digital television system END Equivalent noise degradation The increase in transmitter power needed as a result of an impairment. Generally expressed in db. ENF Equivalent noise floor The amount of noise, virtual or real, introduced by an impairment. Generally expressed in dbc. FFT Fast Fourier transform Signal processing for moving from representation in time to representation in frequency domain M Real echo noise Intersymbol interference P echo Echo power Relative to the direct signal power QAM Quadrature amplitude modulation R Virtual echo noise Channel difficulty µs Microsecond τ g Guard interval Expressed in µs τ d Echo delay Expressed in µs Acknowledgement The author would like to thank his colleagues at BBC Research and Development for providing the experimental data quoted in the text. He would also like to thank them for proof-reading the earlier reports [1][2] on which the present article is based. Bibliography [1] R.H.M. Poole: Echoes and DVB-T receivers: a further investigation, Part 1 DTG RF Sub-Group Document Number 44, [2] R.H.M. Poole: Echoes and DVB-T receivers: a further investigation, Part 1 DTG RF Sub-Group Document Number 45, [3] P. Talmola: Proposal for a long echo profile for DVB-T receiver performance testing DTG RF Sub-Group Document Number 40, The above references are available to all members of the UK Digital Television Group. EBU TECHNICAL REVIEW September / 9

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